The Warwick Court House and Police Complex comprises a group of timber and stone buildings erected from 1885.
The town of Warwick was gazetted in 1847, and a police unit is recorded as being established in Warwick from this time. A shepherds hut on Canning Downs is believed to have been used as the first police station and barracks. In 1850 a township was laid out, and allotments auctioned. Warwick was incorporated as a municipality in 1861. Indications are that Albion Street was the main centre of Warwick during the early development of the town. A Reserve was set aside in Albion Street, and public buildings erected on this site included a Court House (1862) and Police Station, Post Office (late 1860s) and Telegraph Office (front portion of the Court House, erected 1875).
The Albion Street site was prone to flooding from the Condamine River, and by the mid 1880s plans had been prepared for a new Court House on an allotment purchased from Frederick Hudson, at the southeast corner of Fitzroy and Guy Streets.
The design for the Court House was prepared by the Department of Works, John J Clark being Colonial Architect at the time. The contract price for the building was just over £3700. The contractor for the building was William G Conley, and John McCullough completed the stonework on the building.
The decision to incorporate a clock tower at the front of the building was made during construction, and the clock was supplied by Messrs Flavelle Brothers and Roberts. A public clock appears to have been long sought after by Warwick citizens.
By late 1887, a shed and stables were needed; these were erected shortly after.
During the early years of use, the court house proved to be draughty and have poor acoustics, these problems being attributed to the "over-ventilation" of the court house through "superfluous" openings in the ceiling. Various measures were undertaken to overcome these problems, including capping the roof ventilators. A false ceiling was eventually added to the court room to reduce the volume of the space.
A brick strong room was erected at the rear of the court house in 1880. This building is now used as a store.
Consistent with its public function, the court house has also provided offices for government agencies including Land Agent, the Labour Bureau and various Registrars and Inspectors, for example, the Inspector of Factories and Shops. Part of the rear verandah was enclosed and extended in 1914 to provide additional office space.
Alterations to the building have been undertaken from the 1960s, including the formation of a public entry/waiting area by enclosing the western verandah, and the rearrangement of office spaces within the building.
Queensland State Archives Digital Image ID 2674
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