Bega Valley Genealogy Society



 To All Members & Visitors 


Pambula Courthouse is now Open

Days /Times    Tues. 1pm – 4pm         Thurs 9.30am – 12.30pm        Sat  1pm  – 4 pm

We would like to maintain our normal opening hours, where possible.

Like all societies we are looking for more Library Volunteers, if you like to help please,

Contact Ursula Hunt

 We apologize for any inconvenient.

With COVID – 19 we will still have public distancing rules in place etc. Unless there is any change by the                        NSW State Government on this. 

 Check our web site or Facebook page for opening times in the future.



Members and visitors are welcome to use the Bega Valley Genealogy Society’s research services and extensive library which is continually expanding. We have:

  • A large local section with books indexed for surnames
  • Surnames index
  • Microfiche readers
  • Microfilm readers
  • Local newspapers on microfilm
  • Five computers holding over 300 CDs
  • BDM indexes for all Australian states
  • ‘Family Search’ for international births and marriages
  • Internet access to many free, family history sites
  • ‘Find My Past’, covering UK, Scottish Census, Ireland, Australasia, the World (all of them) plus USA & Canada
  • British Newspapers on the Internet


  • Toilets
  • Car and Bus parking
  • Disable Access to Main Library and Courthouse

We also produce a newsletter and have books for sale.


Interest in Genealogy was a relatively new phenomenon when 28 members formed our Society on 1st August 1987. This had followed a series of lectures given by Dr Brian Harrap at the suggestion of the Eden Community Council of Education.

The 1988 Bicentennial programme, with its emphasis on the origins of European settlement certainly caused many to wonder about their pioneer ancestors.

And yet, since the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, we had a rich source of documents. State Archive Offices, provided by the Register of Birth, Deaths and Marriages, How-to-books, and the efforts of the Latter Day Saints (Mormon Church) attempting to record details of all people on earth resulting in the IGI (International Genealogy Index) all added to our research.

Old Courthouse

Membership rapidly increased with the need to find a permanent home.

In the early 1990’s the local community was agitating to have the Old Court House Complex Heritage listed and saved from private sale.

Fears were that the empty building could be vandalized.

In 1992 the Genealogy Society obtained a 2 year lease at $2,620 per year and acted as caretakers for the buildings. Our voice added to the agitation.

In May, 1994 the State Government agreed to hand over the trusteeship of the historic Pambula Police Station and Court House to the Bega Valley Shire Council.

And now, in 2015, we are the holders of the official licence for the buildings



The Court Room

Late 1840’s     The Eden Police District extended from Cape Howe in the south (now Victoria/NSW border) to Wallaga Lake to the north and inland to include the Monaro.    Policing of Pambula was done from Eden.

1850’s             A Policeman was stationed at Pambula but there was no lock-up (although a temporary lock-up was used).

1860-61           A Courthouse/Lock-up built. Building contained 2 cells, small courtroom, Magistrates room, Constable’s Bedroom and 2 outside privies in enclosed yard

1890’s             Present Courtroom built, also new cell block built, The old courtroom became the Police Station

1978                Last use of cells (Short term holding only – NOT gaol.

1979                Police Station closed and building converted to a residence for policeman stationed at Merimbula

OPCH 1859
Old Pambula Courthouse Plans 1859
PCH 1980 1987
Old Pambula Courthouse Plans 1980 – 1987

1984                Courthouse closed

1992                Bega Valley Genealogy Society rents building

1994                NSW Government appoints Bega Valley Shire Council trustees of Courthouse and Police Station for public use of building, now Heritage Listed


COURT          Petty Sessions – eg. Minor offences such as failure to send children to school, failure to pay fines/debts, drunk and disorderly conduct, offensive language, vagrancy, assaults, inquests etc.

Local citizens appointed as MAGISTRATES in early years

Later, visiting POLICE MAGISTRATES heard cases

Later again, cases were heard at Eden, Bega or serious cases in Sydney (transported by steamer)

GAOLING at Eden, Bega or Cooma.


POLICE          Two members have written a history of all the Police stationed at Pambula (this history is in our Library) and their photograps can be seen on the walls in the Courtroom.

The Jail and Exercise Yard


Click on the above photographs for a larger view.