It’s in the Post!

Letter Receiver, 1880s

The letter receiver or more commonly called post box is representative of a nostalgic era, of a culture of letter writing and exchanging of cards and a time of greater frequency and speed of mail deliveries. Letter receivers were placed at a distance from the Post Office for the convenience of the public. They are indicative of the functional public infrastructure provided by the state government from early times when mail was carried by river or horseback.

This red pillar cast iron letter receiver was built by the foundry of Triggs and Marr in Sydney in the 1880s. It is made in four pieces with a stylised waratah knob atop an embossed pattern of acanthus leaves, the door and the body, and has two apertures. It is an excellent example of the functional but very decorative cast iron work produced by the many foundries operating in Australia at the time and has a high recognition factor with its distinctive design and readily identifiable colour.

This letter receiver was based on a British design which in turn was based on the Belgian and French designs. This receiver and others of this design were made redundant in the 1970s as they were considered too difficult for postmen to bend down to retrieve the mail. Unfortunately there is no list kept of their whereabouts now, though it is thought about 70 of the 220 made in NSW foundries remain in NSW. Most of these are now in museums, such as this one at Wingham, or tourist destinations such as The Rocks in Sydney.


Where might you still find an old fashioned letterbox?

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