Kingsgrove Post Office

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Post Offices in Kingsgrove

The first Kingsgrove Post Office was established on 1st February, 1870. It followed the opening of Post Offices at Canterbury in 1858, Kogarah in 1863 and Gannon's Forest (Hurstville) in l864. It preceded Post Offices opened at Arncliffe in 1878, Belmore (then in Canterbury Rd, Wiley Park) in 1879 and Rockdale and Bexley in 1882.

The first postmistress was Mrs Peninah Mary Favell, a surname well-known in the St George district. Her sureties were Walter Favell, husband; George Charles Tompson, writing clerk; and Thomas Miller, freeholder; all of Kingsgrove. Her salary was £12 p.a. The location of the Post Office is not known. The notice in the Government Gazette on the establishment of the Post Office refers to it as at Kingsgrove, near Canterbury. This suggests the northern side of the present suburb, rather than the southern. Possibly it was near the corner of the present Bexley Road and Homer Street, as around this time the Tompsons owned "Bexley" which was north¬east of that corner. Also, one Miller had land in Homer Street, near Bexley Road.

George Charles Tompson became postmaster on 21st April, 1870, and the office was closed on 1st September, 1870.

Kingsgrove Post Office was re-established on 15th June, 1883, in charge of David Lewis, who was paid £10 p.a. His sureties were James McBean, grocer, and Edwin Tyrrell Sayers, clerk; both of Canterbury. Sands Directories from 1884 to 1887 list either Kingsgrove Post Office, or David Lewis, carrier and postmaster, or Mrs Elizabeth Lewis, postmistress, as being in the present Bexley Rd. (then known as Northcote St. or Bexley St.) near Homer St. Also, Lewis had a block of land at the corner of Bexley Rd and Homer St.

In September, 1884, Lewis named new sureties: Morgan Davies, Lime Merchant of Petersham; and Stephen Clifton, contractor, of Ashfield. Charles Astley Smith became postmaster on 23rd September, 1885, although Sands Directories still listed David Lewis (or Louis) as carrier and postmaster as late as 1887. In 1887 and 1888, but not in 1886, Sands Directories list Charles A. Smith, storekeeper, in Homer St, south side, between Sharpe St (now Kingsgrove Rd.) and Old Illawarra Rd (possibly where Flatrock Rd met Northcote St near the present intersection of Homer Street and Bexley Rd.) This Post Office closed on 20th June, 1887.

In 1919 Kingsgrove Post Office re-opened at an entirely different location. It was in Stoney Creek Rd, on the Croydon Rd side of the Kingsgrove Baptist Church. It is at times stated as being opposite the Public School. The address is usually given as 213 Stoney Creek Rd. 175 Stoney Creek Rd is sometimes mentioned, but this appears to be a re-numbering of the same location.

The railway line from Tempe to Kingsgrove was opened on 21st September, 1931 and the extension to East Hills on 21st December, 1931. However, development near Kingsgrove Railway Station was slow for some years. In June, 1936, when there was a request for a new non-official Post Office near the station, the Postal Inspector said that there was only one store in Croydon Road (now Kingsgrove Rd), near the station, and the district was very sparsely settled. There was a daily letter delivery and a telegram delivery from Hurstville, and letters could be posted at a letter box at the corner of Croydon Rd and Morgan St.

By 1940, when further representations for an office were made, steady development had occurred. The inspector said that there were 17 shops, 3 in course of construction and others about to be commenced. He continued: "There are approximately 320 residences within ½ mile of the Kingsgrove railway station. The majority of these houses are of a good type and have been erected within the past three years.

The PMG Department agreed to open the new office, and arranged a meeting of residents to determine the most suitable names for the new and the old offices. It was agreed that the new post office should ,, be called "Kingsgrove" and the office in Stoney Creek Rd. be called “Benhill”. It would be interesting to know why this name was selected. Two years later, its name was changed to "Bexley West". It closed on 31 October 1968.

Reverting to the new Kingsgrove Post Office in Croydon Rd. (now Kingsgrove Rd), Mrs. R. M. Glover who conducted a mixed business at 301 Croydon Rd, proposed to conduct the post office at the adjacent premises, number 299, which were then occupied by Mr. M. H. Todd, an estate agent. However, as a married woman, she was ineligible for the appointment.

Eventually, Mr. M. H. Todd was appointed postmaster, and the Kingsgrove Post Office was established on 3th August, 1940. It was located in premises at the corner of Croydon Rd. and Mashman Ave. near the railway station. Money order facilities were provided from 1st October, 1940, to coincide with the transfer to the Post Office of the Commonwealth Savings Bank Agency, formerly conducted by Mr. J. J. Brocklehurst, an estate agent. As the district developed, postal business increased considerably, and by April, 1943, approval was given for the employment of a full time assistant. Up to 3rd July, 1944, when a local delivery was commenced, telegrams for the district were delivered from the adjoining official post office at Belmore, Bexley, Campsie, Earlwood and Hurstville. Mrs. Mary C. Fleming was temporarily appointed postmistress on 1st July, 1947, pending arrangements to raise the status of the office to that of official post office. Because of the exceptional rate of post-war building, Kingsgrove had become a large and important suburb. The transfer to official conditions was delayed by the difficulty in erecting a building because of the shortage of building materials. Temporary accommodation was provided by the erection of a former army hut.

Approval was given for the introduction of official conditions at Kingsgrove on 15th January, 1951, and arrangements were made for Mr. L. E. Johnson to take charge of the office. Mr Johnson’s staff comprised a Postal Clerk, Indoor Postal Officer, four Postal Officers (Delivery), and a Junior Postal Officer. A new and modern Post Office building was officially opened on 30th August, 1971. This was a little over 100 years after the establishment of the first Post Office at Kingsgrove.

References

"Post Offices in Kingsgrove". Historical Office, Australian Post Office (n.d.) B. Madden (Personal Communication, 2nd May, 1975)