Former Melbourne Magistrates Court - cnr Russell Street and La Trobe Street. MELBOURNE [Walking Melbourne Building Information]
Walking Melbourne

Former Melbourne Magistrates Court: cnr Russell Street and La Trobe Street, MELBOURNE

Former Melbourne Magistrates Court
Former Melbourne Magistrates Court
Former Melbourne Magistrates Court
Former Melbourne Magistrates Court
Former Melbourne Magistrates Court

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Building Profile

Name : Former Melbourne Magistrates Court


Address: cnr Russell Street and La Trobe Street

Postcode: 3000

Former Melbourne Magistrates Court is a landmark

Construction Details

Built: 1911 - 1914
Original use: Public (Court House)
Current use: Education

number of floors : 3

Built in the Edwardian period in the Romanesque style

Notable features

Cencentric arches rusticated stonework, and fanciful copper roofline.


The former Magistrates Court was built by Swanson Brothers between 1911 and 1913 to the design of Public Works Department architect George B H Austin. The two storey court sits on a massive plinth of rock-faced Batesford limestone. Dressed limestone faces the brick, Gippsland marble and iron construction with interior joinery of blackwood. Roof materials are variously slate, corrugated iron or steel. Built on the site of the earlier Supreme Court, the building retains fittings from the earlier court including the Gothic canopy that judge Sir Redmond Barry sat under during the trial of Ned Kelly in 1880. The architectural style is Norman, otherwise known as the French Romanesque. The facade is a composition of gables, towers, turrets and arches. The main entrance sits on the prominent corner site of Russell Street and Latrobe Street and is an intricate symmetrical essay in the Norman style rising as a tower. It consists of copper clad turrets and grouped semi-circular headed windows over an entrance of five nested jamb shafts on squat Romanesque columns. The spreading staircase is of a basalt stone. The main entry vestibule rises to a drum over the marble staircases. The three principal court rooms have hammer beam roofs and consistent Norman detailing to the wall panels, the docks and benches. Within the internal fabric is a late version of the patented Tobin tube ventilation system.

Became RMIT Building 20 when the university purchased the building in 1995.

Architect: G.B.H.Austin, Public Works Department

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