The last pushbike postie in Queensland hails from Lowood
LOWOOD'S John Ruhl is the last postman to ever deliver mail on a pushbike in Queensland.
"I hopped on my bike to deliver the mail in Lowood for the first time in 1979, it was my first job,” John said.
"My family were mail contractors so it was in my blood.”
John and his family worked out of the old Lowood post office where they did the original mail run between Lowood and Rosewood, every day five days a week.
John's parents held one of the longest mail runs in Australia up until they retired - an astonishing 50 years with their Lowood to Rosewood contract.
In 1992, John received the Australia post State Achievement Award for the best individual postal delivery officer.
Nominees for the eight regions which made up Queensland were judged on customer service, work achievement, innovation, conduct, diligence and efficiency.
John was nominated by the Lowood postal manager Glen Bishop, who stated in his nomination "I cannot place enough superlatives on this employee... If only Australia Post has a workforce for of John Ruhl's”.
John said he would cover roughly a total of 12 kilometres each day on his Lowood mail run.
"It was a lot of exercise it would've killed me today, but I loved the job though and I was sad to finish up there,” he said.
"I unfortunately don't have my Australia Post pushbike any more, but I would have loved to have kept it.
"It was an interesting time, my dad used to say if you're going to do a job, do it well or you damn well don't do it, so I did my best.”
John put in a lot of effort with his customers and always went out of his way to drop parcels off instead of them having to go back to the post office.
John recalled how over his 14 years as a pushbike postie he was bitten a total of five times by dogs.
"All of the bites were from different dogs,” he said.
"Funny enough big dogs were never a problem it was the little dogs that got you, because they moved so quickly.”
But not having the opportunity to deliver mail on a motor bike instead of a pushbike didn't worry John because the distance of a mail run was much less back then.
"The town was more compact then, now there's the new estates. I think it was roughly it was 350-400 households I used to deliver too when I started,” he said.
Born in Laidley on February 3, 1960, John grew up in Prenzlau and has continued living there his whole life.
"I went to primary school there and high school,” he said.
John is happily married with three children, which are his pride and joy.
"I met my wife Judy when my mum was delivering mail one day, she was one of mum's customers. They got talking and one thing led to another,” he said.
"My wife has played a very important part in my life, there was always a standing joke 'it wasn't the milk man, it was the postman I had it off with'.”
During his 14 years as a postman, John said he barely had a sick day because it was harder to find a replacement back then.
"When I finished up I had 14 weeks of sick leave up my sleeve,” he said.
"When the kids were born, it was the case of go to work, race down to the hospital for the birth of the child and the next day I would probably be back peddling away like crazy trying not to get too behind.”
John said the biggest change he had seen during his time living in Lockyer Valley was the progress of the smaller towns.
"It was back around the time I finished up where I thought Rosewood, Lowood, Laidley and even as a degree Gatton were all declining,” he said.
"There wasn't much really going on at that time, the train was even pulled out of Lowood.
"I didn't think a lot of progress was going to happen, but it has.”
John finished up as a postman when all of the country post offices were privatised in 1993.
"I took a redundancy and moved into servo stations with my father-in-law,” he said.
"Now I've been working at the Lowood Mitre Ten Hardware shop for just over 10 years.”