S. Island Synopsis......
Mar 20 Oamaru - River Town
The small port of Oamaru grew affluent as a centre of support for the agricultural activities in the Otago region. this was boosted by the introduction of frozen meat shipments from the Totara estate just south of the city. This affluence is reflected in the buildings, many of which are built in a local limestone very similar to Bath stone in UK. It is easily carved and was shipped all over New Zealand to adorn official buildings. Here in Oamaru, however, it was used for more modest structures too.
As was common in New Zealand, wherever the National Bank of New Zealand opened a branch the Bank of New South Wales built a larger building. This they located as close as possible to the National building but on this occasion I think the home-grown bank is the more impressive.
The old Post Office
With its wide streets and Victorian Gothic architecture, Oamaru is impressive. What is surprising is that it is a warm, welcoming town with the feeling of a village about it. In the converted wool store where we took morning coffee there was an old monochrome TV on the wall with an unchanging and uninteresting image. This was explained as the CCTV image from under the floor where some Blue Penguins had nested and from where they walked across the railway and down the road each day to get to the sea.
Another peculiarity here is the street naming. We could find only one street - Harbour St. - which was not that of a British river. We are not talking about Thames, Tyne and Severn here - we are talking hundreds of streets.
Anyone familiar with the Chilterns will recognise this one!
This would probably go down well in the Chilterns too!