From court to crafthouse

DI Meaney is almost lost amid the many items for sale at the Craft Shop.
DI Meaney is almost lost amid the many items for sale at the Craft Shop.

Two Wells courthouse, better known today as the Craft Shop, is positioned in the heart of the main street and assumes a stately and respectable outlook on the Two Wells community that drifts in and out throughout the course of the day.

The courthouse was built in 1876 alongside a new police station. However, the original police station was demolished in 1960 and the current station was built.

Although today the courthouse building is not used for law and order, it was once much needed to keep in check the behaviour of those members of the community who were not under the influence of the local houses of worship (churches), but rather the influence of licensed houses (pubs).

It was agreed in the late 19th century a police station and an adjoining courthouse was needed in Two Wells and would be built to curb the growing tide of undesirable behaviour in the area.

Before the stately building was erected, court (ironically) was held in the local pub.

The main issue with this location was that proceedings were often adjourned in the middle of business to allow the publican and his family to have their dinner.

The building was used as a courthouse until well into the 1970s and early 1980s.

Local court sessions were held for summary offences and minor civil matters.

During this time JP’s (Justice of the Peace) were able to preside over court proceedings.

Local resident Di Meaney remembers when her father Reg Hart was the local JP, along with his brother Les Hart and another man, Malcolm Brooks, who held court sessions once a month on a Monday.

“I can recall the time when I was 18 or 19 and had to sit in the witness box to provide a statement regarding a local incident I had witnessed,” Di tells.

After the central courts were opened at Elizabeth the Two Wells courthouse was no longer used for legal matters.

The local RSL leased the building from the Regional Action Team and was reportedly used as a storage facility until the Craft Shop moved into the premises four years ago in 2009.

The current hardware store across the road on the main street used to be the location of the Craft Shop but when the courthouse building became available, volunteers gladly accepted it.

The internal features of the building were renovated to make an inviting space for the lovely craft items made by locals.

It is hoped the exterior will someday soon undergo a minor facelift to restore the handsome façade of the remarkable building. The historic courthouse no longer sits idle and is enjoyed not only by local people, but also visitors who pass through Two Wells.

Leave a Reply