On 22 January 1891 H G Hanks, a general storekeeper wrote to the Postmaster-General on behalf of the residents of Manildra asking for a post office. In his letter he said:
‘… at present we have to walk two miles or wait for the return coach from Meranburn before we are in receipt of our letters … There are 25 families within the precincts of the Village, and everyprobability of others taking up their permanent abode here, as soon as the railway tenders are called for the construction of the railway line from Molong through here to Forbes.
There are at present in this Village two churches, two blacksmith shops, General Store, Hotel, Butcher’s Shop, Baker’s Shop, Large Hall, Police station and a well-attended Public School.
… I may also state that there is ample accommodation at my place for an office and I am quite willing to take charge of the same until the period arrives to erect an office.’
When the Postal Inspector reported that postal facilities were available at Meranburn ‘about two miles distant’ and that the few residents residing in the Village were served ‘from the coach in passing’, Mr Hank’s request was refused. However following the receipt of a petition signed by over 40 residents approval was given for the opening of a mail Receiving Office (for mails) supervised by Mr Hanks.
The Manildra Receiving Office was opened on 1 May 1891. Mr Hanks received an annual allowance of £5. Later it was reported that the office was conducted in his store and that postal business was conducted at the same counter as his general business.
The mails were brought to Molong by train and transferred to Manildra by Cobb and Co. In August 1891 Mr Hanks pointed out that he met two mails on six days of the week, and that in three months he had received and despatched 1,802 letters and 918 newspapers. In October 1891 approval was given for the status of Receiving Office to be elevated to that of Post Office and for an allowance of £10 to be paid to the Postmaster.
The Molong to Forbes rail extension was opened on 18 December 1893 and in the following year the Post Office was relocated to the Railway Station. The Porter-in-Charge, James Tuxford was appointed Postmaster and an allowance of £15 was paid to the Railways Department. The move to the Station was not popular with the Manildra residents and following a series of protests which included a petition the Post Office was once again re-instated at Mr Hank’s store. He was paid £22 per annum plus an allowance of £15 per annum for conveying the mails between the Station and the Post Office. Mr Hanks sold his business to John H Williams who was appointed Postmaster on 1 April 1896.
A sketch of Manildra in 1904 places the Post Office on the eastern side of Mandagery Creek adjacent to the Police Station and near a hall and a Roman Catholic Church. However a shopping centre was also developing on the western side of the Creek near the Railway Station and Goods Shed. Representations for the removal of the Post Office to this centre included a letter written by Mr H Miller in November 1904. He said:
‘Years ago a few buildings were erected in the land surveyed as a suburb in case the railway should come that way, now this has taken place and the town is on the West side of Mandagery Creek … it is only natural that the residents want the Post Office removed there as well as the distance is considerable. Even the Postmaster has built a Hotel there which he is keeping himself’.
The Postal Inspector supported the request for the removal of the Post Office and mentioned that he believed that the Police Station was also about to be moved to the other side.
Thomas H Watson, the Railway Department Officer, was appointed postmaster on 17 February 1906. By the end of that year revenue had risen to £380 per annum and consideration was being given to granting the Post Office a semi-official status, with a telegram delivery.The population served was about 500 persons and the attendance at the local public school was said to be 100.
Although the revenue and postal business did not justify the establishment of an official post office a large proportion of the community was pressing for this facility. This included Worrall Brothers who had just started their new flour mill.
Tenders were called for in September 1907 for the opening of a semi-official Post Office. Butler Colbranwas the successful applicant, despite being only seventeen years of age. He had worked at Trundle and Bogan Gate post offices for nearly three years and was the only applicant competent to operate Morse telegraph instruments. Since he was a minor Colbran’s contract was signed by his father.John Cobran was appointed Postmaster on 13 April 1908, with an annual salary of £152.
By 1912 the Post Office was granted official status, and on 4 March 1912 Mr C Gorman was the new Postmaster. Subsequent Postmasters included:
L H Viles 27 October 1921
O R Frawley 11 December 1939
A K Blackwell 19 July 1945
H I Storrier 19 October 1951
R J Andrews 19 February 1953
H J Watson 19 December 1962