Gawler Thematic History - Policing and Justice

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Fast Facts
Type of thing Government
Date made or found 2020.

Policing and Justice

The Ancient Order of Foresters, one of the friendly societies instituted on philanthropic principles, established the first Court in Gawler in 1855. Its first meetings were held in the Old Spot Hotel.

Later, a Police Station and Court House were built in Cowan St between Light and Orleana Square.

The original Court House, became the Police Sergeant’s house with the construction of a new Court House in 1881, by the builder of the Town Hall. The Local Court of full jurisdiction met monthly and the Local Court of limited jurisdiction met weekly with Messrs McDonald, Dean and Murray successfully filling the posts of the first three magistrates.

In 1865, it was resolved that two foot-policemen were desirable for the town, to be paid for by a special rate provided for by the Police Act. By 1902, one of these foot constables had been removed and was not replaced by public request. Indeed, from the early 1840s to 1908, the Police presence in Gawler was modest: a sergeant, a foot soldier and a mounted constable. This number remained constant despite significant increases in population.

In 1967 The Police Station and Court House were refurbished.


This report has been prepared by the following people:

• Nancy Cromar (Flightpath Architects)

• Deborah Morgan (Flightpath Architects)

• Kate Paterson (Flightpath Architects)

• Douglas Alexander (Flightpath Architects)

The study team would like to acknowledge the assistance of the following people:

• David Petruzzella (Strategic Planner; Town of Gawler)

• Jacinta Weiss (Cultural Heritage Centre Coordinator; Town of Gawler)

• Jane Strange (Senior Development and Strategic Policy Officer; Town of Gawler)

Gawler History Team thanks: Flightpath Architects, Ryan Viney and the Town of Gawler for allowing us access to this important document of Gawler History.

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