Former Ballarat Post Office
Camp Street Campus
The Former Ballarat Post Office, located on the corner of Sturt and Lydiard Streets, is the third building erected onto the current site since 1858. It was built during William Wardell's tenure as Inspector-General and Chief Architect of the Public Works Department.
The first of a two stage building was opened on 28 November 1864, and features designed Italianate palazzo style. It was reported at the time: 'The Post Office was a really substantial and commodious structure quite different to the wooden building that it replaced. When the office shall be completed according to the plan it will be one worthy of the large amount of business transacted in it.'
In 1871, a telegraph office and treasury was added to the Lydiard (north) Street frontage. A clock tower and offices, including a carriageway entrance, were added in 1885. The former Ballarat Post Office was the largest Victorian building of its kind outside the Melbourne General Post Office.
Originally built as a centre of communications, it is now the centre of an art school - the Federation University Australia Arts Academy, and functions as the Post Office Gallery. The Arts Academy was opened at the Camp Street Campus in 2002.
The former Ballarat Post Office is registered by Heritage Victoria  and the National Trust (Victoria) [B289].
Postal history timeline
- 1851 - tent on Post Office Hill (also known as Golden Point.
- Year to be confirmed - Wooden building on the south-west corner of Lydiard and Mair Streets (where former Royal George Hotel now stands).
- 1854 - A timber building was erected on the present site.
- 1858 - Bluestone building erected. It was demolished in 1863 having been judged a 'monstrosity' by the local press and public.
- 1863 - Current Post Office building constructed on the north-east corner of Sturt and Lydiard Streets.
- 1871 - A telegraph office and treasury added to the Lydiard Street frontage.
- 1885 - Clock tower and carriageway entrance added to the current building.
- 1970s - the Ballarat Telephone Exchange was relocated to Dawson Street South, and parts of the Post Office Building were rented to external tenants.
- c1977 the Ballarat Mail Centre opened in Humffray Street, and the staff and operations of the mail room were relocated. By this stage posties were making deliveries on motor bikes rather than bicycles.
- 1980s - major work was undertaken on the exterior of the building, including restoration of the brickwork, repainting and lights installed on the tower.
- 2002 - The former Ballarat Post Office became the Federation University Arts Academy 'Post Office Gallery'.
PO Gallery interior
The former Ballarat Post Office is situated in the centre of this photograph. The tower, which was built in 1885, is not evident. (Cat.No.5310)
Sturt Street, c1900. The Post Office Tower can be seen on the right hand side of the photo. (Cat.No.M3872)
Ballarat Post Office Tower, 2006
Photo: Lisa Gervasoni
Interior of the Post Office Gallery, 2005