Summary of information on
Lee Stream, from the beginning of the settlement, lay on one of the routes used by horsemen riding to inland sheep runs, and is said to have had an accommodation house of sorts as early as 1858. its importance increased rapidly when much of the same route was used by the miners going first to the West Otago rushes after mid-1861 and then to the Dunstan the following year.
Robert and Elizabeth Simmers, who had been living in Melbourne, crossed the Tasman in April 1862 with three young children, and built the long stone building which was to serve as the Lee Stream general store, with a ‘bush licence,’ during the following years.
Although mail passed this way at various times in the early years, Lee Stream did not itself become a post office until October 1, 1876; and for many years thereafter the post office operated in conjunction with the store and hotel, and either form the building that Simmers had erected, or, possibly, from a lean-to attached.
These are the early postmasters recorded on John Slattery’s cards, and all are verified as publicans from directories and other sources:
Jane Snow, from October 1, 1876
William Wallace, July 1, 1882, (then the Carrier Arms Hotel)
Henry Phillips, April 1, 1887
D. McDermid, July 1, 1889
P. Ferguson, September 1, 1891
John McEwan, April 1, 1894.
Whether the list is complete is not certain. A William Nicholson, who appears in Stone’s [Directory] as a publican, for instance, does not appear on Slattery’s list of postmasters; and the complete list of ownerships and leases of the pub has not yet been established by those researching it.
On May 24, 1895, the post office temporarily closed for a period of approximately ten weeks. This may have coincided with a fire in the pub which took place about this time. The Post Office reopened on August 2, 1895, and as the next Post Master was the publican, it presumably reopened at the store by the hotel.
Thomas Joyce Milliman, August 2, 1895
Mary Johnston, May 25, 1896
John Wellman, June 1, 1898
James Borthwick, February 14, 1899
Once again it is not certain whether the list is all inclusive.