The Art of Admiration

Honouring Morpeth’s Popular Postmaster

One Monday evening in May 1916, such a large crowd had gathered at the Morpeth School of Arts that many people could not gain admission. It seemed the whole town had turned up for the formal presentation to their popular postmaster, John Buckley (1865-1929), who was being transferred to Gosford. The crowd applauded loudly as this oak-framed illuminated address (accompanied by a helpful bag of gold sovereigns) were presented to Buckley, who had served Morpeth courteously for eight years.

John’s wife Mary was also honoured that evening, with the gift of a gold watch bangle. Their six children were probably present too, including their eldest, Jack, who had also begun working with the Postal Department. But he would never get the chance to follow in his father’s footsteps. Four months later, Jack enlisted to serve in World War I, and was killed in action in 1918.

Buckley’s beautiful illuminated address was hand-painted, featuring a miniature view across the Hunter River to Morpeth. The artist is unknown but the text was printed by Maitland’s Thomas Dimmock Ltd. But this was not the first elaborate document of admiration that kind John Buckley had received, and probably was not the last. Wherever he served as postmaster, Buckley never failed to impress. Before leaving employment at Raymond Terrace in 1908, that town had presented him with an illuminated address too. And a bag of sovereigns.