THE OLD High Court building in Melbourne, in use for the majority of the last century, has been added to the national heritage list.
In the company of the Sydney Opera House, Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building, and Canberra’s Old Parliament House on the list, the High Court building was in operation between 1928 and 1980.
The Court has heard some of the nation’s defining cases, such as the Uniform Taxation Cases (1942 & 1957), the Bank Nationalisation Case, the Communist Party Case (1951) and the Concrete Pipes Case (1971).
“The then attorney-general, Alfred Deakin, described the Court as the ‘keystone of the federal arch’. Deakin said the Court’s ‘first and highest functions as an Australian court … will be exercised in unfolding the Constitution itself’,” Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said.
“The building is also important for its associations with people who have had a profound effect on the fabric of our nation,” Ruddock said. “Former Justices include Sir Isaac Isaacs, the first Australian-born governor-general, and Sir Owen Dixon, considered the greatest lawyer of his time.”
Both Ruddock and the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Malcolm Turnbull, thanked those who helped the building reach national heritage recognition, including the Australian Heritage Council, former governor-general and High Court justice Sir Ninian Stephen, and former High Court justice the Honourable Michael McHugh.