After 107 years and eight months in the Fowler family, the Wallacia Post Office is in new hands.
Since John Fowler and his wife, Ethel, bought the business in 1908, it has been passed down through three generations, stopping at Deputy Mayor Ross Fowler and his wife, Margaret Fowler.
In 1993, Mrs Fowler took over responsibility of the post office from Cr Fowler’s mother, but ended an era on Monday with her retirement, and the appointment of a new Licensee.
“I’ve worked long enough and think it’s about time I stopped,” Mrs Fowler said.
Mrs Fowler is delighted with the new Licensee, Dinesh Bharwad, who plans to make Wallacia his home.
“He has previous experience working in metropolitan post offices and is very customer focused,” she said.
“He brings with him a better knowledge of how to embrace the coming digital technology, which will be vital if post offices are to survive into the future.”
Mrs Fowler said despite the influence of the Internet, she is a strong believer in the community service that post offices provide to a village community.
“I would go as far as to say I think post offices are part of the social fabric of communities, particularly in smaller towns and rural and regional Australia,” she said.
“Of course, the Internet is changing the way we obtain information today, but many of us still value that human interaction of dealing with someone face to face.”
Mrs Fowler has mixed emotions about the changeover that not only means a new era for her, but letting go of fond memories.
“Having a work experience where the business is part of a village community, my memorable moments revolve around interaction with people,” she said.
“There’s a bit of nostalgia… but there is also a sense of excitement as I will have time to engage in other pursuits which I’ve been putting off.”
Mrs Fowler is going to enjoy a nice break from work for now, and focus on her interest in history, particularly women’s work in 19th century Australia.
“I would actually like to continue some research into this, particularly as it pertains to women working in post offices during this period,” Mrs Fowler said.