Keep it in the family, so the maxim goes. That’s what the Archers did. Five generations of the family have served with the NSW postal service. For more than a century and a half and through two world wars, the Depression and now a pandemic they have delivered good news and bad by telegram and letter.
David Archer, a senior postal delivery officer at Seven Hills, is the contemporary face of Australia Post. He is trialling a new electric delivery vehicle. More parcels and fewer letters mean 6000 of the buggies – which are greener, safer and carry more than a motorbike – are on trial.
Turn back the calendar to the 1860s and David’s great-great-grandfather Thomas Archer (who worked for the postal service from 1860 to 1898) arrived in Sydney from England by tall ship as a free settler. The colony’s much anticipated mail arrived the same way. Thomas soon secured a job as a letter carrier in Woolloomooloo, when the postal service was in its infancy. The adhesive stamp had been introduced 10 years earlier, mail was moved by the Cobb & Co horse-drawn coaches and the GPO building at 1 Martin Place was still only half built.
Thomas’ only son Albert Archer also followed the family tradition (served 1887-1937), delivering telegrams before becoming a postmaster at Epping. Back then the postmaster, a prominent figure in the community, lived in a postal service residence.