Armidale Post Office | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Armidale Post Office

Item details

Name of item: Armidale Post Office
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Postal and Telecommunications
Category: Post Office
Location: Lat: -30.5396764211 Long: 151.6802649970
Primary address: 158 Beardy Street, Armidale, NSW 2350
Parish: Armidale
County: Sandon
Local govt. area: Armidale Dumaresq
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Armidale
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT115DP758032
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
158 Beardy StreetArmidaleArmidale DumaresqArmidaleSandonPrimary Address
cnr Faulkner StreetArmidaleArmidale DumaresqArmidaleSandonAlternate Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Australia PostFederal Government 

Statement of significance:

The Armidale Post Office is associated with the historical development of the town's civic core and is part of an important precinct centred on the Beardy/Faulkner Streets intersection. It is also associated with Colonial Architect James Barnet and with Government Architect WL Vernon who both contributed to the present appearance of the building.

An outstanding public building on a key corner site. The building itself is unusual in combining a Free Classical palazzo form with an attached stuccoed loggia.

As a prominent civic building in a historic precinct, the Armidale Post Office is considered to be significant to the Armidale community's sense of place.
Date significance updated: 14 Feb 07
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 Colonial Architect's Office under James Barnet, W.L. Vernon (facade alterations)
Builder/Maker: Builder - W Seabrook and JT Brown
Construction years: 1880-1880
Physical description: Located on a prominent corner site, the post office is a symmetrical two-storey brick building with a hipped roof and projecting stuccoed single-storey arched loggia. The side elevation has cement rendered banding. A corner addition above the loggia has a hipped roof extended from the bracketed eaves, wide brick-arched window openings, a Dutch gable and Arts and Crafts lettering in cast cement. (Australia Post Historic Properties Survey - NSW.)
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Physical condition is good.
Date condition updated:01 Jul 99
Modifications and dates: Minor alterations and repairs were carried out in 1891 and 1894. The Queen Anne style loggia was added 1897 with first-floor extensions over the loggia added in 1917. Further modifications were made in 1929, 1938 and 1979-80, details of these are not known.
Current use: Post Office
Former use: Aboriginal land, town lot

History

Historical notes: Armidale's first post office was established in 1843. The first official post office premises were erected in 1865 on another site.

The subject building was completed on 21 May 1880, under the direction of James Barnet, as premises for the Post Office and Divisional Manager. The builders were W Seabrook and JT Brown.

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).

Minor alterations and repairs were carried out in 1891 and 1894. The Queen Anne style loggia was added in 1897 by WL Vernon, with first-floor extensions to the loggia added in 1917.

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).

Further modifications were made in 1929, 1938 and 1979-80.

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-
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 communication by signals-
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
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Events-Activities and processes that mark the consequences of natural and cultural occurences Developing local landmarks-
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 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. Victorian era offices-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Administering and alienating Crown lands-
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-
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-
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]
The Armidale Post Office is associated with the historical development of the town's civic core. The Post Office is associated with Colonial Architect James Barnet, under whose direction the original building was designed and built, and with Government Architect WL Vernon during whose office the Federation period Queen Anne style loggia was added.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
An outstanding public building on a key corner site, the Armidale Post Office is part of an important historic precinct centred on the Beardy/Faulkner Streets intersection. The Post Office is aesthetically similar to many of the adjoining buildings resulting in a particular streetscape harmony. It relates exceptionally well to No.164, adjoining, and the Court House opposite. The building is unusual in combining a Free Classical palazzo form with an attached stuccoed loggia. The loggia compares with that on the post office at Narrabri (1879) and possibly that at Richmond (1875) but is enriched by upper level additions with the Dutch gable motif.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
As a prominent civic building in a historic precinct, the Armidale Post Office is considered to be significant to the Armidale community’s sense of place.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The site has the potential to contain an archaeological resource, which may provide information relating to the previous use of the site, and to use by the Post Office.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The Armidale Post Office is a fine building with a unique relationship to its urban context.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Part of the group of NSW post offices. Representative of the work of Barnet and Vernon.
Integrity/Intactness: Although the building has had numerous modifications the integrity of the original palazzo form with 1897 Queen Anne loggia, remains visually intact.
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.

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 0131217 Dec 99 14112048
Local Environmental Plan 198820 Mar 92 0381900
Within a conservation area on an LEP     
National Trust of Australia register      
Within a National Trust conservation area     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Significant Landscapes List  Australian Institute of Landscape Archictects (NSW)  No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Tourism 2007Armidale Heritage Walk View detail
WrittenApperly, Richard Identifying Australian Architecture
TourismAttraction Homepage2007Armidale Heritage Walk View detail
WrittenLe Sueur, Angela2016Colonial Architects - part 2

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

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(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: 5045383
File number: H00/00141/1


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