A community hub since 1879, the Chewton Post Office on Main Road remains a place to send and receive mail, offering PO boxes, banking, bill payment as well as incorporating a charming gift shop. The distinctive red brick Post Office Building is also now protected by being on the list of Historic Buildings Register of Victoria.
Statement of significance
The statement of significance for Chewton Post Office on the Historic Buildings Register states that “it is an essentially intact and fine example of a small post office, with arcade and round arches.” It was designed by Public Works Department architect, George Watson, who was also responsible for the design of the Bendigo Post Office. It was built following the appointment of the former Chewton mayor and councillor, JB Patterson, to the Commissioner of Public Works in 1879.
Chewton is famous for the Monster Meeting: a miner’s uprising on 15 December 1851, when a crowd of 15,000 gold prospectors gathered at Forest Creek goldfield to protest a proposed gold licence fee increase (before the Red Ribbon Rebellion in Bendigo in 1853 and Eureka in Ballarat in 1854). This is considered to have been a key step towards democracy in the State of Victoria. The fighting spirit has continued well into the twentieth century in relation to a more recent battle relating to the quaint Post Office, which has only been able to survive thanks to the determination of local residents, who have saved their Post Office from closure three times in its 140-year history, most recently in 1996.
In 1995, the Shire of Metcalfe consolidated the eleven allotments within Chewton which included the Post Office, the Town Hall and the Park. Later the same year Metcalfe Shire and its assets were absorbed by the newly created Shire of Mount Alexander. In April 1996, the new Shire Council put the Chewton Post Office on a list of assets for sale. The townsfolk rallied to maintain local public ownership of the post office, and in response to the full force of community feeling, the Shire Commissioners offered the Post Office back to the people of Chewton, along with the Town Hall and Ellery Park. On 24 November 1996 the precinct was named Chewton Township Domain and the Chewton Domain Society was founded to act as its community ownership body.
Chewton Post Office Residence
There is also a heritage protected Chewton Post Office Residence, offering excellent value self-catering accommodation for those who want to enjoy a peaceful retreat in Chewton as it is only a short walking distance to many of the local historical gold rush sites, including the Forest Creek diggings, the Garfield wheel, and the site of the Monster Meeting.