South Canterbury, New Zealand. Old postcards.

Old South Canterbury POST=CARDS 

 Photographers  F.G.R.     Fairlie     Geraldine     Temuka     Waimate     Top of the Bay

The Timaru Post Office is 95956 of the Industria Series and is circa 1905-1910. It was after January 1907 that it was no longer required to use the French Carte Postale and this card includes the French.

North Otago Times, 14 April 1879, Page 2
The postal district of Timaru shall extend from the Waitaki River to the river Rangitata, and include all sub-offices now established within the Counties of, Waimate and Geraldine. The following sub-post-offices, which are within the proposed postal district of Timaru, will be under the immediate control of the Chief Postmaster of Timaru : Albury, Blue Cliffs, Burke's Pass, Cave, Fairlie Creek, Geraldine, Hilton, Lake Tekapo, Makikihi, Orari, Otaio, Pareora, Pleasant Point, Pleasant Valley, Pukaki Ferry, Rangitata, Sandietown, Silverstream, St. Andrews, Temuka, Timaru (chief office), Waiho, Waihi Bush, Waimate, Waimate Junction, Waitaki Flat, Washdyke, and Winchester. Mr W. W. Beswick is to be Acting Chief Postmaster for the postal district of Timaru, and Mr Fred. Bicknell Chief Postmaster for the Oamaru district.

Timaru Herald 17 June 1997
The letter is not dead and deregulation of postal services will hold no fears for New Zealand Post. That message was conveyed by New Zealand Post's group manager, letters, John Allen, of Wellington, when he opened the new mail centre in Treneglos Street, Washdyke, yesterday. The new centre, a leased building of 2085sqm, replaces the 120-year-old centre previously accommodated in the former Timaru post office building in Sophia Street. Now at one level, the new centre avoids the double handling of mail that occurred in the old centre and it also has updated equipment. Mr Allen said that in spite of the internet, television and other forms of communication the letter was not dead but growing in volume, and that would continue as long as people communicated with friends or customers.

Timaru Herald 21 May 2005
Timaru's postal service dates back to the late 1850s when a postal service was begun under the control of Belfield Woollcombe, resident magistrate. The service was then moved to John Beswick's store on lower George Street where it operated until a new post office was built further up George Street and opened in 1864. This building was destroyed in the disastrous fire of December 1868, and was replaced with a building around the corner on Stafford Street, then known as Great South Road. Here it remained until 1880, when a new post office was built on the corner of Sophia Street and King George Place. Here it remained for over a century, until closing in 2000, with the service once again returning to operate out of another business, this time Books and More on Strathallan Street, where it remains today. Following the establishment of the Timaru Post Office, others were established through the 19th and 20th centuries throughout South Canterbury. Within Timaru, postal services were developed at Gleniti, Glenwood, Highfield, Marchwiel, Sandietown (Wilson Street area), Timaru south, Waimataitai, Washdyke and Watlington. A small post office was operated at Timaru Hospital during the 1970s and 80s. Some of these were established in purpose- built buildings, while others operated out of existing businesses. All had either closed or downsized to be part of another business by the end of the 20th century. Today it is hard to imagine the extent of the New Zealand Postal Service in everyday life with the disappearance of its presence in many Timaru areas.

A glimpse of Craigie's Avenue, the Catholic Church and Priory, Timaru NZ.  P. W. Hutton & Co Series - postmarked 25 January 1908

Twin views: St Mary's Church and A Beauty Spot in Park. P W Hutton & Co., Timaru. Date July 1910

TU Timaru's earliest canceller.

Stafford Street, Timaru circa 1909. F.T. Series No 807 Photo by Ferrier. Postmark 25 NO 09. 
 Ferrier was a well known photographer in Timaru. 

On the back: The Star Series G.D. & D. London. Printed in Bavaria. 

On the back is written Timaru Series, by Mahan. Penny Stamp.

The postcard was a late Victorian to early Edwardian idea when it became possible to send them through the mail.  Many were not sent through the mail but collected into albums. The start date was set by the "legalisation" of picture postcards by the British Post Office, which rapidly was taken up in the colonies - and the "universal penny postage" in New Zealand and most parts of the Empire also contributed to this.  J.G. Ward, the NZ Postmaster General, announced the beginning of Universal Penny Postage in NZ 1 January 1901. The rate for a postcard �inland� was half a penny, and one penny for overseas. These rates lasted a long time, until 1918. 

The end date for the postcard phenomenon is set by a number of factors: 
1. Most were produced in Germany / Saxony / Bavaria where the production cost was extremely low, and the quality extremely high. Anti-German sentiment arising from WW1 knocked the craze and a few postcards with "printed in Saxony" (this normally appeared in the stamp box) have been known to have this carefully scratched out, presumably by the seller of the postcard.
2. Newspapers began wide distribution after WW1, the introduction of the telephone reduced the opportunity for profit
3. Postage rate increases after WW1 lead to a decline in the postcard industry. 
4. In many cases people sent a postcard where today we would ring them up now. 

The Hocken Library, Dunedin, holds a significant number of postcards on their Readers Access File. Those from F.G. Radcliffe, Muir and Moodie and the Aotearoa Series serve as a record of New Zealand during the first quarter of the 20th century.

Clues to dating picture postcards:
1. Postmark
2. Stamp - year issued
3. Subject matter 
4. Postcard company - years in business
5. Penny postage - postcard would be pre 1919
6. Date entered by the sender
7. Divided back. Until early 1902 only the address information could appear on the back side so earlier postcards may have brief messages written around the edge of the picture. After early 1902 postcards were divided by a line in the middle, one half for the address and the other for the message. 

Real photo postcards under a magnifying glass do not have the dot pattern seen on modern photochrome cards. Most printed cards will have this dot pattern, much like a photograph printed in a magazine. Real photo cards can be identified by the photographic paper used. This is often indicated on the back by abbreviations and logos. Real Photo Photographic Picture Postcard are also known as RP or RPPC cards. Captions were often 'scratched' or marked on the negative in some other way that leaves the text white in colour. 

Stamped on the back: N.Z. Real photo Post Card Frank Duncan & Co. Ltd. Auckland.     
Real photo Post Card  by FGR 3" x 5".  Mount Cook in the distance. The island was submerged when the waters behind the Pukaki High Dam were raised 37 metres. A similar scene appears on the back of a 5 pound note. 

'Muir and Moodie' a postcard company from Dunedin that was in business from 1898 to 1916 during the "golden age" of postcards.

See Alfred BurtonOn the back
Early Canterbury post
NZ Postcards

Jane's NZ historical postcards

In 2018 stamp collecting is fading with the demise in the postal system throughout the digital driven world with people's increasing reliance on technology to communicate. 

British Postcards

(From the South Canterbury NZSG Newsletter September / October 2002 Vol. 6 No. 5 with  a big thank you to the Gore Branch Newsletter)

         Picture postcards are an important part of the visual record of any trip to the British Isles. I post them home to the family, who generously give them back to me on my arrival home. They are often photographed from unattainable viewpoints.

I purchased a book of old Shetland postcards when I was over in Shetland Isles in 1993. It gave me another perspective of places and people relevant to my family history before they emigrated.

         Postcards were a late Victorian/Edwardian phenomenon, and the half-penny postage charge was significant. In 1894 the British Post Office altered its policy to allow private individuals to send postcards. They were inexpensive and delivery was quick. Not many households had telephones. Postcards became the most popular form of written communication. It was possible to post one in the morning to confirm an appointment in the afternoon. Postcard service has certainly slipped, and been replaced with mobile phones and email.

         The rate for a postcard �inland� was half a penny, and one penny for overseas. These rates lasted a long time, until 1918; so, any postcard with this amount printed in the spot where the stamp is to be affixed is at least that old. Other clues to dating a picture postcard include subject matter, clothes and cars. If the card has been posted, there is the stamp itself and the cancellation mark or a date entered by the writer. At the beginning of 1902 the reverse side of all postcards was divided by a line in the middle, one half for the address and the other for the message. Until that time, only the address information could appear on the back; earlier postcards often have brief messages written around the edge of the picture.

         Vast numbers of postcards were sent, as many as 3 million per day, especially between 1904 and the beginning of World War I, ten years later. Our ancestors used postcards for good wishes, family news and greetings, for advertising and to circulate pictures. I have a card sent by a relation to his mother in 1916. It is a picture of him in uniform, and not long after, he was killed in action at Zonnebeki, Belgium.

The Internet offers lots of opportunity to find out more. For British postcards, a good place to begin is the website of the Postcard Traders Association, which offers advice on collecting, news, classifieds, and links. The small ads are interesting because they are a mix of people seeking and selling special interest picture postcards. One person sells cards of parish churches and has 12,000 to choose from.

         Postcard messages provide another angle for genealogists. Over several years, one dedicated individual has collected and indexed more than 70,000 British postcards according to location and name. For a small charge, the database can be searched, or you can order the index and browse yourself (in several volumes or on CD-ROM). Find the site and looking about three quarters of the way down the list for The Postcard Index

The Star Friday 21st December 1894 page 3 Postcards
The extension of facilities for the transmission of postcards will take place from Jan. 1. Only cards of the Government pattern, or cards issued by private persons by special authority of the Postmaster-General, could be used, but the new regulations provide that any card (5 in by 3in), may be prepared by means of adhesive stamp for any place in New Zealand, the Australian colonies or the United Kingdom. Cards will be sold at 1'�d each for town, inland and intercolonial circulation. For the South Seas Islands an additional �d postage will be requires, and for the United Kingdom and all other places an additional penny.

South Canterbury NZGenWeb Project

Don't forget to look at both the front and back of old postcards.