General Post Office, Sydney – Fact sheet 189

General Post Office - Sydney
General Post Office Sydney - approximately 1890 (C4078, N1097)

The original section of the General Post Office (GPO) Sydney was erected at the George Street end of the existing Martin Place site. The building was designed by New South Wales colonial architect James Barnet. Opened in 1874, it replaced an earlier building on the same site that the postal service had occupied since 1830. With constant extensions and renovations the GPO building functioned as the centre of the New South Wales postal system until 1996.

Records relating to the Sydney GPO

The National Archives in Sydney holds a wide range of records relating to the Sydney GPO and the operations that occurred within its walls. These include many thousands of photographs, a range of architectural plans and drawings (including original hand-coloured plans signed by James Barnet and an extension proposal by Walter Burley Griffin), and a range of correspondence files relating to the history of the building, its management and maintenance. Examples of these records are included in the table below.

The development of the Sydney GPO led to the conscious remodelling of the surrounding area. Records in series C3994 detail the resumption of the entire side of an opposite block and the development of the precinct in a style that was sympathetic to the GPO. St Martin's lane became Martin Place – lined with the GPO and new suitably statuesque buildings, it became an important public space in Sydney.

Records of Sydney GPO

Photographic records

Correspondence files

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
SeriesTitle documents regarding ownership of GPO site1804–89SP1307/1
SeriesPost Office historical files1850–1988C3994
ItemPlans, correspondence, etc, re development of Martin Place c.1885–19001879–1953C3994, 22/8
ItemBooklet to 1874 opening of new GPO1874–1960C3994, 25
ItemSydney GPO carvings1878–84C3994, 26
SeriesGPO, Sydney building specifications1879–1985C4017
SeriesPMG building files1908–57SP366/1
SeriesProperty files1909–48SP351/1
ItemHoffnung's building – lease 1938–39SP351/1, CL3586
SeriesInspection/Buildings Branch correspondence files1913–50SP305/1
SeriesWorks and Services – property acquisition files1913–69SP857/1
ItemGPO Sydney1945–73SP857/1, PA/968
SeriesWorks and Services – property acquisition files1914–58SP857/2
ItemGPO Sydney – lease of adjoining property to John Sands Pty Ltd1914–58SP857/2, PA1940/163
ItemGPO – aquisition of adjoining property (Hoffnung's Chambers) and remodellling of GPO1923–39SP857/2, PA/138
SeriesPost Office personality files1955–88C3641
ItemWalter Burley Griffin's involvement with the GPO1970C3641, GRIFFIN WB
SeriesCorrespondence files of the Chief Property Officer1920–51SP228/1
ItemAcquisition of easement for the construction of a tunnel connecting GPO and Commonwealth Bank1939–48SP228/1, CL10196
SeriesCorrespondence files of the Chief Property Officer1936–47SP246/2
ItemParliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works (re land titles surrounding GPO)1911–21SP246/2, NL/223
SeriesPMG building files1940–45SP1411/3
SeriesSpecifications – Director of Works, NSW1947–53SP277/1
SeriesAccommodation files re GPO and postal buildings1962–75SP1856/1
ItemAdministrative accommodation – GPO reconstruction1965–70SP1856/1, TW1041/1 part 1
SeriesCorrespondence files – accommodation and site redevelopment1962SP1856/2
SeriesExhibition material (includes photographic copies of some items from SP1307/1)1983–C3623

1939 Royal Commission into Sydney GPO

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
SeriesTranscripts of evidence, exhibits and report of the Royal Commission1939SP971/2

For more information

For information on the Archives holdings of similar records see:

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