The Maclean Post Office started operating in 1893, constructed in a Swiss style with cedar ceilings and staircase and marble tiles.
While built during similar times, the post office is unique in styling and architecture, however, there are some common features such as the arched windows.
The building originally contained residence space, now converted into mail sorting offices and staff amenities. For a time, it also served as the Maclean Telephone Exchange.
Maclean Talking Trail
The Maclean Post Office was part of the Maclean talking trail, the brown sign is there as part of the talking trail. Headphones were borrowed and audio played as you walked the trail. Below is what was included in the talking trail audio.
The Maclean Post Office is one of three civic buildings constructed during the early to mid-1890s, the other two being the Court House and the Police Station.
Construction followed many years of persistent requests from the townspeople for a new Post Office. Progress was delayed by refusals from the department and arguments over potential sites for the building.
After a long tendering process, the contract was finally won by Mr Patrick Berecry of Sydney. The construction of the Post Office was not without controversy. The inspector for Public Works condemned certain sections of the newly built brickwork, and thus Berecry’s profits went up in smoke.
The Post Office was finally opened for business in February 1893 under the management of Postmaster Theodore Lamy.
Constructed in the Swiss style of architecture, the Post Office features ceilings and staircase in cedar and marble tiles.
Over the years the Maclean Post Office played a significant role in the town’s communication with other regional centres and beyond. In 1908 the technology revolution came to Maclean with the Post Office’s installation of a telephone exchange.
Hi, my name is Bobby Baker. I was a telephonist at the Maclean Telephone Exchange which was situated in the Post Office building in Maclean. I worked there from 1950 until I was married in 1957 and then I came back and worked part time before the exchange cut over to automatic.
We had, I’m not sure whether it was a month’s training or whether it was six weeks, and you were trained by the other girls. You had two plugs into the switchboard where you plugged your head gear in, and a little shutter would drop on the board with a number on it and you had two sets of plugs which were joined together at the bottom and you just plugged the back one into the little hole that corresponded with the number on the shutter and opened a key and say ‘number please’.
And two of you would be on the board together. I can remember the first time when the lass said, ‘well you answer the next one’ and I got stage fright… There would be roughly about 100 subscribers at that time, it was pretty nerve wracking at times when it got really busy.Bobby Baker, Maclean Walking Trail
To get there
From the Pacific Hwy, take the Yamba Rd exit for Maclean. Turn left (west along the Clarence River) and from the brown sign for Tourist Drive 22, follow Yamba Rd for 5km. Passing the pedestrian crossing at Woolitji House on the left, continue through the main shopping street in Maclean for another 300m to a roundabout. Continue straight ahead through the roundabout, then the first right into MacNaughton Pl where the post office is on the corner.