A leader in the restoration of a Macquarie Street landmark in the 1980s has welcomed the prospect of it being brought back to life once more.
Dubbo’s Mike Twohill saw the potential of the former post office with its iconic clock tower in his role as a Telecom customer services manager more than three decades ago.
At his suggestion the empty building was restored to its former glory to become one of Telecom’s first business offices in 1984.
Mr Twohill has watched with interest announcements about the future of the ageing 98 Macquarie Street.
New owner and engineer Jillian Kilby shared her plans for the heritage building to undergo extensive renovation last month after purchasing it from Telstra.
The 2018 Agrifutures NSW/ ACT Rural Woman of Year, Ms Kilby wants to transform the landmark into another home for The Exchange, a new community of start-ups businesses.
Mr Twohill this week vividly recalled the project he helped drive in the 1980s.
The building had been left unoccupied after Australia Post moved to Talbragar Street in 1982.
Mr Twohill said he suggested it to his employer as a business office to serve the needs of customers.
“Back in those days, Telecom didn’t have too many shop presences,” he said.
“In Dubbo we were right up in the old wool store, right up near the hospital and in most other places, very little main street presence.
“So this was a bit of a first, this one and another one at Parramatta.”
Telecom, the trading name of the Australian Telecommunications Commission, allocated funds to the project, Mr Twohill said.
“We budgeted out I think it was a couple hundred-thousand dollars, it was a fair bit of money back then,” he said.
During “the best part of 12 months” the project saw fireplaces and mantelpieces installed, paint colours matched and other works to bring it back to its original condition.
I drive down Macquarie Street and look at it and see how it’s fallen into rack and ruin, because when we finished it, it really stood out. It was beautiful.Mike Twohill
Mr Twohill recalled feeling “a fair bit of satisfaction” in the finished product.
The former Telecom employee collected a copy of the Orana Shopper that reported of the building’s imminent opening in December 1984.
Mr Twohill was “absolutely” pleased to hear Ms Kilby had plans for the building.
“I drive down Macquarie Street and look at it and see how it’s fallen into rack and ruin, because when we finished it, it really stood out,” he said.
“It was beautiful… I’m 100 per cent rapt at the idea that at least somebody has taken it on.”