Postal services officer Kyle Hughes with a bag of mail to be sorted at the Warwick Post Office.
Postal services officer Kyle Hughes with a bag of mail to be sorted at the Warwick Post Office. Katie Cameron

Red letter day for former posties

WHEN letters and telegrams were the only communication between loved ones who lived apart, our local postmen and women were always on hand to make sure the precious cargo would reach its destination in Warwick.

Today is World Post Day and two former Warwick posties have shared their stories about what it was like to work back in that time.

Bryan Sinclair started off as a young lad delivering telegrams around town in the 1950s.

"I delivered about 300 a day," he said.

"It used to come through Morse code to a teleprinter."

Mr Sinclair was a postman until the age of 21, and then went on to the night telephone exchange.

"We didn't have motorbikes back then, so we did the two deliveries a day on our pushbikes," he said.

"We only had about four postmen to do it.

"Most of the houses in Warwick back in those days didn't have numbers on, so you had to know who lived in which house.

"I can remember the names even now."

After that, Mr Sinclair sorted in the mail room, where about1500 to 2000 letters were received per day.

"If you didn't do your job, you didn't have one," he said.

"You had long days, but there was a good bunch of blokes there and we got on well with everyone."

Mr Sinclair said the medium of letters was a dying art.

"The technologies we used became a thing of the past," he said.

"Everything new just came along slowly but surely.

"People just don't seem to be writing anymore - everyone has got their phone or computers.

"Letters are something that you can stick away in a drawer and keep."

Meanwhile, when Warwick resident Joan Devine started on the job, she was the only woman on the team.

"I was the only one on the motorbike, all the others had cars," she said.

"In the beginning of each month there was always lots of mail; people didn't have the internet to pay their bills back then.

"My run was about 700 houses - what I enjoyed was being out in the fresh air."

Mrs Devine said the best part of her job was being part of the Warwick community.

"You see the toddlers come down with Mum to get the mail and they know who you are," she said.

"You watch them grow up and have kids of their own."

World Post Day is celebrated each year on October 9 - the anniversary of the establishment of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) in 1874 in the Swiss capital, Berne.

It was declared World Post Day by the UPU Congress held in Tokyo, Japan, in 1969.