History of the Courthouse

Bond Store wood block floor made from Jarrah

Passageway past the prison cellsPassageway past the prison cells

The Wardandi people are the traditional owners of the land on which the Courthouse is situated. Its construction between 1860-1897 marks the establishment of Busselton as an important regional centre and port during the colonial era.

During this era the Courthouse operated as a judicary, government administration centre and land agency, servicing the growing settlement's need for law and order, customs and telecommunications. 

The Courthouse ceased to function as a police station, lock-up and court in 1976. The site was entrusted to the (then) Shire of Busselton in 1982, whereupon extensive restoration work was carried out between 1982-1985. In 1984 it began to function as an arts centre with various commerical and community-run activites. In November 2003 all lease and occupancy agreements ended and as part of its strategic plan for the development of a cultural precinct, the Shire began to operate the Courthouse under its own management. Further restoration and development of the site took place in 2005-2006.

Today, as part of Busselton's burgeoning cultural precinct which includes ArtGeo Gallery and the Weld Repertory Theatre, the Courthouse now functions as a creative arts hub and heritage site, providing perfomance and exhibition space, artists' studios and workshops, guided tours and a retail outlet for regional arts and crafts. 

According to the Australian Heritage Commission, the Courthouse has considerable significance for its contribution to the social and economic history of Busselton and it contains some of the oldest buildings in Busselton that represent fine examples colonial and Federation architecture asscociated with two of Western Australia's preminent architects, Richard Roach Jewell and George Temple Poole. Prior to its closure in 1976, the Courthouse was classified as a site of significance by the National Trust in 1972. In 1983 it was asessed for the National Estate Register and in 1993 it was listed on the State Heritage Register.

Statement of Significance: 'The place, in the context of Western Australia, has exceptional cultural heritage significance. It is one of the oldest surviving building complexes within the region and one of Busselton's most prominent historic places.' Ian Moyneux, 1979 National Trust Classification

 Bondstore Jarrah Block FloorBondstore Jarrah Block Floor