Geoff Rushmer recently became the latest Licensee of the Post Office at Kyancutta - continuing an 88 year history of this family business.
The roots of the Kyancutta Licensed Post Office (LPO) were first established sometime between 1914 and 1917 with the completion of the Kyancutta section of the railway in 1913 and the proclamation of the town in 1917. In those days letters were exchanged between the train and the early settlers by way of being left under rocks. This task was undertaken by Mr George Williams - the first unofficial Postmaster.
A Receival Post Office was later established in Mr William Goldsworthy's general store on the western side of the railway line. For a short period in 1925 the store and P.O were taken over by Mr Aleric Dick who later sold the P.O to Mr Robert Bedford in 1926. Mr Bedford was appointed Postmaster.
In 1928 the P.O was moved to the eastern side of the line and housed in what was later to become known as the Kyancutta Museum and was operated by Mr and Mrs Bedford. In 1929, the Kyancutta Aerodrome, built by Mr Bedford and his son Bill, supplemented the carriage of mail, offering delivery and receipt by air as well as rail. A Junkers aircraft made four regular stops a week in Kyancutta with both mail and passengers.
In 1939, Joan Luscombe (nee Bedford), having worked at various Post Offices in Adelaide, operated the P.O from a room adjacent the museum assisted later by her husband, Newton Andrew Luscombe.
The area serviced by the P.O had gradually increased since 1922 with the establishment of further Hundreds in the district - such as the Hundred of Koongawa. The district mail run was initially operated by Mr Ben Peters and later by Joan Bedford and Molly, wife of Bill Bedford.
Mrs Joan Luscombe became the registered Post Mistress around 1948 and Mr Newton A. Luscombe the Post Master around 1954.
In 1986, Newton Luscombe Jnr (Ned) became the Licensee assisted by his wife Margaret.
In November 2011, the LPO was moved from Museum Terrace where it had been since 1928, back to the other side of the railway line but this time to the north of the township in the Kyancutta General Store on Railway Terrace (the Eyre Highway). Margaret's daughter Jill and Jill's husband Geoff Rushmer had bought the store a few months earlier.
On 31st August 2014, Ned's son-in-law Geoff became the Licensee of the Kyancutta LPO - maintaining an uninterrupted line of Post Masters, Mistresses and Licensees from the same family since 1926.
This follows an almost identical handing over of the responsibility from Bedfords to Luscombes to Rushmers for the Kyancutta weather station in December 2012. Bob Bedford started unofficial weather observations at the museum site in Kyancutta in 1928 with instruments he built himself to assist the operations of the planned aerodrome. The weather station was officially recognised in 1930. Weather observations have for many years been undertaken around-the-clock every day of the year, with observations taken every three hours excluding midnight. In recent years the Bureau of Meteorology have gradually reduced the number of observations until now only 6am and 9am reports are taken at the relocated site behind the Kyancutta Store.
Bibliography: Grain Amid Granite (Edna Heath and Erna Franklin); A Salute to Pioneers - A History Update of the Kyancutta District (Melva Winter and the Kyancutta History Book Committee).
Eyre Highway (11 Railway Tce) KYANCUTTA SA