112 Years of Service
Pinjarra Post Office was built in 1896 by H. Parker and designed by the renowned Colonial Architect George Temple-Poole. The building was designed to accommodate the workings of the Post Office on the ground floor and private residence for the Post Master and family on the upper floor.
In 1923 the building underwent alterations and extensions, including the installation of a telephone exchange, with the works completed under the supervision of W. Hardwick, Principle Architect of the Public Works Department. The incorporation of the telephone exchange meant that by 1926 calls could be made 24 hours a day. This meant that the junior messenger boy slept overnight in the Exchange room to attend to any night calls.
The Meckering Earthquake of 1968 caused extensive structural damage to the second storey, although the damage wasn’t reported for another 4 years. In 1972, Post Master Joe Katnich noticed a distinct bulge in the second storey façade facing George Street, and that the window frame was loose. The Commonwealth Public Works Department inspected the building and declared it sound, however Katnich closed off the room and forbade anyone to enter. A second inspection revealed that the mortar between the bricks had perished and that the only thing keeping the wall up was the inside plaster. The entire second storey was then rebuilt as a result.
The building ceased operating as a Post Office in July 2008.
Before the Post Office
Before the construction of the Pinjarra Post Office, mail was delivered to civilian contractors. Mrs Mary Ann McLarty, who had settled to the district with her husband John after arriving in the Swan River Colony in 1839 from Scotland, was Postmistress for the district from 1844 to 1868, operating out of Old Blythewood (2 km’s south of Pinjarra).
Agitation from local residents for a more convenient postal service meant that the mail service moved to Pinjarra, with Mrs Sutcliffe acting as Postmistress for 25 years out of her cottage home on the west side of George Street, opposite the Police Station and Court House.
In the early 1890s residents lobbied for the construction of a purpose built Post Office with all modern conveniences, including telegraph services.
The Principle Achitect
George Temple-Poole was Principle Architect for the colony during the Federation period (1890-1915) and whilst influenced by contemporary British movement, he designed buildings responsive to the unique environment and spaces of Western Australia. Temple-Poole oversaw many of the iconic building projects across the State of Western Australia during the gold boom of the 1890s, including the Perth Mint, Perth Railway Station, Perth Boys School, York Post and Telegraph Office, Toodyay Post Office and Cossack Port.