Ski Post, Kiandra, NSW

Kiandra was a small town in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales, Australia. In winter, it was often isolated by heavy snowfall. In November of 1859, gold was discovered and by March of 1860, the population had swelled by 10,000. The Kiandra post office opened June 1, 1860, serving 15,000 people. In the winter, mail was carried in and out by a postman on skis.

A photo survives which records this practice, and it was probably used as reference for the art on the cigarette card shown above, published by W.D. & H.O. Wills, pioneers in this form of advertising. In 1861, after the “easy pickings” were exhausted, the population of Kiandra began to dwindle. The last gold mining operations ended around 1905. The last resident left in 1974, presumably after completing forwarding address forms.

Dundaga, Latvia

The post office in Dondangen (Dundaga) Latvia, circa 1917. I love the man on the step, with the mail box to his right. Dundaga is famous for its castle, constructed by Archbishopric of Riga. From the 16th until the 20th century, Dundaga Castle was the centre of the largest private estate in Kurzeme (Courland), and is connected with many fairy-tales and legends. Sadly, during WWII, it was the base of an SS regiment, and today is the site of four mass graves of murdered Jews.