The Court House at Hartley, NSW.

Jan Richardson

Grenfell, Australia

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Artist's Description

This court house sits right on the crest of a very prominent hill in the historic town of Hartley, near Lithgow, NSW. The information plaque for the court house states:

‘The Court House was designed by the colonial architect Mortimer Lewis in the Greek revival style and completed in 1837. It was the place of judgment for crimes such as drunk and disorderly behaviour, assigned convicts absconding, and petty theft. The functions of the Court House were transferred to nearby Lithgow in 1887.’

Another plaque gives more information on the court house and the history of the town of Hartley, so I’d like to quote that, too:

’In 1830, Sir Thomas Mitchell proposed the site for Hartley along the new road between Mt. Victoria and Bathurst. The village grew up around the court house, the administrative headquarters of the district from 1837 to 1887.

The town became the centre for all government activities including police, judiciary, control of convict labour, and postal services. It was also the social and service centre for the pastoral community west of the Blue Mountains.

Considerable expansion took place with the discovery of gold in the Bathurst area in the 1850s, when Hartley became a staging point between Sydney and Bathurst, offering accommodation and change of horses. By the 1860s the local population was over 1,000 and Hartley had of population of 130.

Hartley prospered as an administrative, commercial and social cnetre until it was bypassed by the Great Western Railway in 1869. This led to the establishment of Lithgow in the early 1870s, a town which boomed in the 1880s and assumed the role that Hartley had previously played in the surrounding community. The Court House at Hartley was closed in 1887.’

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Artwork Comments

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