External view of The Fullerton Hotel Sydney

The Fullerton Hotel Sydney. Photo courtesy The Fullerton Hotel Sydney.

The Fullerton Hotel Sydney at the GPO Building

Virtual tour

The Sydney Open virtual tour invites visitors to explore the vibrant spaces and history of this Sydney landmark.

The virtual tour will feature significant locations of The Fullerton Hotel Sydney including the Clock Tower, the Tank Stream relics, the historic telegraphy centre (now the Heritage Ballroom) and the Postmaster General’s office. The resident tour guide will take you on a journey through time to discover stories, tales and legends of the city’s iconic Grand Dame. This virtual tour experience will reveal little-known facts about the GPO, and highlight some of its most grand and iconic spaces, including the usually inaccessible Clock Tower. The tour will also provide exclusive access to the historic underground Tank Stream tunnel for the very first time. 

Presenter

Alexandra Kelly is an experienced history and heritage Tour Guide specialist, including on The Rocks Walking Tours. Since October 2019 she has been one of The Fullerton Hotel Sydney’s guides for the specially curated 90-minute heritage tour of the GPO Building. 

Building Information

Built on a grand scale, Australia’s first General Post Office (GPO) building dominated the Sydney streetscape and skyline for decades. It is credited with having defined ‘by stealth’ a public piazza which we know today as Martin Place. It was designed by the prolific colonial architect James Barnet, and constructed in three stages from 1866. In its heyday, it was as emblematic of Sydney as the Eiffel Tower is of Paris. Barnet had its golden sandstone quarried from nearby Pyrmont, and commissioned Italian sculptor Tomaso Sani to carve vignettes of colonial life into the stone. His scenes attracted much commentary from Sydneysiders for their realism, and would later be credited as the beginning of public art in architectural spaces in the colony. The columns and base forming the GPO’s magnificent colonnade were made of polished granite taken from the Moruya River, hinting at Barnet’s inspiration in the Italian public buildings of Bologna and Venice. When the clock tower was completed in 1891, it made the GPO the city’s tallest civic structure. The clock tower was disassembled in (wartime) 1942 to reduce visibility in case of an air attack, and rebuilt in 1964. The GPO served as Sydney’s postal headquarters until 1996. In 1999 it underwent significant redevelopment, just ahead of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, which included adaptation to a hotel, dining and event space. More recently, the GPO Building facade and Clock Tower have been fully restored by its current custodians, The Fullerton Hotel Sydney, ensuring that this important Sydney building is enjoyed by all for years to come. Australia Post maintains a presence with the Post Shop on the George Street / Martin Place corner of the heritage-listed GPO. 
 


 

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Use your cursor to navigate through the building and to click on icons for behind-the-scenes information.