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Port Douglas Court House Museum

25 Wharf Street, Port Douglas

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Port Douglas Court House Museum (2009); EHP

Port Douglas Court House Museum (2009)

Port Douglas Courthouse, interior (2012); EHP

Port Douglas Courthouse, interior (2012)

Port Douglas Court House Museum; EHP

Port Douglas Court House Museum

Port Douglas Courthouse interior display (2012); EHP

Port Douglas Courthouse interior display (2012)

The Port Douglas Court House Museum is situated on the upper end of Wharf Street. It was built in 1879 to serve the burgeoning port of Port Douglas which was created to support the mining industry of the Hodgkinson Goldfield. The first police magistrate arrived in 1878 and conducted court in the newly completed police cells. Brisbane builder Thomas Watson successfully tendered for the courthouse. The building was completed in November 1879. Watson was on hand to make some alterations including a jury room and its extension in 1880. The building was substantially damaged in the cyclone of March 1911. The repairs were so extensive that the tender was titled; New Court House. One of the most notorious cases heard at this courthouse was that of Ellen Thompson. She was convicted of murder in 1886 and hanged in June 1887; the only woman hanged in Queensland. The courthouse was vacated in 1961 and relocated along with the police cells to the grounds of the Courthouse Hotel in 1968. After the police cells were destroyed by a falling tree, locals lobbied for the courthouse to be relocated to its original site in 1993. It has functioned as a museum since 1997.

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Coordinates: -16.47957371, 145.46281808

Full details of this heritage-registered place are in the Heritage register.

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last reviewed
1 July 2022
Last updated
28 February 2023