New post office officially opened
The Woodville Post Office was officially opened on Friday by Member of Parliament for Pahiatua John Falloon.
Invited guests had to brave unpleasant wind conditions during the official speeches staged at the front of the new Post Office.
The official party then retired inside to watch Mr Falloon unveil the plaque and then tour the building.
Among the invited guests were people who were at the opening of the previous Post Office, Woodville’s third, in 1904. They included Mrs Margaret McNeil, who was seven at the time, Mrs H.P. Horne and Mrs Elsie Burlace.
In extending a welcome to the guests, Woodville’s Mayor Ted Cheer said the opening ceremony completed the Post Office project, which was an acceptable amenity for the town and district. He said that “anything” would not do Woodville – it must have the best.
He said that a few people were disappointed by the demolition of the old Post Office building but that it was not an economic proposition to prolong its life and the new building became necessary.
Mr Cheer said how proud he was of the local contractors, Morris and Bailey who constructed the building and that with the landscaping completed the Post Office corner would add much to the area of Woodville.
He congratulated the architects who brought Woodville into the 1980’s with the building design and said he was thankful to all concerned for the fine new building.
Assistant Director General of Post Office Headquarters, Barry Drake said that the Post Office still played an important role in the lives of New Zealanders, as it had done in the lives of the early settlers.
He gave some statistical information including the fact that there are 3,178,226 account holders in New Zealand and 3098 savings bank accounts in Woodville; of the 660 million articles posted last year, 223,000 went through Woodville and stamp sales in Woodville totalled $43,000.
Mr Falloon, mindful of the unpleasant weather conditions, cut his speech short, but said he would give his speech notes to the Dannevirke Evening News so that guests could read what he had to say in comfort.
He read the first official telegram from Post Master General Ross Talbot commemorating the Post Office opening, and his reply saying this had been completed.
Mr Falloon said that he was one who did not want to see the old Post Office go but as there were too many things wrong with it to maintain the building he had bowed to common sense.
He said that he had so far only received two complaints about the Post Office. One was the colour – a bright red and yellow – should it have been blue and the other was the lack of off-street parking. Mr Falloon said there would be more parking space provided.
He said that Woodville had seen many changes and would no doubt see many more and he was proud to be associated with this part of it.
Mr Falloon’s speech notes which were not delivered included a Post Office history in Woodville.
The first Post Office was opened in Fountain [Fountaine] and Monteith’s store in McLean Street with Mr T. F. Fountain postmaster on July 1, 1876.
In January 1880 the first Post Office was built of corrugated galvanised iron to resist bush fires, the first telegraph system was connected and the new postmaster was G. J. McElwain. In the middle of January a money order office and savings bank was established. In 1881 the Woodville office was converted to a telephone station, but in 1885 Woodville was again made a morse telegraph office.
A new Post Office was erected by contractors Messrs. G. L. Raybone and W. L. Holder in April 1886. By then about 140 bags of mail were handled daily at the railway station. Woodville was at a three-way junction and an important mail centre.
The first Woodville telephone exchange opened with 11 subscribers on September 20, 1900 and the third Post Office was opening [opened] on February 9, 1904.
Photo caption – A special guest at Friday’s opening of the new Woodville Post Office was Mrs Constance Horne who attended the opening of the old Post Office in 1904. Mrs Horne with the bouquet of flowers she received, is pictured with Pahiatua MP John Falloon who performed the official opening.