McGregor's Post Office
Over the years, McGregor’s post office has been situated in 3 different locations. The original one, which was some way out of the village, subsequently become a beautifully weathered earthen ruin - a naturally-eroded work of heritage art.
However, all have now gone, the ruins having been bulldozed by the landowner and the final working office closed by the postal authorities to cut costs. Such is the price of progress and a far cry from the old days when the post office, along with the church, was the focal point for village life.
McGregor's last full post office, which could be called version number three, was situated on the corner of Kerk and Voortrekker Streets, directly across from the church, with its predecessor having been a few doors down in the little ACVV building.
Post office number one? Well, that was about a kilometer north-west of present day McGregor. Access was from the old Robertson Road on the other (Robertson) side of the Houtbaais River, from which a dirt track leads off to the left through a gate which is kept locked by the municipality.
It would seem that key custodians over the years have been somewhat absent minded as there are no fewer than eight disused locks on the gate!
The road then travels southwards onto the farm Ouplaas, past the ruins of a group of half a dozen or so small buildings made of unfired clay and stones.
On the western side of the track was a larger structure, which is believed to have served as the area's first post office. It had an external skin of half-fired clay bricks, all slowly crumbling under the sun, wind and incursions of grasses and bushes.
A few deep window embrasures emphasised the thickness of the walls, and doves had moved into the numerous small holes in the brickwork - maybe this is where the term "pigeon hole" comes from!
Although there was a mission station in the area prior to 1861, numerous farmsteads had grown up along the flood plain beside the river, and they would have needed some kind of central service. So, although there is no evidence of any internal walls ever having existed in the larger oblong building, it could have doubled as a small shop.
The upper line of some of the walls on the McGregor side provided an interesting glimpse of early building methods as large river-rounded stones had been exposed. These had obviously been included to give strength and help support roof trusses, but they were used at random - almost as if tossed into the wet clay rather than placed on it.
As a mute testimony to hopes and disappointments of bygone years, one wonders what stories these ruins would have had to tell us if they could have spoken.
[The above article was kindly provided by Mrs Marilyn Poole. It has been given minor updates - mainly to place the ruins into the past tense.]