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Strikers at Post Office Square, Wellington, 1913


A crowd of strikers and supporters listen to a speaker in Post Office Square, Wellington, during the 1913 strike. The speaker may be Harry Holland, editor of the Maoriland Worker.

Post Office Square was the venue for major strike meetings and speeches by unionists and radicals. The Harbour Board offices and Queen’s Wharf gates were on the seaward side of the square. On the south side of the square, facing the Harbour Board offices, was the Queen’s Chambers building, in which the watersiders’ and seamen’s unions had their offices.

 On 26 October there was a mass meeting in Post Office Square, after which the crowd marched to the Basin Reserve. Finding the gates locked, the crowd tore them down and held their meeting anyway.

On 30 October Post Office Square and Hunter Street were the site of an intense battle between strike supporters and mounted special constables. Fighting broke out when mounted regular police led the specials directly into the massed crowd. Batons were wielded and stones thrown, and at least one special constable fired his revolver. Fortunately, no one was killed.

See more images of Post Office Square during the strike (Flickr)


Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference no: 1/2-048787
Photographer: Sydney Charles Smith
Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image

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Strikers at Post Office Square, Wellington, 1913, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated