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Heritage Places of Adelaide

North Adelaide Post Office


166 Tynte Street, North Adelaide


Commonwealth Heritage Place

photo-icon Image credit: State Library of South Australia

The North Adelaide Institute and Post Office was constructed in 1883-4 as part of a larger integrated building complex comprising the post and telegraph office, telephone exchange, residence and the North Adelaide Institute and hall. The complex reflects the joint efforts of the private and public sectors, resulting in a structure satisfying both community and public service requirements, and meeting the local desire for a library and cultural facility as well as up-to-date telegraphic and postal facilities. The post office has also played a prominent role in the affairs of North Adelaide and was one of a number of significant public buildings and structures erected in this period of prosperity and confidence in North Adelaide, the others being the Art Gallery, Mitchell Building, Jervois Wing of the Library, Public Baths, Rotunda and Torrens Weir (Criterion a). The North Adelaide Post Office is a rare example in the national context of a combined cultural centre, with its concert, meeting and library spaces, and post office (Criterion b). Typologically, North Adelaide Post Office demonstrates all of the archetypal characteristics of a combined postal and telegraphic facility with telephonic and residential components. The complex’s substantial scale also assumes a major civic role in North Adelaide’s high street and demonstrates the increased volume in communications of the period. Stylistically, the building is a handsome and deftly composed example of an Italianate public building with Free Romanesque overtones, skilfully combining a multiplicity of components. The broadly Italianate form, modulation and detail is also a harbinger of Federation architecture in Adelaide through introducing an exposed salmon-red brick facade and stilted windows with heavy architraves (Criterion d). The North Adelaide Post Office is a prominent and imposing building in the North Adelaide context, and is a strong visual element of Tynte Street which in turn is dominated by many fine nineteenth century buildings of robust character and appearance. The building’s composition, with its massing, symmetry and use of fine salmon red brickwork, stonework, rendered dressings and mouldings, all combine to give the structure outstanding aesthetic appeal (Criterion e). The North Adelaide Post Office has been a prominent public institution in North Adelaide with a long and distinguished history within the local community of providing, and being the focus of, a number of diverse civic and cultural functions including post office, public hall and library (Criterion g). North Adelaide Institute and Post Office is associated with the pre-eminent Colonial architects Edward J Woods and Charles Owen-Smyth whose styles are clearly evident in the final composition (Criterion h).


The curtilage includes the title block/allotment of the property.
The significant components of North Adelaide Institute and Post Office include the 1883-5 fabric of the complex.

Listing Information

  • Date of Listing: 8 November 2011
  • Heritage Listing Criteria:

    Criteria A: The place has significant heritage value because of the place’s importance in the course, or pattern, of Australia’s natural or cultural history

    Criteria B: The place has significant heritage value because of the place’s possession of uncommon, rare or endangered aspects of Australia’s natural or cultural history

    Criteria D: The place has significant heritage value because of the place’s importance in demonstrating the principal characteristics of:
    a class of Australia’s natural or cultural places; or
    a class of Australia’s natural or cultural environments

    Criteria E: The place has significant heritage values because of the place’s importance in exhibiting particular aesthetic characteristics values by a community or cultural group

    Criteria G: The place has significant heritage value because of the place’s strong or special association with a particular community or cultural group for social, cultural or spiritual reasons

    Criteria H: The place has significant heritage value because of the place’s special association with the life or works of a person, or group of persons, of importance in Australia’s natural or cultural history

Disclaimer: The content in the Heritage Places of Adelaide database has been adapted from the SA Government’s South Australian Heritage Register, made available via the Data SA website under a Creative Commons licence. See: https://data.sa.gov.au/data/dataset/sa-heritage-places.

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