The Log Lock-up at Harrow was erected under the supervision of the Public Works Department and was built in 1859 by a Melbourne contractor called Baillie. Reputedly, a more elaborate gaol had been planned but was not built. A Court of Petty Sessions had been established in Harrow in 1853. The Casterton Police District was defined in 1855 and a log lock-up, similar in description to that at Harrow but since demolished, was built at Casterton. The Lock-up was used by the Harrow Police Garrison as temporary accommodation for prisoners awaiting trial.
Adjacent to the Lock-up is the archaeological remains of the Cobb & Co stables. After the lockup ceased being used for prisoners it passed into the ownership of Cobb & Co and its successors. The coach route via Harrow was opened up as an extension of the Hamilton to Portland run, serving centres away from the railway routes which were forcing the coach operator to look for new markets. The gaol may have been used by the coach company as a residence for their drivers, and became known locally as ?The Logs?. Thomas Cawker was the well-known driver serving this and other Glenelg routes in the 1890s.
The building is approximately 8.5 metres long, 7 metres deep and 3 metres high. It is constructed of rough-hewn logs stacked fourteen high, with the logs crossed and half notched at the corners. The log ceiling is covered by a hipped roof, originally probably covered by shingles but now covered with corrugated iron. This type of solid vernacular structure was favoured as the best method of building secure lock-ups in country areas where timber was plentiful.
How is it significant?
The Log Lock-up at Harrow is of architectural, historical and archaeological significance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
The Log Lock-up at Harrow is architecturally significant as an example of an uncommon building type, and is one of only half a dozen such buildings surviving in Victoria. Log construction was favoured by the Public Works Department as the best method of building secure lock-ups where brick or stone was not readily available, and where labour, sometimes in the form of prisoners, was cheap.
The Log Lock-up at Harrow is historically significant as evidence of the early presence of a police garrison in the town. It demonstrates that Harrow was once an important administrative centre in the region, and a strategic location on the Glenelg for patrolling the pastoral districts between Casterton, Hamilton, Horsham and the South Australian border.
The site is of scientific (archaeological) significance for the above ground wall ruins of apparent stables (believed to have been used by, amongst others, Cobb and Co) and the potential of any below-ground deposits to contribute to the understanding of the site.