Top postie retires

Richard Thomas (left) enjoying his retirement cake.PICTURE: SUPPLIED

After 50 years Richard Thomas is calling it a day.

His farewell party on Saturday night saw more retired posties gather than are working today.

He was also chuffed to have two old bosses attend, Jeff Blake and Bobby Jane.

Richard started working for the postal service 49 years and one day ago (the one day making it 50 years as a postie) before retiring last week.

He started as a telegram boy delivering telegrams across town on a pushbike.

He said he didn’t like it that much as he hated the bike so he applied for the postie position where he could ride a motorbike.

He got the position but they put him on a bike again.

“I did get route 7 which is by the race course but I didn’t like the bike so I moved to the mail room.”

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“I worked there for 8 months then applied for the postal clerk training in Sydney and got that,” he said.

When he graduated, he did nominate country towns to work at, including Broken Hill, but he got Pennant Hill in Sydney.

“Seven years later, the first child came along and we decided it was time to take the family away from the city and the first position that came up was Broken Hill, so we came back,” he explained.

Richard worked at the other post offices in town, they were all run by the Government then, and he worked at smaller places like Wilcannia, Menindee and Ivanhoe.

He finally became a senior postman and eventually replaced Peter Griffin in 1994 as Broken Hills number one postie.

When Richard started in Broken Hill there were no computers so letters were written by hand, typed or arrived by telegram.

Telegram is like email only it was charged by the word and was sent over a wire between post offices and then delivered to homes by bike.

There was no mail tracking, no special postage bags to send you eBay products, there was no eBay.

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Broken Hill was a bigger town so more posties, and more people needed to work in the office.

Posties wore grey shorts and shirts and were, of course, postmen.

Now there are computer programs that can track your parcels across the State and across the world, pre-paid bags for parcels making life a little easier and even e-bikes that have the postie, male or female, back on the pushbike but making a delivery that little bit easier, especially up Thomas Street hill.

Richard said he’s having a great time in retirement and has become even busier and healthier as he helps maintain the soccer fields in town, a long way from sitting behind a desk all day sorting letters.

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