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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Taranaki, Hawke's Bay & Wellington Provincial Districts]

Post and Telegraph Office

Post and Telegraph Office.

The Chief Post and Telegraph Office at Napier is a commodious wood and plaster building, standing at the corner of Hastings Street and Shakespeare Road. It is at two storeys, the ground floor containing the general post office, money order, and savings bank departments, and a lobby with 200 private letter boxes; on the first floor are located page 335 the telegraph and telephone offices. There are three public entrances to the building, and a wide stairway connects the two floors. Mails are received and despatched daily by land and sea, and about 3,250 telegraph messages are handled daily. Nearly ninety persons are employed in the combined offices. To cope with the extension of business, plans have been recently (1906) prepared by the Public Works Department for a new brick building for the Telegraph Department, at the rear of the old Provincial Government Buildings.

Mr. James Howard Sheath succeeded Mr. Cummings as Chief Postmaster at Napier in 1903. He entered the public service under the Canterbury Provincial Government, at Christchurch, in the year 1865, and in the same year opened the post office at Kaiapoi. He was afterwards successively in charge of the Blenheim and Nelson offices for a time, and was then transferred to Balclutha. He was subsequently stationed at Featherston, and in 1868 was appointed postmaster at Tauranga. In 1892 he was promoted to be chief postmaster at Westport, and was afterwards for some time at Hokitika, before receiving his present appointment. Mr. Sheath is a member of the Vestry of the Napier Cathedral, and is president of the Bluff Hill Bowling Club.

Mr. Benjamin Hunt Keys, who was appointed officer-in-charge of the Telegraph Department at Napier in September, 1900, was born in the year 1856, at the Hutt, Wellington, where his mother was for twenty years post-mistress. He first became a telegraph messenger and letter carrier in his native town, and then went to Wellington, and a little later to Napier, as a cadet. He was subsequently attached for a number of years to the Dunedin, Blenheim, and Wellington offices, and was then appointed assistant officer-in-charge in Christchurch, whence five years later he was promoted to his present position.