Stories Organisations Projects Login

Post Office Receiving Pillar

From the Collection of Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village 89 Merri Street Warrnambool Victoria

Description
Post Office Receiving Pillar, or letterbox.1885 "High Door Round" design, restored 2014 Tall cast iron sylinder with decorative dome cap, slot in side, hinged door with handle shaped as a fist. Painted red with gold trip..Reconditioned barrel, reconstructed dome. Restored by Friends of Flagstaff Hill, 2014. Now a working letterbox. Made in Melbourne.
Size
H 193.5 x 209 cm
Object Registration
3085
Keywords
flagstaff hill, warrnambool, shipwrecked coast, flagstaff hill maritime museum, maritime museum, shipwreck coast, flagstaff hill maritime village, great ocean road, post office receiving pillar, letterbox, mailbox, australia post
Historical information
Post Office Receiving Pillar was Collected from Warrnambool City Council’s Scott Street Depot and transported to Flagstaff Hill, stored in the Barracks area Friends of Flagstaff Hill began the project of restoring the Post Office Receiving Pillar in early 2011. The replacement dome required a pattern to be made from paper, then timber, then someone to manufacture it. The cast iron body required sand blasting and undercoating. The pillar was installed in Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village in March 2014. A specialist visited the Village and painted the pillar with 7 coats of ‘post office red’ then completed the job with gold paint on the details. In 2015 an information plate of brass was fitted to the Pillar in the position that would have originally announced the clearing times.

It was originally manufactured by G Couch, Engineer, Alliance Iron Works, Melbourne. Gordon Couch passed away in June 1896 and his Works were offered for auction in November 1897.

HISTORY OF POST OFFICE RECEIVING PILLARS
In 1851 ‘pillar boxes’ were installed at roadside locations in the island of Jersey, England; they had already been successful in several European countries. The use of new prepaid, adhesive postage stamps as well as the roadside pillar boxes meant there was no need for the public to take a trip to the Post Office just to post a letter. By 1855 London had installed its first six Pillar Boxes.
In 1856 the pillar boxes were first introduced in Sydney. These were circular with a crown on the dome, supported by leaves.
Early Victoria

Mail was originally collected by ‘letter carriers’, first appointed in Melbourne in 1841, equipped with leather bag and hand bell. He wore a red coat with brass buttons and a black top hat!

In 1844 two wooden receiving boxes were erected in Melbourne.

The first cast iron boxes were installed in South Melbourne (Emerald Hill) and were still in service until 1967. They were a fluted circular design and made in England.

In the early 1860’s the ‘low door round’ design posting box was introduced, being circular and surrounded by a crown, with two broad embossed bands around its circumference. The clearance door was in front of the box and low down. These were made in Australia.

In the early 1870’s square boxes with a tapering top were being used. These too were made in Australia by different manufacturers with slight variations on style such as the orientation and number of slots.

Next came the circular boxes again, similar to the ‘low door round’ but with the clearance door extending to just below the posting slot, often referred to as ‘high door round’. These boxes did not have embossed bands.

In 1887 small cast iron boxes were introduced, attached to posts and poles and called ‘lamp post receivers’.

Around 1930 a ‘London’ model was used in Victoria. It was copied from the flat-domed type in London but made in Tasmania. …
[References: Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village records, The Argus, 11th April, 1890, The Argus, 2nd July, 1896, The Argus, 30th Nov. 1897, “Stamps.Au” http://www.stampsau.com, 4th April 2011 (Extracted from “Australian Street Posting Boxes” by Ken Sparks – out of print)]
When Made
1885
Inscriptions & Markings
Oval maker's plate “ - G. COUCH - / ENGINEER / ALLIANCE IRON / WORKS / MELBOURNE”
Last updated
18 Dec 2017 at 9:48AM