Supreme Court Library - 192 William Street. MELBOURNE [Walking Melbourne Building Information]
Walking Melbourne

Supreme Court Library: 192 William Street, MELBOURNE

Supreme Court Library
Supreme Court Library
Supreme Court Library
Supreme Court Library
Supreme Court Library

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Building Profile

Name : Supreme Court Library


Address: 192 William Street

Postcode: 3000

Construction Details

Built: 1877
Original use: Public (Court House)
Current use: Public (Court House)

number of floors : 3

Built in the Victorian period in the Academic Classical style

Notable features

The Library of the Supreme Court is architecturally significant as one of the most finely designed and executed public buildings in Australia. Whilst stylistically characteristic of the work of architect A E Johnson, it is his finest work. It was possibly modelled on the Dome of the Four Courts in Dublin designed by James Gandon. Internally the cylindrical plan with dome and the superb quality and design of the plaster finishes makes the library one of the greatest of Melbournes interior spaces.


The Supreme Court Library is part of a complex of buildings known as the Melbourne Law Courts, 192-228 William Street. Alfred L Smith and Arthur E Johnson won the design competition in 1873 for the Courts and Library and prepared the working drawings. J J Clark and Peter Kerr, architects at the Public Works Department, undertook the detailed drawings and also supervised the works. Erected between 1874 and 1884, the Law Courts are constructed in brick on bluestone foundations and faced with Tasmanian freestone. The library is a freestanding structure within the central quadrangle of the Law Courts and is symmetrical in plan. Internally the library dome has a diameter of 16.8 metres. The shallow copper-clad dome is supported by twenty-four Ionic columns sat on a drum. The dome was once a landmark on the citys western skyline. The three storey chamber is linked to surrounding rooms and reading alcoves by columned archways. The upper level has a circular gallery with a cast iron balustrade.

Architect: Smith & Johnson

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