Mrs Clacherty’s Post Office

Mail to Stratford

The first mail service in Cairns started in January 1877 when packer John Grimes ran mail to the Hodgkinson goldfields. However the road through Stratford to Thornborough was difficult and the service was soon relocated to Port Douglas. Once the railway was built a regular mail service to Stratford was established and the mail was brought out each day on the railmotor.

Stratford Post Office

The mail was dropped on the north side of the railway and was sorted by Mrs Chimes, the station-mistress. She was replaced by Mrs Killoran and in the 1920s, Ethel Johnstone. The position of station-mistress was withdrawn in 1931 and the post was sorted by Mrs Vera Clacherty. In 1931 and a single-roomed Post Office built at the end of Clacherty Street, next to Bob and Eunice Clacherty’s house.

Mrs Vera Clacherty

Mrs Vera Clacherty (nee Ferguson) was born in Charters Towers around 1889. She married George Clacherty in 1912 and lived in Stratford. After George’s death, she moved in to Bob and Eunice Clacherty’s house, 1-3 Clacerty Street, Stratford. She became post-mistress in 1931.

Although the mail was delivered to Stratford each day, there was no delivery to the 30 or 40 houses in Stratford. On hearing the railmotor arrive from Cairns around 7.00 am the children would ride their push-bikes down to the Post Office and Mrs Clacherty would stand on the top step and call out the names. Anyone who wasn’t present when their name was called would have to wait untill the end when everyone else had collected their mail.

SAFCA Stratford Freshwater Community Association

Post Office, Stratford. c.1935.
Photographer: RTHolland
Image: Cairns Historical Society (P Album 36, PA 36, p.29C

1-3 Clacherty Street.

This house was built in 1923 by a cane-cutter and sold to Bob and Eunice Clacherty in 1926. Bob Clacherty was known as ‘Hydro Bob’ as he dreamed of harnessing the power of the Barron Falls to make electricity long before the Barron Hydro Scheme was proposed.

In 1985 the house was bought and renovated by Kevin Malone. It then became a Doctor’s surgery and in 2003 it was a Steiner School. It is currently the offices of dbARCH.

SAFCA Stratford Freshwater Community Association

1-3 Clacherty Street in 1985, prior to renovation.
Image: Kevin Mallone

The Stratford Heritage Trail is an initiative of the
Stratford & Freshwater Community Association