Law Courts - Dunedin - New Zealand

Dunedin Law Courts Building

Dunedin Law Courts Building. An earlier law courts building existed to the east of the present site which was originally occupied by the Dunedin gaol. Later the courts moved to the Provincial Council building in the Exchange. Probably it was the availability of this latter building which delayed the erecting of the purpose-built home for the courts to as late as 1900. This is a late major gothic building for Dunedin. Only the University buildings around the archway are later in this category of building. It is reasonably pure in its styling, lacking the hybridisation with the classical apparent in some other buildings of this period. The Law Courts form part of the impressive Castle Street precinct which includes the Florentine Railway Station across the road, the Central Police Station and the Otago Early Settlers building. The walls are built of Port Chalmers breccia with Oamaru stone window framing, parapets and pinnacles. (It is somewhat unusual for a Dunedin building to be completed in breccia rather than Leith Valley andesite with breccia foundations.) The roof is slate. The marble figure of Justice over the Stuart Street door in Italian and is not blindfolded. The High Court is lavishly gothic, with Rimu emblems and mouldings and with fine cast iron work fronting the jury and press seats and the witness stand. The major doors have gothic arches and the main staircase has a handsome cast iron balustrade. The Law Library still retains its fine built-in bookcases and heavy oak furniture.