Richmond Post Office | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Richmond Post Office

Item details

Name of item: Richmond Post Office
Other name/s: Richmond Telegraph and Post Office
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Postal and Telecommunications
Category: Post Office
Location: Lat: -33.5970593109 Long: 150.7506873130
Primary address: 286 Windsor Street, Richmond, NSW 2753
Local govt. area: Hawkesbury
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Deerubbin
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT180 DP41869
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
286 Windsor StreetRichmondHawkesbury  Primary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Basscave Pty LtdPrivate 

Statement of significance:

Richmond Post Office is significant at a State level for its historical associations, strong aesthetic qualities and social value.

Richmond Post Office is historically significant because it is associated with the NSW Colonial Architect's Office under James Barnet, and is part of an important group of works by Barnet, a key practitioner of the Victorian Italianate architectural style in NSW. Richmond Post Office is also associated with the development of Richmond as an important service area in the Hawkesbury region, and the development of communications services in the Richmond area.

Richmond Post Office is aesthetically significant because it is a fine example of the Victorian Italianate architectural style, with strong visual appeal. It is located on a prominent corner site and, along with the neighbouring courthouse, makes a significant contribution to the streetscape of the Richmond civic precinct.

Richmond Post Office is also considered to be significant to the community of Richmond's sense of place.

(Andrew Ward & Associates and Clive Lucas Stapleton and Associates, 2000)
Date significance updated: 23 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.


Designer/Maker: Colonial Architect James Baronet.
Builder/Maker: Original building: 1875, Mr. Johnson. Second-story addition: 1888, Samuel Bought
Construction years: 1875-1888
Physical description: Richmond Post Office is a two-story English bond, Victorian Italianate building of struck trowelled clinker brick, with a hipped slate roof to the main building and lead ridge capping. The roof is punctuated by two double brick and render chimneys to the southwestern side, and a single brick and render chimney to the centre southeastern side of the main building.

Attached to the rear of the building are two single-storey brick additions with hipped corrugated steel roofs. They extend over a former service wing to the northwest side and later toilet facilities to the southeast side. The additions appear to have occurred in two stages, the northwest section being extended later under a separate corrugated steel hipped roof, with a much later brick and fibre cement sheet shed attachment to the end. The two lots of additions are separated by a covered walkway at centre, supported by timber posts, with a later concrete floor.

There is a first floor corrugated steel roofed verandah that wraps around the front facade and halfway down both sides, supported by green painted decorative cast iron posts, with lace brackets and valance. The posts rest on the upper floor verandah balustrade, formed by the rendered and cream painted entablature with dentil detailing, to the ground floor colonnade. The balustrade coping is rendered and painted a light brown colour.

The arches have white tuck pointed, rubbed red brick detailing, matching the rubbed red brick flat arches to the openings of the rear buildings and upper floor.

(Andrew Ward & Associates and Clive Lucas Stapleton and Associates, 2000)
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Generally, Richmond Post Office is in good condition.

Archaeological potential of the site is considered high within the grounds of Richmond Post Office
Date condition updated:23 Jun 00
Modifications and dates: Addition of upper floor and balustrade in 1888
Georgian Revival style infill of the ground floor colonnade in 1906.

Australia Post relocation and subsequent fitout removal in 1998-9
Further information: The large carport attached to the front facade of the rear former stables is intrusive.
Current use: Vacant
Former use: Post Office


The lower Hawkesbury was home to the Dharug people. The proximity to the Nepean River and South Creek qualifies it as a key area for food resources for indigenous groups (Proudfoot, 1987).
The Dharug and Darkinjung people called the river Deerubbin and it was a vital source of food and transport (Nichols, 2010).

Governor Arthur Phillip explored the local area in search of suitable agricultural land in 1789 and discovered and named the Hawkesbury River after Baron Hawkesbury. This region played a significant role in the early development of the colony with European settlers established here by 1794. Situated on fertile floodplains and well known for its abundant agriculture, Green Hills (as it was originally called) supported the colony through desperate times. However, frequent flooding meant that the farmers along the riverbanks were often ruined.

Governor Lachlan Macquarie replaced Governor Bligh, taking up duty on 1/1/1810. Under his influence the colony propsered. His vision was for a free community, working in conjunction with the penal colony. He implemented an unrivalled public works program, completing 265 public buildings, establishing new public amenities and improving existing services such as roads. Under his leadership Hawkesbury district thrived. He visited the district on his first tour and recorded in his journal on 6/12/1810: 'After dinner I chrestened the new townships...I gave the name of Windsor to the town intended to be erected in the district of the Green Hills...the township in the Richmond district I have named Richmond...' the district reminded Macquarie of those towns in England, whilst Castlereagh, Pitt Town and Wilberforce were named after English statesmen. These are often referred to as Macquarie's Five Towns. Their localities, chiefly Windsor and Richmond, became more permanent with streets, town square and public buildings.

Macquarie also appointed local men in positions of authority. In 1810 a group of settlers sent a letter to him congratulating him on his leadership and improvements. It was published in the Sydney Gazette with his reply. He was 'much pleased with the sentiments' of the letter and assured them that the Haweksbury would 'always be an object of the greatest interest' to him (Nichols, 2010).

In marking out the towns of Windsor and Richmond in 1810, Governor Macquarie was acting on instructions from London. All of the Governors who held office between 1789 and 1822, from Phillip to Brisbane, recieved the same Letter of Instruction regarding the disposal of the 'waste lands of the Crown' that Britain claimed as her own. This included directives for the formation of towns and thus the extension of British civilisation to its Antipodean outpost (Proudfoot 1987, 7-9).

With the Hawkesbury area being notoriously flood prone, the five towns were established to provide security and accommodation to those settlers whose farms were exposed to flooding from the Nepean, Hawkesbury and Georges Rivers, and to act as depots for shipments of grain and produce to and from the district. Richmond became a focal point in the region as an important market town and social centre. Between 1819 and 1857 the region remained flood free and experienced a peak in prosperity, with the town growing steadily as a result. During this time the Hawkesbury region provided a substantial part of the agricultural supplies to the colony.

Despite the decline of the farming communities in the later Victorian period, Richmond remained an important service centre within the region, and continued to grow into the twentieth century.

Mail was delivered to Richmond three times per week from 1830 where the local constable would deliver it on a voluntary basis. The first post office was officially established in Richmond in 1844, with a telegraph office later operating out of the railway station.

In c1870, the residents of Richmond petitioned for a new post office to be built. The new office, designed by Colonial Architect James Barnet, was opened in October 1875. Originally a one-storey office costing (Pounds)1,479, the colonnade around the building was added in 1879, with stables and other additions constructed in 1882. The original form of the ground floor suggests that part of this space was initially used as a residence for the postmaster. A second storey was added soon after to provide additional residential space, being completed in August 1888 at a cost of (Pounds)869.

The Georgian Revival style infill of the ground floor colonnade was constructed in 1906 (Andrew Ward & Associates and Clive Lucas Stapleton and Associates, 2000).

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 (none)-
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 Communication by telephone-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Technology-Activities and processes associated with the knowledge or use of mechanical arts and applied sciences (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 (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Richmond Post Office is associated with the development of the town of Richmond, one of the five “Macquarie Towns” and historically an important service provider to the Hawkesbury region.

Richmond Post Office is also associated with the historical development of communications services to the Richmond area. The stables and second-storey addition also provide important evidence of the changing nature of communication services.

Richmond Post Office is associated with the Colonial Architect’s Office under James Barnet, which designed and maintained a number of post offices in NSW between 1865 and 1890. James Barnet is a key practitioner of the Victorian Italianate architectural style in NSW.

(Andrew Ward & Associates and Clive Lucas Stapleton and Associate, 2000)
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Richmond Post Office is a distinctive example of the Victorian Italianate style of architecture. The design and location of the building also make it a focal point of the civic precinct of Richmond, endowing it with landmark qualities.

The Richmond Post Office is also stylistically compatible with the neighbouring courthouse, making an aesthetically significant contribution to the streetscape.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
As a prominent civic building, Richmond Post Office is considered to be significant to the Richmond community’s sense of place
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The site of the Richmond Post Office has potential to contain archaeological information.
SHR Criteria f)
Richmond Post Office is a particularly fine example of the work of the Colonial Architect’s Office under James Barnet.
SHR Criteria g)
Richmond Post Office is a distinctive example of the Victorian Italianate architectural style. It is part of a group of nineteenth century post offices in NSW designed by the Colonial Architect’s Office under James Barnet. Richmond Post Office compares with post offices in Wellington (1869), Tumut (1870), Parkes (1880), and other nineteenth century post offices having ground floor arcades with upper level verandahs.
Integrity/Intactness: Richmond Post Office is substantially intact and retains the features which make it culturally significant, including architectural details such as the arcaded loggia, distinctive use of freestone, bi-chrome brickwork and cast iron lace, along with 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.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
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.

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


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0141023 Jun 00 735232

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Tourism 2007Richmond Post Office View detail
WrittenApperly, Irving and Reynolds1989A Pictorial Guide to Identifying Australian Architecture
TourismAttraction Homepage2007Richmond Post Office View detail
WrittenAustralia Post Australia Post History File - Richmond SP32/1 Box 455
WrittenBarkley and Nichols1994Hawkesbury 1794 -1994, The First Two Hundred Years of the Second Colonisation
WrittenDH Borchardt (ed)1987Australia: A Guide to Sources
WrittenNational Trust of Australia (NSW)1992Classification Listing Card - Richmond Post Office Part of West Market Street Group
WrittenNichols, Michelle (Local Studies Librarian)2010Macquarie and the Hawkesbury District
WrittenNSW Gov’t Select Committee1903State Properties Transferred to the Commonwealth
WrittenRI Jack1990Exploring the Hawkesbury

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: 5051251
File number: H00/00151/001

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