Locals to Singleton are bound to know Gaz, the local postman over the past 15 years.
Gaz has worked as a postman throughout the internet revolution and seen how the way we use post has changed over the years.
We caught up Gaz while he was on his way to get some quotes for a bull bar on his van after an unfortunate early morning collision with a local Kangaroo.
Are kangaroos on the road a natural hazard for a local postie?
Yeah. This happened on the way to work. I come to work in the dark as I open the Mail Centre up at 4:30am. I only drive at 60km per hour, everyone overtakes me, but they still jump out in front of you sometimes, unfortunately. All my vans are insured, but I’ll have to fork out the $3,000 for this bull bar myself – I need it!
Has it happened a lot in your time?
No, not too often as I’m quite careful on the roads, but sometimes it’s unavoidable.
How long have you been in the job? What drew you to it?
I was a landscape gardener for 20 years on the Central Coast, so I always loved working outside. My wife and I decided we wanted a larger acreage, so we moved to Singleton in 2004. I’d been working as contract postie since 2000 doing farm runs from the Central Coast, so I continued doing that at first. But then a job opened here in Singleton in 2005. I did that full-time on the bike for 7 or 8 years, but now I’m back to contracting. We’ve set up our own company doing roadside mail runs out to a number of rural areas, and we’ve since taken over doing the parcels as so many people had been complaining about missed deliveries.
No more complaints now I take it?
There’s always the odd one, but all my staff are trained to hide the parcels as per the sender’s instructions and take a photo for safekeeping. We haven’t had any breach notices for over a year.
How has the postie game changed in recent years since the advance of the internet and its use?
Parcels have tripled. Even from five years ago we are doing 300% more parcel deliveries. Letters have dropped massively. When I was a mail postie we were getting 13 trays of mail every Saturday, with another six on Monday, and would work every Saturday leading up to Christmas. Nowadays they don’t work Saturday and there’s only 3-4 trays on Monday. Christmas cards used to be massive. Now everyone just posts “Merry Christmas Everyone!” on Facebook.
Any particularly funny stories from deliveries over the years?
Not particularly, but I always enjoy seeing the look on blokes faces after the wife’s done a bit of online shopping. I get a lot of “Jeez, what has she bought this time?” and stuff like that, particularly when I drop off the first box and let them know there’s more coming!
One fella, in particular, I’d asked if the delivery was a surprise to him told me “No mate, the surprise was when I got my credit card bill!” I enjoyed that.
What are some of the perils of the job?
Magpies are mental. They smack you in the head all the time on the bike. One time I heard that if you stick a CD on your helmet the reflection scares them away. I tried it the next morning and he hit me 20 times instead of six.
We’ve had a few dog bites too in the last couple of weeks. Every time I’ve been bitten by a dog, the owner has been with it and assured me that it wouldn’t bite. It must be the helmet.
But the biggest danger is always cars. If you’re on the bike you always need to have your wits about you. Cars will pull out right in front of you at any time, so you need to be careful.
What are some of the perks of the job?
My kids call me a stalker because they’ll say someone’s name and I’ll say, “Oh yeah, 42 so-and-so street, right?”. If I see someone familiar or hear a familiar name when I’m out at the shops or something I can let them know if there’s a parcel waiting for them.
We even get police asking us if we can help them track people down sometimes, but even if we know where they are we’re not allowed to tell them.
Any last things people should know about posties?
Never upset a postie. He knows where you live!