Richard Lewis

Richard Lewis


    Heritage listing for historic Fremantle Post Office

    10/06/1995 12:00 AM



    Fremantle's historic post office has been placed on the State Register of Heritage Places.


    Heritage Minister Richard Lewis announced today that the Fremantle Post Office, which opened in 1907, had been listed on an interim basis following a recommendation from the Heritage Council of Western Australia.


    "The building, in both its size and prominent position, demonstrates the importance of postal and telegraphic services in Fremantle in the early 1900s," Mr Lewis said.


    "The post office makes a major contribution to the streetscape of Market Street and along with the Fremantle Railway Station forms an historic gateway to the west end of the Port City."


    Fremantle was the first town to have an official post office in Western Australia.


    It was located on the Marquis of Anglesea wreck which had been salvaged and refurbished as offices leased by the Government.


    Captain Daniel Scott, the Assistant Harbour Master in Fremantle, had been appointed the first post master for the Swan River Colony in December 1829.


    After mid-1830, the postal service was entrusted to a succession of local merchants and it was not until 1879 that a full-time post master was appointed to run the service from a residence in South Terrace which was later known as Marmion House.


    By 1889, postal business had grown so rapidly that the Colonial Government provided the new two-storey Commissariat building on the corner of Cliff and Croke Streets to serve the expanding business and residential areas of Fremantle.


    The Minister said Fremantle prospered and grew as a result of the gold boom and a substantial number of new buildings had been constructed.


    "Following the opening of the inner harbour in 1897, Fremantle replaced Albany as the State's principal port," Mr Lewis said.


    "A new larger post office in a prominent location was needed and the Market Street site adjacent to the new railway station, the inner harbour wharf and west end commercial offices was available."


    The tender for construction of the post office was let in September 1906 for £7926 to the design of Hillson Beasley, the chief architect of the Public Works Department, who also designed South Perth Police Station, Perth Modern School and Fremantle Technical School.


    The post office is a three-storey brick and stucco building in the Federation Free Style.


    Mr Lewis said the building was restored in 1983 in celebration of the America Cup victory.  However, this did not include any structural alterations.


    "Apart from the loss of the original curved postal counter the building is substantially original," he said.


    Media contact: Bronwyn Hillman  222 9595, 221 1377