Friday, October 3, 2014

Thames (NZ): Then & Now - Queen Street Government buildings

The influx of people following the proclamation and opening of the Thames Goldfields on 1 August 1967, must have stunned many of the early town planners. The old courthouse and police buildings at the southern end of Shortland were soon inadequate. A new courthouse and Government offices were opened at Queen Street, Grahamstown in 1870. The conditions were noted to be greatly improved!

"The government buildings were built at a cost of £3941, tenders having being called in September 1869. They comprised four interconnected pavilions with the courthouse on the northern end and the telegraph office to the south. Tenders of an as yet unknown nature to alter the courthouse were called in 1914 by the District Engineer [F Bigg-Wither]. All but the courthouse was demolished in 1955, the Post Office having been replaced by a new building in Pollen Street in 1938. The Crown vacated the courthouse in 1981." Source: TCDC Heritage Report by D A McEwan.
A grand group of buildings, that would hold various government offices such as Post & Telegraph and the Courthouse. The photo below shows some verandah extensions over two sections of the building and the old boarding-house to the far left, which would later become the site of the Police Station.

One hundred and forty-four years later...just one part of the Government Building remains on the site at 726 Queen Street, Thames. The building is on the Historic Places Register as a Category 2.

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