Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Former Warkworth Post Office (1911)

Warkworth township is fortunate enough to have many attractive heritage buildings in and around the town centre. The former Warkworth Post Office was opened in 1911, on the corner of Alnwick and Neville Streets opposite the former Warkworth Town Hall. The building is registered as a Category 2 Historic Place Registration No: 496 on the NZ Historic Places Register.

The second Warkworth Post and Telegraph Office, was built to replace an older building, that had become old and unsanitory.

Some the necessities of his electorate were urged in the House to-night by Mr. Phillipps (Waitemata). A vote, he said, had been passed for the Warkworth post office, but the work had not been proceeded with, although the present building was old and insanitary
New Zealand Herald, Volume XLVII, Issue 14459, 27 August 1910, Page 8

The planning for the new Warkworth Post and Telegraph Office building was announced in the 20 December 1909 Public Works statement by the Hon. Roderick McKenzie then Minister of Public Works.

"...The proposed appropriation for the current year provides for new offices at Kaitaia, Kaeo, Maungaturoto, Warkworth, Helensville, Auckland (new Chief Post Office)..."
AJHR1909 Session II, D-01 

Tender Notice New Zealand Herald, Volume XLVIII, Issue 14624, 9 March 1911, Page 10

The Public Works Department has accepted the tender of Mr. H. M. McKay, of Auckland, at £944 for the erection of the Warkworth post office.
Auckland Star, Volume XLII, Issue 111, 11 May 1911, Page 6
Despite the announcement in the Auckland Star (11 May 1911), the Rodney & Otamatea Times (24 May 1911) editor, complained that no word had been received on the results of the tender process for the construction of the new post office building. The successful tender went to H. M McKay from Auckland.

There is no word with regard to the tenders for the Warkworth Post office. If any private firm was as slow going as a State Department, there'd be ructions. As for the telephone exchange, which people paid a deposit, ever so long ago, to obtain it is still coming. A few poles have come to hand, and they have been dumped on the road, so that all interested may see what deterioration takes place during the years which pass before erection. And some people would like the state to run everything. It ought to be worth considering whether it would not be better to cancel the order with the Department, and arrange for a private exchange to link up with the other private lines through the County.
Rodney and Otamatea Times, Waitemata and Kaipara Gazette , 24 May 1911, Page 4

McKay arrived during early June to begin the construction of the new building.

Mr H. M. Mackay, the contractor for the new Warkworth Post Office arrived on Friday last, and has already got things moving. It has been decided to build the new office at the corner of the present section. The ground floor will be a little over three feet above the roadway. It's quite a relief to know that the building is really to go up at last.
Rodney and Otamatea Times, Waitemata and Kaipara Gazette , 7 June 1911, Page 4 

By the end of September 1911, the old post office building had been advertised for sale by tender, with construction nearing completion on its new replacement.

Notification of the sale by tender of the Old Warkworth Post Office building is made by advertisement in in another column. The contractor for the new building, now nearly completed, also has a quantity of iron, timber and other building material for sale.
Rodney and Otamatea Times, Waitemata and Kaipara Gazette , 27 September 1911, Page 4

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19111026-10-1 

The post office opened its door on Thursday 19 October 1911, without any opening ceremony. Despite the newness the opinion of the Rodney & Otamatea Times (25 October 1911) noted that it had been a 'pity that permanent materials were not used in the building'. The building still stands and now serves as a place for various business ventures after post office closures during the 1980s and 1990s, rendered such buildings as surplus to requirements by the new corporatised New Zealand Post Ltd.

The New Post Office.
The New Warkworth Post Office is open for business. Without fanfare of Trumpets, or ringing of bells, the doors were thrown open last Thursday night, as though new Post offices were as plentiful as blackberries.
The new edifice, standing at the corner of Neville and Alnwick streets, is an addition to the town that was needed, though it is a pity that permanent materials were not used in the building. The contract price was £1050, and the builder was Mr A. Mackay. On the left of the entrance is the private letterbox room, while to the right of the main door is the business room, which has been designed to provide for numerous customers. A brass grille over the counter enables tho public to see the working of the staff in the mail-room. The increased accommodation will be a boon, alike to staff and public.
Rodney and Otamatea Times, Waitemata and Kaipara Gazette , 25 October 1911, Page 5


Amy said...

Very interesting Liz, I didn't know the building was that old. I went for a job interview in there a couple of years ago lol

Betty Luckhurst said...

I love that the older buildings are not just torn down in the name of progress. Love your post!