St Bathans Post Office (Former)

1680 Loop Road, ST BATHANS

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Set in the historic gold mining town of St Bathans in Central Otago - a rugged landscape and climate of extremes - the St Bathans Post Office (Former), designed by Public Works Department architect John Campbell in 1909, is an elegant two-storied timber building in Imperial Baroque style. It stands on a prominent site at the eastern end of the township. This building was the second post office to be constructed on the site and operated as such from 1909 until 1937 during which time it was largely managed by resident Postmistresses. From 1937 until 1981 the post office was a private residence. Since 1981 it has been a historic reserve, administered first by the Department of Lands and Survey and then its successor the Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai. From 1995 to 2008 the post office was a popular tourist attraction and shop named ‘Despatches’. A commission in 2011 nearly saw the post office building converted to boutique accommodation; however the community rallied and were overwhelmingly opposed to what would have resulted in a lack of public access and removal of original heritage fabric, fixtures and fittings. In 2020 the St Bathans Area Community Association (SBACA) obtained a ten-year concession from DOC to use the building as a community space. The St Bathans Post Office is a rare and outstanding example of a Victorian post office with the majority of the interior fabric of the public and private residential spaces largely intact. The patina of age creates a ‘time capsule’ of the building. The St Bathans Post Office has outstanding aesthetic and social values and the public esteem for the building continues to increase in significance.

Post Office, St Bathans | Sarah Gallagher | 03/12/2020 | Heritage New Zealand
Post Office, St Bathans | Sarah Gallagher | 03/12/2020 | Heritage New Zealand
Post Office, St Bathans. Public area showing tilted desks with turned legs, glazed privacy screens and nib wall, horizontal sarking and rimu dado | Sarah Gallagher | 19/03/2020 | Heritage New Zealand



List Entry Information


Detailed List Entry



List Entry Status

Historic Place Category 1


Able to Visit

List Number


Date Entered

6th June 2007

Date of Effect

6th June 2007

City/District Council

Central Otago District


Otago Region

Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as (RT OT4C/1354 NZ Gazette 1982, p. 3480), and the St Bathans Post Office (Former), its interior decoration, fixtures, fittings, outbuildings, and chattels thereon. (See plan in Appendix 1 of the Review Report for further information).

Legal description

Sec 11 Blk I Town of St Bathans (RT OT4C/1354 NZ Gazette 1982, p. 3480), Otago Land District

Location Description

Additional Location Information E 1348118 N 5026340

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