The long-awaited news of the return of Manly Post Office has arrived, with its new location revealed late last night – an empty premises less than 100 metres from the previous Post Shop on Central Ave.
Just after midnight in the early hours of Wednesday 26 October, Warringah MP, Zali Steggall, announced on her social media pages – Instagram and Facebook – that Manly Post Office had decided on new premises.
The new site is identified is Shop 3/5A Raglan St in Central Manly, next door to Max Wallis International real estate. It is planned for a mid-December opening. The timing will likely be too late to help the significant numbers of local businesses (and residents) who require a full postal service for the pre-Christmas rush.
Manly Observer immediately visited the new site and found an empty shop surrounded by black wooden hoarding. The shop next door was also being renovated with a sign announcing a new Swedish bakery was opening in November 2022, although both premises looked like significant renovation work needed undertaking to bring them up to trading standards.
Australia Post has since confirmed the new location – see statement at end of this article.
Ms Steggall’s announcement ends months of speculation – and frustration from Manly residents who expressed themselves on social media – whether a new Post Shop would open in central Manly, and confirmed customers will no longer be expected to commute to neighbouring towns to post packages and retrieve PO Box mail.
After the initial flooding forced the 22 Central Ave Post Shop’s closure in March, a sign in the window advised customers to travel to either Balgowlah, Balgowlah Heights, Freshwater, Harbord West or Warringah Mall for counter services and Dee Why Post Office to collect PO Box mail and carded parcels.
The sign also stated: “Timing is uncertain at this stage, but we are hopeful of restoring normal service within a couple of weeks.”
The lack of full service at the Northern Beaches’ main commercial hub in Manly caused considerable strain to neighbouring post offices, with Balgowlah lines often 40 minutes long.
To lease or not to lease
On 28 April, Manly Observer reported on a ‘For Lease’ sign suddenly appearing in the blacked-out Central Ave store window by the real estate managing the flood-damaged shop, Belle Property.
However, we were assured by Australia Post that they were not leaving the premises and all would be resolved soon. A spokesperson told us, “Manly Post Office was temporarily closed in March due to severe flooding, which resulted in extensive damage. Following a detailed assessment, a full re-fit of the premises is required, which will take some time to complete.
“Australia Post is working to confirm its temporary pop-up site in Manly in the coming days, and once confirmed it will look to open in the coming weeks. Australia Post remains focused on restoring a full-service Post Office to Manly as soon as we can. We apologise for the inconvenience this has caused our local customers and we will keep the community informed of our progress.”
However, at the end of May, ten weeks after Manly Post Office was originally closed, Australia Post revealed that they wouldn’t be opening the planned pop-up post office due to “a lack of disability access” at the available premises they had inspected in Manly town centre.
And yet Manly Observer roamed the town centre and found several empty premises available to rent that had decent wheelchair and disabled access from street level.
However, five more weeks elapsed with customers continuing to express frustration that they were not being informed whether Manly Post Office would reopen at the Central Ave site or in new premises.
On July 1, after further correspondence with Australia Post, Manly Observer reported ‘Manly Post Office in Central Ave is set to partially reopen on 12 July, four months after flooding damaged the interior and forced its closure.’
The national mail carrier confirmed this in an official statement: “Australia Post is pleased to announce we are re-opening parcel pick up and PO Box services at the Manly post office on Monday 12 July. We continue to investigate options to provide over-the-counter services such as Bill Pay facilities and apologise for the delay in restoring services to our Manly community.”
Although a limited service operated from a hatch at the rear of the shop at 22 Central Ave between 7.30am-5pm weekdays, another two months passed with little information on progress towards a full resumption of service.
Then, on 29 August 2022, realtors Belle Property placed the For Lease sign back in the former Post Office Shop window, sparking fresh rumours Australia Post would not return to the Central Ave site.
On 1 September 2022, Manly Observer reported on the situation after receiving confirmation from Australia Post that they were now definitely relocating to an as yet unidentified new premises, albeit remaining in central Manly.
An Australia Post spokesperson confirmed, “We have identified a new site and we look forward to opening our new post office in Manly by the end of the year.”
Now it appears that the new site they identified is 3/5A Raglan St in Central Manly, next door to Max Wallis International real estate.
A spokesperson for Australia Post told Manly Observer, “We’re pleased to announce the site of our new Manly Post Office, 3/5 A Raglan Street, conveniently located approximately 100 metres from the former location.
“The new Post Office is expected to open in mid-December and will accommodate all existing PO Boxes, feature 24-7 smart parcel lockers and provide important access for people living with disability.
“We thank the local community for their ongoing patience and apologise for any inconvenience as we work to open the new outlet.”