The Rosedale Post Office marked 150 years of providing a vital community service to the region on Friday, and according to its licensees, will continue to have an important role in years to come.
Rosedale mail services began with a Cobb & Co station in 1859, along with a pack horse service passing through from Port Albert to Walhalla, before the town post office was built.
These days, the Rosedale Post Office services surrounding regions from Traralgon to Sale, with about 1000 mail drop-off points, 300 post office boxes, a contractor postie and counter staff.
Peter and Vic Moody took over the main street post office 10 years ago seeking a tree change from the city where Vic worked at the Melbourne GPO.
“We thought it offered a secure income and a good lifestyle. We liked this local community. Everyone here knows each other so well,” Mr Moody said.
“I’m confident post offices have a future – they are an integral part of regional communities. We get a steady flow of people coming through.”
He said the post office served as a communications hub during the recent Rosedale fires where the CFA was dropping off information and updates.
Residents also use the post office for their daily banking needs since all the banks shut shop in Rosedale.
“Vic sometimes writes cheques for people and some people still have passbook banking. There are a lot of elderly people who like old-school things, and some of these people we know well,” Mr Moody said.
He said although the amount of letters they handle has dropped in the past decade, the number of parcels they managed had “grown exponentially” due to online shopping.
He said they handled packages ranging from tractor parts, western saddles, wheels, live bees and crickets, and were even asked one time to put a package of wine in the fridge to keep it cool.
“Now, there’s a constant rapid evolution of electronic media to manage, we are like an electronic communications hub, providing identification services and banking services,” he said.
“But I still have a lot of faith in snail-mail. I think the future is brighter than people think and I think more people have more respect for received mail than they do for virtual messages.”
Mr Moody said post offices have had to diversify their income streams.
“When we went into this, Vic was alerting me to the reduction in mail and more online but the business is evolving. There’s a lot we can’t predict,” he said.
“Australia Post has been good at reinventing itself and merging with the times, there will always be a need for snail-mail, but electronic services will sustain the post office as an essential service.”