Hurlstone Park Post Office

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On 2nd November, 1908, the Department received a request for the establishment of a Post Office at Fern Hill, from Mrs Bartle, of Crinan Street, Fern Hill, who kept a small stationery shop near the Fern Hill Railway Station. Another applicant’s address was the corner of Crinan and Dunstaffanage Street.

It was decided that the provision of two letter deliveries daily; the clearance of letter receivers thrice daily; and for stamp sales by licensed vendors in the vicinity, were sufficient to meet the public require¬ments. The locality was also only a short distance from Canterbury, and Dulwich Hill. A report from the Postmaster, Canterbury, stated that there were 336 letters posted weekly at Fern Hill Railway Station letter box; 29 weekly at Floss Street (about 700 yards from the station); and 66 weekly at Dunstaffanage Street. The bulk of residences were all round the station within a half-mile radius. Mrs. Bartle wrote expressing her willingness to carry on the proposed post office, at a salary of £10 per annum. Included in the duties was the task of making up a mail and conveying it to the station to catch the 3.10 p.m. train.

A further report on 1st December, 1908, from the Inspector, stated that there were then no business places in the locality. He described Fern Hill as a rising suburb, between Dulwich Hill and Canterbury.

In a later report in 1910, the Inspector stated that no less than 200 houses had been erected and occupied. He recommended that a Post Office be granted, but stated that the name Fern Hill was unsuitable, there being already a Fern Hill in Victoria, and one in Queensland.

The Mayor of Canterbury was informed accordingly but the Council later informed the Department that they could not see their way clear to alter their name. On 9th August, 1910, the Mayor of Canterbury, Mr John McCullock, wrote to the Department pointing out that the name Fern Hill was given to the suburb prior to the Railway being opened and that the Railway Station, then in existence some fourteen years, was also named Fern Hill Railway Station.

A few months later the Mayor met the Inspector and put forward a suggestion that the name Silver Hill be adopted. The various authorities, Lands Department, Railways etc. were communicated with concerning the name and were willing to change the name to Silver Hill. The local member, Hon. Bruce Smith, got in touch with the Department concerning the unsuitable name, and it was decided to change the name. On 22nd December, 1910, a public meeting was held at Fern Hill and it was decided that the name be decided by referendum, and that the following names be submitted :

  • Hurlstone
  • Fernboro
  • Garnett Hill

The Hon. Bruce Smith advised the Department on 31st January, 1911, that the name of "Hurlstone" had been chosen by referendum. The Railways authorities were not in favour of the name Hurlstone, being afraid that confusion would arise through it sounding too much like Hillston. They suggested the name Berala (the aboriginal name for Musk Duck).

There was still uncertainty, and a doubt arose as to Hurlstone being too much like Hurstville. The Railways withdrew their desire for the name of Berala, and eventually it was decided to use the name Hurlstone Park. Actually this compromise was suggested by Mr. Bruce Smith, M.P. It was decided to open the Hurlstone Park Post Office, as from 15th August, 1911, with Mrs. M. Bartle as Postmistress.

A letter from the Fern Hill Ratepayers and Residents Association, of 17th April, 1912, complained that residents were unable to send a telegram unless they travelled to either Dulwich Hill or Canterbury, as their Post Office was not provided with telephonic communication. On 6th March, 1913, Mrs. Bartle sold her business (now drapery) to a Mr. Ring, and he took charge of the postal business. Just prior to this a telephone was installed in the office, making it possible to send telegrams.

Money Order facilities were extended to Hurlstone Park on 1st April, 1914. For some considerable time there had been an agitation to have an official post office near the junction of the Old Canterbury and New Canterbury Roads, which was stated by the petitioners to be more central than the site at the Railway Station. On 18th January, 1915, Mr. Ring, the Postmaster, advised that he was moving into new brick premises directly opposite his existing shop in Crinan Street.


"A Post Office History: Hurlstone Park". The Director, Posts & Telegraphs, G.P.O., Sydney. 1967