The Old Courthouse is a single-storey building designed specifically for arid conditions with a central masonry core of rooms.
The 'Old Courthouse' is highly valued by all the community because it represents a tangible reminder of the past and is where decisions were made or actions taken that directly affected life in Central Australia, be it for better or worse. The building was designed for use as the Administrative Offices of Central Australia, established in 1926 to prepare for a measure of self government.
Construction began in 1927 and by November 1928 it was sufficiently completed for occupation. Although a Local Court of Alice Springs had been proclaimed in 1892, its offices were at the Telegraph Station. The extension of the railway from Oodnadatta, increasing population and other factors resulted in the Local Court moving its office to the Town of Stuart with the Court House building then having multiple uses as government and judicial offices, but the name of the Local Court was not changed to Stuart and this resulted confusion until, in 1933, the town's name was changed to Alice Springs.
From 1929 until 1931, it was technically the Supreme Court of Central Australia. It ceased to operate as a courthouse in 1980 when the new Alice Springs Law Court Building was officially opened