From boxer to Postie: When Gary isn’t in the ring, he’s connecting people in his community
Gary became a Postie more than 50 years ago—almost as long as he’s been in the boxing ring. He shares his intriguing story of taking life lessons from his daily practice in the ring to early mornings on the Postie bike.
Video: A man sitting in a home gym wraps his hands in preparation for boxing. An old portrait of Joe Frazier leans near hand weights. Trophies gleam. A framed photo of a coach and a teenager wearing a headguard is captioned "Ken Gary Gym". The man pummels a punching bag. He's light on his feet.
Audio: Gary: I started training when I was six years old and I had my first fight when I was seven. Dad had an amateur career. When my brother Bob got picked on at school, he said to us, "Well, I'd better teach youse how to fight." Six days a week we'd train.
I've never stopped training.
Video: Wearing fluorescent yellow Australia Post safety gear, the man rides a motorbike along a suburban street. Title: 'Journeys'. Text: "Gary Williams".
Audio: Gary: The whole time I was boxing, I was a postman at Australia Post. I actually bought the house on my mail run and...and I'm my own postman.
Video: In a post office, Gary helps sort mail. He puts on boots and gloves. In the gym, he puts on red boxing gloves.
Audio: Gary: I was 14 at the time I became a telegram boy and I would have been 16 when I become a postie. And that's what I've been doing ever since.
Video: A boxing match featuring the young Gary plays on TV. In his gym, Gary hits the punching bag.
Audio: Gary: I fought just over 200 amateur fights, and to get to the Olympics was the aim. I went to the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Canada and I fought at Madison Square Garden, Bangkok, Indonesia, New Zealand. It was a lot of fights. I never got hit very much, but I've been knocked down a few times.
Video: In the TV match, young Gary is knocked down. In his gym, Gary sits with his eyes down. Both past and present Garys get to their feet. Gary carefully checks a motorbike's front wheel. At work, Gary takes a folder from a cabinet door.
Audio: Gary: When I didn't get selected to go to the Olympics, it was disappointing. But, you know, if you get knocked down, you do the best you can to get up. You wipe your gloves and you go again. Boxing taught me a lot of lessons in life. With discipline, endurance, fitness, you've got to learn to pace yourself. You've got to be versatile. And that's the same with, you know, being a postie. You've got to be in the same place at the same time every day.
Video: Wearing safety gear, Gary wheels a motorcycle along a tunnel. He puts on a his helmet and rides off.
Audio: Gary: My alarm goes off at 5:33 every morning. I'm there at work 4 minutes to 6:00. I like to be on the road by 8:30. And I've only been late about 28 times in 50 years.
Video: In a country town, a post office sign sticks from a stately Victorian era building. Gary delivers to houses that have differing architecture and colour schemes. In the post office, he chats with another postie as he sorts mail.
Audio: Gary: Orange has grown a lot over the years. Back in the '70s and '80s, everyone would get a letter. Now there's not as many letters and more parcels. It's a big job - you know, roughly delivering to 7,000 different addresses. Doing it for so long, you know, you see the young kids that now have kids of their own. I know a lot of people. A lot of people know me. I know the people that are struggling and I sort of take the mail up to the door 'cause I know they're doing it hard. But I enjoy my job, enjoy the people I work with and the people I deliver mail to. And I've had a good run with Australia Post and, yeah, I'm proud to work there.
Video: Outside a house, Gary smiles with a dignified woman. Behind them, the clouds are tinted pink.
Audio: Voiceover: Just one story from over 70,000 team members.
Video: On a red screen, the Australia Post logo appears above the words "Delivering for Australia."
Audio: Voiceover: Australia Post. Delivering for Australia.
Gary Williams’ job has always been to connect people.
Starting his career at the age of 14 as a telegram boy, Gary then became a Postie with Australia Post from age 16. It’s a job he loves because it brings people together and connects him with his community.
“I know a lot of people, and a lot of people know me,” he says. “I know the people that are struggling, and I take the mail up to the door.”
Gary’s face is a familiar sight in the town of Orange, in the Central Tablelands region of New South Wales, where he has travelled the length of his postal route every day for over 50 years. “Orange has grown a lot over the years,” he reflects. “Back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, everyone would get a letter.”
His route now covers deliveries to around 7,000 addresses.
“I bought a house on my own mail run, and I’m my own postman,” he chuckles.
Taking the discipline of boxing to the Postie run
Outside of work, Gary’s passion is boxing. He was taught to fight by his father as a child and has since held a lifelong habit of training six days a week. “I started training when I was six years old and I had my first fight when I was seven,” he says. “And I’ll never stop training.”
Having competed in more than 200 amateur fights, Gary’s boxing has taken him to New York’s Madison Square Garden, Bangkok, Indonesia and New Zealand. Gary also competed in the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Canada, before moving up to a professional level and claiming the Australian Featherweight Title in 1981.
Right from his early years of boxing, Gary hoped to get to the Olympic Games. “When I didn’t get selected to go to the Olympics, it was disappointing, but you’ve just got to carry on.”
The highs and the disappointments of his boxing career have taught him a lot about life.
“I’ve been knocked down a few times,” Gary says. “If you get knocked down, you do the best you can to get up. You wipe your gloves, and you go again.”
Gary says he’s learnt about fitness, endurance, pacing himself and versatility from his fights and training. It’s these kinds of lessons that he takes from boxing and applies to daily life and his work.
“It’s the same as being a Postie,” he says. “You’ve got to be in the same place at the same time every day. My alarm goes off at 5.33 every morning, I’m there at work at four minutes to six, and I like to be on the road by 8.30.”
From the ring to the Postie bike in a growing regional community
One of the highlights of Gary’s career as a Postie is seeing the people of the community each day. “Doing it for so long, you see the young kids that now have kids of their own,” he says.
Gary has always wanted to help others, and his work gives him a high level of satisfaction as he finds ways to make people’s lives a little easier.
It’s a community connection that goes both ways, with Gary feeling the appreciation of the community. We all know the feeling of joy we experience when we see the Postie deliver a parcel we’ve been waiting for, or a letter from a loved one.
Now, at 65 years of age, Gary looks back—and forwards—on his career as a Postie with fondness. “I enjoy my job, I enjoy the people I work with, and the people I deliver mail to,” he says. “I’ve had a good run with Australia Post and I’m proud to work there.”
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