Nimitybelle – Court & Lockup Museum

A piece of police history

Nimmitabel Police Station

Nimitybelle Court House and lock-up Museum operates in the de-commissioned cell block at the Nimmitabel Police Station.
The Museum was established in September 1999 on the initiative of Senior Constable Robert Alford, Sector Commander Nimmitabel. The museum briefly explores the convict era, local pioneers, bushrangers, community history and education. It also covers the local police history of Nimmitabel on a large scale and also details of other stations in the area.

Nimmitabel was probably first settled during the late 1830s by the Cooper, O’Hara and Scott families. Its name has been spelt several ways. The earliest reference traced is on a plan of Moniero and Gippsland compiled by the Surveyor General’s office dated August 1841. On the spot where Nimmitabel is now located the word Nimoitehool is referenced. The village was proclaimed as Nimmitabel on the 23rd March 1858.

Police visited the small township from time to time when an incident occurred, riding out from Cooma and at times coming from Bombala. However the first resident police officer did not take up his position until November 1860 and record suggest that the officer was Constable David McKee.

The first police station, court house and lock-up were said to have been erected on the corner of Clarke and Kirke streets by John Malcolm for three hundred and sixty pound. No proof has been found to mark the exact location so far. It appears that this building housed the police officer and his family but was not suitable to carry out transactions of public business.
The residents of Nimmitabel requested that money be issued for another building. This section became the court house and was erected in front of the watch house by John Malcolm for three hundred and sixty five pound and was completed at the end of 1863.

Police Station yard – note the old stock

The current police station is located on the corner of Bombala and Clarke streets. The maps for this complex were drawn up in February 1892 and reserved as a police station in 1899. It comprised several living rooms, a barrack room with a detached court room and clerk of petty sessions room facing Bombala street. Two stone cells, an exercise yard, a weatherboard three-stall stable and forage room complete the station. A veranda was erected in 1930.
The residence has undergone some slight changes over the years as has the cell block and exercise yard. From 1863 to the turn of the century at least 14 officers were stationed at Nimmitabel. We have noted approximately another 30 officers.
Senior Constable Alford would like to hear from any officers who have been stationed at Nimmitabel or any of their family members. Information about the history of the station would be much appreciated. Currently items of interest relating to early police history in the station is being collected for display in the museum.
Such things as photographs of the police station, old uniforms and badges would be appreciated.

The ‘charge dock’ at Nimmitabel

Part of the collection at the Museum

Plenty of history displayed here

Early police restraints

Dress uniform worn by Captain Edward M Battye, Acting Superintendent from 1851-1862 for the Southern Districts.

The Nimmitabel Court House and Lock-up Museum, possibly the only museum of this type in southern New South Wales, is run by the hard working Volunteers in Policing, Lorraine, Christine, Bill and Julie.
It is open on public holidays and in the near future will be open weekly.

For further information contact Senior Constable Bob Alford on 02 6454 6444 or fax 02 6454 6012.