The heritage-listed Old Courthouse Complex in the ArtGeo cultural precinct, is one of the oldest buildings in Busselton and played an important role in its settlement history. Wander through the Courtrooms, Magistrates Room, Bond Store, Police Station, Gaol Cells and Exercise Yard and learn about the colourful law and order history and notorious characters that frequented these buildings.
The Old Courthouse Complex was constructed between 1860 – 1897, marking the establishment of Busselton as an important regional centre and port during the colonial era. During this era, the Courthouse operated as a judiciary, government administration centre and land agency - servicing the growing settlement's need for law and order, customs and telecommunications. The beautifully restored buildings are now owned and managed by the City of Busselton as part of the ArtGeo cultural precinct.
Today, the Old Courthouse provides a fascinating glimpse of life in the township some 160 years ago. Explore the cold, dark gaol cells and imagine being locked up for 14 days for disorderly conduct in a public place behind one of the heavy wooden doors. Heritage Tours run during school holidays, long weekends and special events, please check our website for details.
As well as history you will also discover local artists - the Bond Store hosts an impressive programme of regularly changing exhibitions throughout the year. The Gift Shop in the Old Courtroom boasts a stunning range of high quality locally crafted art, jewellery, pottery, glasswork, cards, photography and woodwork. Enjoy a coffee and bite to eat from the Lockup Coffee House either outside in the sunshine or amongst the history and art inside.
A visit to the artists in residence in the Stables Studios and Exercise Yard is an absolute must! You can meet and chat to the talented artists as well as see them creating beautiful pieces.
Outside the Courthouse you can sit and reflect in the Merenj Boodja Bush Food Garden cared for by the Undalup Association. There is information about the plants in the garden and how they were used by the Aboriginal people who have lived in the region for over 40,000 years.
The Settlement Art Project is ‘the spot’ for selfies, featuring six life-size bronze sculptures by well-known Western Australian artist Greg James. The statues reflect the Traditional Custodians, early European settlers and visitors, and acknowledge the timber industry.