Just so Nice

Posted by
Terry the postman
Clifford Street

I lived in Clifford Street a long time ago, and now reside in England. We as a family emigrated to Sydney 1959 and just loved the country.

I worked on the post office at Mosman and remember with fondness the fellow workers, a cheerful bunch of people, some ex- service men, Jack Hurst a wonderful man with such kind manners and a generous heart, Jacky Dryly from Scotland, Stan Rogers from the UK and Gordon Chapple from South Australia. It is to my shame I can’t recall all of them, the faces will always be with me. I have never worked with such a nice set of people before or since.

Raglan Street, Clanalpine, Sirius Cove, Whiting Beach , Queen Street, the names still bring back warm memories to me as they were in my mail run which I did for five years. I miss you Sydney, and I miss the warmth of the Mosman folk.

Thank you all. Terry, Horsham Sussex England.

Terry the postman · 6 September 2006

Your comment

Thanks Terry The old Mosman PO. A Mr Potts was Post Master I think was atschool with his son.
The post office today has lost the old fashion part of Mosman too busy Regards from “Down Under’ Ron

Ron (Steve) Wylie · 28 October 2006, 05:28 · #

Thanks Ron, for postmasters name i know he was a real good gentleman in all meaning of the word, take care i close my eyes and Mosman is there. Rickard ave was on my run, and those steps up at the end!!!
and the family who lived on that slope, lovely folk. take care Ron. Terry.PS i worked at Whittles for a while, still there?

— terry brown · 26 January 2007, 20:00 · #

HI Terry, we remember you, good to hear you are still up and running.

One of the postal staff not mentioned in your letter and another's was a chap who's name I forget - he was a Queen's scout in Second Lavender Bay of which I was a senior scout.

He might have been asistant scoutmaster or even scoutmaster after (Ted?) Devereaux left and he had an Irish name..just will not come?handsome dark haired feller... ring a bell... went then to Neutral Bay post office where I was a telegram boy.

Can't think of the name of those two scotsmen who lived in the house next to the theatre..does it ring a bell with you? By the way you'd remember mum, Estelle (still kicking) and Dad, John(deceased 2002) who had Clancy's furniture next to Whittles. Dad was often visited by the chap who did the 'a little pecks goes such a looooooooooooooong way' advert on radio and later employed his old C/O from the military intelligence.

Dad never owned a car..but had a group of friends..Jeff Walstabb (Captain in BHP ships) Pat Magiure, Solicitor, Peter Keogh (manager of Formica) a terribly handsome chap called 'Peter' a local mechanic I think... who married very late and died not so long afterwards, Jack Charles from Cardinal Street, manger of Flick ..and others who enjoyed a beer and a yarn and convivial company together at the Hotel at Spit Junction where Mrs Deerson employed a Satanic looking manager.

This great lascivious looking character from another century had an equally evil looking Frank Thring beard arrangement and wore a shoulder cape black on the outside, red inside - a definite Poe figure from 'Tales of the Rue Morgue'. I loved these people.

As Dickens once wrote..'what larks Davey boy? what larks!!'

Dad went broke after the deliberate arson of his shop... the successful one of several attempts he later told me... and our income became supplanted by a bottle shop. Every year without fail dad emptied all his windows of stock and commerce and installed large and beautiful and colourful Nativity scenes to remind us all... and himself to offer a memory... but when he was burned down after some 30 years of being an icon I guess, albeit an impoverished one, no one wrote that up... One might muse that his Christ died 33years after his birth in dad's windows.

Mum did enormous work at no profit to help migrants learn English..travelling in one case to Willoughby and covering her own fares and travel time from the $10 per hour she asked. Mum is one of the Mosman most memorable as was dad but they have been forgotten in the Baronial Hall at Myagah Road. Sentiment and tradition? how much in rates do they bring in?

Mosman decayed through being controlled by people without sentiment and drifters from Rosebay and other already despoiled places. Some had enormously inflated ideas of their own value... and became Mosman commercial icons but none could hold a candle to Mum and Dad as earnest and decent humans.

Dad was so different from them - though struggling he employed people sent through the St Vincent de Paul or asked of him by his friend Pat Maguire..'John could you help someone in need'...with dad supporting 8 to 15 children.

All except one robbed him, one was a person Dad allowed to live at our place for years and someone Dad trusted to his terrible loss. another a man who couldn't talk business in the shop as we could while Dad was away in Melbourne for months after his mother's death... he had to taxi them down to the Mosman Rowers at Dad's expense... for no result worth mentioning but Dad wept inside and then forgave them and moved on.

The older ladies like Miss Doake - daughter of a surgeon..loved dad and came to just pass the time talking - as did any number of older men.

We who worked in the shop learned that a customer is a person with past present and future and was to be treated with respect, given time. Claude Whittle and Bill Smith at Whittles were the same... it was a sort of Brigadooon, a different life existing in place only a few knew of... every minute did not have to be accounted in a sale... we learned to be integrated into a higher mindset of the human race. We were taught to be interested in people and to listen and to care..through good example, not commercial instruction on 'keeping clients' . Business management today is a process, for us it was a way of life.

His accountant whom Dad gave free lodging to at our house for many years cleaned him out so expertly Dad never recovered. From then through the efforts to displace him to the final arson..was just a matter of the inevitable. He didn't moan and groan, he went on working and being kind and caring to the customer. The words 'stakeholder' and 'consumer' had not been devised as commercial jargon then. Recipt books gave the business name and then 'Dr. to' Dad only had what remained of his war pay and a small bank loan and a loan from Mum when he started and less than nothing when he finished but all 15 kids were educated and fed and looked after.

For all his faults, you find few like he was in forgiving people outside his family and doing good wherever he could and was always sensitive to being asked to help... but he had no reward here for it... except perhaps in his conscience.

Once old Claude Whittle died, the glue holding the junction together started to melt totally. Braune, Antclffe, Dad, Lammie and her sisters from the shop between Dad and the little men's clothing store just before the Masonic lodge...the Miss James..., the owner of Caesars' menswear..his name eludes me? Wildman, Elliot, Thame, Perry, the Pharmacist whose name I forget, Wipple, Dawson, Crossman, Capelin. the butcher, the old batwinged wine bar's proprietor, the delicatessan, Mrs Deerson, Moran and Cato, Seidler, so many I will not name all the junction, these people held the junction together through incompetent road management and the emergence of supermarkets and discount houses but drawing people to other suburbs until finally Brigepoint was built... The whole idea of capitalism is to kill and move on, not build on what exists. These people deserve investigation and memory and I hope my words will make others remember or want to seek these memories out.

The sailmakers ..Ben "Lexen" and his partner were up the stairs between Whittle's and 54 Spit Road..Ben of the assumed name 'Lexen' was famed through the America's cup win long after he came to Mosman.

I think Mr Yeo the glass chap was directly below them Miller and... Whitworth I think it was. The glass place moved after the Garrisson was levered into the site where dad's woodwork factory was (Harry Flood and family behind) and down to the corner... and there's a story of greed and intrigue..but not for here

At the rear of the 'Masonic Lodge' probably number 42 Spit Road was an ancient church..still there perhaps?.which had been added to to make the lodge. You can still see its outline from the lane behind Spit junction. Interesting place Mosman...(I could write books)...

Cheers Tony

— Tony Clancy · 8 February 2008, 02:56 · #

Just read Tonys letter on his family and his recollections of the past, which really pleased me with its content, well done Tony, we remember your lovely family, seemed for ever cheerfull, but then it was a lovely world, all worked hard asked for little, and life was good, perhaps because we were younger,but good days good friends,take care Tony and thanks. Terry,

— terry brown · 24 April 2008, 10:56 · #

Dear Tony just read your letter again, and the names of Claude Whittle, Bill Smith, brought memories flooding back, the utter kindness of Bill and his dear wife, Claude the greatest and kindest of men, he was a kind man, the chap that did Pick a box, used to frequent the shop for boat fixtures, but he used to love talking to Claude, like your dear father great men that we remember with fondness, my thoughts travel to Mosman from Horsham Sussex to you and your family, i remain very fond of Mosman and the greats i met,take care Tony. Terry.

— terry brown · 18 June 2008, 20:47 · #

I was remembering Coles, loved to go and look there, and MacIlwraiths, not sure if that is how it is spelt,it was a large grocery and delicatessan. The Petroffs at the fish and chip shop, the little toy shop, the bag store, next to the masonic lodge, the butchers, who were always so cheerful and the sawdust on the floor. The children’s wear shop on one side of the crossing It all had a village feel about it. John Clancy also had a furniture factory on the other side of the Spit Road next to the picture framers and across the “lane” or driveway from the post office. The Floods lived behind the factory, Jenny was the daughter, there were two boys I think, Kerry who became a policeman? and the elder one as well. Mrs Flood made the most delicious cup cakes. then of course one could go down Military Road,some sunday afternoons the military bands would march down, some in tartans with those large bearskin hats, wonderful memories.

— mary heard · 11 June 2009, 05:40 · #

Hi Terry
I think you must have worked with my father, Bill Milford, who was a postman at Mosman for many years. I can remember he used to walk his round twice a day, lugging the heavy bags. No motor bikes in those days! A couple of other names that I can remember are Jack Webb-Wagg and somebody Barber (Ronnie?) who lived on a boat moored at Mosman Bay. It was Bob Dyer who compered Pick-A-Box, with his wife Dolly. They used to live at Beauty Point on Dad’s run. Lovely people. I can remember going to their home a couple of times.

Hi Tony
The name of the scout master you were thinking of was Gordon Limberg. I think he ran the scout troop down at Mosman Bay when my brother was there. I know he used to regularly visit our home.

I have just found this website, and it has brought back so many memories of growing up in Mosman. I live in Adelaide now.

— Margaret Gilbert (Milford) · 18 September 2009, 13:49 · #


— terry brown · 18 October 2010, 01:18 · #

I remember you Terry, and I can add a couple of names from around 1968 or so . . .

The overseer was Keith Schloeffel, a terrific bloke and the best boss I ever had.

If I recall correctly Peter Coppin was on 2 beat, Gordon Chappell on 3 and you on 4? Jack Hurst was on 5 I think. Tommy Buckman was on 8. Your fellow Englishmen Vern Booker and Stan Rogers were on 10 and 11 beats respectively. Jack Wall was on 12, Fred Hutchinson was on 13 beat until I replaced him, then on 6, which I think he took over from Jackie Gaynor, who'd left. Eddie Ahearn, with the perpetual cigarette in his mouth and the hacking cough, was on 14, which did a lot of Beauty Point. Bill Milford was on 15, a young bloke named Gerald Harvey was on 16 and Ron Barber on 17. In those days it fluctuated between seventeen and eighteen rounds as I recall, so my numbers might be a bit off. There was a big run re-assessment just after I started, then we went to one delivery a day, so things changed again. There were a couple of telegram boys - Daryl Hill was one of them.

There was George Gold, a 'supernumerary' at the time because they'd just abolished his round. George ended up as Postal Delivery Controller (the word 'overseer' had been consigned to history) and by then the postmen were working out of Spit Junction Post Office.

Sadly, most of that group are gone. I was (then) one of the young ones, and used to take a lot of Saturday mornings off.

The Postmaster I remember at Mosman was Bob Sylvester, a really nice country-style bloke.

— Steve Birdsall · 28 February 2011, 17:25 · #

Hi Terry, on the subject of posties at Mosman P.O. in the 1960’s…
Tommy Buckman, Jackie Webb-Wagg, Jackie Wall & Eddie Ahearn.
Do these names ring a bell?
An interesting fact was that three of the older postmen had the same first delivery point in the early 70’s, 76 Middle Head Road. I don’t know why that was.

— Tony Shanahan · 26 August 2011, 18:19 · #

Hello to all of the readers of theStreets of Mosman, thanks for your lovely letters ,I loved Raglan Street although my bag of mail was so heavy at the start of the run, but the nice people made up for all the agony of the seemingly long walk, Clanalpine, Mistral, ave, Rickard ave, the steps at the end!but I could look into the Zoo, since my knees have got really bad I can only dream of walking like that again, Serious cove, the lovely memories, Mr Fisher and his Bulldog, was it two Elfrieda Street?Prince Albert Street number two I think, lovely couple from Tunbridge Wells been in Australia many years, befriended me, some really lovely folk, Thanks for the memories, keep it up.Terry

— Terry brown · 20 April 2013, 17:41 · #

Hello Mosman, I’ve been contributing to this lovely site for ages, I never mentioned where my wife worked for a while, Riteways Dry cleaning, any one remember Diane Browm, (Di) 1961’ 62’ 64 to 69’ very hard hot job, but lovely staff Di used to say,anyone work with Di?

Our love to Mosman, Terry.

— Terry brown · 22 July 2013, 01:17 · #

Just to throw my two bob’s worth in, I grew up in Mosman/Cremorne from 1959 to 1979, spending most of my time in Spencer Road, up the street from The Whittle family, with whom we played in the street or in the yard.
I worked in the Christmas holidays at Mosman Post Office for several years, as George Gold’s “boy”, under the eye of Keith the overseer. Both were true gentlemen, and I am proud to have known them.

— John Hammond · 6 January 2014, 18:01 · #

HI.daryl hill here.

hi terry brown, steve birdsall good to here you are both still kicking,and here are all the names from 50 years ago; example stanley foord rogers I am still delivering mail in Manly, and will hang my boots up when I am 80.

regards ex telegram boy daryl hill.

— daryl hill · 5 June 2014, 17:15 · #

Hi Steve,nice to hear from you, dear old Stan, Gorden Chapple, big lovely guy he was, lovely days gone forever I feel, used to have a flat in Almora Street, lovely views of the sea, also lived in Clifford street, lovely memories, but we have the South Downs to make up for it now, take care Steve, nice to talk, Terry.

— Terry brown · 20 October 2014, 21:33 · #

Hi All,

I’m doing my ancestry tree and I was told my grandad lived above the Post Office for many years with a lady called Norma. They say she worked at the post office too. Does anyone remember her?

I’m thinking perhaps around the 70s or 80s…

thanks in advance,

Also… what street was the Post Office on?


— Jess · 2 May 2015, 22:01 · #

Steve, were you blonde haired, used to be one postie who used to bait me about the Queen, told me much later he did it for a laugh, lovely times, I helped move him from somewhere near Harbour Bridge, can’t recall to where, lovely chap, nice weather here, I have a new hobby fossil hunting on the South Downs and The Beach, at Wide Lagoon, Shoreham..Flint tools,artefacts and sea creatures abound, on the pebble beaches, lovely, we take our folding bikes and bike along the beach pathway to Lancing and find good stuff there also, keep busy, had one knee replaced other one painful but not yet, leave it for a while, I can kneel on the old one, just in case I get the call.regards to you in Australia, I have a dear mate in Bateau Bay, thank you Terry And Diane.

— Terry Brown · 30 May 2016, 20:03 · #