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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Bowen courthouse has facelift

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BOWEN’S grand old lady – the courthouse – is getting a facelift.

At 141 years old, a bit of wear and tear can only be expected and the remedial works are taking a bit longer than expected.

Renovations will cost $600,000 a Department of Justice and Attorney-General spokesperson told the Whitsunday News.

Works include repairs to the western veranda, eastern stairs, gutters and downpipes.

The building’s advanced age means work has to be done in line with heritage regulations.

After the scaffolding went up and work began, in February, construction workers found substantial termite infestations and work had to be suspended until this could be investigated to see how much unseen extra damage had been caused. 

Treatments have been completed and repairs will start again in mid-September.

The completion date would be November, the spokesperson said.

The courthouse was built in 1881 and, when heritage-listed in 1992, was considered an excellent example of the Classicism style with high-quality work produced by the Colonial Architects office of the 1800s, the spokesman said.

It is one of the few buildings in Bowen with fireplaces and chimneys, most of the others built around the same time were wooden and have since burnt down or been knocked down for more substantial homes able to withstand cyclones.

Such was the prominence of Bowen in the late 19th century that the courthouse was considered far grander than its regional counterparts at Townsville and Charters Towers.

But the courthouse has remained substantially unchanged with the last significant refurbishment, to fix water damage to foundations, completed in 2006.

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