Statement of Significance
The Newstead Courthouse was designed in 1863 by John James Clark, a prominent architect in the Public Works Department who had designed the Treasury building in 1858. It was one of a number of small courthouses built in rural areas in the early 1860s. By this time William Wardell had put in place austerity measures in the Public Works Department, and this is reflected in the simplicity of Newstead Courthouse. The courthouse provided facilities for a Court of Petty Sessions and Magistrates Court. The Newstead Courthouse is built of local orange brick on a brown field granite base, with slate gabled roofs with narrow eaves. All windows have flattened segmental arches in contrasting cream brick, and granite sills. The front gable is adorned with a circular vent ringed with cream brick. Corbelled cream brick banding surrounds the courtroom under eaves level. The central gabled courtroom is serviced by a side entered front porch with flattened gable roof. In turn the two flanking gabled offices with access to the courtroom have skillion roofed entry porches. The front and side porches are unified by the use of grouped slit windows, and by the application of scalloped board valances to the barges. The functional hierarchy of differently scaled spaces manifests in a stepped effect in the facade. While the scale is almost domestic, the symmetry maintains formality. The two low and substantial chimneys between the side rooms and the courtroom serve to anchor the composition. The courtroom itself is lit by low silled side windows at the front of the courthouse, and three high slit windows in the south facing back gable end.
The Newstead Courthouse is of architectural and aesthetic importance to the State of Victoria.
The Newstead Courthouse is a fine example of small courthouses designed by the Public Works Department in the 1850s and 1860s , and of 1860s austere Public Works architecture in general. It is one of the best of the extant smaller works by Public Works Architect John James Clark. Newstead Courthouse is the most accomplished example of early Victorian Free Classical courthouses with projected side entry and gabled roof. Rutherglen Courthouse was originally identical but was added to and altered c1905. Most other small courthouses of the period are taller, with string courses and side clerestory windows, and with the long axis of the courtroom emphasised.
The Newstead Courthouse is of architectural and aesthetic importance for the quality of its design and execution. The design is a particularly pleasing and legible composition based on a simple functional hierarchy. It is finely suited to its rural locale in its informality, low scale, strong cross axis, and use of local orange bricks and field granite.
NEWSTEAD COURT HOUSE - HistoryContextual History:History of Place:
The Newstead Courthouse was designed by John James Clarke who was the most prominent designer in the public Works Department in the period from separation up until 1878. Clarke had been employed as a draughtsman from 1852, had designed the Treasury building in 1858, The late 1850s had seen a furious activity in the provision of public buildings to the goldfields. Though this activity slowed after 1860, quite a number of small courthouses were built in rural areas in the early 1860s. By this time William Wardell had put in place austerity measures in the Public Works Department, and this is reflected in the simplicity of Newstead Courthouse. The size of the Newstead building was also in proportion to the scale of matters being dealt with in a Court of Petty Sessions/Magistrates Court.
Said by Bruce Trethowan to “epitomise the architecture of the Public Works Department before 1880”. Grouped in the Courthouses in Victoria Survey among early Victorian Free Classical courthouses with projected side entry and gabled roof. In this group Yea and Vaughan have been demolished, Rutherglen was added to and altered c1905. Whittlesea Courthouse is of very similar scale and planning, but has a narrow gabled porch with side entrance, and the side gables do not have entry porches. A number of other courthouses of similar size and period are grouped by their projected front entries and gabled roofs, but generally have much taller courtrooms, clerestory windows, and string courses in the brickwork, were built in the same period. Newstead is unusual for a small courthouse in that its massing is stronger along the side axis than the axis down courtroom.
NEWSTEAD COURT HOUSE - Permit ExemptionsEXEMPTIONS FROM PERMITS:
(Classes of works or activities which may be undertaken without a permit under
Part 4 of the Heritage Act 1995)
1. All permit exempted alterations are to be planned and carried out in a
manner which prevents damage to the fabric of the registered place or object.
2. Should it become apparent during further inspection or the carrying out of
alterations that original or previously hidden or inaccessible details of the
place or object are revealed which relate to the significance of the place or
object, then the exemption covering such alteration shall cease and the
Executive Director shall be notified as soon as possible.
3. If there is a conservation policy and plan approved by the Executive
Director, all works shall be in accordance with it.
4. Nothing in this declaration prevents the Executive Director from amending
or rescinding all or any of the permit exemptions.
5. Nothing in this declaration exempts owners or their agents from the
responsibility to seek relevant planning or building permits from the
responsible authority where applicable.
* Minor repairs and maintenance which replace like with like.
* Removal of extraneous items such as air conditioners, pipe work, ducting,
wiring, antennae, aerials etc, and making good.
* Installation or repair of damp-proofing by either injection method or
grouted pocket method.
* Regular garden maintenance.
* Installation, removal or replacement of garden watering systems.
* Painting of previously painted walls and ceilings provided that preparation
or painting does not remove evidence of the original paint or other decorative
* Installation, removal or replacement of carpets and/or flexible floor
* Installation, removal or replacement of curtain track, rods, blinds and
other window dressings.
* Installation, removal or replacement of hooks, nails and other devices for
the hanging of mirrors, paintings and other wall mounted artworks.
* Installation, removal or replacement of electrical wiring provided that all
new wiring is fully concealed.
* Installation, removal or replacement of bulk insulation in the roof space.
* Installation, removal or replacement of smoke detectors.
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