Gayndah Court House

News of the day

Brisbane Courier, Thursday 22 October 1908, page 5

The Gayndah bank tragedy

Remanded for eight days

Arthur Ross appeared at the Police Court this morning on a charge of having murdered James Muir on the night of October 18. Inspector Marrett prosecuted. The defendant was not represented by Counsel. Constable Green gave evidence of arrest. Defendant made no reply to the charge, and was remanded for eight days. The court house was crowded and interest in the case was intense. Defendant appeared very cool and collected.

The town is now full of detectives, constables, and black trackers and there is also a bloodhound. Detectives are engaged investigating the footprints from the bank to the river. The footprints were discovered on Sunday night by Sergeant Brown, of Gayndah.

Argus, Tuesday 8 June 1909, page 3

The Gayndah Murder

Youth of twenty hanged

BRISBANE, Monday - Arthur Ross, aged 20 years, who was convicted at Maryborough on April 30 of the murder of the bank clerk, James Muir, at Gayndah in October last, was executed in the Brisbane prison this morning, death being instantaneous.

The scene of the murder was the Commercial Banking Company’s premises, where Muir was found dead with four revolver bullets in his body and one in his head. Beside him was discovered Ross’s hat. The murderer had escaped, but was tracked down, and captured by the police, to whom, although armed with a revolver, he offered no resistance. At the first trial the jury failed to agree, but at the second Ross was found guilty of murder. More than one petition for his reprieve was presented, but the Executive Council declined to remit the sentence.

On the scaffold Ross said, in a firm voice: - “I desire to thank the people of Queensland for the interest they have taken in me and my life. I wish to thank them very much. I am very sorry for the deed I committed, and I hope to be forgiven for my sins: -

“Ross made a lengthy statement on June 1, detailing the events prior to, concurrent with, and subsequent to the crime, in which he entirely admits his guilt. The information contained in this document was within the knowledge of Ministers when they were asked to reconsider the case on Sunday. Their decision to refrain from publishing the document was dictated by a desire not to administer to the appetite for details of a case of this kind. It is considered undesirable to give extracts, since they might require the context to give them their true complexion.”

It is understood however, that the confession shows that the crime was arranged while Ross was in goal on another charge, and that Ross thought he now had an opportunity of securing a large amount of money in the bank. He carried a heavy batten with which he dealt Muir a blow, but it was not sufficient to prevent the bank clerk from strongly gripping him by the throat. Ross then shot Muir twice while he still held him.


Located in the business centre of Gayndah, the Court House was erected in 1928, and replaced an earlier brick court house building located approximately half a mile from the present court house. The court house was designed in the office of the Department of Public Works; AB Leven was Government Architect at the time.

The earliest official building records for the former court house refer to the addition of a verandah in 1861. The former court house, erected probably during the 1850s, and police buildings were located on a site adjoining the former hospital grounds east of the town centre.

By the mid 1910s, the court house facilities were insufficient, and inconveniently situated away from the central business area., and the erection of a new building was proposed. Although an allotment fronting Capper Street, in the centre of town, was reserved by the Government in 1922 as a suitable site for a court house, and preliminary plans were drawn the following year, it was not until 1927 that the final plans for the new building were prepared.

The new building was occupied early in 1929, and provided accommodation for Court business, the Police Magistrates, the Land Commissioner and Land Rangers, the Clerk of Petty Sessions and public offices, the Dairy Inspector, the Agricultural Bank and storeroom facilities. The plan of the building with the offices located at the front, closest to the street, and the court room at the rear, is a variation of the more usual arrangement found in timber court houses, where the court room is at the front and the offices are at the rear of the building.

Courtesy of the Queensland Heritage Register


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