The Court House

The Port Melbourne Court House is of state significance.  Along with the police station and lock up on the same site, and the nearby Post Office, it demonstrates the original focus of activity in Port Melbourne on the foreshore area.  The design illustrates the influence of pattern book and picturesque styles in early Public Works Department buildings.

Built in 1860 for a cost of £1,000, the courthouse and adjoining lock-up and former police station served as the justice precinct for the Port Melbourne borough for over 120 years. The first seven councillors of the Sandridge Municipal Council met in the courthouse on the 16th August 1860 to write the laws and begin governing the borough following its separation from Melbourne.

Renowned Public Works Department architect, John James Clark, at the age of 21, designed the courthouse with its signature style of elaborate ornamentation reflecting its Classical Renaissance architecture. Today, the courthouse is heritage listed and is maintained largely in its original form with the integrity of the distressed stone walls, high ceilings, original oak beams and working judge’s log fire creating the perfect Italianate atmosphere in which to enjoy Ciao’s fine cuisine and wine.