Buildings are more than just a combination of materials put together to provide shelter. Just like the people who utilise them buildings change over time, adapting to new trends, needs and developments in technology. The former Newcastle Post Office has done just that.
Since its official opening in 1903 it has undergone many (mostly internal) alterations in response to the evolving postal service. The internal floor layout frequently changed to accommodate the delivery of letters and parcels, then telegrams and telephones until developments in communication technology meant that a much smaller premises could be utilised. The postal service relocated and the building sat dormant for nearly 20 years.
In 2018 the building was acquired by the current owner and a significant remediation effort was completed, making the building safe for the next chapter in its history. Earlier this year, a DA was submitted to City of Newcastle for a proposed change of use to an art gallery, cafes, retail uses and a function centre. The proposal will again enable the former Post Office to adapt to new trends, needs and technology: the stables that originally accommodated the postal service’s horses will be replaced by a kitchen to service the function centre and the postal chamber will house shops and a café. A lower ground floor gallery will showcase the arts and culture of Newcastle’s original occupants – the Awabakal people. But some things will remain the same – this iconic curation of materials that we call the former Newcastle Post Office will continue to stand proud as one of Newcastle’s most significant buildings. de Witt Consulting is pleased to be involved in this stage of its history.