From 1958 to 1967 my father had the mailrun contract in the Scotts Flat, Glendon, Mitchells Flat, Glendonbrook and Westbrook area. He would travel this route six days a week in his Holden car. As a kid I would wake early on a Saturday morning and during the school holidays to accompany him.
There were four post offices in operation along the route. These were located at Scotts Flat, Mitchells Flat, Glendonbrook and Westbrook. As well as sorting the mail that Dad delivered to them in mailbags, the postmistresses at these post offices also operated the local telephone exchange.
The roads in those days were not of the standard they are today. Most of the roads were tarred, but they were certainly narrower than they are today. Roughit Lane, however was gravel and was not tar sealed till years later.
Back then there were far fewer residents along the route, virtually all of whom were farmers. The term “hobby farmer” had not been heard of. As well as delivering the mail to these farmers six days a week, Dad also delivered newspapers and magazines he picked up from the newsagent, pre-ordered loaves of bread from the two or three bakers in town and pre-ordered meat from some of the town’s butchers. There was also a small butcher’s shop located at Glendon where Dad occasionally picked up orders to deliver to residents.
Following a stroke in 1967 he had to give up the contract and after a long illness my father died in 1977.
On December 30th 2008 my father would have been 100 years old. Around this time I had been riding regularly around the Singleton countryside with an enthusiastic group of cyclists and thought that it might be a good idea to commemorate the occasion of Dad’s 100th birthday by riding the route of his mailrun.
The idea was met with enthusiasm from others in the group, and so the annual Mailrun Bike ride was born. For four years a small but friendly group of cyclists enjoyed this challenging ride.
On the 31st December 2011, the day after our forth Mailrun ride, my mother died after a short battle with cancer. Mum was the patron of the Singleton Sleepover Respite Cottage, and after she died I pitched the idea of turning the Mailrun into a fundraising venture for the Respite Cottage. This was received with enthusiasm by the Cottage committee and cycling friends, so the work began to organise the inaugural Mailrun Charity Bike Ride which was held on 24th March 2013.
This ride was very successful and attracted almost 100 riders. Through the tremendous efforts of the organisers and volunteers and the generosity of riders and their sponsors we managed to raise over $14,000.
In 2014, The Mailrun Charity Bike Ride was even more successful, this time attracting 230 riders who, along with volunteers and sponsors, raised over $28,000 for the Singleton Sleepover Respite Cottage.
The 2015 event was also a great success raising over $25,000 for Singleton Family Support Services to help them provide essential services to the community. Many families in the Singleton area are affected by family violence, homelessness, child protection concerns, relationship breakdown and mental health issues. Through a variety of services SFSS can offer assistance with these difficult and complex issues.
Our ride for 2016 attracted almost 300 riders and was our most successful event up until that stage .Again we raised over $25,000 for Singleton Family Support Services.
In 2017 our fifth annual ride grew even more with 365 riders enjoying a fantastic ride and raising in excess of $32,000 for Singleton Family Support.
In 2018, with the support of our major sponsor, Quarry Mining, and the ongoing generosity of the volunteers, sponsors and cycling community, we raised a whopping $42 733 with 437 riders participating in the event.
Following the 2018 event, I have formally partnered with Singleton Family Support to continue to develop the ride and raise money for the local community. It's a big job to organise the event, and make sure that it is safe and enjoyable for all participants and volunteers. The team at SFSS, along with our dedicated volunteers, are well underway with plans for future rides.
With such generous, continued support from riders, volunteers, the community and our wonderful sponsors, we are hoping that in the future The Mailrun Charity Bike Ride will be an even bigger success.
by Ken Dreaper