Bellarine Historical Society Inc

...preserving the history of the Bellarine Peninsula

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Leopold: Post Office

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Within a few weeks - perhaps a few months - an old weather-board building fronting the Bellarine Highway at Leopold will be demolished. The building no longer serves any useful purpose and must be pulled down to allow the highway to be widened.

So said the Geelong Advertiser in 1968.

The first Post Office in the Kensington (Leopold) district was in 1858 and was known as the Kensington Post Office. This name was later changed to the Kensington Hill Post Office, then Leopold Hill Post Office, and finally just the Leopold Post Office.

The original Post Office was destroyed by fire and a new one built in 1885 - the year the name was changed to Leopold Post Office.

The first Postmaster was John Harwick who ran the office from 1858 to 1868 for the princely sum of £200 ($400) a year.

In 1868 the Post Office was taken over by Richard McWilliams and it was run by his descendants for more than a century.

Richard McWilliams, who came to the colony from Ireland in 1863 with his wife Margaret and young family, was Postmaster from 1868 till 1874. Mrs McWilliams then took over the running of the post office until their daughter took over in 1877. Sarah Jane was hardly more than a girl when she became Postmistress - she married and became Mrs Edward Reynolds.

Leopold Post Office

Sarah Jane Reynolds (nee McWilliams) outside the Leopold Post Office.
[Photograph : courtesy of Myrtle Filbay, Leopold]

Sarah Jane became a well known personality in Leopold and although it was a public building, she had strong ideas who she would let enter the Post Office. Cheeky children - NO - they were forbidden to step inside the gate - and none dare. Mrs Reynolds would come to the gate and conduct the business, such as picking up the mail.

There was a glass case with lollies for the children, and drinks could also be bought. Daily papers were also available there.

The Post Office was taken over by Mrs Reynolds' niece, Mrs Eva Byrne, who was Postmistress until 1950, when her niece, Mrs Elizabeth Doyle took over and stayed till 1968.

Leopold Post Office

The Leopold Post Office with phone box out the front, on Queenscliff Road.
[Photograph #924 : The Bellarine Historical Society photograph collection]

The Post Office was situated next to the school in Queenscliff Road, and today there is no evidence to show where the building stood.

[From the files of the Bellarine Historical Society]

Last Updated on Sunday, 10 May 2009 21:11  

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