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 Haymarket Post Office in George Street, Sydney was built in 1927 to the design of Henderson and George Oakeshott . It is listed on the NSW Heritage Register. The Heritage Council considers that “It is a fine example of the Interwar Free Classical style and is believed to be the only example of this style applied to a post office. E. Henderson’s use of the classical proportions, massing, feature arches, bronze panelling and cast iron grilles is a fine interpretation of the architectural style.”
The Listing states that the Post Office is “of State significance as the only substantial post office built in the Inter-war period in the inner city area of Sydney”. The Sydney GPO Extension was actually finished during the war, and was primarily a telephone exchange.
The Heritage Listing provides useful information:
The Commonwealth had been seeking land for a post office in the Haymarket area since 1909. No offers were forthcoming from notices in the Commonwealth Gazette and so 633-635 George Street was resumed by the Commonwealth of Australia under the Lands Acquisition Act of 1906 in 1912. The three shops on the site continued to operate, with various tenants, until they were demolished in 1926.
Plans for the new post office were drawn up in 1924 by Henderson, but underwent some modifications so construction did not begin until 1927. George Oakeshott was the NSW works director Henderson the supervising architect. The builder was H.W. Thompson Ltd. The post office opened in 1928, managed by postmaster Mr J.F. Fountain.
The former Post Office is a five story building in the Interwar Free Classical Style. The faade is divided into three bays and includes rectangular portals around the ground floor entries. The windows on the first, second and third floors are recessed into arches. A bronze spandrels separate the second and third floors, while the third and fourth are separated by a cornice. The windows are formed of steel casements with hopper toplights. The flat roof is interrupted by a large lightwell on the south side, which originally provided light to the ground floor postal hall and still gives light to the upper floors.
The internal arrangements allow for public space on the ground floor with offices on the first, second and third floor. The fourth floor is occupied by a small flat. The lift is located in the northeast corner of the building and is encircled by a terrazzo stair case. Storage is provided for in a small basement, lit by concrete framed pavement light.
The building is constructed of reinforced concrete and exposed concrete beams. The original steel windows are still extant, as are many of the polished timber high waisted doors. The decorative wall render survives in places, but the original marble finishes and most of the original joinery has been removed.
image source: NSW Heritage Department