The Gold Commissioner of the late 1860’s, Henry Edward King, conducted his court in temporary structures. The first permanent mining court was a slab and shingle-roofed building near Cross Street. A Court of Petty Sessions was proclaimed by the Governor in Council on the 20 February 1868 and by 1869 there was a court house on the corner of Duke and Channon Streets.
1876 Gympie Court House
Planning for the new Court House began in 1874. The architect is unknown but it is possible E.H. Harris or George Connolly were responsible for the design. The new court house was finished in April 1876. This Court House was built on the site of the original police lock-up and stables. There were various changes made to the building in 1893 including a jury room on the rear verandah and a strong room built internally, a second room for the Clerk of Petty Sessions, a new room for the Judge and Police Magistrate, a new office for the Lands Commissioner and a Land Office.
A new Court House was built on the corner of King and Channon Streets between 1900 -1901. The 1876 Court House became the Land Office. Various Government Departments used the building over the years until in 2002 the building was transferred from the State to the Cooloola Shire Council, which made the building available to the Australian Institute of Country Music (AICM). During 2008 the Apex Club funded the reconstruction work of the Land Office for the AICM.
1900-1901 Gympie Court House
The third court house in Gympie. It replaced the second court house which served the town until the mid 1890’s until there was pressure for a new court house primarily from the local Labour politician Andrew Fisher. This building became the Land Office.
The Colonial Architects were asked to prepare plans for the new court house in 1898 but nothing was done until 1900 probably due to disputes about where the building was to be built. The site was selected by Colonial Architect A B Brady and the land was purchased from QN Bank and a private owner.
Tenders were called for the building in 1900. The first tenders exceeded the £5000 allocation and the design was altered. Instead of stonework detailing it would be rendered cement and the fencing and landscaping were omitted. Tenders were called for again, with a Bundaberg builder Edward Boyle being successful. Boyle was under the supervision of a Bundaberg architect Anton Hettrich who was temporarily contracted by the Works Department.
The building was designed to suit the site and to be viewed from all four directions. The clock tower has become a dominant landmark in the city. Murdoch designed the building in the Federation Free Style.
The Gympie Court House was built in 1901 and finished in December on a tender of £5732 with an extra £135 spent on furniture and floor coverings.
The roof was reconstructed in 1907 to the designs of District Architect, Thomas Pye. This was due to a continual problem with the roof leaking which was put down to design. This however did not solve the problem and the roof was replaced in the 1940’s with a simple gable structure.
Court House Tower Clock
The court house was originally built with louvered panels in what is now known as the clock tower. 53 years later, the clocks were installed in these towers in December 1954 – the new clock was first in operation on the evening of Wednesday, 22 December 1954. The tender for the installation of the clock was won on 22 July 1954 by Synchronome Sales and Service, Brisbane.
There were various other alterations and in 1960’s and 1970’s the court room space was divided and air-conditioning was installed. Other work carried out was the installation of a ramp for the disabled and the original front cedar doors were replaced.
Architectural Drawings, 31 March 1900, Public Works Department, Queensland