In October 1819, Governor Macquarie laid the foundation stone for 'the new Courthouse in Hyde Park', intended as a handsome ornament to the town of Sydney and designed by the emancipist architect, Francis Greenway. Eight years later, when the building was finally completed, it was on another site, to a different design and was already too small for its important purpose. For 150 years, the Supreme Court of New South Wales worked on its King Street site; adapting the original court house to its growing needs, building additions on St James Road and taking over the old Registrar General's offices on Elizabeth Street. When it vacated the site in 1977 to move into a new building on Queen's Square, it seemed as if the Supreme Court's continuing association with its first purpose-built court house would be only token. But twenty years later the Supreme Court moved back and as work began to conserve and enhance this important group of heritage buildings and to equip them with up-to-date court technologies and facilities, much of the history of these buildings began to be revealed.
Rosemary Annable is a consultant historian who has worked for over twenty years in the field of heritage studies, researching buildings and sites for conservation projects. She is a Fellow, and past President, of the Royal Australian Historical Society, a Fellow of the Federation of Australian Historical Societies and is the Honorary Archivist of St James' Anglican Church, the Supreme Court's closest neighbour.
Acknowledgments; Foreword from the Chief Justice; Introduction; Chronology; 1. The Supreme Court and its court house; 2. The setting for justice; 3. Building a court house 1819-1827; 4. The new court house; 5. Civil jurisdiction; 6. A Banco Court; 7. The Registrar General's offices; 8. The Supreme Court waits; 9. A joint project; 10. Restoring the old Supreme Court; 11. The return of the Supreme Court; Sources; Bibliography; Notes; List of illustrations.