PLANS for a court house in Leeton were first drawn up in 1916 at a cost of £2250, but due to the government’s economic situation, these were put in abeyance.
With very little crime in the area at this time the need for such amenities weren’t a government priority and the Births, Deaths and Marriages for Leeton district were being registered at the Narrandera Court House.
New plans for Leeton’s court house were drawn up in the early 1920’s by government architect, Mr George McRae and put out for tender. The successful tender by Mr WC Hanson, builder of West Wyalong, was awarded the contract on June 6, 1922. Mr Notts of the Public Works Department supervised the construction while Mr F W Breadman installed the electrics.
This impressive brick building with cement archway which emphasised the entrance had a French patterned tiled roof. The symmetrical façade is designed around the central lofty ceilinged court room. You entered this room through sound-proofed doors and saw the canopied bench for the Magistrate with deposition clerks table in front; the witness box to the left of the bench and the dock was opposite with the legal professional and police prosecutors’ tables in between.
The central portico, which combines Classical and Art Deco elements, was the most striking feature of this building and standing at the front entrance looking out towards the panoramic scene along Wade Avenue up to the Burley Griffin designed water towers on top of the hill was a site to behold.
On the right of the building was the Clerk of Petty Sessions Public Office and private rooms for the CPS Officer who at the time was Mr G C Hook JP. He occupied the bench on the opening day and there was only one case to be heard against C Macquarie, that of being drunk; he was charged and issued with a fine of 20/-.
The building construction cost about £6000 and was opened on Monday, August 25, 1924 (with no official ceremony). Ironically one of the earliest hearings in the court room was that of a bankruptcy against Mr F W Breadman. At one sitting in November 1924 there were 17 cases heard before the CPS Officer.