Kiama Post Office | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage

Heritage

Kiama Post Office

Item details

Name of item: Kiama Post Office
Other name/s: Post Office
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Postal and Telecommunications
Category: Post Office
Location: Lat: -34.6718677381 Long: 150.8562424960
Primary address: 24 Terralong Street, Kiama, NSW 2533
Local govt. area: Kiama
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Illawarra
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT1 DP106081
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
24 Terralong StreetKiamaKiama  Primary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Australia PostFederal Government 

Statement of significance:

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

Kiama Post Office is associated with the first post office established in the town in 1841, and as such is linked with the early development of the town in the mid-nineteenth century. Kiama Post Office has been the centre of communications for Kiama for over a century, and reflects the growing population and demands for improved mail and telegraph services in the area.

Kiama Post Office also provides evidence of the changing nature of postal and telecommunications practices in NSW and features the earliest surviving use of the corner clock tower as a design element in NSW. Kiama Post Office is aesthetically significant because it is a substantial, intact and picturesque example of the Victorian Italianate style, and makes an important aesthetic contribution to the civic precinct in Kiama. Kiama Post Office is also associated with the Colonial Architect's Office under James Barnet, a key practitioner of the Victorian Italianate style of architecture. Kiama Post Office is also considered to be significant to the Kiama community's sense of place.
Date significance updated: 06 Jul 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: Designed by the Colonial Architect’s Office under James Barnet.
Builder/Maker: W.R.Vaughan
Construction years: 1877-1878
Physical description: Site:
Kiama Post Office is prominently sited within the town's civic precinct, which includes the court house, police station and the railway station. It occupies a prominent corner of Terralong and Manning Streets and overlooks Kiama Harbour to the north., with the corner clock tower constituting a beacon-like landmark within the town, enhanced by the proximity to water (CHL, 2011).

Kiama Post Office is within the central business and tourist district. The surrounding buildings are predominantly two-storey, twentieth century shopfronts and nineteenth century civic buildings such as the classically styled Council Chambers to the south. Fencing around the building comprises low picket and recent steel fencing and the rear yard is concrete with some areas of grass. The streets are landscaped with pedestrian islands and low shrubbery and to the north is a large grassed area sloping down to the harbour lined with large Norfolk Island pine trees that dominate the view.

Building:
An elegant example of a two-storey, rendered brick Victorian Italianate building, collonaded on the ground floor (now partially enclosed) and these abut a square corner tower 3 storeys high containing illuminated clock faces and capped by a delicate timber fleche and small belfry. It is the earliest surviving example of a corner clock tower as a design element in NSW. The roof is predominantly hipped, of corrugated steel, with a pyramidal roof on the corner tower and belfry, and a steel finial and lightning conductor at the apex. There is a skillion roof on the south-eastern single-storey additions. Four chimneys punctuate the roofline of the two-storey section, one at the southernmost end of the south-western wing, one either side of the southern edge of the main roof section and one at the north-western corner. Each chimney is rendered, with moulded tops and terracotta chimney pots.

The window openings are surrounded by classically inspired mouldings and there are timber verandahs and balconies to the West and North. The roof forms are hipped and sheeted with corrugated metal. While in good condition, a number of elements require restoration (particularly the 2 storey verandah structure) and the building deserves repainting in its origianal colour scheme. At the rear is a small timber outbuilding of simple colonial style which presumably was the original stables block. Around the perimeter there are some significant Norfolk Island pine trees. Architectural Style: Italianate. Building Material: Stuccoed brick

It appears that only a few major additions have occurred to the Post Office since first constructed in 1878. These are largely single-storey, towards the rear along the eastern boundary, including the hipped-roof section over the mail room and skillion roof over the current staff amenities.

Verandahs on the first-floor northern facade and north-western corner comprise asphalt lined floors, raked board and batten, and boarded soffits, respectively, green painted vertical slat timber balustrades with timber posts and wall mounted globe lights. There is a small concrete porch on the north-western corner of the ground floor below the upper verandah, without a balustrade. To the eastern facade, there is a colonnade with burnt red, clay-tiled floor and steps, masonry arches and columns, board and batten soffit and pebblecrete curved ramp at the southern end.

The clock tower is accessed internally via a recent steel vertical ladder from the ground-floor to the first, and via a timber ladder to the clock mechanism on the third-floor. French doors to the tower open out onto the northern facade first-floor verandah and the interior walls are rendered, with timber-boarded floors.

The Post Office has been recently painted with a distinctive salmon-pink colour scheme including red detailing of arches, openings, posts and smooth columns. The exterior is distinguished by the use of Tuscan elements that include the slender column pilasters which flank the first floor windows. The eaves and a moulded string course below the first floor eaves which is continuous around the tower have been painted a tan colour. The bracketed eaves below the main roof of the tower have also been painted tan, and the rendered base course "skirting" is painted light brown.

Below the bracketed eaves are four clock faces with black lettering on a white background, one to each side, with moulded circles either side of each clock face encircling the numbers 18 and 78 to the left and right sides respectively. Classically moulded detailing is also used on the uniformly spaced openings and the four bay, round arched colonnade, including slender pilasters to the sides of windows and prominent keystones within moulded arches.

The ground-floor interior comprises four major areas. These incorporate the carpeted retail area in the north-eastern quarter, carpeted mail room and post boxes on the eastern side, carpeted lunch room on the western side and other tiled staff amenities in the south eastern corner, and carpeted office areas in the south-western corner.

Ceilings of the ground-floor are predominantly plasterboard with coved cornices in the western side offices, mail room and retail areas. The north-western corner store room has a square set plaster ceiling with moulded cornice and a small ceiling rose; there is a raked board and batten ceiling in the rear office infill. Lighting comprises attached and suspended fluorescent tubing and air-conditioning is limited to a wall-mounted unit in the mail room.

Architraves appear to be original, in the northern half of the building in particular, being stained and possibly restored. Later architraves appear in the rear centre infills. Original or early brown skirting is located on original fabric of the northern section, with modern black strip skirting in the retail area and offices.

Windows of the ground floor include original arched, two pane upper and single pane lower sash windows; six pane upper and lower sash windows; and multi pane wide arched windows to the northern facade arcade infill. c1950-60s louvred and top hung windows. The rear infills and additions feature doors to the ground-floor are mainly modern flush and sliding doors, with a few stained, four panel original doors retained.

Ground-floor walls are painted the standard Australia Post grey colour scheme on the majority of the floors, with pale green and apricot schemes with brown trim on the north-western corner and western side. Walls are mainly painted rendered brick, with recent partition walls enclosing the south-western offices and store rooms. There are three chimney breasts retained, with only two surrounds. They are all bricked in or boarded over.

The central staircase is of stained and polished timber, with a curved rail, spiral bottom post and squared balusters. There is vinyl sheet to the treads and there are carved brackets and timber panelling below the stair. Skirting to the stair appears original.

The first-floor former residence currently disused, comprises three bedrooms, a sitting room, a kitchen in the south-western corner, and a bathroom on the western side. All rooms excepting the kitchen are off a central hallway and the floor is fully carpeted, with the exception of the sheet vinyl floor of the kitchen and modern bathroom tiling.

First-floor ceilings comprise plaster with a coved cornice in the western side sitting room, plaster and wide batten ceilings in the north-western corner bedroom and bathroom, and flush plaster in the hall, kitchen and remaining bedrooms. There are wall-mounted air conditioning units in the kitchen and north-western bedroom and lighting combines fluorescent tubing and pendant lights.

As with the ground-floor, the first-floor architraves are stained and possibly restored. Skirting is wide, excepting that in the kitchen, which has later, narrower skirting, all painted dark brown.

Windows of the first-floor are predominantly original four pane upper and lower sash and six pane upper and lower sash windows. Doors are stained, featuring four panels and early hardware, and there are original French doors opening onto the verandahs.

Walls on the first-floor are rendered and painted brick in an overall light green colour scheme with dark brown trim. Three fireplaces have been retained, each with marble surrounds, however all have been boarded over.

Standard Australia Post signage is located at the southern end of the eastern colonnade and on the northern face, of the corner clock tower. Lettering to the building is limited to the eastern facade, with 'Kiama Post Office 2533' centred over the arched bays, below the eaves of the eastern facade.

Outbuildings:
The only outbuilding associated with the Post Office is the timber boarded shed to the southern boundary of the site, with a recent hipped, corrugated steel roof. The building is painted a complementary salmon pink colour to the Post Office and has later windows and doors installed, including a roller door. This building is possibly the original shown to the left in the 1878 photograph, and is possibly the original stables, although substantially modified.

Possible original stables block at rear (AHC, 1978).
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Kiama Post Office is in very good condition. The archaeological potential of the site is high.

Overall, the building is in good intactness and condition given its age and variety of use (CHL, 2011).
Date condition updated:06 Jul 00
Modifications and dates: - Kiama Post Office was completed in December 1878. The original building comprised the two-storey section and clock tower, without the crowning belfry of the tower. It appears from an early photograph that the building was not originally rendered, but face brick with rendered or stone detailing. The building was not occupied until January 1880 due to fitting and fixture problems.

1880 bell tower (CHL, 2011).
When first built, the clock faces had white lettering on a black background.

- A rear stable and outhouse (laundry) were completed in August 1881.

- It was not until April 1900 that a wash house was constructed for the residence.
- The belfry appears to be an early addition, however the date of its construction is unknown.

- Dates are unknown as to when the northern facade arcade was infilled and entry doors were installed to the eastern arch, and when the column matching those of the eastern colonnade supporting the north western ground floor porch was replaced.

Very little was added or altered to the front elevations between c.1882 and the 1970s, apart from the filled-in bays on the Terragong Street loggia. The main change occured when the exterior was painted, replacing the whitewash. The Valuation report notes louvered and top-hung windows being added, but these appear to be on the rear and side (southeast and southwest)(CHL, 2011).

- In August 1977, the present white translucent clock faces were installed during general renovations and alterations.
- During 1978 renovations, the three ground-floor rooms of the residence on the western side were incorporated into the Post Office. The residence was confined to the first-floor as a result. This was possibly the time when the south eastern single storey skillion wing, containing staff bathrooms, was constructed and the original wash house was modified.
- Overall repainting of the building with the salmon pink colour scheme occurred during the mid 1990s, replacing an overall whitewash.

-1980s internal alterations to residence and additions (CHL, 2011).

-1990s standard Australia Post fitout of the retail area, including the closing off of the ground floor northern entry. Repainted (CHL, 2011).
Further information: The air conditioning units at the rear of the building on the first floor are minor intrusive elements, detracting from the overall appearance of the post office.

Generally, Kiama Post Office is in very good condition externally and internally.

The archaeological potential of the site is high, due to the open plan of the rear of the site, which may contain remnants related to early buildings and early uses of the site. As the site is located along the foreshore, it may also contain resources associated with Aboriginal occupation of the area.
Current use: Post office
Former use: Aboriginal land, farm, Post office and residence

History

Historical notes: Background
The first official postal service in Australia was established in April 1809, when the Sydney merchant Isaac Nichols was appointed as the first Postmaster in the colony of NSW. Prior to this, mail had been distributed directly by the captain of the ship on which the mail arrived, however this system was neither reliable nor secure.

In 1825 the colonial administration was empowered to establish a Postmaster General's Department, which had previously been administered from Britain.

In 1828 the first post offices outside of Sydney were established, with offices in Bathurst, Campbelltown, Parramatta, Liverpool, Newcastle, Penrith and Windsor. By 1839 there were forty post offices in the colony, with more opened as settlement spread. During the 1860s, the advance of postal services was further increased as the railway network began to be established throughout NSW. In 1863 the Postmaster General WH Christie noted that accommodation facilities for Postmasters in some post offices was quite limited, and stated that it was a matter of importance that 'post masters should reside and sleep under the same roof as the office'.

The first telegraph line was opened in Victoria in March 1854 and in NSW in 1858. The NSW colonial government constructed two lines from the GPO, one to the South Head Signal Station, the other to Liverpool. Development was slow in NSW compared to the other states, with the Government concentrating on the development of country offices before suburban ones. As the line spread, however, telegraph offices were built to accommodate the operators. Unlike the Post Office, the telegraph office needed specialised equipment and could not be easily accommodated in a local store or private residence. Post and telegraph offices operated separately until 1870 when the departments were amalgamated, after which time new offices were built to include both postal and telegraph services. In 1881 the first telephone exchange was opened in Sydney, three years after the first tests in Adelaide. As with the telegraph, the telephone system soon began to extend into country areas, with telephone exchanges appearing in country NSW from the late 1880s onwards. Again the Post Office was responsible for the public telephone exchange, further emphasising its place in the community as a provider of communications services.

The appointment of James Barnet as Acting Colonial Architect in 1862 coincided with a considerable increase in funding to the public works program. Between 1865 and 1890 the Colonial Architect's Office was responsible for the building and maintenance of 169 Post Offices and telegraph offices in NSW. The post offices constructed during this period featured in a variety of architectural styles, as Barnet argued that the local parliamentary representatives always preferred 'different patterns'.

The construction of new post offices continued throughout the Depression years under the leadership of Walter Liberty Vernon, who held office from 1890 to 1911. While twenty-seven post offices were built between 1892 and 1895, funding to the Government Architect's Office was cut from 1893 to 1895, causing Vernon to postpone a number of projects.

Following Federation in 1901, the Commonwealth Government took over responsibility for post, telegraph and telephone offices, with the Department of Home Affairs Works Division being made responsible for post office construction. In 1916 construction was transferred to the Department of Works and Railways, with the Department of the Interior responsible during World War II.

On 22 December 1975, the Postmaster General's Department was abolished and replaced by the Post and Telecommunications Department. This was the creation of Telecom and Australia Post. In 1989, the Australian Postal Corporation Act established Australia Post as a self-funding entity, heralding a new direction in property management, including a move away from the larger more traditional buildings towards smaller shop-front style post offices.

For much of its history, the post office has been responsible for a wide variety of community services including mail distribution, an agency for the Commonwealth Savings Bank, electoral enrolments, and the provision of telegraph and telephone services. The town post office has served as a focal point for the community, most often built in a prominent position in the centre of town close to other public buildings, creating a nucleus of civic buildings and community pride.

District history:
The first recorded reference to the district was by George Bass who anchored his 28ft whaleboat in the sheltered bay (now known as Kiama Harbour) in December 1797. Cedar getters were the first to the area, among those was David Smith, who became the first permanent white settler when he built a residence in Kiama in 1832.

The site of Kiama Township was reserved by the Government in 1826 and proclaimed in 1836. Kiama was proclaimed a Municipality in 1859.

In the 1870s the dairying industry was supplemented by basalt (blue metal) quarrying, now one of the district's major income earners alongside tourism.

Kiama Railway station opened in 1893 as part of the first completed stage of the Kiama to Jervis Bay Railway which terminated at Bomaderry (Nowra).

Downtown (Collins Street) history:
Much of this land was bought by William Geoghagen. In 1867 when he bought his first parcel his occupation was given as wharfinger. He later built the terraces facing Collins Street and sold land to the Temperance Hall, now the Masonic Lodge. It is probable that he built No.5 Collins Lane in the 1880s as his home.

The oldest building of the group is the Masonic Temple (1870s).

Nos 42-44 Collins Street was built in the late 1870s to house quarry workers. The terrace No.s 24-40 Collins Street was built in stages during the 1880s. No. 24 was originally an inn, with 26 the inn-keeper's residence; No.s 28-38 housed quarry workers, and No. 40 was originally a post office.

The stone crushing industry began in Kiama in 1871 and by 1880 the Bombo quarry (north of Kiama) was operating.

The Depression and World War II caused the decline and closure of most of the quarries (NTA (NSW) Precinct Classification card, 1984).

Kiama Post Office
The earliest record of a postal service to Kiama is a reference to a letter from the Colonial Secretary dated 10 May 1840 referring to Mr Alexander Wilson's letter proposing a post office for Kiama. Prior to this, mail was bought via steamer from Sydney, as circumstances permitted, or overland to Wollongong once a week from 1832. The Colonial Secretary informed Mr Wilson that the Post Master General, James Raymond, would bring forward a proposal for Kiama in the arrangements of 1841.

Kiama's first post office opened on 1 January 1841, 13 years after the first offices outside of Sydney had been established, making it one of the oldest post services in the state. The first postmaster was George Hindmarsh who held the position until 1844. The mail contract between Campbelltown and Wollongong was held by Ben Rixon who delivered to Wollongong once per week. By 1848 the Campbelltown to Wollongong service ran daily via Appin and Dapto, with an extension between Dapto, Kiama and Shoalhaven twice a week. By 1856 a steamer delivered the mail three times per week to Kiama.

The telegraph line was extended to Kiama in 1862, with the Telegraph Office opening in a rented premises separate to the Post Office. The Station Master was William Camper whose yearly salary was (Pounds)150, over four times the salary of the Postmaster Thomas Fuller. At the time it was deemed that the telegraph master's job required greater technical skill, and so deserved a higher salary to reflect this.

In 1868 Kiama post office was embroiled in a dispute between Postmaster Fuller and the local residents. In April 1868, the PMG received a letter from a Selina C Cooper of Hartwell House, Kiama, complaining about Fuller and an apparent delay in the delivery of letters to residents. The letter expressed a general dissatisfaction with Fuller from the people of Kiama and called for an inquiry into his running of the post office. An investigation by the Superintendent of the Mail Branch found no evidence of the claims against Fuller and the matter was thought to be over. In May 1868 a second letter of complaint was received regarding Fuller, this time from local doctor, Doctor Nolan. Another was then received from a Mr Budd, of the Free Trade Stores, which in turn referred to further complaints from within the town. Following these, the Secretary at the GPO instructed Inspector Moyse to visit Kiama and report on the growing controversy. Moyse arrived in Kiama on 5 May 1868 and began to first interview those who had complained, then postmaster Fuller.

Moyse filed a report on his return to Goulburn in which he stated that it appeared that 'Mr Fuller is much too independent in his manners for the position he holds, does not treat the inhabitants generally with the courtesy which is due from an official to the public, his office joins his brother's store (and) it is thought that Mr Fuller the storekeeper is at times in possession of information not participated in by other storekeepers'. Moyse recommended that the post office be transferred to the telegraph office under the direction of the Telegraph master John Tyter and his wife Agnes. In 1867 the telegraph office had come under the ministerial control of the PMG, but amalgamation of the two offices did not commence until 1870. Following Moyse's report, the PMG moved the post office to the telegraph office with Agnes Tyter appointed as postmistress from 1 July 1868.

In 1870 Agnes Tyter resigned as postmistress due to poor health and was replaced by her husband John, who became both post and telegraph master. Initially the office was located in a cottage in Shoalhaven Street, after which it was transferred to the Council Chambers.

In July 1874, John Stewart, MP made a representation on behalf of the residents of Kiama to the Parliament for an official post office building in the town. As a result, (Pounds)1500 was placed on the Estimates for 1875 and the search for a site began. The site selected for the new office was at the corner of Manning and Terralong Streets, which was part of the site reserved for the Town Hall, a point which had caused some delay in the site selection. The first suggestion for the new office was that it be based on the same design as the office in Carcoar that had cost (Pounds)1500. This was approved by the Postmaster general, J.T. Burns. On 19 February 1877, James Barnet the Colonial Architect, forwarded a plan for an office estimated to cost (Pounds)3000, a cost that was questioned by both the Secretary for the GPO and the Electric Telegraph Department, but was nonetheless approved by the Postmaster General Saul Samuel.

The Kiama post office was Barnet's first essay in public Italianate (style) for post offices, and one of the earliest, if not the earliest, examples of an integrated corner clock tower into a NSW post office design (CHL, statement of significance (part), 2011).

On 9 July 1877, a further (Pounds)1700 was added to the estimates for the new building with the call for tenders being made in October. On 2 January 1878 the tender was awarded to W.R. Vaughan for (Pounds)3300. Tenders were called 4/12/1877 and the building completed, at a cost of (Pounds)3,300, on 13 December 1878. On 17 December 1878 a further (Pounds)225.12.0 was requested for the erection of fencing, gates and other works for the office. On 12 January 1879 Postal Inspector Davies forwarded another list of required fittings, which was referred to the Colonial Architect. Davies reported again in April on the building stating that arrangements for posting letters in the new building were unsafe, and that there was no provision to transact money orders or Government Savings Bank business.

By December 1879 the new building was still unoccupied despite having been completed for over a year. On 6 January 1880 the Postmaster Mr Tyter advised that he was preparing to occupy the building, but that the Telegraph arrangements were still not complete. He was ordered to occupy the building in any case, and the office opened for business on 19 January 1880.

Throughout 1880, Postmaster Tyter kept up a correspondence with the department requesting a number of additional fittings to the office, including a stable and shed for storage, a 400 gallon water tank and extra lighting under the colonnade to light the post boxes at night. In September 1881, Tyter requested that a bathroom and wash house also be erected, an item that was not considered essential for official residences at the time. The request provoked the Secretary to prepare a lengthy minute in which the apparent extra expenses that had been incurred on the Kiama office were listed. It was noted that the combined postal and telegraph revenue for Kiama was only (Pounds)800 per annum and it was recommended that no further expenditure be approved beyond that already agreed to. It was not until April 1900 that approval for the erection of a wash house was given.

In December 1895 John Tyter retired as Postmaster of Kiama after 25 years service. Luke Kingsmill, then Postmaster at Forbes, who had specifically requested the position replaced Tyter as Postmaster. Tyter was granted a pension of (Pounds)151.5.0 per year by the Department from 1 February 1896. He died in October 1897 at the age of 62.

The small size of Kiama created some problems for the office through the 1890s as a number of staff were transferred away. Following complaints from local residents, the post office and local press, an inquiry was held in 1898. The investigation found no reason to increase the staff at the office, adding that with proper management the staff problems could be resolved internally.

In 1905 the Progress Association requested that a counter be provided for the transaction of business as the public were still being served via a delivery window. A cedar counter and writing slope were provided shortly afterwards. In 1911 the telephone exchange was opened at Kiama with a daytime-only service being provided. A full service was introduced from May 1914.

Little remains in way of detail for any work carried out at Kiama after this date, although it appears that no significant external work has been carried out. Renovations in 1978 saw three downstairs rooms of the Postmasters residence absorbed for office use, with the residence being confined to the upstairs portion of the office.

The exterior of Kiama Post Office was repainted from a white wash finish to the current colour scheme in the mid-1990s.

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. Cultural - Coasts and coastal features supporting human activities-
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 Post Office-
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 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 Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Significant Places: How are significant places marked in the landscape of Parramatta by, or for, different groups?-Monuments and Sites
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 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. Architectural design-
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. Adapted heritage building or structure-
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 Changing land uses - from rural to tourist-
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 Townships-
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 Changing land uses - from rural to suburban-
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 19th century suburban developments-
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 Subdivision of urban estates-
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-
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 Shaping coastal settlement-
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 Evolution of railway towns-
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 Impacts of railways on rural development-
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 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 Creation of railway towns-
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 Planning relationships between key structures and town plans-
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 suburbia-
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-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working in offices-
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 - facilitating telecommunications-
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 - providing postal services-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Interior design styles and periods - Victorian-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Architectural styles and periods - Victorian Italianate-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Adaptation of overseas design for local use-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Landscaping - Victorian period-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Designing structures to emphasise their important roles-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Building in response to climate - verandahs-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ways of life 1900-1950-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ways of life 1950-2000-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ways of life 1850-1900-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Developing local clubs and meeting places-
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-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Kiama Post Office is associated with the first post office established in the town in 1841, and as such is linked with the early development of the town. The current Kiama Post Office has been the centre of communications in the town for over a century. It is also the earliest surviving use of the corner clock tower as a design element in NSW. Kiama Post Office reflects the growing population and demands for improved mail and telegraph services in the area and provides evidence of the changing nature of postal and telecommunications practices in NSW. Kiama Post Office was designed by the NSW Colonial Architect’s Office under James Barnet, a key practitioner of the Victorian Italianate style of architecture.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Kiama Post Office is aesthetically significant because it is a particularly fine example of the Victorian Italianate style. It is distinguished by the use of Tuscan elements that include the slender column pilasters, which flank the first floor windows.

The scale, architectural style and location of the building, along with the prominent corner clock tower, also make it a focal point of Kiama, endowing it with landmark qualities. It is part of a strong civic group of buildings that includes the Court House, Police Station and residence.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
As a local landmark and the centre of communications for the town for over a century, Kiama Post Office is considered to be highly significant to the Kiama community’s sense of place.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The archaeological potential of the site is considered to be high, due to the open plan of the rear of the site, which may contain remnants related to early buildings and early uses of the site. As the site is located along the foreshore, it may also contain resources associated with Aboriginal occupation of the area.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Kiama Post Office is a substantial and picturesque example of the Victorian Italianate architectural style in NSW. It is also the earliest surviving use of the corner clock tower as a design element in NSW.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Kiama Post Office is part of the large group of nineteenth-century post offices in NSW designed by the Colonial Architect’s Office under James Barnet, which designed and maintained a large number of post offices across NSW between 1865 and 1890.
Integrity/Intactness: Kiama Post Office is substantially intact to its original form, and retains the features which make it culturally significant, including the prominent corner tower, Tuscan detailing and arcade, along with its overall style, scale and location.
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:

Recommendations

Management CategoryDescriptionDate Updated
Recommended ManagementProduce a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) 
Recommended ManagementPrepare a maintenance schedule or guidelines 
Recommended ManagementCarry out interpretation, promotion and/or education 

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 0142622 Dec 00 16813883
Regional Environmental PlanIllawarra REP no. 1 11 Apr 86   
Local Environmental PlanKiama LEP 1996199619 Jul 96   
National Trust of Australia register Post Office And Outbuilding Including Grounds (par325914 Apr 80   
Commonwealth Heritage ListKiama Post Office10550808 Nov 11   
Register of the National EstateKiama Post Office151821 Mar 78   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Australia Post Historic Properties Survey - NSW1989 Andrew Ward & Associates and Clive Lucas Stapleton & Associates  No
Australia Post - Assessment of 24 Post Office2000 Godden Mackay Logan Pty LtdJennifer Armstrong Yes
Illawarra Regional Heritage Study Review1993 Perumal Murphy Wu  No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenApperly, Irving and Reynolds1989A Pictorial Guide to Identifying Australian Architecture
WrittenAustralia Post Historical Officer Kiama Post Office
WrittenBridges and McDonald1988James Barnet Colonial Architect
WrittenDavid Sheedy1980National Trust Classification Listing Card - Kiama Government Building Group
WrittenJohnson, Chris and Kohane, Peter2000James Barnet (colonial architect)
WrittenSavills2005APPD Property Valuation Report
TourismSydney Morning Herald2007Kiama Post Office View detail
TourismVisit NSW2007Kiama Post Office View detail

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: 5051275
File number: H00/00203


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