HENRY WILLEY REVELEY:  

WA’S FIRST ENGINEER & ARCHITECT

A PRESENTATION BY RETIRED MURDOCH UNIVERSITY HISTORIAN

PROF BOB REECE

 

Perth’s oldest building, the Old Court House, was designed by WA’s first engineer and architect, Henry Willey Reveley after he was tasked with designing ‘a suitable building as a court-house which could likewise be appropriated to the uses of a temporary church’. 

He drew up plans for a simple building with a distinctive Doric entrance and construction started in 1836.

Opening for worship on Good Friday, 24 March 1837, Court House started hearing law cases the next morning. Cases ranging from a boy charged with stealing a melon to a man suspected of murder were all heard in the one place – with school lessons also held in the rooms being interrupted if an important case was to be heard.

From 1905 to 1964 the Arbitration Court was held there, after which it became the office for the Law Society of Western Australia.

From 1987, it has been the Old Court House Law Museum which is open to anyone who wishes to explore WA’s fascinating legal past.

The Old Court House is one of only two surviving buildings in WA attributable to Reveley, the other being Fremantle’s Round House.

Retired Murdoch University historian, Prof Bob Reece will reveal Reveley’s unexpectedly chequered background and the challenges he encountered in the early days of the Swan River Colony at a talk to be held on 17 May 2017, from 1pm – 2pm at the Old Court House Law Museum, Stirling Garden’s Perth.

Entry is free but bookings are essential as seating is limited.  Click HERE for tickets before 15 May 2017.