Courts Tasmania


Early Court Houses

The Court was first housed in a building on the corner of Murray and Macquarie Streets. Civil and criminal matters were dealt with in the same court complex.

However in 1860 the Penitentiary Chapel (located next to the then Hobart Gaol) at the corner of Brisbane and Campbell Streets was converted into a criminal court and a new court was opened in the Public Buildings in Macquarie Street for civil cases.

The Penitentiary Chapel Building is now managed by the National Trust and visitors are welcome to come and view the original courts. For more information on the availability of tours and opening hours please visit the Penitentiary Chapel Historic Site web site.

The Court was eventually unified again in 1980 when the final phase of the new purpose designed complex was opened at Salamanca Place.

Court in the Round

The Supreme Court complex at Salamanca Place was constructed in the late 1970s to bring the operations of the Supreme Court into one complex. Prior to this the Criminal Courts were located in Campbell Street and the Civil Courts in Macquarie Street.

The complex was designed by Peter Partridge and consists of two separate buildings - one housing the criminal courts and the other the civil courts and courts administration. The buildings are clad with sandstone quarried at New Norfolk and are linked by a slate paved area which flows from the adjoining St David's Park.

The broad architectural concept for the complex was to create courts that would be human in scale whilst also providing the quiet dignity which the administration of justice requires. From this concept came the execution of the "court in the round". The four major courts are circular providing a large court area whilst still retaining a human scale.

The complex provided a showcase for local craftsmen and materials. Wherever possible local traditional materials such as sandstone, slate, and timber were used. Local timber has been used extensively with Tasmanian oak ceilings in the foyers, blackwood and myrtle joinery and panelling in the courts; and huon and celery top pine used to create ceilings and light fittings in the courts.