The Moonee Ponds Courthouse was built in 1890 and stands at the corner of Mount Alexander Road and Kellaway Avenue. The building served as a court until its closure in 1974. The Essendon Historical Society (EHS) succeeded in saving the building from demolition in 1980 and has since managed it as a local museum, housing its extensive collection of materials relating to the history of the Moonee Valley area.
On the morning of Monday, June 27, 2016, there was a fire at the Moonee Ponds Courthouse. The fire was caused by a faulty light transformer in one of the wall lights in the south-east corner of the main Courtroom. The fire left the main courtroom without a roof, ravaged the period woodwork, including ceiling and original courthouse fittings & features, and destroyed a number of irreplaceable items from the EHS Collection. The bulk of the Collection was fortunately spared from the worst by being stored in other rooms that suffered minimal fire damage.
Since then, the building has been exposed to the elements and is unsafe to enter.
The EHS has been working with the state government, Moonee Valley City Council and Heritage Victoria to save the Courthouse. Structural Engineer, Mark Hodkinson has proposed that Stage One is to make the building safe and watertight. EHS has engaged local architect, Doug Maunder of FPPV, to manage the project, with estimates of cost ranging upwards of $200,000.
This will enable the next stage of the project, to restore the Courthouse to its former glory, to occur.
EHS has been actively fundraising and seeking grants to fund this project. We have already received generous donations from the public and a $100,000 grant from the state government.
To help us save the Moonee Ponds Courthouse, we need upwards of $50,000. This money will be spent on Stage One of the restoration, to make the building safe and watertight.