Early days of mail delivery in Clutha
Beattie’s store further east on Clyde Terrace that Mr MacDonald bought after his own building was destroyed by fire. An adin the Clutha Leader 1874 advised that Mr John Dunne, the owner of the Newmarket Hotel in Balclutha and Proprietor of the Royal Mail, left Balclutha for Kaitangata Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays...
Mr A Hislop was the first to run a coach and horses between Stirling and Kaitangata. On September 22 in 1876, Kaitangata Post Office was built in Exmouth St. It was a single storey timber building, with W.H. Clayton the architect. The first permanent postmaster was John Owens. The building stood until a fire in 2004. The skateboard park is now on this site. Later, a telegraph office, money order and savings bank services were added. On March 8, 1878, the first telephone communication in NZ was between Milton and Dunedin.
In 1879, a railway telegraph office opened. Later, it was converted to telephone when separated from the post office. In 1896, there was a proposal to establish a manual telephone exchange. It is to Kaitangata businessman Henry Stewart Hitchon that the town is indebted for its telephone exchange, operational in 1891 with six subscribers.
By 1907 the post office was old and unsafe. A proposed site for a new building on higher land was found, where it stands today. In July 1911, the Honourable Thomas McKenzie laid the foundation stone. It was officially opened in 1912, consisting of post office, manual telephone exchange, upstairs accommodation and 50 private mail boxes.
On September 15, 1963 there were 1500 specially printed envelopes with a photograph of the present post office sold to commemorate the centennial of the first office. The automatic Telephone Exchange opened in 1964. In February 1998, the Post Office closed, and operated as an agency in a local shop.
Mr Colin Smith is restoring the building, which hosted a recent the Kaitangata art exhibition.
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Kaitangata Post Office, formerly Coal Point in the early postal service days.