Rehearsal Venue

Old Ipswich Court House

On June 6th 1857, 24 year old architect Charles Tiffin arrived at Moreton Bay to be the Clerk of Works for the NSW government.

Two weeks later, Tiffin was given his first major task. He was to consult the Police Magistrate, Colonel Gray about his requirements then design a court house for the town of Ipswich. The new court house was urgently needed. At first, court had been held in the Queens Arms Hotel, in a room so small that spectators had to stand on the footpath and look through the windows. Later, two small timber buildings were used but were not suitable.

Tiffin submitted his plans in November and tenders were called - but construction did not begin immediately. Instead a whole year of wrangling and re-tendering followed. By August 1858, the magistrates of Ipswich were annoyed. They complained to the NSW Government: "There is not the slightest sign of any commecment of the work, nor do we think it is the intention of the person who accepted the the last tender to do the work at all."

Finally, a Mr William Trotter accepted a tender and actually began work in late 1858. Tiffins original plans showed the date "1858" carved on the front of the building but this had to be amended to 1859. The building was completed in September shortly before separation from NSW.

The central block of the bullding is of sandstone thought to be form the Woogaroo Quarries on the riverbank at Goodna. The side wings are are of brick. The timber verandahs originally ran across the front but were extended along the sides in 1870. A large rear section was added in 1936 . Maintenance over its history has been intermitent . In 1889 the Hon Justice Harding was bothered by rain dripping from the roof and was offered an umbrella! He was not amused " if the government brings judges to an obsolete old town like this, the best they can do is is to provide a proper place for them to sit in out of the rain" he said.

In 1913 further repairs were carried out but the Queensland Times at that time thought that this was a waste of money, and it thought the building was antiquated and should be demolished. Fortunately, this short sighted advice was not accepted and the building has survived to be one of the oldest in Ipswich, and one of about 5 built when Ipswich was part of NSW.

It is now a community centre for cultural groups.

Article taken from the Queensland Times - undated