PASSPORTS BURNED: The Terry family from Larnook (from left) Tia, Jasper, Elliott and Francis lost mail in the Rock Valley Post Office fire.INSET: All that remains...
PASSPORTS BURNED: The Terry family from Larnook (from left) Tia, Jasper, Elliott and Francis lost mail in the Rock Valley Post Office fire.INSET: All that remains...

Postal burn causes community pain

THE ROCK Valley Post Office burnt down on Saturday night. Police consider the fire suspicious.

Along with the timber and iron of what was claimed to be Australia's smallest free-standing post office, the mail of residents of Rock Valley and nearby areas (Chelmsford, Wongavale and Larnook) also went up in flames.

Tia Terry from Billen Cliffs in Larnook was one who lost mail.

Tia, with husband Liam and their children Jasper, Elliott and Francis, were all set to head overseas to visit the children's grandparents. But now there's a hitch - Francis's and Jasper's new passports were at the post office when it burned.

"We'd just received a notice from the post office that the kids' passports were there to pick up," Tia told The Echo. "But we didn't get there soon enough."

Francis and Jasper will get their replacement passports no doubt, but young Elliott was not so sure when he talked to his grandmother by phone after the fire.

"Francis and Jasper can't come anymore," he said.

There has been a Rock Valley post office building since 1931. It was rebuilt by the local community after a cyclone flattened it in 1958. No suspicious circumstances then.

Rock Valley Post Office had become quite the tourist attraction as its fame as Australia's smallest post office building spread. The Terry children's grandmother even has a postcard of the building - a souvenir of her visit to the Northern Rivers.

"It's very sad," Tia said. "Everybody liked that post office."

Mail services will resume today (Thursday, October 4) at the Rock Valley Community Hall. Trading hours are Monday to Thursday, 9am-5pm, and 9am-1pm Friday.


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