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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]

Post Office

Post Office.

The Christchurch Post Office, in conjunction with several other Government departments, is established in a large block of buildings which stand out very prominently in the south-western corner of Cathedral Square. Business at the post office is growing rapidly, and has already reached large dimensions. During the year that ended on the 31st of December, 1900—the latest period for which reliable figures are at present (May, 1902) available—the number of letters dealt with in the Christchurch district was estimated at 5,530,323, in addition to nearly 2,500,000 books, over 2,600,000 newspapers, and letter cards, post cards, and parcels. Of these totals, the letter-carriers delivered 1,900,000 letters, about 450,000 newspapers, and other articles in proportion. In 1890, the total weight of parcels dealt with in the Christchurch postal district was 67,202 pounds; in 1900 it was 135,426 pounds. In 1890 the registered letters numbered 24,000; in 1900, 55,000. Savings' Bank business and transactions in connection with postal notes, post office orders, and so forth, are conducted in a separate department, the entrance to which is at the north-eastern corner of the building. In the year 1900 the value of money orders dealt with at the Christchurch office was estimated at £62,777, the number of orders being 19,605. In the same year the money deposited in the Savings' Bank amounted to £613,160.

Mr. Robert Kirton, Chief Postmaster, who is the son of the Rev. W. Kirton, Presbyterian minister, who arrived in New Zealand per ship “Berkshire” in 1849, was educated at Dysart and Roslyn, Scotland, and in Wellington. He served two years in the office of Messrs. Hervey, Johnston and Co., merchants, of Wellington, and entered the general post office in 1854, when he was the only clerk, and continued there as chief clerk until 1871, when he was transferred to Christchurch to fill a similar position. In the following year he was transferred to Hokltika as chief postmaster, and eight years later to Nelson, where he continued in charge until December, 1892, when he was appointed to his present position in Christchurch. In the Masonic Order Mr. Kirton is connected with Lodge St. Augustine, Christchurch, and was a member of Lodge Waterloo, Wellington, N.Z.O. During his stay in Nelson he was senior warden of the local lodge. He was formerly grand master for the Wellington district in the Oddfellows' Order, and was a member of one of the first volunteer rifle corps in Wellington. Mr. Kirton, together with Mr. Houston Logan and others, was instrumental in establishing the Star Boating Club in Wellington, which has always had a very prosperous career. He was married in 1871 to a daughter of Mr. Abraham Sheath, accountant of the Telegraph Department in Wellington, and has four sons and eight daughters.

Mr. William McHutcheson, Chief Clerk of the Christchurch Post Office, entered the service as telegraph assistant in 1866, at Blenheim, and since that date has held various responsible posts in different parts of the South Island. Mr. McHutcheson was appointed to his present position in 1900.

Mr. David Miller, formerly Chief Clerk at the Chief Post Office, Christchurch, was born in Napier in 1858, and was educated at the Rev. D'Arcy Irvine's grammar school. He entered the Civil Service in 1875 as cadet in the Post and Telegraph Office, Napier, where he remained for seven years, and was then transferred to the General Post Office, Wellington. Mr. Miller was promoted in 1886 to Christchurch as senior money order and savings bank clerk, and eight years later was appointed chief clerk of that office. In 1900 he was transferred to Auckland as an assistant inspector of Post Offices for the Northern District. Mr. Miller was married in 1884 to a daughter of Mr. George McVay, of Auckland, and has four children.