The Kyneton Magistrates Court is the oldest surviving courthouse in Victoria. We navigated strict heritage controls in the building’s first major upgrade since the late 1800s, prioritising security and accessibility through the design.
This busy public courthouse is now DDA-compliant, its contemporary addition sitting discreetly to the rear of the Victorian Free Classical Style building. Crucially, our designs also better support victims of family violence in rural, regional and remote communities, delivering on Recommendation 182 of the Royal Commission into Family Violence.
The project is one of 16 undertaken by Foreground over the course of three years that deliver on the Royal Commission’s advice. Upgrades at Kyneton that enhance safety and wellbeing of staff and of people attending court were attended to in various zones. These include a more accessible public entry with airlock, new safe interview room, multiple waiting areas for the separation of parties, and a visual separation barrier within the courtroom. We also introduced a secure connection between the courthouse and the adjacent police station to better support the safe transfer of people in custody appearing in court.
Historic buildings like this one are notoriously dark, so we sought to draw light deep into the old rectangular footprint while touching the building lightly. New strip lighting and highlight glazing above brightens the updated waiting areas and gives focus to the heritage bluestone walls. Other refurbishments include repointing, door widening and new ramps, a replacement of the slate roof, new accessible toilet facilities and upgraded timber flooring in areas requiring replacement.
Photography: Rhiannon Slatter Photography