Life in Early Poverty Bay
Mail Delivery in 1879
Mail Delivery in 1879.
As stated above Mr. Fyson entered the service of the Postal Department in 1879 and was the first letter carrier appointed in Gisborne. The procedure in delivering the mail was to put the letters in one's pocket, meet the addressee up the street, and deliver the missive to him. Later he used an old bag to carry the mail. He would go to the wharf on the arrival of the steamer from Napier, and often carried on his shoulder the whole of the southern mail (from Napier, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin). Later the mail was removed in a hand cart, which was wheeled on the footpath.
The Coast mails in the early days were carried by packhorses, and the journey from Gisborne to Port Awanui took three days. On occasions the mail was considerably delayed. One week the mailman was due to leave again on the Monday, but when the day arrived he could not be found. The Postmaster inquired of Mr. Fyson the whereabouts of the mailman's horses, and was told they were on the Kaiti side of the river. He instructed they should be caught and Mr. Fyson should take the mail up the Coast. He protested he did not know the road, but his objections were lightly waved aside. Mr. Fyson set out on the journey, but to his delight was overtaken near Tolaga Bay by the mailman, who had arrived on the scene after Mr. Fyson's departure.