The Oldest Building in Perth
Step through time into the oldest building in Perth city, the 1836 Court House.
Purpose-built as the Swan River Colony’s legal hub, the Court House also quickly became the central venue for early colonial social and civic life.
The 1836 building, located on Whadjuk Noongar Boodjar, is a clear manifestation of the doctrine of terra nullius upon which the colony was founded. It symbolises the imposition of the British legal system upon Aboriginal peoples who practiced, and continue to practice, their own established systems of law.
Situated within the building that first amalgamated the colony’s judicial system, the Old Court House Law Museum (the Museum) is uniquely positioned to interrogate Western Australia’s legal and social history and to engage with the Western Australian legal profession and courts to reflect on the rule of law in Western Australia, past and present.
The Museum has a role in the global discussion on the relationship of colonialism to the rule of law and its contribution to systemic discrimination, the impacts of which are still evident today.
Photos: Museum and Collection Items – Bo Wong and the Law Society of Western Australia
Photos: Museum Social photos – Scene Team
Visit the Museum today to experience the atmosphere of the historic court room where you can picture the trials that occurred in this internationally significant building. Or perhaps take the judge’s seat, try on the wigs and gowns provided, and make up your own mock trial!
The Old Court House Law Museum’s main courtroom is accessible to everyone. There are 4 stairs to access museum galleries. To facilitate accessibility a virtual tour is available. Please ask a staff member when you visit.
As the oldest building in the city of Perth we do not have bathrooms on site. Public toilets are available in the Supreme Court Gardens near Barrack Street.
Explore the Museum online and take the virtual tour.
Digital visitors can access the Museum whenever they like, from wherever they like. Including both guided and self-guided tour functions, the high-quality imagery and zoom function allows visitors to read the displays as clearly as if they were in the gallery.
The floorplan and dollhouse features allow the visitor to select which galleries to view and navigate with ease. Additional information tags provide further interpretation, guiding visitors on a tour of the building with features highlighted of the building’s function as a courthouse from 1836.
Developed in collaboration with Aspect 360.
Looking for somewhere different to host your next celebration or meeting? The main courtroom offers a unique and inspiring space for your next function. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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Museum Foundation Committee
Governance of the Old Court House Law Museum is led by a dedicated Foundation Committee.
The following members make up the current committee:
- Sandy Anghie
- Dr Toni Church
- Ante Golem
- Catherine Fletcher
- The Hon Lindy Jenkins
- The Hon Dr Andrew Lu AM