I would imagine that nothing would have been more important to people living in the little villages that started to pop up around early Brisbane Town than their local post office. Mail was the only way of keeping in contact with friends and relatives, whether on the other side of Brisbane or the other side of the world. Post offices were also the main interface for government services such as pension payments. And there was always the telegraph for urgent messages. Consequently, post office buildings were carefully planned and built. One of the most ornate is the post office pictured below, which was constructed in 1887 at Fortitude Valley. It was designed in Victorian Italianate style by the Colonial Architect's office (either JJ Clarke or George Connelly) and built by William Ferguson. The photo is from 1907.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #65339)
As we saw in the South Brisbane Post Office building, the design allowed for post office business to be conducted on the ground floor, whilst the postmaster and his family lived upstairs. This post office was one of the few masonry post office buildings - many others of the period were constructed from timber. By the time the Fortitude Valley Post Office was built, the Valley was a thriving commercial area centred on the Brunswick St and Wickham St intersection, just north of the main Brisbane township. There was some disappointment that the post office was to be situated right down Ann St at Ballow St, as many of the Valley's merchants wanted it to be closer to them. In 1929, it was noted that this post office was the second-highest distributor of pension payments in the country.
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)
As with its South Brisbane counterpart, the building is no longer a post office. It has been refitted as a hotel/nightclub called GPO. Although the original mansard roof was removed around the time of WWII, the building retains its old-world charm. It is pictured above, showing the Ballow St side of the building.
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