83A RYRIE STREET GEELONG, Greater Geelong City

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As Executive Director for the purpose of the Heritage Act 1995, I give notice under section 46 that the Victorian Heritage Register is amended by modifying the following places in the Heritage Register:

Number: H1527
Category: Heritage Place
Place: Former Telegraph Station
83A Ryrie Street
Greater Geelong City

All of the place shown hatched on Diagram 1527 encompassing all of Crown Allotment 22B, Section 55A, City of Geelong, Parish of Corio.

Dated 7 October 2015
Executive Director

[Victoria Government Gazette G40 8 October 2015 p.2142]

Statement of Significance

What is significant?
The former Telegraph Station in Geelong was built in 1857-8 by builders Patterson and Bell, after the telegraph line between Melbourne and Geelong was constructed in 1854-5. It was the centre of communications for Geelong and district for many years. The building replaced two earlier telegraph stations, the first being a portable building, the second a brick office in McKillop Street, with business transferred to the building in Ryrie Street in July 1858. It is highly probable that Henry Ginn, the Colonial architect for Victoria from 1851 to 1853, designed this building, although it was not erected until four years after his departure from the Colonial Service. At the suggestion of the Harbour Trust, a time ball was erected on the telegraph station tower in 1862. The time signal was received from Melbourne on the electric telegraph and relayed to the people of Geelong, including shipmasters, by the releasing of a ball at 1pm daily (except Sundays). This has since been removed.

In 1870 the telegraph business was amalgamated with the post office and the telegraph building was handed over to the postmaster for use as a residence. It was used for this purpose until 1881. The building was unoccupied for several years and subsequently occupied by various government departments until it was vacated by the Health Department in 1971. Since this time uses include a tourist information centre and its current use as a photographer?s studio.

Built of Barrabool freestone, the Old Telegraph Station is a single storey building of simple Georgian design. The symmetrical front facade with parapeted slate hip roof, is dominated by a centrally located square tower with pedimented window and crowning bracketed cornice. The smooth, large stonework of the front facade contrasts with the rough textured, smaller stone courses of the side walls. Vermiculated quoining emphasises the corners of the lower front facade, while smooth quoining surrounds openings and corners of the upper tower.

How is it significant?
The Former Telegraph Station is of architectural and historical significance to the State of Victoria.

Why is it significant?
The Former Telegraph Station is of architectural significance as one of the first buildings in Victoria to be constructed of Barrabool freestone and is an excellent example of early masonry construction in Victoria. It is also of significance as a probable outstanding example of the work of important colonial architect, Henry Ginn.

The Former Telegraph Station is of historical significance as an important centre of communications in early Geelong and district. By 1857, telegraph lines radiated out to all main Victorian towns and a year late telegraphic communication was established between Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. Together with a number of other telegraph stations which were constructed at towns in Victoria in the 1850s, it represents an era when this mode of communication was highly important.

The Former Telegraph Station is of historical significance due to the presence of a time ball at the building which provides an association with the history of shipping on Corio Bay.
[Online Data Upgrade Project 2004]

Year Construction Started 1857
Architectural Style Victorian Period (1851-1901) Georgian
Heritage Act Categories Registered place

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