Uncertainty surrounding the future of Armidale’s 158-year-old first courthouse became a little clearer on Tuesday morning when it was revealed the public auction of the property, set down for December 17, was cancelled.
Properties NSW listed the buildings and land for public auction about five years after the old courthouse was vacated.
Upon learning of the intended auction from The Armidale Express, Armidale Regional Council registered its interest in the building at Wednesday’s Ordinary Monthly Meeting held at Tingha, where it resolved to request the buildings be heritage listed and then gifted to council to manage.
I believed it was utterly inappropriate to try to auction this historic and iconic public building.Adam Marshall
By Monday afternoon, Finance Minister Victor Dominello and Attorney General Mark Speakman had agreed to a request from Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall on behalf of the community, to have the property withdrawn from market.
“This is a massive win for the local community and I thank everyone for their strong support,” a clearly elated Mr Marshall said.
“But this is just the first step as there is now a State Heritage listing application under assessment, and we’ll have to wait for that outcome.
“The future ownership of the Courthouse property should only be decided after the NSW Heritage Council determines the application.
“A State Heritage Register listing would have enormous implications for the ‘paper’ value of the former courthouse, and dramatically restrict its future use.”
I thank both Ministers for siding with me and the community and overruling the departmental bureaucrats.Adam Marshall
Mr Marshall said he formally contacted Heritage Minister Gabrielle Upton late on Monday afternoon, and requested the assessment of the application for State heritage listing of the courthouse building be fast-tracked.
“There is now an indefinite pause on the public auction of the Courthouse until the issue of the state heritage listing is determined,” he said.
“It has always been my strong desire, and that of the community and council, to have the courthouse property retained in public hands.
“Now is the time for the oldest public building in Armidale to be properly recognised with NSW Heritage Listing and then transferred to council on behalf of the community for a peppercorn rate.