General Post Office
The General Post Office is a wonder in architecture and show how much the building boom of the 1880s began. The old town of Brisbane must have been a sight to behold with all the European styles of design. Construction of the Post in 1871 required demolition of the convict-built female factory and excavation of much of the knoll on which it sat.
The factory was built in 1829 to house the increasing number of female convicts transported to Moreton Bay settlement. The timber fenced premises that concentrated the women in the ‘house of industry’ was suppose to keep them separate from male prisoners. However, the fence posed little problem to Assistant Surgeon Cowper and an acquaintance who, armed with alcohol, spent the night in the female quarters. His activities were quickly discovered, a formal court of enquiry convened and Cowper and a number of others immediately dismissed from government service. High stone walls were soon around the factory.
In 1837 the female convicts were moved to a site at Eagle Farm. The old factory served as a temporary home for Andrew Petrie and his family when he arrived as foreman of works. Afterwards, it was abandoned until 1847 when it was converted into the town gaol. Too small to accommodate the number of convicted criminals, the building was turned over to the police in 1860 for use as barracks, office and a court.
World War I Roll of Honour is at the main entrance steps (Queen Street side) and commenmorates officers from Queensland who gave their lives. It also has the postmaster general’s World War II Roll of Honour on the entrance arch. In addition, on the right outer wall of the front entrance is a plaque honouring three civilian employees taken POW of war whilst on duty, who died in enemy hands during World War II.
The Post Courtyard is a popular spot for city workers for lunch and relaxing. There is also a rumour of a tunnel under the post that leads to the MacArthur’s building. It is thought to be an escape route for the officers there during that time. [more]
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