Adelaide General Post Office

Adelaide General Post Office

The Adelaide General Post Office building was the result of an architectural competition won in 1866 by local architects Edmund Wright and Edward Woods. Their design was subsequently modified and the freestone classical building was opened in 1872 with great celebration. It played a significant role in receiving the first message along the Overland Telegraph Line in 1872. The General Post Office clock tower is named the Victoria Tower and was the tallest building in Adelaide into the twentieth century. It was a significant public building for Adelaide when it was built and continues to function as a post office and a city landmark over 140 years later.

The Adelaide General Post Office replaced an earlier and much smaller post office building which had been built in 1851 and stood on a site to the north of the current site on King William Street. When it was no longer able to fulfil the functions as required, an architectural competition was held for a new General Post and Telegraph Office on the site on the corner of King William Street and Franklin Street. The winning design by architects Edmund Wright and Edward Woods was announced in April 1866 (‘The General Post Office and Telegraph Station’, 1866, 3.). However Wright and Woods were asked to alter their winning design and the final building was also influenced by Edward Hamilton, as well as Robert Thomas who had submitted the second placed design. Hamilton became a partner in the Wright and Woods practice not long after, and Thomas was made the Colonial Architect and superintended the work, in which role he reduced the final height of the clock tower. The style chosen for the General Post Office was one which was echoed across Australia, as‘[m]onumental Italianate became the dominant mode in Australian post-offices between the late 1850s and the 1880s.