Queen Street Post Office

For several decades the building was the main postal and communications hub of the city, offering mail, telegraph and banking and pension payment facilities. It was the central telephone exchange and the rooftop housed Auckland’s radio wireless service, providing contact with ships at sea. Ornamental arches once stood either side of the main building, leading to the Queen Street Railway Station behind, but were demolished in the 1930s.

In 1992 the Post Office closed and the building fell into a state of disrepair. It suffered major damage during a fire and became overrun with pigeons. Auckland City Council purchased the building in 1995 as part of the plan for a downtown transport interchange. Following refurbishment of the eastfacing part of the building, it was reopened in 2003 as the main entrance to the Britomart Transport Centre.

I was performing an environmental play at a festival family day in the old closed Downtown Queen Street Post Office. As I was setting up the show, I looked behind the screen and wow there was so much old wooden stuff…Gorgeous well made old stuff in worn, native timber.. cubby holes and tables and stools and old mail bag holders. I made enquiries and permission through the right historical and architectural bodies and three months later we were allowed to go up to the fourth floor. The fourth floor had lots of broken stuff.A lot of the architectural/ historical pieces were long taken out.But there was plenty there…Just a world of ingredients..Big boxes with rubber bands handpainted on the
outside on this kooky looking trolley.The old days…The lifts were not working so we had to load it all down the stairs..From 4 stories up ! This building was such a memory of going to the post office..official…holding Mums hand.

Those big important buildings that had so much completion and flourish and wealth.Like the grandeur of the Railways Building..The one in Wellington still gives me a pleased feeling..it impresses me. Street Kids had been living there.The big old canvas post bags were used as sleeping bags and the smaller bags were stuffed into each other to make the pillows.

They had a sleeping area and they had a music area where they had hung up the metal money bowls that were in the change drawer…These were all strung across the rafters and there were big metal bars/ poles for bashing them with….These kids must have been wasted.The Bottom of Queen Street glue sniffing and bootboy days There were skeletons of pigeons who couldnt find their way out…they came in the windows through the broken part of a pane and then couldnt find the way out….now…laid out , white, long gone.. The street kids and the pigeons…as the day came to an end I wanted to go before it got dark… the loneliness of street living and empty buildings came seeping in We spend several days in this building , Gary meticulously taking all the thin strips of black painted wood off the walls with all the place names handpainted on them….Finally we finished.We had got all that has inspired us… even the power supply doors off the meter boxes…then I see an opening up in the ceiling…No Ladder…in one corner there is an opening in the ceiling…but the stairs have been taken out…I cant believe this This is like my worst opp shop nightmare.The reoccurring dream about an overwhelming opp shop moment….Like when everything is 10 cents and the whole shop is full of
awesome vintage clothing….how to get it all. How to squeeze it into the car… Well the post office was like this …but! The top little room had no STAIRS and I couldnt getup there and I could see the best stuff… just bits of it through the opening….ahhhh!

For several decades the building was the main postal and communications hub of the city, offering mail, telegraph and banking and pension payment facilities. It was the central telephone exchange and the rooftop housed Auckland’s radio wireless service, providing contact with ships at sea. Ornamental arches once stood either side of the main building, leading to the Queen Street Railway Station behind, but were demolished in the 1930s.

In 1992 the Post Office closed and the building fell into a state of disrepair. It suffered major damage during a fire and became overrun with pigeons. Auckland City Council purchased the building in 1995 as part of the plan for a downtown transport interchange. Following refurbishment of the eastfacing part of the building, it was reopened in 2003 as the main entrance to the Britomart Transport Centre.