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May 12, 1971: CRS happy with Post Office plans

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June 30, 2017

Plans for a new Post Office for Shepparton have been made public. This building is to be of three storeys construction with provision for five floors. It will cost $1.3 million.

Shepparton city councillors on Monday were unanimous in describing the Commonwealth Department of Works designs as “magnificent”.

Council wants the plans approved by Parliament immediately and “hopes that finance is made available to enable a prompt commencement” in building.

The plans show a modern brick, glass and concrete office block occupying virtually the entire frontages of the Post Office land at the corner of Wyndham and Fraser Sts.

Frontage to Fraser St is about 115 ft and to Wyndham St about 140 ft.

Cr John Gerrard told council on Monday the plans represented a very special effort on the part of the PMG.

The building had a magnificent colonnade which would enhance the appearance of the city.

The structure was to be the communications centre for the whole of the Goulburn Valley.

“This is a magnificent type of structure,” Cr Gerrard said.

“There have been discussions from time to time about the existing Post Office and I think it fair to say a minority group has been battling for the old building, regardless of the real need for more suitable accommodation.

“I find it interesting to note that the old Post Office has been listed under the National trust classification of ‘D’ – although the listing starts with an ‘A’.

“The other building’s loss will be so far compensated by the new one the idea is really not worth considering,” Cr Gerrard said.

Cr Murray Slee agreed: “I believe that this new building will be of truly classical significance, so that in 100 years time it could well justify an ‘A’”.

Cr J. C. Stewart said no-one looking at the plans of the new Post Office could fault it.

“It is a building which will not date,” he said. He said the only thing missing from the plan was any reference to a cantilever clock which had been promised.

The Mayor, Cr Duncan Coates, said he believed the plan would be a further stage in Shepparton’s forward development.

“It is quite magnificent, no doubt about it, and I am sure will serve the public for many years to come,” he said.

On the motion of Cr Slee it was agreed that Shepparton Historical Society should be advised that the plan was available for inspection at Shepparton Civic Centre and further, that the PMG was prepared to co-operate in making the old Post Office clock and tower materials available to the society.

This was so the Society could re-erect the clock tower on another site if it wished to do so.

Shepparton’s old Post Office foundation stone was laid in 1882 and the building finished in 1883.

The National Trust Newsletter this month draws attention to a letter published in the News in 1966 advocating retention of the old building.

The Trust writer comments: “The National Trust has been striving, virtually ever since that time, to save this building, so important both to Shepparton and the people of Victoria.

“Time and again, we have been told by the Post Office that it is necessary for it to go so that more modern facilities can be built.”

Following reference to the absence of public information on proposed plans the writer added:

“All along Shepparton Historical Society has been to the forefront of the struggle to preserve this building, and the Trust can heartily endorse the statement it made to the former Prime Minister Mr Gorton in this connection.

“We believe due recognition has not been taken of the fact this is the only prestige historical building in this city, and with a completely fresh approach to design based on this latter premise, the massive, sound structure, and the spacious area upon which it stand CAN be used to house modern equipment.” 

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