Eden's historic post office building undergoes transformation

The 1890 building boasts seven rooms at street level and a labyrinth of rooms beneath, plus extra accommodation at the rear. Photo: Leah Szanto
The 1890 building boasts seven rooms at street level and a labyrinth of rooms beneath, plus extra accommodation at the rear. Photo: Leah Szanto

Sitting proudly on the corner of Imlay and Mitchell St, Eden's old post office building has had some new life breathed into it after a recent transformation.

Built circa 1890, Robyn and Dave Brannan took ownership of the historic property in October 2020. It had previously been a chiropractor's practice, a women's refuge, a telephone exchange, an employment agency and a library.

In 1887 a tender for the erection of a building was obtained, but the commencement was delayed by conflicting opinions as to the best site.

In 1887 a tender for the erection of a building was obtained, but the commencement was delayed by conflicting opinions as to the best site.

Comprising seven rooms at street level and a labyrinth of rooms including a cellar and strong room downstairs, original features of the home include marble fireplaces, 6-inch hardwood floorboards, 12-foot ceilings, period ceiling roses and panel timber doors.

Aside from the plumbing and electricals, the couple have done all the renovations themselves and have made some exciting discoveries along the way, such as the "secret" rooms beneath the main house, and the old vault.

New owners Robyn and Dave Brannan are very proud of their renovated home. Photo: Leah Szanto

New owners Robyn and Dave Brannan are very proud of their renovated home. Photo: Leah Szanto

"Dave has a background in building, we saved a fortune," Robyn said.

"It was in need of being updated... it was very tired and dirty and had been let go.

"When we saw it, we thought it had great potential."

The couple have kept the exterior of the building the same, but have modernised much of the interior, as well as revamping an old site shed outside to run as an Airbnb.

New to the area, the couple have family in Wonboyn but hadn't spent time in the region before.

The pride in their new home is clear and the extensive renovations have been a labour of love.

"It's such an easy house to live in, every window is a moving picture," Robyn said.

The 19-inch external brick walls buffer out traffic noise, keeping the interior of the high exposure site surprisingly peaceful.

History of the old post office and postal services in Eden

In 1840 Dr Imlay began offering a postal service between Broulee and Twofold Bay and a post office facility was established at Boydtown in 1844, with Ebenezer Orr appointed as postmaster.

In January 1847 a post office was established in Eden with a Mr Ferris appointed postmaster followed by George Barclay in June 1849, with the office situated in Joseph Teas' general store.

The old Eden post office.

The old Eden post office.

Following Mr. Barclay's death, merchant and storekeeper Solomon Solomon took over the position followed by Charles Kebby in 1866, who was appointed as the Eden post and telegraph station master.

The post and telegraph office was housed in various venues over the years, including the Crown and Anchor Hotel, Half House and Exchange Hotel.

In May 1888, tenders were accepted for erection of Eden's first purpose-built post office premises on the corner of Imlay and Mitchell Streets.

George Hodgson was the contractor and Mr Aspinall the works manager. Although work was supposed to be completed by November 1888, dry weather meant a lack of water for brick-making and it was two years before services were able to commence in the building.

The old Eden post office during construction.

The old Eden post office during construction.

In 1898 approval was given for an additional bedroom and bathroom but works were not completed until about 1902.

Post and telegraph master Mr Kebby was followed by Mr H Litchfield and in April 1909 the Eden telephone exchange opened in the lobby of the post office.

In 1971, the new (current) post office further south along Imlay Street was completed and in July, postal services moved to new premises.

In 1972, the telephone exchange ceased to operate out of the premises on the corner of Imlay and Mitchell Streets.

Imlay Shire Council then rented the building for various uses, including a library.

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