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Old Albany Post Office


City of Albany

Place Number

There no heritage location found in the Google fusion table.


33 Stirling Tce Albany

Location Details

Other Name(s)

Custom's House
Penny Post

Local Government



Great Southern

Construction Date

Constructed from 1896, Constructed from 1868

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents More information
Heritage List Adopted 27 Oct 2020
State Register Registered 09 Jul 1993 Register Entry
Heritage Council

Heritage Council Decisions and Deliberations

Type Status Date Documents
(no listings)

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management More information
Category Description
Albany Maritime Heritage Survey YES 31 Dec 1994

Heritage Council
Register of the National Estate Permanent 21 Mar 1978

Heritage Council
Classified by the National Trust Classified 04 Apr 1977

Heritage Council
Municipal Inventory Adopted 30 Jun 2001 Category A+

Category A+

• Already recognised at the highest level – the WA State Register of Heritage Places. Redevelopment requires consultation with the Heritage Council of WA and the City of Albany. • Provide maximum encouragement to the owner under the City of Albany Town Planning Scheme to conserve the significance of the place. • Incentives to promote heritage conservation should be considered.

Local Heritage Survey Adopted 27 Oct 2020 Exceptional


Essential to the heritage of the locality. Rare or outstanding example.

Statement of Significance

Old Albany Post Office
The Old Post Office has cultural heritage significance for the following reasons:
It was the base station of the intercolonial telegraph of 1875, linking Western Australia with Adelaide, thence with the rest of the world.
It is one of Albany’s most interesting buildings architecturally and historically.
It was originally used as customs house, post office, telegraph office, sometimes for local government meetings, theatrical performances, debates, lectures, concerts, socials and even church services.
It also makes a valuable contribution to the townscape and foreshore setting located as it is in Stirling Terrace.

Stirling Terrace Precinct
Stirling Terrace Precinct, a predominantly late Victorian and Federation period townscape set along a segmented crescent plan overlooking Princess Royal Harbour, Albany and containing a diverse range of building types and styles, has cultural heritage significance for the following reasons:
the historic precinct is a fine and relatively intact example of a late nineteenth century and early twentieth century townscape, dating primarily from 1867 to 1915, demonstrating a range of activities and support infrastructure associated with the foundation and development of a prominent nineteenth century town;
the historic precinct is rare as a prominently located townscape with a town plan dating from the foundation of the settlement with a set of finely designed Victorian and Federation period buildings;
as the original commercial heart of the town, the historic precinct was an important part of the development of the region and the State to varying degrees from the 1830s until World War One when Albany was a prominent town in the Colony and Australia, due to its role as the Colony’s coal depot for the international mail and passenger service, which linked Europe to the eastern colonies. This role was expanded with the addition of regional railways and interstate telegraph links;
viewed from the harbour and from the western approaches to the town, the historic precinct as a whole is a landmark, strengthened by the strong vertical accents of the Royal George Hotel and the former Post Office;
the historic precinct is highly valued by the local community for its aesthetic values and historic associations and, along with the defining topography of the Princess Royal Harbour, Mount Melville and Mount Clarence, is as one of the elements that contributes to the local community’s sense of place and to the identity of Albany; within the precinct, G.T. Poole’s designs for the Post Office and Court House demonstrate creative excellence and J.T. Hobbs’ design for the Sandover & Co store, which later became Drew Robinson & Co.’s store, at 108-110 Stirling Terrace makes innovative use of large plate glass windows;
the historic precinct includes buildings designed by prominent architects James Manning, Lt. General Sir J. T. Hobbs, J. Herbert Eales, and George T. Poole, and was historically the location of businesses founded and run by significant Albany and regional identities including Thomas Sherratt, Alexander Moir, John Robinson, Charles Drew, Frank Dymes, Edward Barnett, J.F.T. Hassell, and E.G. Everett.

Physical Description

The Old Post Office is located on Stirling Terrace at a prominent location at the centre of the original town. It is a three-storied brick and stone structure, with ornamental towers and gables. The roof was originally shingles then reclad in clay tiles and now in slate tiles. The clock tower and lower turret still have shingles. It has open verandahs at three levels on the south side and overlooks the foreshore and harbour. The building can be accessed from Stirling Terrace or from the foreshore area.

The interior of the Old Post Office is finished in cedar and the stairwell of Sydney bluestone is of particular note. Plans were made in 1998 to undertake restoration work internally and externally and upgrade the services.

Refer also to: Considine & Griffiths Architects in association with Kris Bizzaca, Stirling Terrace, Albany, Conservation Plan, October 2000.


Old Albany Post Office
The Old Albany Post Office is an imposing brick and tile building prominently located in Stirling Terrace. It was built in two stages as offices for State Government departments.

The first stage was designed by architect James Manning and used local materials. Construction began in 1867 and the building was occupied by December 1869. Building materials included granite from Mount Clarence, lime for cement from Limeburners Creek and sheoak shingles for roofing from the King River and Kalgan River areas. The building was originally used for a Court Room, Local Government Offices, Post Office, Customs on the second floor and a bonded warehouse on the bottom floor.

As an extension of its role in communications the building was used as the base station of the inter-colonial telegraph of 1875, linking Western Australia with Adelaide and therefore with the rest of the world.

In 1896, a tower designed by architect George Temple Poole was added. Construction of the tower was undertaken by contractors Tighe Brothers for a cost of £4500. Local architect Francis Bird supervised the project. Of particular note was the use of Sydney bluestone for the steps of the circular stairway. To accommodate the tower and addition, the verandah on the western elevation had to be removed. In 1901 the clock tower was raised 6 metres.

In 1925 the roof was reshingled. In 1949, the shingles were removed, apart from on the clock tower, and replaced with Marseilles tiles.

In 1964, the Post Office moved out of the building and the Commonwealth Government renovated it for use as an Employment Office and Taxation Department. By 1967, the building had become surplus to the Commonwealth Government needs and so the Albany Town Council purchased the building and on-leased it. It had a variety of uses from then on. Many community events were held at the Old Post Office including meetings, theatrical performances, debates, lectures, concerts, socials and church services. The building was for many years occupied by the Post Office Museum, a restaurant (The Penny Post) and a local Theatre group (Spectrum Theatre).

Since 1999, it has been home to the Albany Centre of the University of Western Australia. Spectrum Theatre still tenant the ground floor/basement. In c2010 a new University science building was constructed to the east in a sympathetic design to the historic building. In c2016 the south verandah was reconstructed and the terracotta tiles were removed and the roof reclad in slate tiles. The clock tower and lower turret still retain the timber shingles.

Stirling Terrace Precinct

Stirling Terrace is one of the City of Albany’s most significant heritage assets, both as a streetscape and as a collection of Victorian and Federation period buildings overlooking Princess Royal Harbour. Stirling Terrace is located in visually striking topography and its segmented crescent plan form remains basically as it was when first recorded by Surveyor Hillman in 1835. The mature trees and the harmonious architectural composition of diverse building types and styles provide additional visual interest.
Stirling Terrace was developed from the 1830s following the establishment of Albany as part of the Swan River colony, and was an important part of the development of the region and the State to varying degrees from the 1830s until World War One. The 1835 Hillman survey plan set the scene for the emergence of Stirling Terrace as the prime location in the town, with a rich variety of social, commercial, leisure, institutional and service functions. The majority of the built fabric which remains today was completed in the period 1867 to 1915. The buildings were designed by some of the State’s most eminent architects and many were built for prominent citizens and institutions.
Over the years the commercial focus of Albany has moved to York Street, with many institutions, such as banks and the post office relocating there. Free of substantial development pressure at a critical time, Stirling Terrace has managed to retain many of its historic structures and features. Viewed from the harbour, and from the western approach to the town, Stirling Terrace has a landmark quality as a whole.

Refer also to: Considine & Griffiths Architects in association with Kris Bizzaca, Stirling Terrace, Albany, Conservation Plan, October 2000.


Integrity: Moderate
Authenticity: High/Moderate




Name Type Year From Year To
George Temple-Poole Architect - -
James Manning Architect - -


Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
Heritage T ODA Y Site visit and Assessment 1999
Heritage Council of Western Australia Assessment for entry on Interim Basis 1992
Australian Heritage Commission
National Trust assessment

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
7163 Gryphon : journal of the Office of Facilities Management, April 2002, No. 25. : Off campus. Serial 2002
9731 Great Southern strategic plan for Maritime heritage tourism. The story of the sea in the South. Report 2010
8851 Albany waterfront structure plan. Heritage report, heritage impact study. Heritage Study {Other} 2007
9518 The Old Albany Post Office: retaining wall investigations. Heritage Study {Other} 2010
5546 Refurbishment of the Old Post Office Albany for Uni versity of Western Australia Albany Centre. Report 2001
7665 Design parameters for Stirling Terrace heritage areas. Heritage Study {Other} 2000
5038 Stirling Terrace, Albany : conservation plan. March 2001. Heritage Study {Cons'n Plan} 2001
328 Albany, Western Australia : the first hundred years, 1791-1891. Book 1992
7881 Albany: spectacular! Brochure 0
1941 Old Albany Post Office roof and front verandah restoration report. Heritage Study {Other} 1984
5388 Albany Post Office (fmr) : conservation plan. Heritage Study {Cons'n Plan} 2001

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


Epoch General Specific
Present Use COMMERCIAL Restaurant
Original Use GOVERNMENTAL Customs House\Bond Store
Present Use EDUCATIONAL Museum
Present Use SOCIAL\RECREATIONAL Theatre or Cinema
Original Use GOVERNMENTAL Courthouse
Original Use Transport\Communications Comms: Post or Telegraph Office

Architectural Styles

Victorian Free Gothic

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Wall STONE Other Stone
Wall BRICK Other Brick
Roof TILE Other Tile

Historic Themes

General Specific

Creation Date

30 May 1989

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

05 May 2022


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