Daylesford Court House Precinct

From justice precinct to neighbourhood house


13 Camp Street, Daylesford


Dja Dja Wurrung land


The precinct forms a prominent landmark in the township of Daylesford and incorporates a number of heritage buildings, most prominent of which is the court house. The site is elevated with commanding views west, towards the township, and is home to the associated former police quarters and lock-up, further up the hill. The Daylesford Neighbourhood Centre has been based on the site since 1993. 

The Daylesford Court House Precinct stands on the land of the Dja Dja Wurrung people.


The precinct is representative of, and is a relatively early example of, a typical regional Police Reserve that developed during the Victorian Gold Rush of the 1860s. It has undergone many changes since its establishment as a 'Camp and Police Reserve' of about 50 acres in 1854, on the crest of Wombat Hill.

The court house is one of a small number in the Romanesque Revival style and replaced a smaller court house that was built on the site only a few years prior. From its establishment in 1863, to is decommissioning in 1986, the court house was the venue for a number of celebrated trials and cases, one of which took place in 1976 when three men, one of whom was the poet and cartoonist, Michael Leunig and two of his 'puppets', were at the centre of an 'obscenity trial'. 

Like the court house, the existing three-cell lock-up also replaced an earlier building and is representative of its type for the era in which it was built. The 1875 police residence is a rare, intact example of a purpose-built 'office and men's quarters' within a Victorian Police Reserve. 

Working Heritage was appointed to manage the Daylesford Court House site in September 2018. 

The future

The site lends itself to further sympathetic development and increased use, whilst retaining its focus on community use, into the future.

Working Heritage conducted a survey in February-March 2021 in order to canvas Daylesford and Hepburn Springs community opinion on the future use and improvement of the site. Survey data will help Working Heritage prepare a strategic vision for this valued community and heritage site.  In seeking community input to inform our Site Management Plan, we envisage that DNC will continue to operate at the site into the foreseeable future.


Daylesford Court House Precinct
Daylesford Court House Precinct
Daylesford Court House Precinct


t: 9600 1667

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