Thursday, October 6, 2016

T150 – Townsville Past & Present: Architecture in Townsville – Townsville Post Office

Skip into the Mabo Library during the last days of the T150 "Architecture in Townsville" display and see a rare and fragile plan relating to the historical Townsville Post Office.  Read on to learn more about this iconic building.

Townsville Post Office
For over 100 years the Post Office has been a Townsville landmark. It was designed by John James Clark, Queensland Colonial Architect. Tenders were called in December 1885 with Dennis Kelleher’s, for £8,197, being accepted. The building, erected in stages between 1886 and 1889, included a public space and a residence for the Postmaster.
Townsville Post Office in Flinders Street.  c. 1910. Townsville Albums, NQ Photographic Collection, NQID 4505.
The residence provided for the Postmaster was considered quite ‘palatial’ at the time and drew criticism from local orators who used to meet outside at the corner of Flinders and Denham Streets to give fiery speeches to crowds of working men. Questions were raised as to ‘why the glorified civil servants should be provided with such accommodation, whilst the wives and families of the orators had to put up with humble residences in South Townsville or any of the other distant suburbs’.
Item from the Townsville Post Office Plans Archive, JCU Library Special Collections.
The chimes for the clock were imported from England and installed in 1891. During World War II the clock tower was dismantled to protect it from possible enemy bombing. A new clock tower was added in 1963-64.

In 2001 the building was converted for use as a boutique Brewery, bar and restaurant.

Sources
Fielding, Trisha, “North Queensland History blog.”
Queensland Heritage Listing.
Townsville Daily Bulletin, 18 June 1927.
Various North Queensland newspapers accessed via Trove Digitised Newspapers service.

- Ms Jean Dartnall and Dr Alan Dartnall

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