Kim, my husband, is slightly bemused by my growing interest in letterboxes. However, I’m finding it’s a good icebreaker in social situations. It’s something that both men and women can talk about. And it often turns out quite a few people have a mailbox story to tell! Who’d have thought!
(actually a slot with a flap)
I grew up in the UK where letters and small parcels are delivered through a letter flap in the front door. Sometimes the delivery falls onto the hall floor, sometimes there’s a basket, or cage, to catch it on the other side.
Then, many years ago, I moved to Australia. Here the postie doesn’t have to walk quite so far to deliver the post. Typically, residential mailboxes are positioned at the front border of the property. (Incidentally, Australians use the terms mailbox and letterbox interchangeably.)
Since then I have also lived in America for several years. The mail delivery in the US is very similar to Australia. The slight variation that I noticed is that mailboxes have red plastic flags. Apparently the idea is that the mailman can do mail collections as well as mail deliveries. I suspect this is used more in the country than in cities, but I could be wrong. I don’t think I ever noticed a raised mailbox flag.
I can trace the start of my interest in letterbox design and installation back to the first home Kim and I bought in Perth, Western Australia. It was a brand new quadruplex villa (1 house had been knocked down to make way for 4 single story units) in a kind of Federation style. Because it was brand new it didn’t have a garden or a letterbox.
I seem to remember we went to a local hardware store and chose the best we could from a limited selection. It was a smallish wooden box. Ah, but how to install it? Neither of us had any experience of home maintenance or DIY. We bought a square shaped wooden post. Kim attached the post somehow. Then dug a hole, stuck the post in it and heaped the soil back around it. We had no idea that we should have secured the post in concrete! No wonder the mail box was never particularly stable! However, we never did do anything to fix it!
Our Original Letterbox
My renewed interest in mailboxes started in early 2002, when we moved into our current house in Avalon NSW (on Sydney’s Northern Beaches). I love the mailbox that was here. It was fun, funky and in keeping with the bush feel of the front yard. However, it’s totally impractical! Avalon has pretty high rainfall and this mailbox acted as a water shoot making everything inside soggy! I considered adding a small umbrella above it, but decided that would ruin the look of it.
Our Temporary Letterbox
And so started my quest to find mailbox designs that I really like that are also practical and in keeping with the look and feel of our home.
The whole of our front garden has recently been re-designed. We needed to fix the challenging parking on the steep block. So we’ve had a carport on a platform (with a room underneath) put in. The old letter box got taken out with most of the rest of the garden . For the time being our builder has kindly lent us a spare box he had. However, I really don’t like this box.
Our Unusual Custom Letter Box
It took a while to decide what to replace it with. Kim wanted a guitar mailbox! How silly (not that I've even seen one of these -- until my brother kindly directed me to one)! Here's what we've ended up with and the story of this custom mailbox creation.
I’m having great fun mailbox spotting and sharing what I find on this website! I hope you’ll join and tell me your mailbox story or share photos of interesting ones you’ve seen on your travels!