Over the last century, The Riverboat Postman has delivered mail without a break to the isolated water access only properties of the spectacular lower Hawkesbury River.
Through fire and flood, war and peace, changes of proprietors and sinking of boats, the postal cry of 'the mail must get through!' has been upheld.
During some decades it was a weekly service, much to the dismay of the residents, and some of the early operators were less reliable than others, but in the early 1900s the wooden boats were more susceptible to the Hawkesbury's shifting mudflats and devastating fires from exploding steam engines than they are today. The post boats have always carried passengers as well as mail, though - commuters, tourists, farmers and crew.
The onset of COVID-19 last year tested the service like never before. No crowds allowed, no interaction between mail contractors when the mail arrived in Brooklyn, no hand to hand deliveries to wharves. But at the same time, record online orders for essential supplies (Dan Murphy's...) and other snail mail meant that the service was as vital as ever.
Even though we had to tie up the big boats and cancel all bookings between March 23 and September 1, the fabulous crew of The Riverboat Postman soldiered on. They took everything up river in small tinnies, usually packed to the gunwhales, and used those months to keep an eye on some of our elderly residents to make sure they were ok and had everything they needed. Many days would include a quick fish on the way home!
Boy were we glad to see the return of passengers in September. So much credit to the seniors of NSW - you have made sure we survived these crazy times by joining us as soon as we were all allowed out! We thank you, and salute you, and hope you will continue to come along - use your Discover NSW vouchers before they expire, or turn them into a gift voucher to use later in the year.
The Hawkesbury is a magical place - quiet, still, and incredibly dramatic. We have so many stories to share with you about our river. And we'll give you a good lunch and an excellent cuppa while you're listening...
Catherine Pignéguy - owner & operator of The Riverboat Postman since 2012.