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History corner: The old Bellerive Post Office

By Reg. A. Watson

 

THE old Post Office located in the centre of Bellerive village has been there since 1897.

It is one of the few post offices in the state (possibly the only one) that has a clock in its tower, which is still working.

It is an attractive building, using both brown and white stone, locally quarried and is now home to the Family History Centre and Sound Preservation Association Tasmania (SPAT).

The well-known O’May family donated a lamp to be situated in front of the office.

After the Boer War (1899-1902) the lamp was removed, replaced with a gas one and became the memorial to fallen Bellerive soldier, Frank Morrisby (see Eastern Shore Sun May edition).

Past Premier of Tasmania William Arthur (Bill) Neilson actually lived in the adjoining residence of the Post Office, with the Neilson family being the last to do so.

Bill, when a young man, worked at the Post Office, on the telephone exchange at night and as a telegram boy during the day.

Delivery boys used push-bikes which would take them as far to the end of Warrane. In the 1970s motor bikes replaced them.

Sadly it all came to an end in 1982 with a new post office opening at Rosny Park.

Fortunately, the building has not gone the way so many landmark colonial buildings have.

It was purchased by the Clarence City Council the year after its closure for $54,000.

Interestingly enough it is believed that when it was completed in August 1897, the Post Office was never formally opened.