Mary Russell – 1883

A Mr F C Piggin Esq, from Corowa recommended Mrs Russell for the position acting on behalf of a committee. Mrs Russell, was a widow with three children from Jerilderie. The letter of reference established that Mrs Russell understood the Morse instrument and could operate it, (1) and” while in her official capacity, secured many friends, by her civility, competency and strict attention to her duties.” (2) Mary Russell was officially appointed on 1 January 1883.

It was reported in the Nepean Times on 20 January 1883 that Messrs, Dunkley, Giblin and Booth would shortly commence the building of the New Post and Telegraph Office at South Creek. (3) A press report of 1 November 1883 read ” The new Post and Telegraph Office at St Marys has been completed and passed. The building reflects great credit to the Builders,” (4) but the building was not occupied until 3 December 1883. (5) Early in 1884, Inspector Davies suggested that a pantry or storeroom with a skillion roof and a detached wash house be erected, and that a few loads of gravel be scattered over the yard, and that horse’s posts be placed in front of the office. (6) This was approved by the Postmaster General, which was quite lucky as some Postmaster- Generals were not always so generous with provision of facilities, apparently regarding things such as bathrooms a superfluous luxury.

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St Marys Post Office Completed Nov 1883
Bert Evans “History of St Marys Post Office.” Local History Files, Penrith City Library

Mrs Russel was transferred to St Peters. The tribute in the newspaper said, ” Mrs Russell had been with us so long that we regretted her leaving. She seemed always anxious to please and oblige, and steer her course between officialism and one-sided obligations”. (7)


  1. Australian Archives, SP32 Series, Post Office St Marys, 340
  2. Australian Archives, SP32 Series, Post Office St Marys, 340.
  3. Nepean Times, 20 January 1883, p2
  4. A A Evans, St Marys Post Office History, LHS, Penrith City Library, p3. The building was completed on 14 November 1883, p 4
  5. Historical Officer, Australia Post, Penrith City Library, LHS, p 4
  6. Historical Officer, Australia Post, Penrith City Library, LHS, pp4-5
  7. Nepean Times, 24 July 1886, p3