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Courthouse heritage listed

Source: odt.co.nz

Courthouse heritageThe former Balclutha Courthouse has been added to Heritage New Zealand's list of historic places.

The building, on the corner of Paisley and Renfrew Sts, was listed as a category two historic place on January 21.

Buildings on the list of category two historic places were described as having "historical or cultural significance or value''.

The courthouse was described as "aesthetically, architecturally and historically significant''.

Being on the list did not grant a building automatic protection but meant any work planned on the sites would need to be approved by Heritage New Zealand.

Change to the use and function of places on the list could be appropriate in some cases.

Heritage New Zealand's website said small-town courthouses represented "the investment and commitment of the Government'' and maintained law and order, "the cornerstones'' of New Zealand's civilisation.

The Balclutha courthouse was opened in 1926 after the original building on the site deteriorated.

The building was erected in 1874 as the Balclutha Athenaeum.

It was taken over by the Government in 1879 and served as a courthouse for more than 30 years.

Complaints about the deterioration of the building forced the government to build the 1926 replacement.

This year marks its 90-year anniversary.

The building was the first courthouse designed by Invercargill architect John Mair.

He went on to design more courthouses throughout New Zealand and other government buildings.

The largest building Mr Mair designed was the Departmental Building in Wellington.

The building held its structural integrity as it was maintained in the following years but was closed in 2011 due to concerns over earthquake strengthening.

The courthouse was closed permanently in 2013 and services moved to Dunedin.