The Former South Yarra Post Office is located on Toorak Road, on a restricted and precipitous site adjacent to the railway cutting. Designed in 1890 by Public Works Department architect, AJ MacDonald, and erected in 1892-3, the three-storey red brick structure combines basic American Romanesque characteristics with Scottish Baronial forms and Art Nouveau and Australian decorative motifs in an asymmetrical picturesque composition.
How is it significant?
The Former South Yarra Post Office is of architectural significance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
The Former South Yarra Post Office is of architectural significance as one of the most important buildings in the evolution of a uniquely Australian style of architecture. While the building reflects the influence of the American Romanesque and Scottish Baronial forms, the use of Australian decorative motifs, such as gum nuts, gum leaves, flowers, birds and marsupials was a new symbolic language for Australian public buildings, and reflected a growing national awareness and the beginning of a distinctive Australian style of architecture in the years preceding Federation.
The Former South Yarra Post Office is of architectural significance as an outstanding and innovative example of the designs of the Public Works Department. It provides evidence of the important role played by the Department in the provision of public infrastructure throughout Victoria. MacDonald’s design for the Post Office was one of the most influential to come from the Public Works Department in the 1890s.