Nagambie's locals give posties stamp of approval

Nagambie Post Office proprietor Gerry Burdeu. Photo: Angela Wylie
Nagambie Post Office proprietor Gerry Burdeu. Photo: Angela Wylie

A line of customers stand quietly waiting to be served at Nagambie Post Office on Monday afternoon.

One is there to post a package, another to process some cheques amid shelves of children's toys, crime novels and greeting cards.

Many pause before leaving for a quick aside to their postmistress: ''And how are you, Christine?''

Gerry and Christine Burdeu have run the town's post office for 8½ years, since they decided to take a ''lake change'' away from Melbourne.

The post office has stood in the same place since about 1890. The first postmaster, like the current owners, lived at the back of the building. ''If you were the postmaster you were something in those days. It's still important; it's not prime ministerial or anything like that, but we're well-respected in the town and we're part of the community,'' Mr Burdeu says.

He thinks it will be some time before Australia Post is privatised and doubts that they will be significantly affected at the coalface if it is, given that the couple - like two-thirds of Australian post office managers - own the business: ''Certainly there will be job losses in Australia Post, it's top-heavy, there's no doubt about that. But in a small town like this I really can't see a huge change.''

He said a private buyer would need to tackle declining stamp sales and could potentially raise the cost of sending letters to different states.

Outside, Wendy Mason is paying a rare visit to the post office. She usually sends emails, not letters, but has recently found herself making more trips there to deliver hand-written notes since the death of her mother-in-law.

''Her contact with [Gerry], that's precious. That's what's precious about this town too - its supportive nature.''

This story Nagambie's locals give posties stamp of approval first appeared on The Age.