February 1975, an Australia Post star is born.
Parkes postie, Ray Townsend, began work as a telegraph boy in 1975 and after 45 years of distinguished service he has finally hung up the fluro yellow.
In an amazing country town like Parkes, Ray has been the backbone of communication across several decades and after delivering almost 100 telegrams per day in the 1970's to seeing a top of 5500 letters delivered it's safe to say he has earned his time in the sun.
A Red Bend boy, sports mad like many in the region, Ray has witnessed the evolution like our communications system like few others.
"I delivered telegrams on bike before I became a telephonist (typed out the messages) and in 1977 I became a postie," says Ray.
Apart from delivering the post, Ray has been involved in local baseball, hockey, soccer, touch football and cricket, including hosting international, state and representative sides in addition to being a barman (at the Commercial, Coachman and Parkes Bowling Club) and bouncer.
"In the coldest day in Parkes history I was liaison officer as the Kangaroos (the Australian side) took on France in rugby league - Parkes sold out of jumpers!"
Other highlights include hosting NRL teams like Parramatta, Souths and Balmain when they visited while Ray was also the President of the Parkes Hockey Association.
Ray began as a permanent Australia Post employee in October 1977 before taking the rank of delivery manager at the Parkes Post Office in 1996.
He's been there for changes like splitting the retail and delivery sectors, a daily train delivering the mail from Sydney, Orange managing the entire region to dozens of contractors delivering the multitude of online shopping parcels.
"At the peak of letter delivery we were delivering 12 - 14 trays per day, with each tray holding around 250 letters - now we get only one tray of letters per day.
"The biggest day I can recall was 22 trays, approximately a whopping 550 letters for our humble country town," says Ray.
It's probably hard for many younger residents to imagine it, but back in the 'old days,' every single parcel that was delivered went in a huge red book and every person signed it upon receipt - and each postie had to carry the parcels on their bike.
He retires as the Postal Delivery Coordinator for Parkes, Forbes and the surrounding areas after walking the streets for 24 years; and he still fills in when needed - and is one of the most recognisable faces around the town.
He is always up at 4.30am and at the office before 6am but it's unlikely that work ethic will retire.
He met his wife Kathy (who was originally a box sorter) at the post office 16 years ago, and the pair will now head to the Central Coast to be closer to their family.
"I'll miss the camaraderie and the community of course, but I can't wait to head to the Central Coast and spend more time with my grandson (Koa)."
There's no one that deserves it more.