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Time o' Day - municipal buildings - King George Place

Timaru Herald, 7 September 1874, Page 3 A TOWN CLOCK.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMARU HERALD. Sir,—Apropos of the subject of a town clock, I would call attention to the necessity of the Incumbent of St. Mary's, or some one of the church authorities, so ordering matters that a trifle more punctuality be observed on Sundays. Yesterday morning the service was sixteen minutes late in commencing, and on the previous Sunday unpunctuality was also the rule. I am, etc., TIME.

Timaru Herald, 29 September 1876, Page 3 TOWN CLOCK.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMARU HERALD. Sir, — The want of a public clock has long been felt in Timaru, but more so since the railway commenced running. The main difficulty, as to where it could be conveniently put up, might be got over if advantage was taken in time of the proposed erection of the lighthouse tower on LeCren's terrace ; the site would be sufficiently conspicuous; the light-keeper might do the winding with his other duties, and be remunerated by the Borough Council. It will be necessary to communicate without delay with the Lighthouse Commissioners to get an aperture left for dial or dials and works. As the contract for erection of the tower is not yet let, this might, be effected at a small additional expense to the General Government, and would confers permanent benefit to the general public. Details such as size and number of dials, etc., might safely be left in the hands of a committee. Were subscriptions invited from the inhabitants in Timaru and district, or entertainments got up to create a fund to meet the expenses, I scarcely doubt but that there would he a generous response. If you deem the above suggestions likely to have a successful issue, and open a "public clock subscription list" in the Timaru Herald, you can start with £3 3s from TOWN DIAL ; Timaru, September 28.

Timaru Herald, 5 June 1879, Page 2
The new public buildings in Timaru will include accommodation for the Post Office, Telegraph, Customs, Education, and Land Tax Departments. The site of the building is at the junction of Sophia street with George street at its most elevated angle, and the principle entrances will be towards George street, where the frontage of the block will be 88ft, the depth towards Sophia street being 66ft. The building will be about two stories in height, or about 40ft from street line to finish of cornice. A central clock tower will be carried up an additional 80ft above cornice, or 70ft m all from ground line, and above this elevation a flag pole with time ball will be placed. In consequence of the rapid fall of the ground backwards from George street, the back portion of the building will only rise one storey above the line of Sophia street, where the private box department of the Post Office and posting-window ii situated, also the mail entrance to the sorting room, the basement floor under this portion being occupied for storage and other conveniences. The entrances to the public department will be through porches projected on relieved Doric columns, surmounted by balustrades, the entrance to private boxes and posting-windows adjoining being similarly treated. The design of the building is of plain Italian, several of the window openings being relieved with panelled pilasters, consoles, and cornices; the main cornice of the building being enriched with modillions and dentils. The tower will be finished with flat roof, protected by pierced balustrade, surmounting a boldly projected cornice, carried on moulded trusses. The basement floor will be constructed of concrete, and the remainder of the building of brick, cement finished, part of the work being rusticated at joints for relief.
    The accommodation provided in the building is as follows:—In the basement, large storage accommodation for Postal Department, 58ft x 28ft; two living rooms, 17ft x 13½ ft; bedroom, 13ft x 10ft; and other conveniences for storage, &c. In the principal or ground floor: Mail room, 68ft x 28ft; space for public, 21ft x 16ft (Money Order office screened off from same with parallel partition); Postmaster's room, 21ft x 16ft ; Insurance Department, 18ft x 16ft; vestibule, 8ft in width by 16ft. Telegraph Department, 23ft x 19ft 6in, subdivided by counter between clerks and public; a messenger's room adjoining, 16ft x 11ft 6in, communicating with a vestibule similar to that entering to the Postal Department. In connection with the Customs Department there will be a long room, 28ft x 2lft 6m; the Collector's and Landing Waiter's rooms of 16ft x 15ft each, and strong room a letter carrier's room, 17ft x 13ft 6in, and strong 100 m, being also attached to Postal Department. Principal staircase leading to upper floor will be 16ft x 13ft, and the accommodation provided m upper floor consists of the instrument room m connection with Telegraph Department, 40ft x 33ft, test room, and store room. A lift communicates from public offices, below, in convenient position. The remaining portion of this floor is occupied by two offices for the Education of 16ft x 15ft each, and Land Tax offices of 18ft x 16ft, and 19ft x 11ft. The building has been designed, and plan and specifications prepared by Mr R. A. Lawson, architect, Dunedin.

Timaru Herald, 12 August 1880, Page 5
The building erected at the angle of George and Sophia streets for the accommodation of the postal and telegraph and other public services, is now completed, so far as the building itself is concerned, though a good deal yet remains to be done m the way of fitting up. We were yesterday shown over the building by Mr Targus, one of the contractors, to whom we are indebted for much of the information contained m the following description :—
    The mail room measures 68ft by 28ft. Off: this at one end is the letter-carriers' room, and projecting into it at the Sophia street end is a range of private letter boxes. Of these, when those in the present post-office are fixed, there will be 231, oil strongly made, with mitred and clamped doors fitted with Hobbs' patent locks. Near them is a recess in the floor, about 4ft deep, whore receiving baskets will be placed under the posting apertures. On the other side of the private boxes is the private or letter-carriers' entrance to the mail-room from the street. Below the mailroom, and of the same area, is a large storeroom for post-office purposes, and west of this three living-rooms and storage for the use of a caretaker.
    ...... In the store-room are two rows of stout cast-iron pillars carrying beams of Oregon pine for the support of the floor of the mail-room..
    The western entrance is similar to the eastern, but less space is given to the rooms on the ground floor on this side. Here are there offices, a strong-room, and a storeroom for the accommodation of the Customs department. The Customs office is the best room m the building, as far as appearance is concerned, not being broken by pillars, as are the telegraph and post offices. From the vestibule of the southern entrance a staircase leads to the offices in the second floor. At the west end are four spacious rooms, two of which will be used by the Board of Education, and the other two for land tax purposes. The remainder of this floor contains, the instrument gallery of the telegraph department, 40ft by 33ft, a test room and store room. The instrument room is well lighted, having windows on three sides. A portion of this room, with one of the fireplaces, is to be cut off by a, screen partition, to form a private room for the operators, and a sleeping room for the night operators. The test room is immediately under the clock tower, and m the upper part of the southern wall perforations are made for the passage of the wires into the building. From the test room access is gained to the clock room, dial room, and the top of the tower by means of ladders and trap doors. The circular spaces for the dials are each 6ft Gin m diameter m the clear, though they do not look it from the street.
The tower has a heavily-leaded roof, surrounded by a massive parapet about 8ft high, through apertures in which — or better, form the top of a parapet — a complete view of the town and neighbor hood can be obtained. In the centre of the leads rises a stout pole of Oregon pine, carrying a time ball of cane wicker-work. The ball is built about a cylinder of iron, and weighs about a hundredweight.
    The whole of the works appear to be of the most substantial character, and the building should last for centuries. The interior wood work is of kauri, with dark red pine mouldings. The counters are massive and very well finished, the whole of the work being done on the spot, except the carving of the trusses used m ornamenting the counters which was done m Dunedin. The staircase leading to the upper rooms is a very good and substantial piece of work. The handrails are of red pine ; the newels also of red pine, with inlaid panels of kauri, and finished with massive heads in kauri. The screen partitions and counter-fronts throughout the building are composed of kauri panels, relieved by red pine. The inner doors and skirtings on the ground floor have been very cleverly grained m imitation of different handsome woods, and the mantelpieces m imitation of different marbles, or malachite. On the second floor a less ornate treatment has been applied. The Postmaster's room and the Collector of Customs' room have been finished in a somewhat better style than the rest, and have a neat cornice to the walls. The absence of cornices makes the walls of some of the other rooms look rather bare. The mantelpieces are most of them massive and well-constructed, but m some cases are far too large for the rooms. Each of the offices is supplied with a lavatory, with water laid on from leaden tanks built into the roof, and at the back is arranged other conveniences.            
    Though the building is finished as far as the original contract is concerned, a good deal yet remains to be done before the officials whose headquarters it is to be can take possession of it. Numerous fittings of various kinds for the different offices are required, a complete system, of gas pipes is already m place, built into the walls out of sight, but the pendant and bracket burners are yet to be fixed, and twenty-one fire-places have yet to be fitted with grates. It will be six or eight weeks before the building is ready for occupation. When these requisites have been supplied, the Government buildings of Timaru will require a good clock to render them thoroughly complete. The contractors, Messrs Tubb and Targus, may well be proud of having carried out their contract m such a satisfactory manner, and may also congratulate themselves upon the complete immunity from accident which has marked the progress of the work. It seldom happens that so large a building is completed without some injury, trifling or serious, happening to a workman. We should mention that the architect for the building is Mr Lawson, of Dunedin, and that its construction has been superintended by Mr Miller. The brick work was done by Philp and Co., the plastering by Mr Palliser, the plumbing by McBride and McKay, and the painting by Mr Amos, each of whom appears to have done his branch of work in a most efficient manner.

Timaru Herald, 12 August 1880, Page 6
From Mr John Jackson, asking the Board to take steps to have Timaru made a port of registry, locally owned vessels having now to be registered elsewhere ; also requesting the Board to get the time ball at the new Post office put in working order at once, so that vessels might rate their chronometers by it. On the motion of Mr Moody, it was resolved that the Commissioner of Customs be requested to have Timaru made a port of registry. Captain Sutter explained that steps were being taken to put the time ball in order.

Timaru Herald, 31 August 1880, Page 2
The new Post and Telegraph Offices were lighted up last night, to test the gas pipes and the efficiency of the lighting. There are between sixty and seventy burners in the building, and generally speaking the lighting is very satisfactory. In one or two places in the mailing room an additional burner or a re-arrangement is considered desirable, and Mr Miller, Clerk of the Works, took a note of these possible improvements. The gas fittings are neat, though some of them have a rather heavy appearance. The quality of the light leaves nothing to be desired. The fittings are being supplied and fixed by Anderson, of Dunedin. The fitting up of the Post and Telegraph offices is nearing completion, and there is some talk of the business being removed into them on Saturday next. In the mailing room is a sorting table made on the model of one used  in the General Post Office, London, and to the uninitiated the convenience generally seem very complete. In the telegraph department the operating room is fitted with a table for twelve instruments, each pair divided from their neighbors by a low panel partition glazed with rough-rolled plate glass. This table is lighted with pendant burners, with two reflectors. The battery room is being specially arranged by Mr Meddings, Inspector of Telegraphs, and presents a curious array of rough glass vessels, with their contained chemicals. The line-men are busy at work putting up poles to carry the wires to the building, the poles being of a very substantial character. The time ball will also be ready to perform its allotted duty, a windlass being placed on the operating floor to wind it up with.

Timaru Herald, 24 March 1881, Page 6
The Post-office Clock. — The following letter was yesterday received from Mr. Gray, Secretary to the Post-office and Telegraph Department, Wellington, in answer to a letter forwarded by Mr E. H. Lough, Town Clerk, conveying a resolution recently passed by the Borough Council respecting the Post-office clock : — "Adverting to your letter of the 7th ultimo, No. 443, expressing the willingness of the Timaru Borough Council to contribute £100 towards the cost of a clock to be erected m the tower of the Post-office building, I beg to inform you that a contract is near in course of acceptance of  the construction of an eight day four-dial illuminated clock, at a cost of £285. The specified weight of the clock bell is five hundredweight ; but if your Council is of opinion that a larger bell will be required to ensure the striking of the hours being heard over a desired area, perhaps you would be good enough to indicate the weight which in the opinion of the Council would be most suitable."

Timaru Herald, 3 October 1881, Page 2
The Town Clock.— Mr Littlejohn, of Wellington, at whose establishment the clock to be fixed in the tower of the Government Buildings was manufactured, arrived in town by the Express train from the north on Saturday. The clock arrived by the evening train, and no time will be lost its erection.

St. Mary's is in the backlground.

Timaru Herald, 6 October 1881, Page 7
Messrs Littlejohn's Clock for Timaru — A Wellington contemporary says : The large clock ordered by the Government from Messrs Littlejohn and Son of Lambton Quay, Wellington, for the new Post and Telegraph Offices at Timaru, is now completed and has been forwarded to its destination. As it is one of the largest timepieces ever manufactured in New Zealand. The clock with all its accessories weighs about a ton and a half, and is constructed with all the latest improvements for securing perfect accuracy in the measurement of the fleeting hours. It is fitted with Graham's dead beat escapement, and carries a pendulum 8ft long and weighing nearly 2001bs. It strikes the hours on a bell weighing about 6cwt, which has been cast for the purpose by Messrs Mills and Cable. When in position it will have four dials, each 6ft in diameter, and fitted with white opal glass. The machinery is so constructed that, at sunset each evening the clock will illuminate itself. All the wheels and bearings are of gun metal, turned and finished with extreme care and nicety. The general character of the work reflects great credit on the makers, more particularly as the whole of it, with the exception, of the rough castings, has been executed upon the firm's premises. Messrs Littlejohn and Son make a special feature of the manufacture of large clocks. It is worthy of record that the timepiece over their shop in Lambton Quay has not been once altered since if was first erected six months ago, and during that time has only varied a few seconds. It is fitted with Dennison's gravity escapement, like the great clock at Westminster. To secure possession of the correct; time, the firm have an electric indicator communicating with the Wellington observatory.

Timaru Herald, 10 October 1881, Page 2
The Post-Office Clock. Rapid progress has been made in the erection of the clock in the tower of the Government Buildings, and it is expected everything will, be completed today. On Saturday evening the clock was set motion, and the dials illuminated, the effect Being very satisfactory. Mr Littlejohn. expects to have the bell fixed in position by noon to-day and to toll the hour as the timeball drops.

Timaru Herald, 15 November 1881, Page 3
The Town Clock. On the motion of Councillor Jackson, seconded by Councillor Shepherd, it was resolved - "That the clock be only lighted on Saturday nights up to midnight."

Timaru Herald, 19 November 1881, Page 3 THE TOWN CLOCK.
To The Editor of the Timaru Herald. Sir, — I observe from your report of last meeting of Timaru Borough Council, that the town clock is not to be lit up, except one night (Saturday) during the week for the future. This resolution, I presume, was made on the score of economy. If so, it appears to me a very cheeseparing economy, especially after all the fuss that has been made over procuring this precious ornament, and the cost of its erection. Surely a few shillings per week would not be misapplied from the town rates in illuminating the face of the clock, both for the information of people passing through the town within seeing distance, and in being a decided ornament to Timaru at night when lighted up. Hoping pressure will at once be brought to bear on our local Aldermen at their next meeting, which will induce them to rescind the resolution referred to, and allow the gas to be lit in the clock till midnight at least every night through the year as in other towns in New Zealand, I am, &c., CITIZEN

The councillors said "Let it stop."

Timaru Herald, 18 January 1895, Page 2 Friday
Amongst the business discussed at the meeting of the Borough Council on Monday night was the maintenance of the town clock, or the Post Office clock as Councillors preferred to call it. It is a subject of such tremendous importance and difficulty that we are painfully aware of laying ourselves open to a charge of rashness in venturing to say anything about it. Nevertheless it would be sinful to remain silent at the present juncture, and so we must make the plunge. The clock has stopped, as most people who live in town are now aware. It stopped not because it was unwell, but because it had run down and there was a hitch in the arrangements for its winding up. Clocks usually stop when they are allowed to run down and are not attended to, and therefore the Timaru town clock did no more than might have been expected under the circumstances. It could not wind itself up, and the Borough Council would not come to the rescue. It seems that until recently the Government of New Zealand paid for seeing that the clock did its duty. At last they awoke to the fact that it is usual for people to wind up their own clocks and watches and not get the State to do it for them. This view of the situation was submitted to the Borough Council, with the intimation that the Government would no longer pay for keeping the town clock going. An official correspondence then took place, but the Government stuck to their determination, and thus it was that the subject cropped up at Monday's meeting. To whom does the clock belong? The Mayor said it belonged to the Government because they had paid £200 towards the cost of it, whilst the borough had contributed only £100. We should say that the State and the Borough Council are the joint owners of the clock, but it is a very nice question. This much, however, seems to be clear. The Council cannot wind up a third of the clock and the State the remaining two-thirds. At all events the suggestion was not made at the meeting of the Council. The determination arrived at was "that the Council take no action towards the maintenance of the Post Office clock." This resolution was adopted as a means of bringing pressure to bear on the Government, who, for anything that we know to the contrary, may be very much distressed at the stoppage, though not so deeply as they might be if it were the stoppage of the Bank of New Zealand. The mover of the resolution said :— "Let the clock stop, and there would be a howl from the public that would make the Government glad to start it again." The howl has arisen, sure enough, but, strange to say, it is not against the Government but against the Mayor and Borough Councillors of Timaru who have been freely called — well, there is no necessity for putting it down on paper. The first man that the Mayor meets will tell him what he and his Councillors have been called constantly ever since the town time-piece stopped at 12 o'clock. It is true that the same words had previously, at longer or shorter intervals as occasion required, been applied to the city fathers, but since the clock ran down, the words are used without ceasing. Someone is always wanting to know the time, and when he looks at the clock, the words dimly indicated above at once slip from his lips "coupled with the names of His Worship the Mayor and the Councillors," as is usually said when giving a toast. Perhaps if it is a clergyman or Salvation Army captain, who looks at the clock, he manages to swallow the words instead of letting them slip out, but it must be by a strong effort. These words — there are only two, of them — will continue to be used ceaselessly in Timaru until the Mayor and Borough Council cause the clock to be wound up again -and set to the right time. Certainly the Government won't do it, for the voters of Timaru can scarcely make the town clock a question of party politics at the next General Election. If the municipal treasury is m such an exhausted condition as not to be able to afford the few shillings required for the winding up process, we would suggest that the Mayor and Councillors do the job turn about. The town clerk can hold the ladder steady, and we are sure that the Postmaster-General, before his departure for England, will raise no difficulty about giving a guarantee that the municipal clock winders shall not be arrested or sued for trespass — a point which we see was raised at the Borough Council meeting. Our strong advice to the Mayor and Council is to start the clock, and thus secure not the eternal gratitude of the town, but at least the credit of having done one sensible thing during their term of office.

Timaru Herald, 30 March 1896, Page 2
Mr Partridge, who has contracted with the Borough Council to keep the Post Office clock in order for three years, requests us to warn townspeople that the clock will probably be stopped today and possibly for two or three days more. It is a part of the contract on his side that the clock shall be well cleaned, as an extra, before the contract to keep it going begins. It appears that years ago the makers recommended . that the steel, wire ropes carrying the driving weights should be dressed with a mixture of tar and grease. Whether the right mixture was used or a wrong one, or whether too much was put on or not, the result is that the ropes became practically asphalted, instead of lubricated, and the stuff has also coated the pulleys. Mr Shappere, the late contractor, spent a lot of time in trying to scrape the a ropes clean, but failed to get even the outside clean, whilst it was of course impossible to clean the interstices of the ropes in that way. Mr Partridge intends to take them off and treat them chemically and afterwards apply a lubricant which will not become stiffer than the steel wire.

Timaru Herald, 14 April 1896, Page 3
The terms of agreement with Mr Partridge for keeping the post-office clock in order were read; the contract was for five years at £8 per annum, and £5 for cleaning the dock at the outset. The town clerk stated that the clock was now keeping telegraph time on the recommendation of the finance committee the town clerk was instructed to ask the Government to pay the £5 for cleaning the clock, as it was befouled whilst in charge of the Government officers.

Timaru Herald, 10 December 1897, Page 2
An accident occurred to it about 9 o'clock in the morning, the two springs on the striking fan breaking, and smashing some of the other portions of the striking machinery. The fans act in a similar capacity as the governors of an engine, and when they give way throw the whole of the striking mechanism out of gear. Mr O. E. Partridge, the watchmaker who attends to the clock, at once set about making new fans, and repairing the other portions of the gear, and hopes to have the clock striking again all right by to-day.

Timaru Herald, 1 February 1898, Page 3 IN BANKRUPTCY.
RE O. E. PARTRIDGE. The first meeting of creditors of Oswald Edward Partridge, of Timaru, jeweller, was called for yesterday at the office of Mr Montgomery, Deputy Official Assignee. There were present or represented Messrs Griffiths, Watson, J, Young, McNab, Wells, and Hay. Mr Hay appeared for the debtor. The following were the debtor's filed statements.
A.— Dr. unsecured creditors— £221 4s. Cr. stock £150, furniture and tools £25, book debts £15 ; total £190. Deficiency £31 4s.
B.— Unsecured creditors— P. Hayman and Co. £36, T. Wells £35, and rent £15, A. Beaver £35, H. Neil £15,— Longsdale £16, Alliance Box Co. £l7s, K. Rose £17. Geaney and Co. £7 1s,— Sladen £3 3s, N.Z. Clothing Factory £3 10s, W. Penrose Bros £2., W. Fenrose £2 2s., J. Young £5, Timaru Herald £7,Gas Coy. £3, W. Watson 7s 6d, J. McNab £19s, Priest and Holdgate £1 10s, Souness and Co. £2 2s, A. Mills 7s 6d, J. Hay £2, J. T. Warren £4 3s 6d, C. N. Macintosh £3 7s 6d, Dickinson and Griffiths, £1 13 Kemnitz and Nicholson £1 2s; total £221 4s.
C— Other liabilities —To Thomas Wells, under lease of premises for ten years at £52 a year.
In reply to the Deputy Assignee the debtor stated that he had been in business in Timaru about three years. Had no capital when he commenced. Attributed his difficulties to slackness of trade — no turnover of stock. Filed because a bailiff was put in for rent. Commenced business as a working jeweller only. Succeeded pretty well at that, and thought he would do better if he went in for a stock as well. Made some savings while working, and when he went in for stock had about £100 worth of plant. Removed to more central premises, and that involved an outlay on improvements. The stock was new, and was set down at invoice prices. He could make no offer.
    Mr Hay suggested that a relative might make an offer for the working plant on behalf of the debtor. It was agreed that the sale by auction would only sacrifice the stock and plant, and it was resolved that separate tenders be called for working plant, stock, and safe, tenders to be opened next Saturday week. In reply to a question, Mr Hay said the bankrupt's contract for regulating the post office clock, being a contract for personal work, was not of the class that the Assignee would take over. It was also resolved that the bankrupt be recommended for immediate discharge.

That is the "Jubilee water fountain" in front of the post office not the Benvenue Monument but the base, steps, is very similar.

Timaru Herald, 22 June 1887, Page 3 THE FOUNTAIN.
Addressing the Mayor more particularly, Captain Belfield Woollcombe said : — I ask you, Sir, to lay the foundation stone of this fountain in the name of this vast assembly of people, in doing so considering that you, sir, are representative of this town, and representative of all classes of society within and without the Borough. I have to present you with this trowel with which you will lay this stone, trusting that you will be as successful m doing so as you always are m the other duties you undertake.
    THE JUBILEE JAR. Mr Edwin Henry Lough Esq., Town Clerk, said: — Worshipful Sir, — I have the honour to present you with this large glass jar, which contains current coins of the realm, copies of the Timaru Herald and South Canterbury Times, and of the programme of the Jubilee Day proceedings. On behalf of the burgesses of the Borough of Timaru, and the residents of Timaru and district, I have the honour to request that you will be pleased to place this jar in the recess made in the foundation stone to receive it, there to be kept as a record of the true and unbounded loyalty and respect of the people here assembled, toward our well beloved Queen and Ruler, Queen Victoria. After placing the jar in the recess, His Worship turned to the people and said ...
    As nearly everyone knows the site of the Jubilee fountain is on the triangle opposite the Government Buildings. So far the steps of the fountain have been erected, and the foundation stone as laid yesterday by the Mayor will carry the granite pillar, the panels of which will be suitably inscribed, and on the sides of which the several drinking basins will be placed. A very few days should see the whole structure finished as the contractor (Mr Jones) has got everything well in hand. The fountain will be surmounted by a very handsome circular globe-lamp of great power, and which will shed a good light all round by the post and telegraph offices.

Timaru Herald, 14 May 1888, Page 2
The Jubilee fountain is now erected, but one can hardly judge of its value as an ornament to the town, until its surroundings have been improved by the levelling of the site. There is to be a ceremony of some kind at the turning on of the water.

P.W. Hutton and Co. series. Printed in England. Postcard pre 1911.

The Press March 13, 2007
Timaru's old chief post office building, 12-16 Sophia Street, Timaru, is no longer used as a post office. The three-level building, in Sophia Street in the central business district, has been owned by a group of local investors since the early 1990s and have refurbished it for tenants including furniture retailer McKenzie and Willis. Other tenants are a costume hire business, insurance broker, architect and a security business, while the upper storey has been converted to an apartment. The commercial property was purchased in the early 1990s by a Timaru business partnership associated with the interests of Rickie Shore Builders, when the post office relocated to a new building. The company refurbished it gradually, releasing it to the market as it went. The building encompasses three levels with several warehouse-style outbuildings that are used for storage. The property is producing net annual rental income. The building was constructed in the 1930s of plastered triple and quadruple brick for the post office and its associated operations. It was certainly built to last and has been very tastefully refurbished. It's on a very large site of 2790sqm and has three street frontages right in Timaru's CBD area, directly opposite the Royal Arcade. While the building is fully leased, it does have some future redevelopment and expansion potential in keeping with the original character of the building itself.

Old Post Office in February 2009. Photos by M.T.

The turret clock is still running!
Evening Post, 5 September 1911, Page 2
The new clock to be installed in the Timaru Post Office is to cost £650. The dials will be 7ft 6in in diameter, and the clock will have chimes which will sound every quarter of an hour. The Government will pay for the new clock (less Mr. Craigie's generous gift of £150), and take the old one, which is to be given to Te Awamutu, a township on the North Island Main Trunk railway.

Kihikihi Memorial Hall, Te Awamutu has a tower that was erected in 1960 to house the turret clock, manufactured in 1881 by Littlejohn & Sons, Wellington for Timaru. The machinery weighs over a ton and a half. It was purchased by Mr William Taylor (Greenhill) and gifted to Te Awamutu in 1912. The opening of the new Te Awamuata Post Office and the the unveiling of the clock occurred on 10 February 1914. Hon. R. Heaton Rhodes (Post-master General) spoke on the history of Te Awamuata postal history.  The clock operated in a tower over the Te Awamutu Post Office until 1934. It was rescued from storage and repaired and has been in operation since installation in 1960.

Evening Post, 23 June 1913, Page 6
The Hon. R. H. Rhodes, Postmaster- General, visited Timaru on Saturday to formally start the chimes presented by Mr. J. Craigie, M.P., and attached to the new clock in the post office. Mr. Rhodes (says a Press Association telegram) eulogised Mr. Craigie for the public spirit as a citizen he had displayed in the gift to the town. He was shown over the post office. The Minister admitted that the building was too cramped for the business done, but owing to the nature of the site it would be difficult to make additions.

The value of the postie. Snippets from the Timaru Herald

2016. There has seen many changes within the industry, including a dramatic decrease in the amount of mail now being posted and a split in the post office department into three divisions - New Zealand Post, Post Bank and Telecom. Another major change was when Courier Post went from an employee model to contracting out the delivery services.

Fairlie man Les Riddle has retired on 1st February 2016 after delivering mail to the area for almost 36 years. He did about 270km a day, six days a week. His run R.D. 17 covered the Fairlie Basin with the boundaries being Cave, Geraldine, Pleasant Point and Burkes Pass. It is a huge area. About 10 years ago his run took over the original Albury run. We went through about 20 cars as a postie and near misses including a tree falling on the back of the moving mail car and taking out the rear window wiper. Carrying bags over the Opihi River to get the mail through when the bridge was out was one of his many memories. He had met many people along the way.

February 14 2015
New Zealand Post's announcement on Thursday that it will cut mail delivery in urban areas to three days a week will result in job losses for Timaru.

Postie's life just got a bit easier. 03/04/2014 Timaru Herald
Timaru posties are in favour of their new power-assisted E-bikes. The electrical bikes, manufactured by Washdyke company Reiker, were introduced to posties here last month after successful trial runs. There are currently 17 E-bikes in Timaru. Delivery leader said 12 of the 14 town posties use the bikes for their postal runs, while the other two walk. The E-bikes have come a long way from the old lowline bikes postie of 25 years ago. The power-assisted bikes feature a small motor attached to the front wheel and changeable levels of power, with a top speed of 25kmh, although riders still have to pedal to kickstart the motor. It is "amazing" to use uphill. The battery lasts between 30 and 35km. The postie has run out of power a couple of times, but the E-bikes are still able to work as normal bikes when that happens. "A lot of men stop and say ‘oh, is that an electric bike?'. More men seem to notice it." Nationally, New Zealand Post has up to 70 Reiker E-bikes in use. A spokesperson said they will increase that number this year.  A 250watt motor on the front hub helps on hilly terrain.  

The Washdyke company started providing more than 300 bicycles a year to NZ Post in 1993. The postal service's announcement of reduced services to three deliveries a week and redundancies over the next three years has led to speculation that posties on bicycles may also be on the way out.

15/12/2012 Posties have been bitten by dogs, attacked by magpies and fallen off the bike numerous times. Thirty years ago it was the basic single speed bike, the going was hard, and a lack of fitness did not help. As technology improved over the years, fewer letters were sent, so a postie's round was increased. A lot of current mail is packages from online shopping sites. With a better bike which boasts five gears, can now cycle all the way up the hills. The worst part of the job is not the rain but the dogs. Yell at them and cycle faster. Traffic could also be "scary". "The big trucks come rumbling along and cut into the cycle lane." A few spills have made posties grateful for the helmet laws.

16/05/2011 Timaru Herald
Washdyke Mail Centre  - there are 17 people working there in the morning, 15 of us are posties. A Timaru company (Reiker Cycles) makes posties' bikes for the whole country. The bikes weigh about 20 kilograms. Timaru's postie - Frustrations of the job? The end of Mountainview Rd, there are magpies each year, they attack the postie – you just hear the squawk, squawk, flap flap, and can feel them hit your helmet. And because we're stopping at each letterbox, we're an easy target.

31/10/2009 Some letterboxes were a hazard to posties. Some of the risks were overgrown bushes around the box, or swarms of bees – brought on by a plethora of flora and fauna – harsh springs or a dilapidated box held together by "4-inch nails". Tight letterbox slots grab our fingers. Another reason was a postie's nemesis: dogs. Three years ago NZP found 330, or 17 per cent, of its posties suffered lost-time injuries each year. Many were strain injuries from overstretching and slipping on uneven or hard ground. Some boxes' location requires the postie to overstretch both outwards and upwards on a sloping surface, while trying to maintain balance of the laden cycle.

February 28, 2004 Timaru Herald
In his 31 years as a postie, only one dog has ever attacked Brian Senior; which earned the canine both sympathy and a reward. "This labrador grabbed the bottom of my trousers and I thought I was a goner -- but as it turned out it had no front teeth. "I felt so sorry for it I went to a nearby butcher shop and bought it a pound of mince," Mr Senior laughed. Mr Senior was employed by New Zealand Post in June 1972.

The dog issue - put the bike between you and the dog, to use the bike as protection.  

South Canterbury NZGenWeb Project

Postal history is collecting the markings and the rates and the routes of letters as opposed to postage stamps.