October 9, 2018
Probably this is the building Joseph Ward opened in 1900 as the new Customs House and Court House combined. The Liberals, especially Ward, loved creating fancy buildings to their own honour (eg consider Dunedin’s Railway Station.) And this was his home town and his triumphant return to parliament.
A Magistrates Court existed until at least the 1950s but may have used the Town Hall or some such.
I think it’s long gone. Certainly could not find it from the ground. Probably in the 1930s, perhaps because Ward and the Liberals just needed a quick pop-up display of grandiosity. The weeds against the fence in this picture suggest it’s not exactly a respected grass-roots institution.
Image ref. 1/2-C-000403-F; Alexander Turnbull Library
Shared by Historical South Island