Arthurs Creek Post Office

Chapter 25

Published Mar, 2011

In 1881 William Murphy purchased 223 acres of land, covering much of the present Arthurs Creek township area. Land next to the school was donated as a site for the Arthurs Creek Mechanics Institute hall in 1886. In 1899 a purpose built post office and store, with an attached residence behind, was opened next to the hall, with William Murphy as the resident Postmaster. Ken Murphy is pictured. Photo credit Bruce G. Draper

…it was resolved that a petition be prepared for signature, and that a deputation be made to the Postmaster General for a post office to be at the local School…

The first post office at Arthurs Creek was located at the Arthurs Creek Primary School. Prior to the opening of the post office in October 1889, a loose mail bag service operated between Charnwood and Morang (Mernda). The mail contractor travelled to Arthurs Creek via Hazel Glen (Doreen) post office then located at the old Hazel Glen school in Chapel Lane. This service commenced ‘about July 1878’.

‘A large, influential, and thoroughly representative public meeting was held in the Mechanic’s Institute, Arthurs Creek,’ on 19 June 1889, ‘to consider what steps should be taken to secure some improvement in the present very inadequate postal service to this district.’ John Ryder was voted to the chair. It was resolved that a petition be prepared for signature, and that a deputation be made to the Postmaster General for a post office to be at the local School. The post office was opened on 7 October 1889 with the Headteacher, Mr. Frederick W. Hammett, as the first postmaster.

In January 1881 William Murphy, eldest son of Thomas Murphy, purchased 223 acres of land from John Ryder, covering much of the present township area. Land next to the school was donated as a site for the Mechanics Institute in 1886. In 1899 a purpose built post office and store, with an attached residence behind, was opened next to the hall. The postal service was transferred to the new location with William Murphy as the resident Postmaster.

In July 1903, the post office and store on three acres of land was sold to Sarah Agnes Goodman. Sarah also purchased some 52 acres of adjoining orchard and grazing land from Charles Draper on the subdivision of the ‘Charnwood’ Estate. The Goodmans named their property ‘Cherry Hill’. W.G. Goodman ‘became a prominent man at once, interesting himself in everything that he thought would be for the benefit of the district.’ He suffered ill health and died in June 1905. Richard Goodman followed him as Postmaster. The Cherry Hill property was sold in December 1910.

On 6 July 1910, a telegraph line from Doreen to the Arthurs Creek post office was opened to the public.

The post office and store was purchased by George Murphy, the youngest son of Thomas Murphy, in November 1911 and held by him until March 1935 when it was purchased by Alexander Henry Cations. During these years, Charlotte Murphy (nee Hempel) assisted by her daughter Pearl until her marriage in 1929, gave long service as the local Postmistress. Alfred Johnson leased the post office and store during the early twenties. The Advertiser, in January 1935, reported a farewell to Miss Bromley, ‘who during her six years as postmistress, has endeared herself to everyone’.

In December 1940, ‘Mr. A. Cations, previous owner of the post office and store, was given a farewell in the Arthurs Creek hall. … Mr. (Ken) McMillan said ‘that Mr. Cations would be greatly missed. He had taken an active part in all district affairs, and had been secretary of the Arthurs Creek Hall Committee for several years. Mr. Macmillan’s words were endorsed by Mr. T.A. Murphy, president of the Hall Committee.’ The post office and store was taken over by Mr. and Mrs. W. Nicholson.

The Allan family gave a long period of service at the Arthurs Creek post office. Dick Allan’s father, Ebeneezer assisted by his wife Annie, was Postmaster in 1941/42. Henry Allan, better known throughout the district as Dick, and his wife Mavis purchased the post office and store in 1944. Dick was Postmaster from 1943 to 1952 and Mavis from 1952 until the post office closed on 31 January 1972.

In 1960 the old manual switchboard was replaced by an automatic telephone exchange.

Today the distinctive picket fence and entrance gate, that fronted the main road on the western approach to the township, has mostly disappeared. The timber building with its verandah and shop front is a reminder of past days when the post office was a focal point for the local community.

Arthurs Creek Post Office, 1960s. Photo credit Eltham District Historical Society,
Mr and Mrs Hammett with students at Arthurs Creek State School in the 1890's. Headteacher, Mr. Frederick W. Hammett, was also the first Arthurs Creek postmaster
The 'Charnwood' estate in 1972, showing the overgrown garden and remnant orchards on the original homestead block. Photo credit Bruce G. Draper
The former Arthurs Creek Post Office, 2020

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