Where is the sign?

WHERE IS IT?: Bob Godward is trying to solve the mystery of the missing military marker sign.
WHERE IS IT?: Bob Godward is trying to solve the mystery of the missing military marker sign.

The forlorn white post next to Drury School looks like a forgotten relic from an old boundary line.

But it's a lot more than that - the piece of timber is one of two 150-year-old military mile posts from 22 erected all along the Great South Rd.

The totara posts showed drivers how far they had travelled from town.

History-lovers have tried to keep track of the posts over the years but one by one they have been stolen, removed by developers or rotted away.

By most accounts the final post is outside Drury School, marking 22 miles from central Auckland.

Along with a post in Manurewa it is one of just two originals still standing.

That is why Drury local Bob Godward was upset when he noticed the post's historical information sign had vanished.

"Somebody's probably thought, ‘oh, nice souvenir this' and they've probably got it tucked away in their student flat somewhere," he says.

Mr Godward has been on a mission to get the sign reinstated but so far he has had no luck.

The first signs were voluntarily erected by the Automobile Association in the 1930s, with the encouragement of the Great South Rd Beautifying Council.

But the upkeep was purely voluntary and AA spokesperson Rachel Honey says the association's knowledge of the signs has been lost.

It is unfortunate but "no one knows the history - we don't have that expertise any more", she says.

Signs on the road verge are the responsibility of Auckland Transport but spokesman Mark Hannan says his organisation was unaware of the signs' history.

Inquiries to Auckland Council also referred Mr Godward back to the AA.

He says he does not care who puts a new sign up as long as it is soon.

"Somebody's going to look at it and say, ‘Oh, what's that old post doing there?' and they'll pull it out and throw it away.

"The council . . . could fix this for $100. It's just a bit of history - it'd be a shame to see it disappear."

Papakura Courier