You've got mail! A tour of some of Western Australia's most remote mail locations.
Remote outback iron ore company towns in Western Australia's Hamersley Ranges are modern, clean and well-designed. Mt Newman Mining built the town of Newman, which ships its ore to Port Hedland via 426km of railway line. Both Newmans took their name from Mt Newman, which is 1053m above sea level. It in turn took its name from the explorer Aubrey Newman in 1896.
Newman is in the heart of the Pilbara and lies on the Tropic of Capricorn. The drive along the Great Northern Highway to Karijini National Park in the Hamersley Ranges is spectacular, with ancient mountain ranges, gorges, marvellous history and friendly people.
Polar Aviation is contracted to deliver mail to some of Western Australia's most remote locations. It delivers mail, food, supplies and student assignments to cattle stations, Aboriginal missions and outposts three times a week.
The Newman Visitors Centre manager thought that value would be added to the service if tourists were permitted to go along for the ride with Peter Christoudias, the Greek/British/Australian postman. Government subsidies through Australia Post make the run possible and, in turn, the air service helps tourism.
Peter has stories about arriving at a landing spot only to find it covered with grazing cattle, brumbies or kangaroos. He also tells of wearing a Santa Claus suit for Christmas Day deliveries in 40 degree plus heat.
Now there are three tours to choose from. A two-hour tour, a five-hour tour or a six-hour tour which covers more than 800km. Passengers meet the owners of properties where they land and have morning tea or lunch with them. Sometimes the properties see no-one between mail deliveries.
The mail run is done in a Cessna 210, considered the "muscle machine" of Western Australia's north-west. It is perfect for tourist flights, as its lifting capacity and high wing design give uninterrupted views of the vast and untamed landscape. Three passengers, pilot and cargo can travel at one time.
One place you may choose to visit is Turee Creek Station. The 277,000ha has 3700 cattle and a menagerie of pets. Bruce and Suzanne Maguire have raised their six daughters here and enjoy sharing a cup of tea when you drop in.
Jigalong Aboriginal community receives supplies, mail, school assignments and books and medical supplies for the local hospital twice a week.
Ethel Creek Station receives "tree mail". Peter leaves what he has for them tied to a burnt out tree and someone collects it next time they are passing.
All Seasons Newman Hotel has 83 well-appointed rooms set amongst landscaped gardens and with a tropical swimming pool. Perfect for singles, couples or families, visitors can enjoy the outback in comfort. They serve breakfast and dinner and will pack lunch for adventurers. On Sundays they have a poolside seafood barbecue.