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NEW AKAROA POST OFFICE

FOUNDATION STONE LAID BY

POSTMASTEB-3ENERAL On Wednesday, the Hod. R. Heaton Rhodes, Postmaster General, accompanied by Mr Morri**. Chief Postmaster for Christchurch and for the Canterbury dißtric*", and Mr A J Talbot in charge of telegraphs for Canterbury, arrived in Akaroa to perform the ceremony of laying tbe foundation stone of tbe new Akaroa post office, which is now in course of erection. The new post office building is to be of wood, with rough-cast finish, and with a tiled roof. It is to be of two storeys, and combines a postmaster's _esidanc3 with the office- Tbe office portion will be confined 'to the ground floor, and will comprise a posting recess. 12ft. by 6ft 6in.; a private box lobby, 12ffc 6in. by 6ft; a public office, with telephone bureau room, 26ft. x 12ft.; postmaster's room, 12ft. by 10ft.; a strong-room, 7ft. x sft. 6in.; a mail room, 30ft. by 25ft.; and a telephone room, 12ft. by 10ft. The residential portion will be confined to tbe upper floor, and will comprise a dining-room, 15ft. by 12ft;. 6in.; a sitting-room, 15ft. x 12ft.; one bedroom 15ft. Bin. by I2ft 6in., one 18ft. by 12ft.. and one of tbe same size leading on to a balcony; a kit chen, 15ft. by 12ft.; a scullery, a pantry and bathroom. Tbe building will have a frontage of 48 feet to Lavaud street,, and a <depth of 51 feet. A wash-house, a linesman's store,. a battery ' room, and other official and domestic conveniences will.be provided in outbuildings. The contractor for the erection of the building is Mr H. Hinkey, of Spreydon. The contract amount is £2205. The party was met by tbe Mayor and Town Clerk, aud after luncheon a large Dumber of residents and cbil dren attending tbe Akaroa District High School ast-erobled to take part in the ceremony. A platform vvas erected and bunting displayed, and Akaroa's traditionally beautiful weather graced tbe oco-ision, and tbe ceremony was carried out under the most pleasing conditions, Those present on the platform were tbe Hon. B. Heaton Bhodes, Post-master-General, G. Armstrong, Etq M Mayor of Akaroa, G. W. Thomas, Esc, Town Clerk, Org M G. Daly, J. 'R. Newton, C. W. Leete, L. J. Vangioni, J, J. Walker and C. S. Cantrell, Mr Morris, Chief Post master Canterbury District, Mr Talbot, in charge of telegraphs Canterbury District, Mr H. G. Youngman, postmaster, Akaroa; and Messrs E E. Lelievre, W. D. Wilkins, Mr H Hinkey, contractor, and the Rev, A H. Julius. His Worship tbe Mayor welcomed tbe Minister to Akaroa, and expressed tbe pleasure all felt in having biro among tbem, and for the mission tbat bad brought him to Akaroa that day, He said the residents had been batt ling for several years to bave a new post office erected, and he was very pleased indeed tbe foundation stone was being laid. Five years ago the Ward Government had put £2000 on tbe estimates for a new post office at Akaroa. This bad later been reduced lo £1000 by the Mackenzie Goverr. ment, but tbe Massey Governmett had 'reinstated the £2000 on tbe Estimates, and were now carrying out tbe work. (Applause.) He said in the old days the old post office bad been the courthouse, then it was uti Used as a post office upon the court bouse being built. The old building bad done really good service. Of late years tbe staff working in tbe post office bad been considerably affected in health by tbe insanitary state of the old building. He wbb sure tbe new building would be sanitary, and a great acquisition to the town. He called upon Mr Rhodes to lay tbe foundation stone. (Applause.) The Hon. Mr Rhodes was greeted with applause upon rising. He said it was signally gratifying to bim to be there to perform the ceremony of laying tbe foundation stone of tbe new post office. He referred to Mr Armstrong's activity as never being released in his endeavour to secure n new building. It was one of the first things asked for by him when be was* firat elected member for the district,

hut tbpy would not have to wait mneb longer now aa . tne contractor was a man of energy. He, as member foi the district, had obtained the first real promise for a new building on Ootober 18tb, 1911, when Sir Joseph Ward, then Prime Minister, stated that plane and specifications would be prepared for a new Post Office,at Akaroa in due course. That due course had been a long course as they all knew, but they would be able to forget tbat now the building was started. Mr Bhodes went on to refer to the early history of Banks Peninsula, and he said it was customary when laying a foundation stone of this sort to aUo lay with the stone tbe early history of the district. The Peninsula bad a history, and when these records were unearthed again those who found them could read of tbe famous raids of Tp Rauparaha, the purchase of Banks Peninsula by Cnptaiu Hempleman for a whale boat and a few blankets, and later tbo purchase of the Peninsula by Captain t/Anglois. He would hand tbesu records to the Press. He said many old residents would recall .the old whaling days here, and would remember how the timber had dis appeared to give place to pasture lands until the district bad become one of tbe most prosperous in the Dominion. All these changes bad taken place, but none regretted tbem. He hoped that the few patches of bush left would be reserved for the sake of visitors and people of the district. In suoh a pic ture?que town it was only right that a fitting building should be erected, and this the Postal Department bad endeavoured to erect, It had been erected to provide for the present and future requirements of the towns people, and although be regretted it was not built in brick be hoped a brick building would be erected on those foundations in years to come, Tbe history of the place had been mostly compiled from the late Mr 11. 0. Jacobson's book, " Taies of Banks Peninsula,'.' and Mr McNab's early history.

EARLY PENINSULA RECORDS, The records are as follows:—

"Ml parts of Bjnks Peninsula had been Fettled by the Maoris long hefore the advent of Europeans, and traces of their occupation still exist while many of their exploits are on record. Perhaps the beßt known of these exploits, because it happened near the beginning of European settlement, was Te Rauporaha's horrible massacre at Akaroa in November, 1830, of about a hundred Maoris, and the capture of many more in revenge for the killing of a relative: Te Bauparaba was able to effect his plan hy concealing his party in a whaliDg vessel, decoying on board and capturing a number of the local natives mr eluding the chief, and Attn eking the unsuspecting village at night. The Fame warrior also attacked a fortified pa at Onawe and was victorious, almost annihilating the Maori residents of the Peninsula. The European settlement of Akaroa com menced very eavly. Akaroa was in faot well known before many of the prosperous towns ot the present were in existence: and it was at one time thought it was destined to be one of the principal towns in New Zealand, Its importance at first arose from the safe anchorage the harbour and outside bays afforded to whaling vessels of various nations, principally those of Great Britain France, the United States and Australia. The whaling industry first assumed any considerable dimensions in the year 183-)., In 1838 (here were at least six whaling vessels of tbe United States alone engaged at Banks Peninsula, with their bases at Piraki, Akaroa or Port Cooper, and in the year 1839 there were 13. As many as eight and ten French whalers weie here at times from 1856 to 1838.. To look after French interests in the South Pacific and control the whalura in New Zealand waters the French Government sent out the corvette Heroine, under the command of Captain Ceoille, whioh nrrived at Akaroa on the Bth June, 1838. It was stated that Captain Ceoille hoisted the French flag at Akaroa, but the statement has not been substantiated. D'Urville, the commander of the French expedition, engaged in scientific research work in the Pacific was at Akaroa in April. 1840, with his ships the Astrolabe and the Zelee, but he made no attempt to hoist tbe French flag. ; Ha would have been iv time had be done so. D'Urville arrived at the Say of Islands after his viEit to Akaroa just a 9 the expedition under Major Bunbury, which proclaimed British sovereignity over tbe South Island, was setting forth. Captain George Heropkman established his land whaling station at Piraki in 1837 From his cultivation h« supplied the whaling vessels with large quantities of potatoes, and be also traded in other stores. About March, 1837, Hempleman purchased the principal part of Batiks Peninsula from the natives, the payment being a small trading vessel of about ten tons burden, a quantity of blankets, tobacco, etc., of an estimated value of about £650. In August, 1838, Captain L'Anglois, master of the French whaling vessel Cachalot, also purchased, be asserted, practically the whole of Banks Peninßula. This of course would conflict with Hemple man's purchase if regularly made; but the natives would no doubt have no objection to selling the land many times over. Captain L'Anglois returned to Franca and took part in tbe formation of tbe Nnnto Bordelaise Company, making over bis interest in the land to the Company. In March, 1840, sixfcy„fiva emigrants left Havre de Grace for Akaroa in the Conite de Paris, which was escorted by the frigate (some say corvette) L'Aube under Commodore Lavaud, whose intention was to make tbe South Island ot New Zealand a French colony. Tbe latter vessel called in at the Bay of Islands, and the. object of tbe expedition became known to Lieutenant Governor Bobeon, who at once despatched H.MS. Biitomatt (Captain Stanley), io Akaroa with two magistrates, Messrs Murphy and Robin.eon. These gentlemen carried sealed instructions to hold sittings of tbe Magistrate's Court at Akaroa immediately on their arrival, and thus prove that the British Government were in actual possession of the South Island, The Britomart dropped anchor at Akaroa on the 11th August, 1840, and Captain Stanley at once had a flaga'aS erected by his men at Green's Point, and in the presence of the two magistrates, Mr and Mrs Green and family, and a ' few o'her white people had the British flag hoisted, find proclaimed the sovereignity of Her Majesty Queen Victoria over the South Island of New Zealand. Captain Stanley's flagstaff was not erected perpendicularly as is customary, but was placed at an angle* ol 15 degrees, with the slope towards the harbour. British sovereignity over tbe South Island had already been proclaimed at Cloudy Bay some two months previously by Major Bunbury, H.M- 80th Regiment, and Captain Nias, R.N. Possibly Captain Stanley did not care to run any risks ; but it is clear that tbe race of whioh so much has been 6aid ot the rival warships of Great Britain and France from the Bay of Islands to Akaroa could not affect the validity of I Britain's title to the South Island, Tbe L'Aube with tho French emigrants arrived after Captain Stanley, and the Comte de Paris three days after the L'Aube. Tbe Commodore was informed tbat the emigrants would be allowed to land only on the understanding tbat they did so under the British flag. This was agreed to, and they landed accordingly. At this time tbe hilU surrounding the harbour were clothed with dense bush, and the only olearing in French Bay was were the Borough yard now is, aod on tbat spot the settlers camped. The French Government some years after tbe arrival of the settlers at Akaroa offered to transfer th«m to the French colony of Tahiti on the same terms as those on which they tame to Akaroa, but tbe offer was not ac* ■ epted by any of the settlers. Although the validity of the French purcb»<« iron* tbe

natives was never properly established, th*-. ettlers were allotted five acres each. The cl .nils ol thy Cuuirmny were afterwards ta-ten over by the New Zealand Company. Commodore Lavaud remained in tbe place for about four years, and was then relieved ! by another rffiivr. Of the original French ettlers the only survivor-* are Mr Lucien Libeau and Mr and Mrs Eteveneaux. Another of the number, Mr Francois Lelievre. died on tbe 30th September, 1912, at the age of 83. The first members of fhe Provincial Council returned for the Akaroa district were Mr Robert A. Rhodes and the Rev. W. Aylmer. Soon after the arrival of the first settlers, saw mills were put into operation in the various bays, and as many as twnty schooners were loading, timber at the same time. Now there is hardly, a vestige of forest left and the mills have long sinae disappeared. Up till the early sixties there were eeveral

shipyards in Akaroa harbour from which at various times numbers of schooners ami cutters were launched. Owing to the Auck. land shipbuilders having superior timbpr and better facilities this industry <"Mcd on. The first cattle stations were f-*tah'iKi'ed in Canterbury about 1839. I* l November of that year CtipUi'w W. B, Rlio les (•rnvp-J with a sr-hooner and cattle. Mr mil Mr Green took chari? o of the cattle, t lp i"- bo ?<- ---being in the bay l-eyond what ia known «« Green's Point. The dairy produce of the. farm was available for the v'a ious -hip** which frequented tbo harbour, but the cattle were allowed to multiply and none of them was killed. This and similar ventures by Captain Rhodes were very successful. Later a number of cattle. horßes and pigs were pur-

ohased in Sydney for the French settlers and brought to Akaroa by Mr Belligny, the agent sf the Nanto-Bordelaise Company. It iB now about fifty years since cocksfoot was sown on the Peninsula by Mr Hay c;f Pigeon Bay, several of the Akaroa settlers following hi-- example Bhortly after. It is said that the seed was so precious, that on-, it least of them sowed each seed separately The annual product of cocksfoot feed now varies according to the nature of the sea-on, from 30,000 to 85,000 sacks. The r-rincipal industry is now dairy and sheep farming. Much of the foregoing historical information has been supplied from Mr McNab's book '-The Old Whaling Days." and Mr Jaoobson's "Tales of Banks Peninsula." Mr McNab hats prom sed to furnish in a future book much interesting infor* mation concerning the French expedition. During the last few years Akaroa has developed into a favourite holiday, resort, especially for the people of Christchurcb. and this development has left its impress on the town. Among the improvements of recent years are tho provision of up-to data water, drainage and .electric light systems. the erection of several large hotels, new bath**, public school, technical b hool, etc. The name Akaroa is a corruption of "Whakaroa," the southern Maori form of "Whangaroa," meaning" lonct harbour." The population of the town at the census of 1911 was 650. Up till 1850 there was no postmaster at Akaroa. The first postmaster vas an Englishman named Millwood, wbo was als > chief constable. The date of his appointment is not known, but he was superseded on the 30th September, 1853, Mr IT. G. Gouland taking charge of the office from tbe !<■* Octob°r. On the date of his appointment Mr Gouland wrote to ibo Postmaster, General, complaining that he had received no stationery except books and forms, and stating tbat all ofiicial fnstructions had been burned with his predecessor's houtse some time previously. On the 31st March, 1854, Mr Gouland vacated the office of posy mastsr, and also that of sub.collector of customs, whioh he held, and banded over the post office to Mr John Watson, tho resident magistrate, tbe position of custom-* officer being temporarily filled by another person. The amount of postal business may be judged from th« fact that on tbe 4th July, 1854, Mr Watson forwarded to the Postmaster-General 9s B_d, being one-third of the postal revenue for tha quarter ended the 30th June. Some time between July and Ootober, 1854. Captain Robert Greaveß was appointed postmaster. He held the position until the 31st March 1850. when he handed the office back to Mr Watson. The next postmaster of whom there is any record was Mr Edward Badeley, who was appointed in 1864. Succeeding postmasters have been : - John Dajiell. appointed 1864; Frank Guinness, appointed 7'h February, J8«6; O. W. Bridge, appointed Ist July, 1867; R A. Buchanan, appointed Ist July, 1873; 3.G. Tregear, appointed Ist September. 1876; F. Y. Stratton, appointed 19th January, 1877; H. W. Dawson, appointed Ist November, 1880; W. A. Harding, appointed let February. 1908; H. G. Youngman (present postmaster), appointed 21st March, 19u. Mr Dawson was postmaster for twenty-seven years. He was transferred from Akaroa to Onehunea in 1908, and has recently retired. Until 1850 there was no regular mail service to or from Akaroa. On the 24th April of that year a Mr Donaldson arrived from Lyttelton, bringing with him the English mail, and, there bein« no postmaster, he personally delivered the correspondence tc the addressees. On Mr Gouland being appoint postmaster on the Ist October, 1853, be wrote to the Superintendent of the Province of Cante-bury, saying (h.tt the postmaster at Lyttelton bad informed hi*predecessor that the constables had refused to take the mail heretofore sent overland every fortnight, and that the transroi-Fior must cease. Tbe .Akaroa constable would i however, still carry the mail to Lyttelton and he trusted that it was only necessary tr bring the matter under the Superintendent'! notice to ensure the continuance of thi transmission. His trust whb unavailing, i being apparently by the Superintendent'! orders that the police discontinued carryic{ the mails. Learning this, Mr Goulam wrote on the 2nd November, 1353, to thi Postmaster-General, saying that the arriya rf vessels was so infrequent and uncertain that tbe cessation of tbe overland mail was i great hardship, and recommending that thi service be resumed and also made more fre quent As a result tenders were called, an< a contract was let to Mr J. Waeckerle ti carry the mails between Pigeen Bay am Akaroa weekly. The mails from Lytteltoi to Pigeon and vice versa were conveyed b, open boat. After about two years Mr Waec kerle was suoceeded as mail contractor b; Mr J. Gladstone, a nephew of England' • Grand Old Man," but this route was fron Purau via Port Levy and Piceon Bay. Whei Mr Gladstone resigned, MrG Armstrong, ai, Irishman, was appointed. For some time . he followed the same route as his pre- ' deoeßßOr, but later he travelled from Purou I by the Summit road. It is stated by old , settlerß tbat at one time the mail service to and from Lyttelton was a monthly one, but there are no records in existence to show that this was so. In 1863 the frequency of the Lyttelton-Pigeon Bay-Akaroa service was twice weekly, and in 1864 it was madthrice weekly. In 1864 theie wero 19.876 letters and 19,711 newspapers received at and despatched from Akaron. The firet coach from Christchurch to Aharoa anived in 1872, and was accorded a public welcome. The service was thrice weekly, alternating with the Pigeon Bay ser- ice, giving a daily mail to Akaroa. , As the construction of the Little River railway line advanced the coach journey was gradually shortened, until in March, 1886, the service from Little River commenced. From 1907 the service has been daily via Little River. The delivery of mails at Akaroa has been considerably accelerated by the motorcar Bervice to and from Little River from the beginning of last year. Akaroa was connected with Christchurch by telegraph on the 20th January, 1872, tbo -"post and telegraph office being combined The lighthouse was connected by telephone in 1885, this being the first telephone station in communication with Akaroa. A money order office was opened at Akaroa on tbe Ist April, 1865. The post office savings bank system was brought into operation in | New Zealand in 1667, and on the Ist February at five of the piinoipal offices, nnd on the first April at thirty-nine others. Akaroa was one of the latter number. A

telephone exchange was established in 1901, with 20 subscribers. The subsoribers now number 41. From the following figures it will be seen j that during the last ten years there has been a considerable increase in all branches of the Department's business at Akaroa:—ln 1903 tne number of lettori and postcards posted was 86,800, and in 1913 96,510 Other art ; oles posted 18,810 and 23,300. In 1903 the number 0! letters and poßt-cards delivered was 72,580, and in 1918 105,330. Other articled delivered 20,240 aud 37,440. Tho

ostal revenue in 1903 was £420, and in 913 £556 In 1903 566 money, orders were -.sued to the value of £2007, and in 1913 806, of the value of £3961. In- 1903 264 money orders were paid to the value of £977. I and in 1913 300, of the value of £1712. In 1903 Gl'ci savings bank deposits were made, amounting to £9070, and in 1913 881, amounting to £12,794 In 1903 221 savings bank withdrawals were made, amounting to £5879. and in 1913 393, amounting to £12 882. In 1903 6737 te'egrams were forwarded, of tbe value of £257. and in 1913 12.380, of the value of £397. In 1913 6723 telegrams wero received for delivery to residents, and in 1913 11.485. In 1903 9412 telegrams were reoeivd for onwnrd tranr> mission, and in 1913 13.098. Tbe first post office was in a bu>l'<ng known ns the French mag zinc tha* rood a' tbe back of the section on which th** present Courthouse now stands

The old mail-room of the building njw partially demolished was orgiiftlly tne courthouse I*; was designed -aryin 18)1 hv Mr S. C. Fair, s-ipc-- wen-known in Chiistchuroh, and bui't by Mes""-* Ktev-* neai.x and Adams nf timber saw.i locally during tbe same year. Many alterations and »• tl t.inn? wei-f mad.- m ih* building (Hiring ihe fixtv yea re. it was in exi-i-we, and, with iltp f xspptinn of the studs, raf*er* an I joist*?, most of tho lUihur bad been replaced. Latei the old postmaster's room, now being temporarily used a-? a mail room, was built as the Land Office, and when no longer required for that purpose was used as the Road Board Office.

The northern portion of Akaroa, sometimes called "French Town," was laid out by the French settlers. The measurements of the seotions are all meteric, the main thoroughfare, Lavaud street, being 15 metres wide. The post office is leing set back half a chain from the middle of eaoh street in the f?a<ne way as the Bank building.

THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT. The Hou. Mr Rhodes said bo would like to say what the Post Office De part-ment was doing. Many people had said the Post Office Department, had been the most progressive Depart ment in the Dominion under the Ward Ministry, and he would also say that this Department was still a progressive Department under the Massey Go vernment. The Government was going to great expense to extend tbe telephone system. Reoently a second wire bad been put up on Banks Penin sula, and all over the Dominion the telepbnne system had been extended The Department were extending the" telephone in the country districts very extensively. They had also re duced the parcel rates 25 per cent, and reduced the wireless rates by half vutb Auslrolii). The cable rates between tbe Dominion and England had been extensively reduced by the weeK-end and deferred cable system. This showed the Post Office Department was still a progressive Department Referring to tbe locul mail service, the speaker said the Department were utilising motor m**ii services all over flew Zealand as tb.y bad on Banks Peninsula. The Peninsula people, who bred such fine horses, would no doubt regret tbe lops of the coaches, but tbe coaches must give way to motors. It was not generally known | tbat every time a ierson sent a six penny telegram it tut-ant a loss to the Department, and the hilal loss in the year was about £20,000. Very large concessions were ri*i*de to the Press, and this resultpd in a loss to the Department of £55,000, but in spite ol these losses the pppjv"i*fint showed a creditable/revenue. Be bopi'd ehortly to have the return-' cf hi" P* part ment for tbe year. Las'", month the revenue bad bet o £28,878 in com parison with £26.307 for March, 1913 In the Post Office savings Bank tbe Department had granted depositors 3J per cent on their deposits instead ol 8| as heretofore, and they were now paying interest on amounts up to £1000. He also had the figures of thf amounts which stood to the credit o> post office depositors* that the increase for the year was £801,156, and tbe in crease of interest £44,309. It wa3 th* object of tbe Department to afford every facility and grant concessions where possible. In tbe records banded Jhe Press the business done at the Akaroa post office was shown. The first postmaster at Akaroa had been constable as well, end at one time thi I mail contractor bad been Mr J. Glad j stone, a nephew of the famous English statesman. Tbe Mayor should bt congratuiiited upon having a very up to date office. He said the old pos. office was not healthy, and that wa*his own opinion when be asked for a new post office.' As Minister for Pub lie Health he allowed tbe old building was worthy of condemnation. He was very pleased indeed to petforu tbe ceremony, as it marked tbe pro gress of Akaroa and the district. H was pleased to see so many children present, and if it was his good fortune to be present at the opening function ; he would ask that tbey, should have another half holiday to celebrate tbe occasion, (Applause). His Worship the Mayor then preI sented Mr Rhodes with a silver trowel 1 to lay tbe stone with on behalf of the 1 residents of Akaroa.

Tbe trowel was a handsome one, inscribed as follows : —"Prest-uted to tbe Hon. R. Heaton Rhodes on the occasion of bis laying thi- foundation stone of the Akaroa Post Office, April 8, 1914." Tbe Postmaster General thanked the Mayor for tbe very bandsomt memento. It was 0 gift be would appreciate, as this was the first occa sion on which he bad laid tbe founda tion stone of a post office. The i memento was doubly valuable in bis eyes, as it was not only the first foundation stone he had laid, but it was laid in his own district. The Mayor then called for three cheers for Mr Bhodes, which were heartily given. In laying the foundation stone, tbe Hon, Mr Bhodes said tbat be was very pleased indeed to be connected with the Mayor (Mr G. Armstrong) in laying the foundation stone. Their fathers had been members of the j Provincial Council together for this distriofc, and members of Parliament I together, and ho felt the honour of being connected with Mr Armstrong jp laying this stone. (Applause) stone was then laid, and the . perenaoriy closed, the stone beating ' the following inscription : -

.**• This 'Sfcoqe was laid by tha Hon. B. Hkvton Rhodes, Postmaster General,

M.P. for Ellesmere Electorate, On day of April, AAD. 1914.

G* Armstrong, Mayor ol Alwoa

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Bibliographic details

NEW AKAROA POST OFFICE, Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXII, Issue 4386, 10 April 1914

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4,643

NEW AKAROA POST OFFICE Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXII, Issue 4386, 10 April 1914

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