Edwin Hubert Henderson Architect

This site is dedicated to the life and work of Edwin Hubert Henderson, architect (1885-1939). Henderson was Chief Architect of the Commonwealth of Australia from 1929-1939.

The Sydney GPO Extension

GPO Extension

The Sydney GPO on the corner of Martin Place and Pitt St is an iconic piece of architecture.  The proposed extension was required because the existing building was at capacity.  In 1935 the Post Master General’s Department (PMG) sought Cabinet approval for an extension.  Cabinet authorised the compulsory acquisition of the adjoining Hoffnung Building in 1938.  On 24 January 1939 the Prime Minister, Mr Menzies, approved the calling of tenders, which closed on 15 March 1939.

Henderson, as Chief Architect, had decided on a modern building for the extension, despite the heritage nature of the original building.  This view was shared by PMG officials.  The building was to be 13 stories high and cost 400,000 pounds, one of the largest public works contracts issued during the 1930s.  Henderson’s design called for black granite on the bottom of the building with the remaining stories faced in terracotta.  The tender was, however, issued for either terracotta or sandstone (the material of the original GPO).  It was this difference that was the genesis of the difficulties to come…..

2 comments on “The Sydney GPO Extension

  1. Natica
    November 7, 2017

    Thanks for posting a picture of the 1939-42 GPO Extension. I agree that it was a very sad story, especially as Henderson was posthumously cleared of any wrong-doing by the Royal Commission.
    Your post indicates that the Extension is still standing, but I cannot find it (via Google Streetview) at the corner of Pitt Street and Martin Place. Can you provide a more precise address?


    • midcenturymatters
      November 8, 2017

      Hi Natica, the Extension has been demolished. It is now been replaced by a non-descript office tower adjoining the old GPO in Pitt Street


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This entry was posted on June 14, 2015 by in GPO Inquiry.


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