NEW ERA: (From left) Warwick police officer-in-charge Jamie Deacon, Queensland's Assistant Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Assistant Minister of State Jennifer Howard and exhibition curator Trevor Neale at the celebration of the 150th anniversary of Allora courthouse and opening of the Policing and Justice in Allora exhibition.
NEW ERA: (From left) Warwick police officer-in-charge Jamie Deacon, Queensland's Assistant Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Assistant Minister of State Jennifer Howard and exhibition curator Trevor Neale at the celebration of the 150th anniversary of Allora courthouse and opening of the Policing and Justice in Allora exhibition. Elyse Wurm

150 YEARS: Best Little Town celebrates huge milestone

IT ONCE took two years for Warwick police to respond to a beating in Allora, but policing and justice has come a long way in the past 150 years and now residents can look back on some of the most interesting and gruesome moments.

The Allora courthouse rang in its special birthday with a ceremony yesterday, which coincided with the opening of the Policing and Justice in Allora exhibition at the historic building.

The occasion was attended by special guest Queensland's Assistant Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Assistant Minister of State Jennifer Howard, who said the biggest raucous at the courthouse was in 1862.

A group of offenders beat up the publican at Dalrymple Hotel after he refused to serve drinks on a Sunday, then later returned to stone the hotel.

In those days, the ride to Warwick took several hours but it took a full two years for a policeman to arrive and investigate the crime.

 

Queensland's Assistant Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Assistant Minister of State Jennifer Howard (centre) with Allora P-10 State School captains Chloe O'Halloran (left) and Charlize Wolff.
Queensland's Assistant Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Assistant Minister of State Jennifer Howard (centre) with Allora P-10 State School captains Chloe O'Halloran (left) and Charlize Wolff. Elyse Wurm

Ms Howard said 76 police officers had taken care of the station and courthouse over it's long history.

"Within these walls Allora's justice system has unfolded relatively smoothly, due to a largely law-abiding community," Ms Howard said.

In the lead-up to Anzac Day, Ms Howard compared the incredible work done by our soldiers to the daily upholding of justice by police.

"When I think of those men who fought for our values and way of life, I think of the police officers and emergency services personnel who fight for our wellbeing every day," she said.

It was Ms Howard's first visit to the Best Little Town on the Downs and she said it was incredible to read men as young as 14 were sent to fight in the war.

"The war had a huge impact in these town and the women found themselves doing things their fathers, brothers and sons used to do, which would have placed an incredible burden," she said.

"When they came back they were damaged but women stood by their husbands regardless of their states of mind and that provided a lot of support.

"I think you can feel the history in these small towns."

 

John Gordon (left) and Peter Stewart were the last two justices of the peace at Allora courthouse.
John Gordon (left) and Peter Stewart were the last two justices of the peace at Allora courthouse. Elyse Wurm

Trevor Neale curated the Policing and Justice in Allora exhibition, which includes stories and pictures documenting the last 150 years of the Allora courthouse and police station.

Mr Neale said the exhibition gives new insight into the struggles and legal issues faced by the small community over time.

The number of drownings was particularly shocking, he said.

"People weren't taught swimming, so if you fell in that was pretty much the end of you," he said.

Mr Neale said it was also interesting to note Queensland was part of the New South Wales justice system until 1864, even though it was colonised five years prior.

 

Queensland's Assistant Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Assistant Minister of State Jennifer Howard addresses the crowd at the 150th birthday celebrations for the Allora courthouse.
Queensland's Assistant Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Assistant Minister of State Jennifer Howard addresses the crowd at the 150th birthday celebrations for the Allora courthouse. Elyse Wurm

Current Acting Sergeant Matt Shield attended the birthday celebrations, saying it was an hour to be part of the historic policing legacy.

Acting-Sgt Shield still lives in the same house sergeants have used throughout the long history, which was built in 1884.

"I feel like a part of the history, that when we look back I'm going to be one of the officers that looked after the station," he said.

The Policing and Justice in Allora exhibition will be open at Allora Courthouse, 40 Raff St, from 9am-noon and 1-3pm every day until Sunday.

On Anzac Day, the exhibition will only be open for the afternoon session.



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