Berrima Post Office | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Heritage

Berrima Post Office

Item details

Name of item: Berrima Post Office
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Postal and Telecommunications
Category: Post Office
Location: Lat: -34.4895086029 Long: 150.3355992300
Primary address: Argyle Street, Berrima, NSW 2577
Parish: Berrima
County: Camden
Local govt. area: Wingecarribee
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Illawarra
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
   CP/SP75992
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Argyle StreetBerrimaWingecarribeeBerrimaCamdenPrimary Address
Hume HighwayBerrimaWingecarribeeBerrimaCamdenAlternate Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
 Private17 May 99

Statement of significance:

The Post Office is located on the site of the earlier 'Old Tollbar'. The post office is situated on a prominent corner site in the town of Berrima. It makes an important contribution to the historic precinct of Berrima.
Date significance updated: 05 Jan 06
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

Builder/Maker: RN Mathews
Construction years: 1866-1866
Physical description: A painted brick building with stone foundations. Corrugated iron roof. Verandah to the front of building.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Physical condition is good. Archaelogical potential is low.
Modifications and dates: 1886 - Built.
c1930s - weatherboard wing added.
1988 - new building constructed at rear of post office. Post office restored and internal modifications.
Former use: Post Office

History

Historical notes: Berrima is the second oldest (European) settlement in Wingecarribee Shire and the oldest continuing settlement in the shire. The first town settlement in the district was in 1821 at Bong Bong, 8km south-east of Berrima on the Wingecarribee River (Webb, 2008, 9).

The site of Berrima was selected by Surveyor General Sir Thomas Mitchell in 1829 on a visit planning the route for a new road alignment from Sydney to replace the old Argyle Road, which had proven unsatisfactory due to a steep hill climb over the Mittagong Range and river crossing at Bong Bong. In 1830 Mitchell instructed Robert Hoddle to mark out the town based on a plan Mitchell's office prepared, along the lines of a traditional English village (with a central market place and as many blocks as possible facing onto the WIngecarribee River), and using the local Aboriginal name. The new line of road came through the town (Allman Johnston, 2007). Berrima was to be established as the commercial and administrative centre for the County of Camden.

Following the approval of Governor Bourke in 1831, the period 1824 to 1841 saw significant flourishing development as mail coaches changed their route to this new line of road. Early town lots were sold in 1833, predominantly to inn keepers and around Market Square, including the first town Lot sales to Bryan McMahon (Webb, 2008, 9).

Governor Bourke designated Berrima as a place for a courthouse and gaol to serve the southern part of the state (Webb, 2008, 9). With construction of the Jail from 1835-9 and its Court House in 1838 to serve the southern part of the state the town flourished into the 1840s as mail coaches called, public buildings including churches in 1849 and 1851, establishment of many hotels and coaching houses to service local resident needs and passing trades, persons and commercial travellers. Its 1841 population was 249 with 37 houses completed and 7 more in construction. Research has indicated there were some 13 hotels or grog houses in Berrima at the one time in the early days before the coming of the Southern Railway to the Moss Vale area, which by-passed Berrima (Allman Johnston, 2005).

There is some doubt about the early days of the Berrima Post Office. Apparently the Berrima Office was moved from Bong Bong in June, 1838.

A post office was opened at Bong Bong at least as early as 23rd December 1829. John Lowe, Clerk to the Chamber of Magistrates was given the responsibility of looking after the post office.

Between 1830 and 1837 a number of people filled the job as postmaster. Records state that James Higgins was appointed postmaster at Berrima 1st June 1838. It would appear that the office was moved from Bong Bong to Berrima on that date.

There is very little known of the Berrima Post Office from about 1840 to 1860.

With construction of the Berrima Jail from 1835-9 and its Court House in 1838 to serve the southern part of the state the town flourished into the 1840s as mail coaches called, public buildings including churches in 1849 and 1851, establishment of many hotels and coaching houses to service local resident needs and passing trades, persons and commercial travellers. Its 1841 population was 249 with 37 houses completed and 7 more in construction. Research has indicated there were some 13 hotels or grog houses in Berrima at the one time in the early days before the coming of the Southern Railway to the Moss Vale area, which by-passed Berrima.

The 1851 census showed the number of buildings remained the same but the population had dropped to 192. During the 1850s Berrima experienced another boom period after the discovery of gold. When the Great Southern Railway bypassed Berrima in 1867 the town again began to decline as Mittagong, Moss Vale and Bowral developed. Berrima remained virtually unchanged for the next 100 years, preserving the town as an almost intact colonial village (Webb, 2008, 10).

On 6th September 1858 the Berrima telegraph station was opened and in 1860 a building was bought for use as the telegraph station. At this time the Postal Department and Telegraph Department had no connection at all with one another.

The Berrima Post Office occupied several premises until the 1880s. In 1883 the post office was located in the Glad Tidings building. The telegraph office was nearby.

The telegraph business was now being carried on over a telephone line probably to Moss Vale. This was strongly objected to by the residents for the reason that the telephone system was then in its infancy and shouting into the receiver was necessary. Anyone handy to the post office could hear every word.

In June 1881 a petition was received from Berrima residents asking for the provision of a new post office. It was suggested that an ideal site would be land owned by the Government, where the old Toll Bar used to be. It was also pointed out that the Commercial Bank authorities were about to build a new bank nearly opposite the site.

The Postal Department approved the erection of a new post office on the old Toll Bar site but finance was not available and the matter was shelved. As a result of further resident agitation and the dilapidated condition of the current post office building the tender of R.N. Matthew's & Sons was accepted 22 April 1886 for 777 pounds.

The Berrima Post Office was erected on the earlier 'Old Tollhouse' or Tollbar site. The postmaster was moved into the new office on 17th August 1887.

It was not until 1890 that the block of ground, being Lot 19 of Section 2, was transferred to the Postmaster-General.

Because of the decline of revenue, Berrima was made a semi-official office and Mrs C Reynolds took charge of it on 9th January 1909.

On 1st March 1912 she was succeeded by Mrs B Walker.

In 1948 the Berrima Training Centre, a minimum security correctional centre opened at the Berrima Gaol. In the 1960s the National Trust of Australia (NSW) started to classify and seek to protect heritage properties (Webb, 2008, 22).

Since the classification of a number of buildings in Berrima by the National Trust of Australia (NSW) in the 1960s, the popularity of Berrima has increased, particularly as a tourist destination. Recent developments in the town have seen the emergence of bed and breakfast accomodation facilities, reflecting the early years of the town's development that provided accomodation for travellers through the construction and operation of various inns (Webb, 2008, 10).

In 1992 the Sydney to Canberra Freeway (F5) bypassed Berrima (Webb, 2008, 22).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
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-
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 Role of transport in settlement-
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 - facilitating telecommunications-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The post office is located on the site of the earlier 'Old Tollbar'.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The post office is situated on a prominent corner site in the town of Berrima. It makes an important contribution to the historic precinct of Berrima.
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.

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 0009702 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0009713 Mar 81 41 
Local Environmental Plan  06 Jan 84   
Local Environmental Plan 198912 Jan 90 00700290

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Wingecarribee Heritage Survey1991 JRC Planning Services  No
Berrima Conservation Study1979 Lester Firth & Murton Pty Ltd  No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written  (not stated)
WrittenWebb, Chris & Charlotte2008Conservation Management Plan, Coach & Horses Inn, 24 Jellore Street, Berrima

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

rez
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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5045489
File number: S90/05782


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