The heritage-listed Courthouse Restaurant was built as an early colonial cottage in 1853 by Francis Edward Bigge, a wealthy land and property owner. Its handmade brick walls and sandstone windowsills were brought out from England. In 1859, Francis Bigge rented the cottage to the colonial secretary, as a courthouse and police lock-up. Sunday School and church services were also held here from 1859; the Courthouse was Cleveland’s first place of worship. The Courthouse was later neglected and unloved for many years until, in 1961, Mr and Mrs Edmonds bought it and partly restored it. The extension was added in 1978 by Harry and Ann Garms, who, after much searching, acquired the restaurant’s beautiful sandstone and porphyry from the demolished Old Supreme Court House, which had stood in George Street, Brisbane. Since 1998, the current owners have carefully balanced the restaurant’s historical value with modern technical and catering standards.
The ghost of Elizabeth Bigge (the wife of Francis Bigge, who originally built the Courthouse Restaurant) is said to wander the Courthouse Restaurant. Elizabeth died in England more than 150 years ago, but her ghost is believed to have returned to the place where she was the happiest. Many guests and staff members claim to have seen Elizabeth’s ghost, who they describe as a small lady wearing an old-fashioned dress. Elizabeth’s ghost is believed to be peaceful, keeping a watchful eye over the premises.