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Alford Forest Post Office History 

35 Km northwest of Ashburton and 9 miles west of Methven.

A Post Office was evidently established at Alford Forest prior to 1884, the date of our earliest records.

The Post and Telegraph Official Circular for 1st October 1887 reports the opening of Money Order & Savings Bank facilities. However these were withdrawn on 31st march 1896. A Postal Note Office was opened on 4th May 1896.

On 1st February 1907 a telephone office and bureau were opened in the premises already occupied by the Post Office. The code call was "AFT, delivery was regular, and attendance was 9am to 5pm.

We have no record of any staff changes until 1909, so that it would appear that the office was controlled by the same Postmaster from at least 1883 to 1909.

On 20th November 1909 Mrs Lina Elizabeth Hicks was appointed as non-permanent Postmistress at a salary of 19-00 per annum, raised to 22-00 on March 1st 1914. The ammount of work required to earn this salary can be guaged by the following count, covering one week only. In November 1919, of mail received for delivery at Alford Forest : Letters 1140, Registered articles 30, Official ( P & T ) letters 50, Postcards28, Packets 228, Papers 160, Parcels 38, From these figures, the "postal revenue" for the office was computed as being 49 19s 11d per annum, and an increase in the salary 22 was stated to be not warranted.

In 1923 an inspector reported that the office was housed in a General Store.

The Post office was permanently closed on 14th February 1925 when the Ashburton Alford Forest- Stavely Rural delivery was established. The Telephone office remained under Mrs Hicks at a salary of 9-00 per annum. This was reduced to 5-00 per annum in 1932. At this time there were only two telephones in the district.

In 1934 the office was shifted to new premises next door. The telephone cabinet was departmental property. Early in 1942 Mrs Hicks sold her business, but at the request of the residents, agreed to carry on as telephonist at 6-00 per annum (including 3-00 accommodation allowance.) She finally resigned on 13th September 1945, her home and the office being taken over by Mrs Eileen Emma Leaman. To suit the new telephonist the hours were reduced to 9am to 1pm daily, and it appears that by this time the office was in the residence of the telephonist.

 

After visiting Alford Forest, the then Postmaster, Ashburton ( Mr W.B.Robertson ) reported that Mrs Hicks was held in extremely high esteem. She was, he said "discreet, efficient. Helpful and charitable". In view of her service of over 35 years, the Department presented her with a framed testimonial and a gratuity of 10-00.

The salary was increased on October 1st 1947 to 22-00 per annum including 2-00 as private line switching fees.

In March 1950 it was recorded that the hours being observed were 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 9am 11-30am on Saturdays.

The Office was permanently closed on 3rd June 1952 when most of the residents had been provided with telephone service on the springburn exchange.

The first Alford Forest Post Office was opened on1.5.1874 under the control of John Wooding, Hotelkeeper, who had been granted an accommodation House license on 20.7.1872.

He was followed on 1.10.1874 as Postmaster by Philip Tisch. Somewhere about this time the Postmaster carved an obliterating stamp from cork, but forgot to reverse his letters so that cancellations read like a mirror reflection of "ALF". This was subsequently corrected to "ALF" in a circle. Prior to this, stamps were cancelled by pen and ink by writing "ALF" across the stamp. The first date stamp, a small coin-type one, was not issued until about 23.8.1892.

Tisch was followed on 1.5.1876 by W.C.Morgan, and on 1.12.1876 by Francis B Manning.

James Murray was appointed Postmaster on 1.5.1877 according to the "New Zealand Gaette" of 19.7.1877, but for some unknown reason he was again appointed on 18.4.1878 according to the same publication dated 25.7.1878. there is no trace of any other interim appointment.

 

Next on 1.7.1878 came Charles F.Exall and on 15.9.1879 he was succeeded by Henry Knight. In 1881 Knights salary as Postmaster was 11-00 per annum.

There is no further record of any change in Postmastership until 20.11.1909, when Mrs Lina Elizabeth Hicks became Postmistress and Telephonist.

 

Date

Postmaster/Postmistress

Details

1.5.1874

John Wooding

Office opened at premises of accommodation house where Postmaster acted as Hotel Keeper

1.10.1874

Philip Tish

 

1.5.1876

W.C.Morgan

 

1.12.1876

Francis B.Manning

 

1.5.1877

James Murray

 

18.4.1878

James Murray

No reason given for re-appointment

1.7.1878

Charles F.Exall

 

15.9.1879

Henry Knight

Died Nov 1897

4.5.1896

 

Post Note office opened

1.12.1897

Clement Knight

Henry Knights Son

1.3.1901

Flora E.Knight

Wife of late Henry Knight. Telephone office and bureau opened in the same premises.It is not known when office transferred to the Alford Forest store owned by Mrs Hicks.

20.11.1909

Lina Elizabeth Hicks

Daughter of Henry and Flora Knight

14.2.1925

 

Post Office closed. Telephone Office only retained.

15.2.1925

Lina Elizabeth Hicks

Telephonist only office transferred to premises next door in 1934 when they build a new shop

13.9.1945

Eileen Emma Leaman

Telephonist

3.6.1952

 

Office closed permanently.

 

Back to Alford Forest Early History.

Alford Forest Moa's.


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