Community & Business

20 March, 2024

Long postal career comes to an end

YUNGABURRA post mistress Sophie Newman has handed over her last parcel.

By Chelsea Ashmeade

Yungaburra post mistress Sophie Newman has retired from a career spanning almost 50 years with Australia Post.
Yungaburra post mistress Sophie Newman has retired from a career spanning almost 50 years with Australia Post.

A career in the post industry that spans almost 50 years, the 83-year-old is a recognisable face across the Tablelands.

It all began when Ms Newman purchased Tarzali Postal Exchange and stayed there for about six years until it went automated.

That’s when she bought Yungaburra Post Office and the adjoining buildings - living right next door.

For the next 26 years, Ms Newman she worked the Yungaburra Post Office.

Following the Mt Emerald plane crash which killed her husband, Joe, Ms Newman sold the agency.

After this time, Ms Newman took on relief work “everywhere”.

She worked in post offices all over the region including Millaa Millaa, Malanda, South Johnstone, Tolga, Atherton and Mareeba to name a few.

Then when John Brodie took over at Yungaburra and needed a hand, Ms Newman became “girl Friday”.

“That’s me, I’m girl Friday,” Ms Newman said.

John was already known to Ms Newman through his mum, who had served at the post office in years gone by.

For the past 10 years she’s helped John out and had “a good time” while doing it.

“John has been very good. He is doing very, very well,” she said.

It’s only a recent update with technology that’s stopped her in her tracks.

“I have enjoyed every moment of it. It’s just the new technology that’s coming in that has made me stop,” Ms Newman explained.

“I said to John, ‘I don’t want to learn that’.”

From people walking in to pay their bills, collecting parcels - which has increased over the years - and mail collection, Ms Newman has seen it all.

Not only was Ms Newman a postmistress but also a mother to five children.

She adopted her best friend’s three children when she died and later married her husband, Joe Newman.

She has now got a brood including 14 great grandchildren.

“It’s been a good life,” Ms Newman said.

Between bingo on a Wednesday and visiting her children, Ms Newman said she was looking forward to doing whatever she felt like on a Friday.

But it is the regular faces each week she says she will miss.

“I might go up to Innot Hot Springs again and I might go see my kids down south,” she said.

But, in her words, she’s a “kept woman” now and will enjoy the extra time with her partner of 23 years.


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