Warracknabeal Court House

From late-Victorian Court House to 21st century Art House


30 Woolcock Street, Warracknabeal


Wotjobaluk peoples (Barengi Gadjin land)


The Court House stands on the land of the Wotjobaluk people, represented by the Barengi Gadjin Land Council. 

2018: Creative Victoria awarded Working Heritage and project partners Monash Art Design & Architecture (MADA) $75, 000 to develop a creative future for the building and surrounds, after Working Heritage completed repairs and improvements to the building in anticipation of developing a new use .

2019: The team from MADA and Working Heritage worked with the local community to pilot an artist residence, studio and accommodation at the site.  The court House hosts a Community Film Night on 25 May 2019.  Access and amenities, kitchenette and study area undertaken as part of the Stage 1 upgrade works by Working Heritage.

2020-2021: Stage 2 upgrade works: fit-out undertaken by the MADA team.

Eary-2022: The commencement of the Artist in Residence Program via EOI: info@workingheritage.com.au


The Warracknabeal Court House was constructed in 1890 after a population boom in the north-west of Victoria throughout the 1870s and 1880s. The building began life as a court of petty sessions and continued to function as a courthouse until 1989. At various times it also hosted the Lands and Survey Department, and, unusually, an Infant Welfare Service. The original building is one of a set of seven similar courthouses throughout north-western Victoria designed by Public Works Department architect S.E Bindley. More recently the Warracknabeal Historical Society used the buildng as a meeting space. 

Court records reveal that the court at Warracknabeal heard a range of cases that reveal details about intimate lives and changing social mores – including a claim a case of 'breach of promise of marriage'. 

The future

After carrying out significant repairs, building and fit-out works, Working Heritage, in association with MADA, will establish the much-anticipated Artist-in-Residence Program. The program will enable the historic propery to be enjoyed and valued by the local community and those from further afield.

Early-2022 will see the first AiR participant take up residence at the Court House. An EOI for the continuation of the Artist-in-Residence Program will also commence in early-2022. Enquiries via email at: info@workingheritage.com.au


Michael Challinger, Historic Courthouses of Victoria, 2001.
Trudy Rickard, Warracknabeal Court house Conservation Managment Plan, 2011.

Photographs courtesy of the Warracknabeal Historical Society and Dr Matthew Bird.

Warracknabeal Court House
Warracknabeal Court House
Warracknabeal Court House


t: 9600 1667
e: info@workingheritage.com.au

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