Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

03 July 2010

‘Distant Ophir’: The Post Office 1886

James Macandrew, superintendent of the Otago Provincial Council in 1872, was surely a classically educated man for when he changed the town’s name from Blacks to Ophir he knew well that gold from ancient Ophir was brought to King Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem.

Ophir, New Zealand, was one of this country’s richest sources of gold.

As evidenced by the Daniel O’Connell bridge (see previous blog), the post office, built in 1886, is another indication that optimistic goldminers thought Ophir would grow and flourish. It didn’t grow, it didn’t flourish, but the bridge, the post office and some of the buildings are sufficiently attractive to ensure that the hamlet survives – even if only to be occupied by weekenders (perhaps from Dunedin) and retired people prepared to take on the savage winters of Central Otago.

Ophir Post Office is active: you may still post letters there through its highly polished box, buy stamps and other NZ Post services. In fact, it’s such a superior building that you’d travel quite a distance just to mail your letters and parcels from ‘distant Ophir’.


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By Don Donovan