What is significant?
The former South Melbourne Post Office, built in 1912 is a single storey brick building designed in the Beaux-Arts style by Horace J MacKennal, Director of Works, Commonwealth Department of Interior in the post -Federation/pre World War I era. It has red brick walls as a backdrop to the rendered front facade portico with its deeply expressed banded rustication and colonnade of decorated ionic columns and pilasters, the pilasters being close to either side of the porch opening. The cornice line over is broken by a loosely formed pediment. Within the porch, behind the colonnade, is a large semicircular window. The rusticated render finish carries round to the side walls to almost window head level with red brick above. The side windows have rendered cornices over. A domed rendered fleche centrally straddles the ridge of the slated roof.
The adjoining 1918 building to the south west of the 1912 building, originally designed and used as a pensions office, is in a sympathetic style. It is of red brick, with rendered quoins and render details around door and window openings and with slate roof over. Above each of the symmetrically arranged vertical window and door openings are circular "porthole" windows.
How is it significant?
The former South Melbourne Post Office is of architectural significance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
The 1912 former South Melbourne Post Office is of architectural significance as a rare example of a building designed in the Beaux Arts style, especially at a diminutive scale. It achieves monumentality with the Ionic columns and pilasters of the main entrance porch, its curved pediment and other neo-classical details to the front parapet. The interior of this 1912 building helps to encapsulate the Beaux-Arts style by utilising the prevailing technology to create large spans thereby enabling an impressive open room. It is perhaps the finest and most intact example in a single storey brick post office of the post -Federation/Pre World War I era of the work of the Commonwealth Department of Works, which took over the design of post offices in all States after Federation in 1901. The 1918 addition to the south-west, while not of significance if taken in isolation, is of note as a very sympathetic addition. The former South Melbourne Post Office is also of significance for its contribution to the Emerald Hill precinct, being located directly opposite the Neo-classical South Melbourne Town Hall in Bank Street.