A while ago, we took a guided tour inside the old Sydney GPO.
Back in the 1800s, before the phone and the internet, the post office was the central focus point of communication. This is one of the oldest buildings in Sydney. The clock played a vital function because people didn’t have watches. People would also wait outside for mail deliveries, and even to pick up jobs.
Modern life changed all that. After the horses were gone, the city became too busy for the type of traffic the post office needed, and operations moved to bigger premises.
For many years, the building was in a woeful state. Not much of it was still in use. The post office (which I still remember going into) was a dingy place. Then it closed.
These days, the old Sydney GPO the lobby for a hotel. This hotel chain has only four hotels worldwide and they’re all in former post offices. They’ve built a regular hotel nextdoor (linked to the post office via walkways) and have restored the original building. You can now have lunch here, there will be a food court (there was one, but it closed during COVID, but they’re working on reopening it), and you can hold weddings and other parties there.
And film crews. The winding staircase apparently featured in The Matrix.
The beautiful marble staircase was rebuilt from old photographs in 1999, and features in wedding photography.
The tours are free, and well worthwhile. You get to go into the old stables, see the Tank Stream, look at the famous clock from the inside and see the clock tower (they’re also working on making that accessible to visitors).
Note: I posted this elsewhere, including on Instagram, but given the current state of social media, I though I’d give it a more permanent home.