Clean slate for post office

Combined Roofing Australia workers Oli Kowalewski and Stephen Tapping (front) nail in every individual slate tile as part of a complete roof placement at Camperdown’s historic post office.

AT more than 150 years-old, Camperdown’s historic post office is undergoing a major upgrade with specialised contractors working to repair its slate roof.

An Australia Post spokesperson said the slate roof was being completely replaced, the roof structure repaired and the fascia and eave lines repaired as necessary.

“The roofs are being replaced because after more than 100 years the slates have become extremely brittle and are breaking down and are in need of replacement,” he said.

“The roof is being replaced with materials ‘like for like’.

“The majority of the roof was originally Welsh slate and it is being replaced with Welsh slate.

“This is a very specialised trade and the contractor being used is one of the best in the field.”

Combined Roofing Australia contractor Stephen Tapping said the refurbishing would take about six weeks to complete.

“The existing slate was definitely past its use-by date – they were flaking into pieces as they were being removed,” he said.

“It’s a pretty labour intensive job, with every single slate shingle having to be nailed into place.”

The upgrade works will also include restoration of a ‘standing seam’ lead roof which is also evident on the building.

“This is also very highly specialised work,” the spokesperson said.

A ‘standing seam’ roof is made of panels which feature a thin rib and wide tray and are usually made of zinc, steel, lead or copper.

The works will be topped off with a fresh coat of paint for both the interior and exterior.

Australia Post is covering the full cost of the work and has worked with heritage advisors throughout the planning phase.

The spokesperson said the repair work would “help return it to its mid-century splendour”.

According to architectural researcher Alan Willingham in the commissioned work “Camperdown – A Heritage Study’, the Camperdown post office is one of the oldest established postal and telecommunications buildings still standing in Victoria.

“It is one of the earliest public buildings in Camperdown, being erected within 10 years of settlement of the new township at Mount Leura,” he said.

Though first built in 1863, major alterations and a two storey addition was added in 1909.

The original Welsh slate roof on Camperdown’s post office was deemed to be at the end of its life and has been removed.

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