Jun 27, 2024 | Latest News

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A new chapter for the historic Traralgon Courthouse precinct is drawing closer as the latest round of restorative and re-purposing works nears completion.

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said the restoration of the historic Traralgon Courthouse was a remarkable effort driven by a group of dedicated volunteers determined to turn a landmark building into a unique venue and community asset.

“Eight years ago, the Traralgon Courthouse entered a new era devoid of solicitors, prosecutors, magistrates, or defendants,” Mr Chester said.

“Since Friends of the Traralgon Courthouse’s appointment as caretaker in 2017, the local community group has been dedicated to restoring and re-purposing the heritage-listed treasure.”

Constructed by local builder and Traralgon footballer N.W. Frogley in 1886, the magnificent, red-bricked Traralgon Courthouse and Post Office Complex has stood proudly on Franklin Street for 138 years.

Following the abolishment of the Traralgon Magistrates’ Court in December 1989, the courthouse wing sat vacant for several years. It briefly reopened as a court for the Family Court of Australia in 1993, after which it again sat vacant, remaining unused for more than 15 years.

In 2017, the local community group Friends of the Traralgon Courthouse was appointed caretaker of the vacant courthouse wing. Since then, the group has worked tirelessly to restore the historic courthouse to its former glory and transform it into a thriving community space for locals and visitors alike.

Much of the initial work to restore the building to its former glory went unseen. These efforts included extensive drainage work, replacing the iron and slate on the Courthouse’s roof, and reinstalling vents.

By 2020, the re-purposing of the Traralgon Courthouse into a welcoming, modern space open for community use was well underway and saw the installation of a small kitchen, in which the Friends of the Traralgon Courthouse secured a $10,000 grant from the Federal Government to help fund the project.

“The addition of a kitchenette made the building more user-friendly and broadened the scope of events that can take place here,” Mr Chester said.

“Prior to the installation, there had been nothing other than a sink to use. New commercial-grade flooring, new lighting, and fresh paint completed this stage of work.”

In late 2022, Friends of the Traralgon Courthouse received $98,000 in funding from the Living Heritage Grant Program to aid in the continued conservation and regeneration of the historic Courthouse.

With funding secured and the support of Latrobe City Council, extensive restoration efforts commenced in 2023. These efforts encompassed the removal of mildew from the ceiling, restoring the walls and ceiling to the colours painted in 1886, and conducting key maintenance to prevent any further deterioration. Additionally, as part of Latrobe City Council’s planned works, improvements were made to toilet facilities and building accessibility.

Mr Chester said the Traralgon Courthouse restoration was an outstanding achievement and a credit to the volunteers in partnership with Latrobe City.

“The community’s support for the fundraising efforts of Friends of the Traralgon Courthouse has not only made restorations possible but has made it possible to expand the works program,” Mr Chester said.

“The Courthouse has been closed to allow the work to be completed, but this restoration will see this historic site re-open as a community hub for years to come.”

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