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Postie puts her stamp on retirement as 30-year career comes to an end

In her three decades of working the mail run, Lyn Cunnington has delivered “everything” from live bees to even a kitchen sink.

But now her stint as a Lockington postie in rural Victoria has come to an end.

Key points:

  • Lyn Cunnington says she misses meeting people and driving around the countryside since retiring from her job as a postie
  • She says the job required about two and half hours of sorting the mail, and then about five hours of driving
  • Ms Cunnington says the shift from letters to online packages is the biggest change she has seen during her career

Ms Cunnington, who is is passing her mail run onto her daughter, said it was a job she fell into by accident.

Ms Cunnington began delivering mail in the Lockington area in 1990 and over time that expanded to other towns including Bamawm and Rochester.

She also ran the Lockington post office for 10 years.

Ms Cunnington said it was not as easy a job as people thought.

“It’s about two and half hours of sorting the mail, and then about five hours of driving.

“You’ve got 400 points, or letterboxes.”

A woman with short, grey hair and another with glasses, both wearing black stand besides a postbox in a country area.

Nicole Cunnington, right, has taken over the mail run in the Lockington and Bamawm areas from her mother, Lyn.(ABC Central Victoria: Beth Gibson)

From letters to online shopping

Ms Cunnington has witnessed a huge shift from traditional letter mail to online shopping over the 30 years she has worked in the business.

“When I first started, you’d be lucky to get two or three parcels a week, but now it’s nothing for us to deliver 50 on the mail run, and we’ve already carded a heap because they won’t fit into letterboxes,” Ms Cunnington said.

Ms Cunnington said she had delivered everything, including the kitchen sink.

“When that came through, I thought, ‘Well that’s it, I’ve done everything now’,” Ms Cunnington said.

Lyn and Nicole have seen many country mailboxes in their time.

Lyn Cunngington and her daughter, Nicole, have both seen many varieties of country mailboxes on their mail runs.(ABC Central Victoria: Beth Gibson)

“Every month I also deliver an express post for Tinkerbell, the cat. I think that’s gorgeous.”

Ms Cunnington said the amount of packages skyrocketed during the coronavirus lockdown.

“Usually at the end of October, September and November you were flat chat with Christmas, but this year it’s been the whole year,” Ms Cunnington said.

Fond memories

Ms Cunnington said she missed the days when year 12 students received their VCE results by mail.

Ms Cunnington’s daughter Nicole Cunnington recalled the day she received her results.

“When I was in year 12, I went in with her to do the mail run, but really I was just getting my VCE results,” she said.

Nicole Cunnington also did mail runs and said both the women had been through dozens of cars.

Both women have also seen their share of interesting mailboxes.

A woman wearing black and glasses smiles at the camera while putting a letter in a postbox.

Nicole Cunnington says, as a child, she used to accompany her mother sometimes on the mail run.(ABC Central Victoria: Beth Gibson)

“A lot of them are made out of old oil drums … on my old run I had quite a few microwaves,” Nicole Cunnington said.

“I also had a minion from Despicable Me.”

Ms Cunnington said also delivered to a Ned Kelly mailbox on the highway.

Connecting with the community

She has even delivered to a number of famous people in her time running the mail, including the former Australian netball captain Sharelle McMahon, who grew up in Bamawm, and Vikings star Travis Fimmel, who grew up in Lockington.

“They just happened to live on my run, and were both lovely people,” Ms Cunnington said.

It’s that sense of community that has kept Ms Cunnington enjoying her job all these years.

“I’m not considered a local because I wasn’t born here, but it’s a great community, really friendly, and you know everybody,” she said.

Ms Cunnington retired last month, and has now handed the run over to her daughter.

Ms Cunnington said she would miss the people the most.

A farm with crop and houses in the distance.

Lyn Cunnington says she loved driving around the rural Victorian countryside as part of her job.(ABC Central Victoria: Beth Gibson)

“You don’t meet them every day, but most days you meet someone at the letterboxes and have a chat,” Ms Cunnington said.

“Someone said to me when I announced I was leaving that they were building a new dairy, and I thought, ‘Oh, I’ll miss out on seeing it being built’.

“It sounds silly, but I’ll miss that.”

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