New roof for old post office

By Chris Thomson | posted on February 10, 2018

THE old terracotta roof of Albany’s historic post office building has been replaced with a modern-day version approximating the original sheoak shingles of the 1869-built Stirling Terrace landmark.

The state heritage-listed building is occupied by the University of Western Australia, and owned by the City of Albany, whose manager of City Engineering, David King, is pretty happy with the new roof.

“It’s definitely an improvement in my view and the heritage architect’s view,” he told The Weekender.

A construction plan approved by the State Heritage Office mandated the recently replaced Marseilles terracotta tiles, sheoak shingles, or the new plain tiles as the only options for the new roof.

“Our heritage architect preferred the plain ones because they more closely resembled what the timber shingles would have been,” Mr King said.

“Whilst the timber shingles would have been the ultimate, I think it is a good compromise between what was there before and what’s there now.”

Mr King said timber shingles only lasted 30 years and were prone to leaks.

“We expect to get a hundred years out of these ones.”

Mr King said timber shingles would have cost between $700,000 and $800,000 to install, whereas the new roof cost $220,000, including guttering.

The original sheoak shingles of the 1869–built post office building were replaced like-for-like in 1925, then with the glazed Marseilles terracotta tiles in 1949.

The new 900sqm, 13,000-tile roof arrives on the heels of a new verandah installed on the Proudlove Parade side of the building.

Mr King expects the guttering, flashing and trims will be completed and scaffolding down from the building in a couple of weeks.