Historical information

A history of Eltham Post Office.
Australia Post: Gold brought life to the township - Diamond Valley News, Tuesday July 2, 1985, p17
On February 1, 1854, the first Eltham Post Office was established, commencing an association between the township and the Postmaster-General's Department that has continued for 131 years. At that time, the number of permanent residents would have been fairly small, probably less than 200. The discovery of gold in June 1851, at Anderson’s Creek, some five miles away, and later at Caledonia Diggings, Queenstown (now known as St Andrews), about 14 miles to the north-east, brought large numbers of prospectors passing through the township, hopefully culling the creeks and gullies for the precious metal. This additional "floating population" brought a greater demand for supplies and for communication with the outside world, and so it helped in the development of Eltham. Today, Eltham is a thriving township. It boasts an excellent shopping centre, municipal offices, court house. post office and many other amenities. Eltham continued to develop at a leisurely pace. During 1860, a total of just over 8000 postal articles were handled at the Eltham Post Office. By 1862, the mail route was "to and from Melbourne by way of Eltham and Kangaroo Ground, three times a week, by coach". There was also a branch mail that operated between Eltham and Greensborough, three times weekly. This was also conveyed by coach. Some time between 1864 and 1868 the management of the post office passed from Thomas Hunniford to his daughter, Miss Anne Hunniford, who managed the Eltham Post Office until her death in 1928. A big improvement in communication was provided for Eltham residents when a telegraph office was established at the post office in 1877. During 1923 a manual telephone exchange was provided at Eltham, the first two subscribers being J.J. O’Connor and Eltham Police Station. In 1949 the manual exchange was replaced by an automatic exchange and there were some 150 subscribers. Following the death of postmistress Miss Anne Hunniford in 1928, B.M. Burgoyne was placed temporarily in charge of the office. In 1929, J. N. Burgoyne was appointed postmaster, and he in turn was succeeded by H. C. Burgoyne in 1951. The post office was moved to a new site in 1954, but continued under the charge of Mr Burgoyne. In January 1958 there was a further change of site when the post office was raised to official status and transferred to new premises in Main Rd. William Donoghue was acting postmaster when the new office was opened. In March 1958 Mr W.E. Tovey was appointed postmaster, followed by Douglas McG. Gilmour in 1959. William Donoghue was fully appointed in 1966 and Barry Reichelt followed in 1973, prior to the present postmaster, Peter Jolly in November 1982. Peter is a young man with 18 years' experience. He commenced his training as a postal clerk at the training school in Melbourne in 1968 and was promoted to postal clerk at the Brunswick Post Office in 1969. He was finally transferred as postmaster to Fawkner Post Office in 1980. He has been at Eltham Post Office for the past 2½ years. He is married with one child and lives in Montmorency. The Eltham Post Office employs a staff of 21, of whom seven are indoor staff, 12 are postmen and two are drivers. The postmen in Eltham have an uphill battle delivering mail because of the hilly terrain. Nine of the postmen deliver mail on motorbikes, and the two delivery vans are both four wheel drives. Eltham Post Office services basically a residential area, with deliveries to 5600 homes. This is growing at the rate of 600 homes every 18 months, i.e. about 32 homes per month. At the present rate we will need a new postman every 18 months.

Physical description

Digital file only - Digitised by EDHS from a scrapbook on loan from Beryl Bradbury (nee Stokes), daughter of Frank Stokes.