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Stable find offers glimpse into past

Thursday, 18th April, 2013

Court Registrar, Regina Setz with the gazette books found at the back of the courthouse. Court Registrar, Regina Setz with the gazette books found at the back of the courthouse.

By Emily Roberts

A piece of the region's early history has been discovered at the Broken Hill Courthouse.

While removing a dilapidated horse stable located at the rear of the courthouse, builders uncovered two volumes of government gazettes from 1886 and 1894.

Court Registrar Regina Setz said the books were found in the roof of the stables.

"Out the back we had a building we used to call the stables which was being demolished," Ms Setz said.

"The books were found in the ceiling and some old bottles and walking sticks were found in the old shed."

Ms Setz said it was amazing that the books had been preserved despite being left in the ceiling.

The 1886 gazette includes a proclamation that a Court of Petty Sessions be established in Broken Hill. The courthouse opened in Broken Hill four years later.

"We're not sure if we will be able to keep the gazettes and if they can be displayed here," Ms Setz said.

"They may be taken back to Sydney."

She said it was a "marvellous" discovery, especially since one of the gazettes had gone through a fire.

"I think it is marvellous, I would love to sit here and read through it all," Ms Setz said.

"Things printed in these books include train timetables and fares, lost and found, undelivered letters.

"This is a little piece of history for the region; there are some references to Silverton as well."

Ms Setz said the books come in volumes and the 1886 gazette is the fourth volume and the 1894 is the fifth volume.

"It was a nice old find," she said.

Member for Murray-Darling John Williams said each gazette was several thousand pages long and provided a fascinating insight into the laws, government business and contentious issues of the day.

Mr Williams said the removal of the stables will make way for the construction of the cells complex which began in February and will be completed by the end of June.

The complex will accommodate up to 10 prisoners and will include two non-contact interview rooms.

Mr Williams said the new cells complex would be a major improvement on the court's existing custodial facilities.

The Broken Hill Courthouse has been operating since 1890.

Designed by colonial architect, James Barnet, the Victorian Italianate-style building was constructed at a cost of 5718 pounds.

Broken Hill was the third largest town in NSW in the early 1890s due to the extensive mining in the area.

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