Monday, October 24, 2016

Australia Post apologises after postcard was delivered 50 years late

Fifty years after it was posted on a South Pacific island, a postcard from Tahiti has finally arrived at its intended destination in Australia. The slightly faded scene of stately colonial buildings in French Polynesia was beneath an SA Water bill when resident Tim Duffy checked his letterbox in Wattle Park, Adelaide, last Monday. “It took a while to realise it was an old one,” he said.

“I checked the post date and it’s 1966.” Mr Duffy, who bought the house about 18 months ago with wife Claire, said he understood it was built by an Italian man in 1963. “There’s no way it could have been stored in there (the home’s original letterbox) that long; I would say the postman has put it in there,” Mr Duffy said. It is addressed to “Robert Giorgio”, from “Chris”, who writes that he’s “enjoying myself greatly”; “The weather is very humid ... I’ll try and drop you a note in England.”

The stamp on the postcard cost 13 francs, or the equivalent of 15c. The discovery inspired Mr Duffy to turn amateur sleuth and speculate about the card’s origins and marathon five-decade journey. Sent from Papeete in French Polynesia, it is believed to be addressed to the property’s original owner. Mr Duffy believes the postcard might have been sent from someone travelling on a boat. “It’s fresh enough although it is a bit faded and it’s got some damage to the top left, which looks like a bit of water damage,” he said.

The delay has prompted Australia Post to apologise, although it’s not clear to whom, and acknowledge that something “went wrong”. An Australia Post spokesman said it was likely the postcard had been stuck overseas and he apologised for the late arrival. “It is clear something went wrong 50 years ago after the postcard was posted in French Polynesia, and we apologise for the inconvenience,” he said. “Australia Post takes great pride in the timely, safe and efficient delivery of mail and we are confident that the vast majority of mail and parcels arrive on time.”

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