Post Office Square
Post Office Square was once a vital and vibrant hub of old Invercargill and gave the City a sheltered functional town center until 1938 when the NZ government decided Invercargill would put a new post office on this land instead. Decades following this decision Invercargill has struggled to establish a new town center and in a lot of ways is still searching to find a sufficient replacement.
The old post and telegraph office was built in stages beginning in 1875, it was eventually complete with north and south wings adjoining with a central clock tower by 1894. This post office was set back from Dee street behind a band rotunda centerpiece, two Victorian buildings on the corners of Dee/Tay( Colonial bank) and Dee/Esk( Athenaeum) framed the post office quite smartly from a Dee street prospective. Behind the post office facing Leven street was a connected Government building of a similar style and era.
Although aesthetically pleasing, Post office square needed to grow as Invercargill would and unfortunately economic hardships of the time limited options exceptionally. It isn’t entirely clear how Invercargill felt about the loss of its town-square as initially the new post office was an extension to the old building but by 1943 even the clock tower had been torn down and by the late 1970s all of the former post office was gone. Wachner place stands in a former Dee and Esk street Intersection and vaguely mimics what once stood a few doors down, even including the old clock mechanism.
Reflecting on what we have had, enjoyed ( and in some cases taken for granted), then lost seems important for Invercargill to consider with massive cbd upgrades ahead. While pumping in the latest and greatest infrastructure hopefully Invercargill has learnt to be sympathetic to its past and take some thoughtful steps towards recapturing some of the city’s former beauty while also looking to the future.
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