Last post for post office

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It was a red-letter day for NZ Post in Queenstown last Friday.

Long-time employee Liz Anderson cut a cake to mark the Camp Street premises’ final day.

As elsewhere in the country, NZ Post has relocated its postal services – in this case, to the nearby post box lobby, the CBD’s Night ‘n Day stores and Frankton’s Summer-field’s Pharmacy.

Kiwibank, which shared the premises, reopened at Frankton’s Five Mile shopping centre this week.

The Camp St closure means the CBD’s without a post office for the first time since the early days of European settlement.

The first post office opened in 1863 and the second in 1871, both in Ballarat St, which is now The Mall.

The third post office, according to Lakes District Museum director David Clarke, opened on the Ballarat/Camp Sts corner in 1895.

It was replaced in 1937 by a building clad in greywacke stone hewn from a huge rock at the top of the Queenstown Gardens.

That building was then replaced 10 years ago by a Ngai Tahu Property complex which has housed NZ Post ever since.

Clarke notes that in the post office’s heyday it served as a community hub for the town.

He says it was the centre for marches, declarations of war and peace, war casualty lists, coronation announcements and election results, both local and national.