In country Australia, where mail including letters, parcels and sometimes basic supplies, may be delivered by a mailman three times a week or less, it’s necessary to have a decent sized mailbox to accommodate the delivery. The forty-four gallon drum of my childhood has long been a popular choice, but in dairying areas, milk cans are common and people often build their own mailbox out of whatever they have to hand, or put personal touches on a common theme. Hence, we saw mailboxes with wheels, old exhaust systems and various types of animal constructions.
Likewise with the entrance to the property. Metal or wooden gates or sometimes a grid made from railway sleepers marks the entrance. Gates are necessary to keep stock in and sometimes out, as well as wandering wildlife, or perhaps sheep or cattle grazing on agistment in the ‘long paddock’, a colloquial name for the road verge where animals may be grazing when feed is short. Fences are usually strained wire pulled taut between felled tree posts, with a barbed wire strand along the top if there are stock. As anyone living in the country knows, you leave a gate open at your peril. If it’s closed when you come to it, make sure you close it after you go through, it’s the country code that should never be ignored! As with the mailboxes, there’s plenty of variety in entrances and looking for interesting examples is a handy way of staying awake on a long journey. This small selection represents but a few of those along highways in New South Wales. They show not only the imagination of the farmer, but the changing countryside as well.