Parkes Post Office | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Parkes Post Office

Item details

Name of item: Parkes Post Office
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Postal and Telecommunications
Category: Post Office
Location: Lat: -33.1362755750 Long: 148.1765756830
Primary address: 39 Currajong Street, Parkes, NSW 2870
Parish: Currajong
County: Ashburnham
Local govt. area: Parkes
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Peak Hill
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT611DP758827
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
39 Currajong StreetParkesParkesCurrajongAshburnhamPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
P & M SgarlataPrivate25 Mar 99

Statement of significance:

Parkes Post Office is considered to be an item of the State's environmental heritage for its historical value and association with the development of Parkes. For its landmark value and its contribution to the streetscape. For its architectural value as an example of the work of the Colonial Architect and the Government Architect.
Date significance updated: 13 Sep 05
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: James Barnet; Walter Liberty Vernon (alteration)
Construction years: 1880-1880
Modifications and dates: 10 Dec 1999 Heritage Council approval for internal partitions and external singage.
Further information: parkes Council confirm 27/3/2002
Current use: Offices
Former use: Aboriginal land, Post Office

History

Historical notes: Constructed in 1880 and designed by Colonial Architect, James Barnet.

James Johnstone Barnet (1827-1904) was made acting Colonial Architect in 1862 and appointed Colonial Architect from 1865-90. He was born in Scotland and studied in London under Charles Richardson, RIBA and William Dyce, Professor of Fine Arts at King's College, London. He was strongly influenced by Charles Robert Cockerell, leading classical theorist at the time and by the fine arts, particularly works of painters Claude Lorrain and JRM Turner. He arrived in Sydney in 1854 and worked as a self-employed builder. He served as Edmund Blacket's clerk of works on the foundations of the Randwick (Destitute Childrens') Asylum. Blacket then appointed Barnet as clerk-of-works on the Great Hall at Sydney University. By 1859 he was appointed second clerk of works at the Colonial Architect's Office and in 1861 was Acting Colonial Architect. Thus began a long career. He dominated public architecture in NSW, as the longest-serving Colonial Architect in Australian history. Until he resigned in 1890 his office undertook some 12,000 works, Barnet himself designing almost 1000. They included those edifices so vital to promoting communication, the law and safe sea arrivals in colonial Australia. Altogether there were 169 post and telegraph offices, 130 courthouses, 155 police buildings, 110 lockups and 20 lighthouses, including the present Macquarie Lighthouse on South Head, which replaced the earlier one designed by Francis Greenway. Barnet's vision for Sydney is most clearly seen in the Customs House at Circular Quay, the General Post Office in Martin Place and the Lands Department and Colonial Secretary's Office in Bridge Street. There he applied the classicism he had absorbed in London, with a theatricality which came from his knowledge of art (Le Sueur, 2016, 6).

Major alterations were completed by his successor, Colonial Architect Walter Liberty Vernon that altered its appearance and further minor alterations were made in 1901-1903. The Post Office is one of an important group of buildings, including the Courthouse, Police Station and churches, which make up the civic heart of Parkes.

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).

The building was one of the first 'grand' buildings erected in Parkes and a hub of activity. During its lifetime the building has evolved - catering to the needs of the community. Modifications over time are symbolic of the growth of Parkes - from a pioneering miners' settlement to a contemporary centre in the Central West. For just over 100 years (from 1880-1989) the building was continuously used as a postal and telecommunications facility and an integral part of the Parkes commnity (Jayet, 2016, 7).

On 28 April 1989 the Parkes Shire Council wrote to the Heritage Council requesting that it give consideration to placing a Permanent Conservation Order over Parkes Post Office as Australia Post was constructing a new premises which would render the Post Office obsolete. Australia Post advised that it would make prospective buyers aware of the possibility of the Heritage Council making a Permanent Conservation Order.

The site ceased operating as a post office in 1990 following the opening of a new facility in Welcome Street. To protect the original post office it was heritage listed and has been used since as offices (Jayet, 2016, 7).

On 6 February 1990 a Permanent Conservation Order was placed over the Post Office. It was transferred to the State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999.

The current owners Peter and Maddalena Sgarlata bought the post office in 1990 and have carried out major works including re-slating the roof, a mammoth taks. A facelift to the exterior of the building has recently been completed, with the assistance of the Heritage Council of NSW, Parkes Shire Council, heritage advisers and contractors. Future works will include a disabilty access ramp, designed to complement the building, lighting of the upstairs balcony, spot-lighting, repairing the clock and minor paint work (Jayet, 2016, 7).

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. Other open space-
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 Communicating by telegraph-
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 Communication-Activities relating to the creation and conveyance of information Mail trains and parcels service-
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
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Technology-Activities and processes associated with the knowledge or use of mechanical arts and applied sciences Technologies of telecommunication-
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 19th Century Infrastructure-
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 Beautifying towns and villages-
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 Creating landmark structures and places in regional settings-
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 Developing the social life of a rural community-
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-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with James Barnet, Colonial (Government) Architect 1862-90-

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard exemptions Record converted from HIS events


Order Under Section 57(2) to exempt the following activities from Section 57(1):
(1) The maintenance of any building or item on the site where maintenance means the continuous protective care of existing material; and
(2) The minor repair of the building where minor repair means the repair of materials by patching, piercing-in, splicing and consolidating existing materials and including minor replacement of minor components such as individual bricks, cut-stone, timber sections, tiles and slates where these have been damaged beyond reasonable repair or are missing. The replacement should be of the same material, colour, texture, form and design as the original it replaces.
(3) Garden maintenance including cultivation, pruning, weed control, repair and maintenance of existing fences, gates and garden walls, and tree surgery, but not extensive lopping.
Feb 16 1990
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 0071702 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0071716 Feb 90 241367
Local Environmental Plan  14 Dec 90   
Potential Heritage ItemA    

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenJayet, Bill2016'Facelift for a much-loved historic building'
WrittenLe Sueur, Angela2016Colonial Architects - part 2

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

rez
(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5045060
File number: S90/04521 & HC 89 1293


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