Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thames (NZ) 'The First Time': AIRMAIL

I have long been interested in first time events for Thames; so hope to refresh my memory, find some more in order to make a more definite list. If anyone can help and name some - that would be great. Some will have been covered...so I will need to dig out the actual dates. Such as: first train, electricity, gas etc.. When was the first car seen in the town?

Today, mail delivery is the topic. In 1919 there were problems with mail delivery throughout the country due to the reduction and changes to the train timetable. Prior to the train service in Thames, the mail was principally sent and delivered from Auckland, via the many boats that sailed daily on the Firth of Thames..

So to overcome the problems with delivery, it was suggested to trial various air mail routes around the country. At the end of 1919 trial flight plans were drawn up and it was estimated that the flight from Auckland to Thames would take 45 minutes. Suggestions were that this should be for urgent correspondence and not personal letters or packages.

The big day for Thames arrived on 17 February 1920, when the first airmail delivery of mail took place, by flying boat.

Top: George Bolt receiving mail from a Post Office Official for the first airmail flight from Auckland to Thames
Auckland Weekly News 24/2/1920
'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 7-A6252'
Bottom: Fielding Star 18/2/1920

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