Milestone effort for Cobden Post Office's Ewart Mounsey

Australia Post licensee Ewart Mounsey has been working at the Cobden Post Office for 58 years. Picture: Rob Gunstone
Australia Post licensee Ewart Mounsey has been working at the Cobden Post Office for 58 years. Picture: Rob Gunstone

When Ewart Mounsey began working at his local post office, telegrams were still transcribed from Morse code and people would line up at the window of the telephone exchange to make a phone call.

Mr Mounsey was just 16, fresh from school and keen for a job in his hometown. 

He had to sit an exam to get employment at the Cobden Post Office back in 1959, and hasn’t left since.

In 1997, Mr Mounsey and his wife Lynette took over the licence of the business from Australia Post. Running the business continues to be a family affair, with one of their daughters also behind the counter.

Mr Mounsey is marking 58 years at the post office in 2017, something of a record in this day and age.

But he’s a bit taken aback by the fuss – he couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

“I’ve always been in Cobden. I wouldn’t go anywhere else, it’s just too good,” Mr Mounsey, 74, said with a laugh. “I love it here.”

When he started he was paid an annual salary of just 290 pounds and alternated weeks of day and night shift.

“I was called a junior postal officer,” he said. “Day shift was delivering telegrams and cleaning and night shift was on the telephone exchange.”

Mr Mounsey delivered mail for many years, before completing a course in Melbourne to become a postal clerk. The post office building has changed, too. The original opened in 1867 at the current Curdie Street site, before it was bulldozed in the 1960s.

But while there’s been plenty of change, the friendly faces he sees each day remain one of the main reasons Mr Mounsey still loves his job. “People come in to say hello and tell you their troubles,” he said.

Mr Mounsey has also kept his hobby of meticulously recording the town’s rainfall.

“I’ve got all the records right back to 1980 or something. If we have a really wet winter I’ll take a look back and see how it compares to other years,” he said.

Whether Mr Mounsey will clock up the 60-year milestone is still up in the air – the business is for sale and he hopes to one day have more time for fishing.

“Eventually someone will come along and want to buy it. It would be perfect for a young family,” he said.