Sunday History Photo / NSW

Submitted: Sunday, Aug 31, 2014 at 08:56
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The original section of the General Post Office (GPO) Sydney was erected at the George Street end of the existing Martin Place site. The building was designed by New South Wales colonial architect James Barnet. Opened in 1874, it replaced an earlier building on the same site that the postal service had occupied since 1830. With constant extensions and renovations the GPO building functioned as the centre of the New South Wales postal system until 1996.




(James Barnet born the son of a builder, Barnet was educated at the local high school. In 1843, at the age of sixteen, Barnet moved to London, where he became a builder's apprentice, studying drawing under William Dyce RA and architecture with CJ Richardson FRIBA. He then became of clerk of works with the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers. In 1854 he married and sailed for Sydney, Australia, with his new wife, Rosa. In Sydney, he worked first as a builder for Edmund Blacket, then became Clerk of Works at the University of Sydney. In 1860, he joined the Colonial Architect's Office. In 1862, he was acting head of the office; in 1865, he was promoted to the post of Colonial Architect. He held that position for twenty-five years until the Office was reorganised in 1890. Barnet died in 1904 and is buried in the Presbyterian section of Rookwood Cemetery. His wife had died in 1890. He was survived by four daughters and three sons, two of whom also practiced as architects)



Barnet's building features a neo-classical sandstone facade, with a colonnade running around the building at street level. Each arch of the colonnade features a carved face on the keystone (representing many parts of the British Empire and other foreign lands), and spandrel figures, whose comical references to real-life personalities (including Barnet himself) caused a controversy at the time of construction. At the centre of its 100-metre Martin Place facade is a white marble statuory group, featuring Queen Victoria flanked by allegorical figures. Above this stands the clocktower.
Designed by colonial architect James Barnet, the building was constructed in stages from 1866 to 1891. (The former GPO was demolished in 1862 but one of its six columns still stands in Mount Street Plaza, North Sydney, Another can be found off Bradleys Head, Mosman.
The General Post Office is a landmark building in Sydney, Australia. It is located at the western end of Martin Place (No. 1 Martin Place), between George and Pitt Streets. The main facade stretches some 100 metres down Martin Place. In 1996, as part of the disbursement of Australia Post assets by the Federal Government of Australia, the building was sold to private owners. It was subsequently refurbished and now houses shops, restaurants, hotel rooms, and the lobby of two adjoining tower blocks.
The clock tower was demolished in 1942 to reduce the visibility of the GPO in case of an air attack on Sydney. It was rebuilt in 1964.





This building was the headquarters of the NSW postal system until 1996, when it was sold and refurbished. The building now contains shops, cafes, restaurants, and bars. The Westin hotel and Macquarie Bank office towers stand in the former courtyard, now converted into an atrium. Australia Post maintains a presence in the form of a "Post Shop" at the corner of Martin Place and George Street.



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Reply By: Member -Pinko (NSW) - Sunday, Aug 31, 2014 at 10:03

Sunday, Aug 31, 2014 at 10:03
Hi Doug
Another good story.
Who could build a building like that now ?
Cheers
Stan
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Follow Up By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Sunday, Aug 31, 2014 at 10:10

Sunday, Aug 31, 2014 at 10:10
I was only thinking the same when I uploaded the photo's, todays buildings don't have much character.

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Reply By: kevmac....(WA) - Sunday, Aug 31, 2014 at 11:47

Sunday, Aug 31, 2014 at 11:47
Top job yet again Doug. I always look forward to your stories.
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