Sunday, 16 June 2013

Cast Iron Australian


A wonderfully ornate Australian Letter Box from 1890 which stands 5' 9" (1.8 metres) high.  The vertical slot seen was so people on horseback could post letters without dismounting.  I presume from the postmark incorporated into the stamp that it is, or was, in Pyrmont, New South Wales.  The first ever Australian box was cast in bronze, the design, by TW Levinge, was based on the 1850s Belgium and Parisian boxes.  Installed in the suburbs of Sydney in 1856, they became widespread even being exported to New Zealand.  It was not until the 1870s that they were painted red.
Bubb and Son from their Victoria foundry in Sydney (their name is on the door) made these boxes adding to the tradition of wonderful metalwork by 19th century craftsmen and are commonly referred to as Bubbs Boxes.  (Robert Bubb was a migrant to Australia from Gloucestershire in England)  The rounded top is a stylised  Australian flower of the waratah bush surrounded by acanthus leaves.  The copperplate writing looks as though it runs all the way round underneath.  There is also a more traditional opening on the other side.   Not many of these boxes survive, some are no longer used but have been adopted by the local area as historic pieces of street furniture. Australia Post has one that it lends out to people for events.   

7 comments:

Hawwa said...

Interesting!

Lisa B said...

Old letterboxes are amazing! It's always so nice to spot one somewhere.

Indrani said...

With internet all these are going to vanish soon. So I think they are precious!

VioletSky said...

These are beautiful. I don't remember ever seeing any pillar boxes in Canada. sigh.

dazeyez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dazeyez said...

Hi ! I got this page with google results and seems i cant find any more information on any of the New South Wales early cast iron pillar boxes. As i recently happened to buy one of these. Please note that i just bought a door for the pillar round box as its in curved shape with original Green color instead of red and there is an indignia of new south wales with lion on the left and kangaroo on the right holding the shield.
Any info from anyone would be appreciated.

Joy said...

What I posted is as much as I know dazeyez. I believe some members of the Letter Box Study Group have an interest in Australia although their main expertise is GB. What sort of info did you want?