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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Old Brick Post Office, Lonsdale Street, Dandenong, undated

Victoria’s first official postal service involved two people associated with the Greater Dandenong area. This was in 1837 when the New South Wales government gave Joseph Hawdon the "Melbourne to Yass" overland mail contract, which began on 1 January 1838. The actual ‘postman’ who carried that first official mail delivery, with many adventures, was John Conway Bourke. He was an employee of Joseph Hawdon’s and worked in the Dandenong area for some years. The carrying of messages and parcels was often a personal and individual operation in those days
Hotels or stores were the first collecting and delivery points for mail. Dunbar’s Hotel in Dandenong was an early postal base. In 1856, the post office in the hotel was ‘the last one this side of the Melbourne PO’. A mail contractor, Patrick Mulcare, carried mail between Melbourne and Dandenong, as a weekly service in 1855. In 1862 the stage coach had the contract. Dandenong was the postal centre for a large district for many years and had the designation ‘Post Town’ in the Victorian Municipal Directory for 1875.

In October 1877, A public meeting was held in the Mechanics Institute, to consider the desirability of making application to Government for the construction of a Post and Telegraph office.In September 1879 the foundation stone was laid by Mr. J. B. Patterson, Postmaster General, for the Stone and Brick post office building pictured. Tenders for Additions and Modifications were sought in February 1921, as demand outgrew the small building constructed about 40 years earlier.

In 1954, Council considered relocating the Post Office to a new location, Utilizing the present site for Town Hall extensions to accommodate Council offices. By the late 1950s/early 1960s, the present three story building was constructed alongside the Town Hall, the Post Office originally occupying the entire ground floor. As demand for postal services reduced, and technology replaced other needs, the Post Office was reduced back to a small portion, with the remainder being leased to other pennants.

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