An icon in Australian legal history celebrated a huge milestone, when the Hay Courthouse’s 125 years of service was acknowledged recently.
MIA-based and outside lawyers, magistrates and judges congregated at the picturesque building, telling stories of their experiences with the courthouse and discussing the iconic building’s history.
While the court sits solely as a Local Court today, the picturesque building featuring European architecture still holds a special place in the hearts of visiting and local magistrates alike, according to long-time MIA magistrate Bruce Williams.
“Like so many of the court buildings around this state, it is an impressive, stately structure which speaks of its time,” Mr Williams said.
“Whilst our more modern courts may be acoustically superior and have better technology and facilities, most Judges and Magistrates I know, often reflect on how much nicer it is to sit in courts such as this, Courts which exude their past and reek of the personalities that have passed through them.”
Going back 100 years, the 1917 records show that the Hay-based magistrate dealt with everything from the Vagrancy Act and the Drunkards Punishment Provisions of the Police Offences Act, as well as granting licenses for auctioneers, hawkers, and second-hand dealers.
Mr Williams said Hay has played a vital role in delivering law and justice in the Riverina from the earliest days of Australia’s colonial history.
“(It’s) an historically important courthouse, a building that has played a vital role in the provision of justice to both Hay and the local region,” Mr Williams said.
“If these magnificent timber panneled walls could talk they would explain how this building has played a significant role in the development of the Hay region.”
The building is now classified by the National Trust.
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