View of the The Fullerton Hotel Sydney at the General Post Office Building from Martin Place.

The Fullerton Hotel Sydney at the General Post Office Building. Photo (c) Michael Nicholson

The Fullerton Hotel Sydney at the GPO

Sunday 3 November

1 Martin Place, Sydney

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James Barnet, Colonial Architect

Additional architects

Buchan Group Architects (1999)

Lucas Stapleton Johnson (heritage conservation)

Built on a grand scale and at huge expense, Australia’s first General Post Office building dominated the CBD skyline for decades. Designed by the prolific colonial architect James Barnet and constructed in three stages, beginning in 1866, the GPO was regarded as a building that would symbolise Sydney in the same way as the Houses of Parliament in Westminster represent London, and the Eiffel Tower, Paris.

Barnet had its golden sandstone quarried from Pyrmont, and commissioned Italian immigrant sculptor Tomaso Sani to carve its reliefs depicting scenes of colonial life. These carvings caused a public outcry for their realism. In 1881 the second stage of building was completed and the clock tower was added in 1887, making it the tallest civic structure in the city. In 1898 NSW Government Architect Walter Liberty Vernon added a massive two storey attic with mansard roofs that changed the appearance of the building. During World War II, the clock tower was demolished to reduce its visibility as an air-raid target, and was rebuilt in 1964.

The GPO served as Sydney’s postal headquarters until 1996. Today the facade is listed on both the Commonwealth Heritage Register and the NSW State Heritage Register.

On Sunday 3 November

What’s open?

Select areas of the new Fullerton Hotel Sydney including the atrium, grand stairs, heritage ballroom, Level 6 bridge and view of the Clock Tower Stairs.

Please note, access to level 6 will be staggered, with groups of 20 entering the space at one time.

to know

  • Photography allowed

  • Food & drink available

Opening hours

9am - 4pm

Last entry



1 Martin Place, Sydney