No stopping for 88-year-old Patricia Bennett after 31 years at Bellata Post Office

LOCAL STALWART: Patricia Bennett has been working at the Bellata Post Office for a remarkable 31 years.

LOCAL STALWART: Patricia Bennett has been working at the Bellata Post Office for a remarkable 31 years.

It was November 1, 1988 when Patricia Bennett moved to Bellata from Brisbane with her husband Rex.

Rex was visiting their son who used to work in Bellata, which led to a big decision.

"My husband was down here with him (their son) and he rang me one day and he said, 'I just bought a post office', and I thought 'well done Rex'," Patricia said.

Now 88 years old, Patricia still works at Bellata Post Office five days a week, as she has done for the last 31 years.

"I just like being with the people. My husband died 13 years ago and I was ever so pleased I kept it going," Patricia said.

"The people are all lovely and I just enjoy it. Knowing everyone, everyone knows you, it's just a nice environment here."

She was born in Grafton and grew up in the area before moving to Brisbane where she worked as a security officer with David Jones while Rex worked as a policeman.

It was after Rex retired that he bought the post office as well as a small farm just outside Bellata, which the family still own, with their son often coming out and doing a lot of the farm work.

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Patricia now lives out the back of the post office, which makes it nice and convenient to get to and from work, and she has just loved the small town ever since she moved.

"It's a nice little town and it's nice people and everybody's friendly and it's just a lovely place to be," she said.

"In my off times, I've got family in Narrabri and over Tamworth way, that's not far away. The rest of them are scattered over the country side.

"I love my gardening. It's good. I've got plenty of contacts and lots of grandkids and great grandkids.

"It's a good area, it's a nice area. We can see the mountains too which is lovely, not everybody has got a view like that."

Patricia has definitely seen the industry change in her 31 years working at the post office.

"There's a lot more parcels. In fact, I'm currently looking at them stacked pretty high," she laughs.

"I guess it's not quite as busy but it's always been good. They're (letters) down a bit, but they are being sent. There's a lot of bills, they all come by mail. It's all good."

When asked whether she thinks about retiring any time soon, it's clear what Patricia wants to do.

"All my family thinks about it but I don't. I suppose I better soon," she laughed.

"There's no urgency, I don't think. I quite enjoy it here, it's just a friendly place."