It hasn't always been the way we have done things in Australia, to appreciate and restore old buildings for the future. Perhaps as we head towards 230 years since colonisation we are getting better at doing this.
Of course our world changes and old buildings won't necessarily be able to serve the same purpose over decades and centuries. Our needs as a community change, the ways we do things change and the buildings may be no longer fit for purpose.
This is where the creative ways to repurpose old buildings can become crucial. This way the buildings can be restored to their former glory, or even enhanced in some cases, while serving a new purpose more in keeping with the times.
A good example of this is Melbourne's old general post office. With the advent of many smaller, localised post offices and telephone boxes (and mobile phones) there hasn't been the need for a major post office in the centre of the city. The building was used as a mini shopping centre for a long time with a variety of little shops and cafes. They were quaint and it was fun to walk through and look at the high ceilings and nooks and crannies while enjoying what the boutique shops offered.
Most recently though it's been taken over by the Swedish fashion company, H & M. This company first opened its doors in Vasteras, Sweden, in 1947 with women's clothes. Since that date it has opened stores in many countries worldwide, including Mexico, Chile, Indonesia, Serbia, Turkey. It now includes clothes for women, men and children as well as a range of home items. During the last couple of years it has made itself at home in pride of place at the GPO in Melbourne's Bourke Street Mall. It still stands proud and the H & M signs don't detract from its heritage features. Proving after all that we are getting better at restoring old buildings to meet modern demands without losing their charm.