Meet The Locals: Cam The Postie
Some people bring sunshine wherever they go.
Cam the Postie is that guy. After working for eight years as a postie in Torquay, his contract ran out. But Torquay’s loss was Anglesea’s gain. Dave, the Australia Post subcontractor for Anglesea, took Cam on two years ago.
Beyond making sure Torquay and now Anglesea receive their mail, Cam is also world-famous. Known for dressing up and decorating his postie bike throughout the year, Cam works as Santa’s helper. And who could forget his Easter bunny onesie! Cam’s postie bike is also like a moving community service announcement board letting people know when it is time to put your clocks back, or remind you to change your smoke alarm batteries.
For Cam, the whole exercise is about building community and putting a smile on the face of everyone he meets.
Cam, what did we do to deserve you here in Anglesea?
Well, what attracted me to Anglesea was the girl next door, or around the corner, Lee. We went to primary and high school together in Heidelberg in Melbourne. She later moved away. One time she visited Melbourne with another neighbourhood friend and they were looking through the phone book for the old crew and tracked me down. Lee was living here in Anglesea, so I moved down in 2000. The rest is history.
Have you always been in the postie game?
I’m a panel beater by trade, then I started driving trucks. Ten years ago a friend who was working as a contractor for Australia Post was moving on and so I took on the contract in Torquay. Now I’ve been working with Dave for the past two years in Anglesea. I love the sense of community. We’ve got many older people in Anglesea, so it’s like having a huge network of grandparents. You can always have a good laugh. It’s the same with the kids at the school. They get excited when they see me, as they’ve grown up loving Postman Pat!
From Postman Pat to Santa’s helper! Can you tell us about your Letters to Santa project?
Ten years ago, I was working in Torquay and an elderly resident at a retirement village told me about how he’d worked with schools answering letters to Santa. I had a chat with dear Principal Pam at the Torquay Primary School and she agreed that it was a great idea. Initially, I started to do a little decoration on the postie bike with some tinsel. Each year, it got bigger. More tinsel, a reindeer, a sleigh! The magic is real! It is the best fun. How it works is Santa sends me a message and tells me to pick up the letters from the school. Kids make drawings and write letters that go into the magic letter bag and then onto the magic sleigh. Then I go to the North Pole and have a photo with Santa and we write the replies. A week later, I return with their drawings and Santa’s letter. I turn up straight from the North Pole. The kids love it! I also do Halloween and Easter. I’ve got an awesome Rabbit onesie!
So, how did you end up becoming famous?
Back in 2017, someone in management at Australia Post in Melbourne took offence, citing safety concerns. Of course, I’d been a panel beater and automotive engineer, so I would never do anything dangerous. Yet I was told I couldn’t have my decorations. Then the good folk of Torquay revolted. Some locals set up a Facebook group and campaigned that Cam the Postie brings so much more than just the mail. The story went viral on the internet, television, and radio. We even made the BBC! Eventually, Australia Post backed down and said, can you tone it down a bit on the tinsel! Naturally, we went twice as hard with the decorations.
It’s delightful that you’ve carried on the tradition to Anglesea!
As it’s not my contract, I asked Dave if I could do it last year, and he was all for it. We did our first Letters to Santa in Anglesea last Christmas. The kids were so excited.
I hear now there’s a movie in the making?
Out of all of the publicity, Stephen Kearny, the producer of the Aussie movie Oddball decided to make a kid’s movie about a postie delivering mail to Santa, which is called Evie Hates Christmas. Frank Woodley of Lano and Woodley wrote the script and will star as the postie, and there will be a small cameo from me! However, it’s on hold due to COVID 19. Now there is talk it’ll be an animated kids’ movie. It’s all very exciting and humbling.
Now we know that isn’t all the charity work you do – I’ve heard you’ve also got the inside track when it comes to cycling?
I was a bit of a wayward kid. Then, at the age of 12, I joined the Brunswick Cycling Club in Melbourne and I have been involved ever since. I go twice a week in summer, once a week all year-round. I love to fill the kids up with motivation and inspiration and quite a few have gone off to world championships. It’s been 20 years since Brunswick had its last Olympian, now we got Luke Plapp, 19, selected to go to Tokyo. I work closely with him in a mentoring support role.
You’re an inspiration, Cam! Any advice for the rest of us?
It’s all about the community and making people feel good. It makes me feel good. People who were already isolated before COVID-19, are now way more isolated. To stop for a chat and a smile and wave actually goes a long way.
Keep smiling Cam, we appreciate you more than you’ll ever know!