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'The Shoe' Mailbox
One would hardly imagine a mail box becoming a world famous landmark. Ridiculous, but it did happen. How so?
I could scarcely believe the validity of this story when first hearing it, so decided to add a visit to this landmark in my itinerary.
Mossel Bay, a town on the coastline half way between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, South Africa is where this story took root.
In 1500 a sailor by the name of Pedro d’ Atiade was on his return voyage from the East when he docked in the bay of Saint Bra known today as Mossel Bay.
Pedro had encountered trouble in India and decided while on shore, to leave news of this as a warning for fellow sailors. Once documented, Pedro folded the letter the placed it in a shoe hoping it would be discovered by a curious seaman en-route. He then placed the shoe in the fork of a milkwood tree that grew close to the seashore.
DISCOVERY OF THE LETTER
In 1501 Admiral Da Nova was rounding the Cape when he was caught in a storm forcing him to drop anchor in Saint Bra.
On shore, he found the shoe wedged into the fork of the tree and delved into it out of curiosity and read the warning with gratitude.
Near to the milkwood tree he built a chapel in an expression of gratitude for the warning that saved the troops, and this became the first religious building in South Africa.
FIRST LETTER BOX
And so the first mailbox in South Africa was established.
To this day mail can be posted in the replica shoe built of stone that stands under the same milkwood tree.
All mail gets a ‘Special’ frank and like tourists one and all I posted cards to friends and family overseas. For a moment I was stepping back in time, and took time to sit under the tree to reflect on those early days.
THE POST OFFICE TREE
Today Mossel Bay with it’s population of 130,000 people welcome tourists to this famous site where benches provide a resting place in the shade of the foliage of the huge 500year old Milkwood tree, also known as the ‘Post Office Tree’.
Do share with all our hubpage friends the origin of your country’s first Mailbox.