The Old Treasury building in Perth, Australia, is an important part of the city’s historical landscape, and certainly one of its most impressive urban abandonments. Built in 1874 and occupied by the state government for more than 120 years, an eerie silence now fills the deserted rooms of this iconic building.
The Old Treasury Building, abandoned in 1996, has been associated with law making since the foundation of Australia as a British colony. A fusion of Victorian and Free Classical architecture, it was designed by two of Western Australia’s most famous government architects, Richard R. Jewell and George T. Poole.
Also known as the Central Government Offices, the progressive development of the Old Treasury Building represents the colony’s passage to full statehood within the Commonwealth of Australia. It is the last intact building of its kind from that era in Australia’s history.
Part of the Old Treasury Building also housed Perth’s main Post Office. Its entrance lobby (below) and postal hall are considered to be of great architectural importance, partly due to the craftsmanship of its finish, but also because the blend of architecture adopted by Jewell and Poole was unusual in government buildings.
Today, the Old Treasury Building is considered one of the most important heritage buildings in Perth, and locals lament how it has remained abandoned for the last 14 years. But far from allowing it to degenerate into total decay, city authorities clearly recognise the building’s importance to Perth’s cityscape and plan to redevelop it as a five star hotel of international repute.
Photos suggest that the Old Treasury Building’s interior remains in good condition, giving developers a head start in the renovation process. With its grand features intact, it’s easy to imagine these empty rooms once again filled with life, although set to cater to a more leisurly crowd than the decision makers of the building’s past.
Until that time, the Old Treasury Building’s main audience of history enthusiasts and urban explorers will keep the abandoned place alive, and can gain access on various heritage days when the doors are opened to the public. Unlike many abandoned buildings, this one has remained remarkably vandal-free, a rare luxury that will hopefully continue until its silent rooms are once again filled with life.