Southern Guardhouse

The Southern Guardhouse was built at the same time as the Royal Mint in 1872. It was designed to house the local police constable who lived and worked on site while the Northern Guardhouse housed the military guard. A police constable, and possible his family, lived in the Southern Guardhouse and was paid one shilling a day extra as a special allowance for his responsibilities.

The two sets of gates were closed every night and every person entering the compound was checked in by either the military or the local policeman assigned to these duties. The building had three front offices or rooms facing out onto the verandah. They included the Waiting Room, the Guardroom with its own exterior door and a bedroom with a further three rooms at the rear which included a living room and bedrooms.

The kitchen, washhouse or bathroom downstairs opened onto the lower courtyard. These rooms were more simply built and decorated than that the Deputy Master’s residence within the Main Building reflecting the lower rank of the police.

The only theft at the Mint complex in its entire working life was from the South Guardhouse when it was found that three bars of gold worth seventeen hundred pounds were missing in June 1907. They had been removed from the night safe by persons unknown and despite a rigorous investigation the culprit was never discovered. The policeman on duty was accused of negligence and reducing to the ranks. He is said to have spent the rest of his working life on the beat.

Once the Mint operations were transferred to Canberra the Southern Guardhouse became the office of several public servants who controlled the use of the rear parking area used for government cars only. Later the Guard Room was used as a shoe repair shop for many years and the rest of the building was simply used for storage.

The building was extensively restored in 1998-9 and transformed into usable office space with modern amenities in the downstairs service areas. A cellar was added at that time when Teac Australia was the tenants at their cost. The Southern Guardhouse is now used partly as the office of Mint Inc and partly as the offices of Volunteering Victoria.