NEW IDEAS: Postmaster Gary Wall and artist Matt Ottley are excited to launch the first monthly art exhibition at the 109-year-old Uki Post Office.
NEW IDEAS: Postmaster Gary Wall and artist Matt Ottley are excited to launch the first monthly art exhibition at the 109-year-old Uki Post Office. Scott Powick

Snail mail goes hi-tech at Uki heritage site

THE local post office is, traditionally, a place based on communicating with others.

And while writing snail-mail letters to your nearest and dearest may have slipped down the priority list in the digital age, the new owner of the Uki Post Office is looking to bring other forms of communication to the fore: with the language of art, and the inescapable connectivity of a coffee shop.

Postmaster Gary Wall took over the 109-year-old, heritage-listed building in September last year and has since undertaken a host of refurbishment works.

While the original benches remain in the post office, Mr Wall recently brought coffee into the mix at the business and will today launch the first month-long art exhibition in the space.

"I'd just finished my MBA at Bond (University) and I was looking at getting out of television which was my background,” Mr Wall said.

"I wanted to get into something that actually had true meaning and value.”

Having grown up in a small country town, he was quickly attracted to the village of Uki.

"I'd been a few times (to Uki) about 10 years ago and there was a certain draw to the place,” he said.

"I first saw the property and thought that would be great when I retire... but I'm 36. I did a bit of a business plan with one of my lecturers from Bond and thought this could really be a lot of fun.”

The heritage-listed post office is undergoing a major refurbishment and diversification.
The heritage-listed post office is undergoing a major refurbishment and diversification. Scott Powick

Mr Wall said Northern Rivers artist Susan Kinneally, whose work he saw shortly after moving to the region, inspired him to host works from a new local artist each month.

They will now host a launch from 6pm on the last Thursday of the month, with the first - coupled with a picnic in the park - to take place tomorrow, with Uki artist and renowned children's illustrator Matt Ottley to lead the charge.

"I'm of the opinion that community doesn't just happen, it needs some sort of glue and the post office is the perfect glue because everyone comes (here),” Mr Ottley said.

"Whether it's music, visual arts, theatre, whatever, it's... one of the main glues that keep communities together.”

In the coming months, Mr Wall will also be launching a coffee roastery.

DETAILS:

What: Launch of Uki Post Office's first art exhibition, Matt Ottley's The Art of Children's Book Illustration.

Where: Uki Post Office, 1464 Kyogle Rd, Uki.

When: 6pm, Thursday, February 22.

* To to find out more or participate, visit www.artpostuki.com.



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