Inverell Post Office | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Inverell Post Office

Item details

Name of item: Inverell Post Office
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Postal and Telecommunications
Category: Post Office
Location: Lat: -29.7762961126 Long: 151.1129833730
Primary address: 97 Otho, Inverell, NSW 2360
Local govt. area: Inverell
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Anaiwan
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT1 DP774697
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
97 OthoInverellInverell  Primary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Australia PostFederal Government 

Statement of significance:

Inverell Post Office is significant at a State level for its historical associations, aesthetic qualities and social meaning.

Inverell Post Office is historically significant because it has been an important link in the network of communications for the town and surrounding region since the early 1900s. The form and scale of Inverell Post Office reflects the period of increased prosperity and economic growth of the town during the late nineteenth century.

Inverell Post Office is aesthetically significant because it is an excellent and rare example of the Federation Arts and Crafts architectural style, and makes an important aesthetic contribution to the civic precinct streetscape in Inverell. Inverell Post Office is also associated with the Colonial Architect’s Office under Walter Liberty Vernon.

Inverell Post Office is also considered to be significant to the Inverell community’s sense of place.
(Andrew Ward & Associates and Clive Lucas Stapleton and Associates, 2000)
Date significance updated: 26 Jun 00
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.

Description

Designer/Maker: NSW Government Architect’s Office under Walter Liberty Vernon.
Builder/Maker: Mr GF Nott
Construction years: 1904-1904
Physical description: Inverell Post Office is a two-storey building with a symmetrical front facade in the Federation Arts and Crafts Style, comprising cream-painted, roughcast render on an English bond, light-brown face-brick base, with heavy sandstone arches, coping and sills. There is a complex, hipped corrugated steel roof with a central louvred cupola, wide eaves with exposed rafter ends. To the centre facade is a parapeted gable with sandstone coping and a small plaque at the apex. Five roughcast chimneys with terracotta pots punctuate the roof, three to the western side and one to the southeastern corner of the two-storey section, with the remaining chimney located over the former kitchen to the rear western side of the single-storey section.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Inverell Post Office is generally in very good condition, excepting general wear and tear.
Archaeological potential is considered high for the site
Date condition updated:22 Jun 00
Modifications and dates: It appears that Inverell Post Office has undergone numerous changes since its completion in 1904, mainly to the interior, as well as additions to the rear. The original building appears to have comprised the existing two-storey section, with perhaps a small, single-storey addition in the form of a mail room.

Records indicate unspecified additions, and further work occurred during the 1910s. The single-storey wing incorporating the former exchange and bathroom to the east was probably constructed first, during the 1913 -17 period. The single-storey western wing, including the residence dining room, kitchen and laundry was probably added during the 1916-18 period. This is judged from the relative costs and scope of each to construct.

Various additions and infills have occurred c1950s, including the first-floor bathroom reconfiguration to include a toilet, kitchen installation prior to this date to the first floor, and the first-floor verandah infills at either end.

1989 plans indicate the removal of the rear male locker-room, clerical partitioning and the relocation of a partition within the retail space. Original fabric removed appears to have been limited to the centre wall of the current western mail room, opening up the space, with the removal of the partitioning from the original telegraph room.

Current configuration, inspected January 2000, shows no change to the first-floor configuration and minor internal partition and retail area changes to the ground floor
Current use: Post Office
Former use: Aboriginal land, town lot

History

Historical notes: The first Post Office at Inverell was established on 1 January 1855 in the store of Mr Colin Ross. Ross had settled on Byron Farm, that was to become Inverell, in 1853 and was instrumental in the development of the town.

The Postmaster General's Annual Report for 1861 reported the establishment of a mail service between Armidale, Byron, and Frazer's Creek, via Moredun, Paradise Creek, Newstead, Inverell, and Buckulla once a week by horseback. The following year a service was established between Wellingrove and Inverell, once a fortnight.

Business continued to grow as Inverell grew in importance within the region, with over 4,300 letters being posted weekly and 220 mails received and dispatched by 1900. In 1900 the PMG Department finally agreed to the erection of a new Post Office on the site of the 1869 building.

The tender for the construction job was awarded to a Mr GF Nott for (Pounds)3,999.19.0 and approved on 26 June 1903. The new post office comprised the office, public space, a postmaster's office, telephone exchange, kitchen, sitting room, five bedrooms, pantry and wash house, plus bathrooms and storerooms.

The new office was officially opened on 2 September 1904.

Walter Liberty Vernon (1846-1914) was both architect and soldier. Born in England, he ran successful practices in Hastings and London and had estimable connections in artistic and architectural circles. In 1883 he had a recurrence of bronchitic asthma and was advised to leave the damp of England. He and his wife sailed to New South Wales. Before leaving, he gained a commission to build new premesis for Merrrs David Jones and Co., in Sydney's George Street. In 1890 he was appointed Government Architect - the first to hold that title - in the newly reorganised branch of the Public Works Department. He saw his role as building 'monuments to art'. His major buildings, such as the Art Gallery of New South Wales (1904-6) are large in scale, finely wrought in sandstone, and maintaining the classical tradition. Among others are the Mitchell Wing of the State Library, Fisher Library at the University of Sydney and Central Railway Station. He also added to a number of buildings designed by his predecessors, including Customs House, the GPO and Chief Secretary's Building - with changes which did not meet with the approval of his immediate precedessor, James Barnet who, nine years after his resignation, denounced Vernon's additions in an essay and documentation of his own works. In England, Vernon had delighted his clients with buildings in the fashionable Queen Anne style. In NSW, a number of British trained architects whow were proponents of hte Arts and Crafts style joined his office and under their influence, Vernon changed his approach to suburban projects. Buildings such as the Darlinghurst First Station (Federation Free style, 1910) took on the sacale and character of their surroundings. Under Vernon's leadership, an impressive array of buildings was produced which were distinguished by interesting brickwork and careful climatic considerations, by shady verandahs, sheltered courtyards and provision for cross-flow ventilation. Examples are courthouses in Parkes (1904), Wellington (1912) and Bourke, Lands Offices in Dubbo (1897) and Orange (1904) and the Post Office in Wellington (1904)(Le Sueur, 2016, 7).

Additions took place in 1913-1917 costing (Pounds)325, with further work carried out in 1916-1918 for (Pounds)658.

(Andrew Ward & Associates and Clive Lucas Stapleton and Associates, 2000)

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Changing the environment-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Communication-Activities relating to the creation and conveyance of information (none)-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Communication-Activities relating to the creation and conveyance of information Postal and telecommunication services-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Communication-Activities relating to the creation and conveyance of information Communicating by mail-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Communication-Activities relating to the creation and conveyance of information Post Office-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Developing local, regional and national economies-National Theme 3
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Building settlements, towns and cities-National Theme 4
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages (none)-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages 20th Century infrastructure-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. State government-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - building and operating public infrastructure-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - administration of land-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Walter Liberty Vernon, Government Architect 1890-1911, private architect-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Inverell Post Office is historically significant because it became an important link in the network of communications in the region in the beginning of the twentieth century. Built on the same site as the earlier smaller post office, Inverell Post Office is also associated with the development of postal services in Inverell during the latter half of the nineteenth century.

The Post Office has been the centre of communications for the community for over a century. The form and scale of Inverell Post Office also reflect the period of economic development and growth of the town during the late nineteenth century.

Inverell Post Office is associated with the NSW Government Architect’s Office under Walter Liberty Vernon, under whose leadership the office designed and maintained a number of post offices across NSW between 1890 and 1911.
(Andrew Ward & Associates and Clive Lucas Stapleton and Associates, 2000)
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Inverell Post Office is aesthetically significant because it is an excellent example of the Federation Arts and Crafts style of architecture. Inverell Post Office also forms an interesting contrast with the adjacent Town Hall from the same period, and makes a major contribution to the streetscape of the Inverell Civic Precinct. The architectural style and location of the building make it a focal point of the civic precinct of Inverell, endowing it with landmark qualities.

(Andrew Ward & Associates and Clive Lucas Stapleton and Associates, 2000)
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
As a prominent civic building, and an important link in the network of communications for the region, Inverell Post Office is considered to be significant to the Inverell community’s sense of place.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The site has some potential to contain archaeological information which may provide information relating to the previous post office and earlier use of the site, and the evolution of the building and out-buildings associated with the use by the Post Office.

(Andrew Ward & Associates and Clive Lucas Stapleton and Associates, 2000)
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Inverell Post Office is considered to be rare because it is a particularly fine example of Federation Arts and Crafts architecture with strong design elements, it is largely intact and has distinctive streetscape qualities.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Inverell Post Office is an excellent example of the Federation Arts and Crafts style of architecture. It is part of the group of nineteenth and early twentieth-century post offices designed by the NSW Government Architect’s Office under Walter Liberty Vernon.
Integrity/Intactness: Inverell Post Office is largely intact, and retains the features which make it culturally significant, including architectural details such as the prominent eaves with exposed rafters, large arches, roughcast walling and its overall scale, form and style.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Recommended management:

Preparation of a Conservation Management Plan which includes the outbuildings and a curtilage assessment.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

FRANK SARTOR
Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0140723 Jun 00 735231

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenAndrew Ward & Associates and Clive Lucas Stapleton and Associates1992Australia Post Survey of Historic Properties in New South Wales
WrittenApperly, Irving and Reynolds1989A Pictorial Guide to Identifying Australian Architecture
TourismAttraction Homepage2007Inverell Post Office View detail
WrittenAustralia Post Australia Post History File -Inverell SP32/1 Box 276
WrittenBridges and McDonald1988James Barnet Colonial Architect
WrittenInverell Heritage Study Inventory Card1986Inverell Post Office
WrittenLe Sueur, Angela2016Government Architects - part 2
WrittenNational Trust of Australia (NSW)1982National Trust of Australia (NSW) Classification Listing Card- Post Office Part of Inverell Civic Precinct
WrittenNSW Government Select Committee1903State Properties Transferred to the Commonwealth
WrittenPMG Department Inverell Post Office History

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5044754
File number: H00/00147


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