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LIFE'S HANDICAPS.

A REMARKABLE POSTMASTER. TRIUMPH OVER DIFFICULTIES. Te TJku, in the Raglan district,* has in the person of Mr Ernest C. Moon, a postmaster whose triumph over the physical disabilities Nature has placed upon him, is not only but probably unique (says 'Town and Country Life'). Mr Moon has not only filled the position of postmaster at Te, Uku since 1894, but as also Deputy Returning officer at the Parliamentary and County elections. In his capacity as an officer of the Post and Telegraph Department he handles about £4OOO every year, and attends to both Money Order and Saving Banks departments. The average number of letters passing throught the office is 6000 per annum, besides many thousands of newspapers. The following sketch contains some interesting particulars of Mr Moon's career. It first appeared in 'The New Zealand Post and Telegraph Officer's Advocate," of September 28th, 1905: Few officers are aware that the New Zealand Postal Service has the distinction of possessing a Postmaster who is at once unique in the postal world and the extraordinary example of the adaptability of mankind to exceptional

circumstances. When it became known ** to the editor of this journal that facts of unusual interest surrounded the case of Mr .Ernest C. Moon, Postmaster of Te Uku, in the Auckland District, he entered into communication with that gentleman. He found Mr Moon a good correspondent to whom writing seemed an ordinary accompishment, a fact to be marvelled at in the light of his phy- \ sical infirmity. Writes with his Foot. Mr Moon did not hesitate to supply readily any information sought concerning himself, and the result is that we are able to give as full an account of his remarkable career as space will permit. It must appear strange that it has taken so many years for .most member's of our service to discover Mr Moon's personality. Mr Moon has of necessity to write with his foot, and as a rule he uses indelible pencil, with which he forms characters that are always clear and regular. Mr Moon was born at Lynnwood, Te Uku, on the 3rd August, 1868, so that he is now thirty-seven years of age. Owing to his physical infirmity, for his hands are useless and he is unable to walk, he was educated at home. Not having the use of his hands, he learnt to write and do everything with his feet. As a Gardener. As a child he developed a love of nature, and, as was natural, his desires -turned to gardening. At this he bequite expert and maintained an excellent flower and vegetable garden. He uses a mason's trowel for digging, it- being lighter and easier to use than j an ordinary spade, and he can sow j seeds and plant out almost as well as a man that has the use of hands. \As an Artist.

At the age of fifteen his love of nature led him to attempt flower and landscape painting in water colors. He learnt the art of painting in a few lessons by correspondence from Mr Thomas Ball, an Auckland artist. Mr .Moon's determined application was rewarded with success. Several of his paintings have been exhibited at art and industrial exhibitions. He obtained three first prize gold medals for flower painting at Auckland, Cambridge, and Te Awamutu exhibitions. It may be stated here that when painting in the finer touches he holds the brush in his mouth. Gardening and painting do not complete the list of Mr Moon's pastimes; he is also a carpenter, making book-cases < etc He can use'a hammer, saw, and all carpenter's tools with his feet.

In the Post Office. Coming to postal matters, Mr Moon has been Postmaster of Te Uku ever since an office was established there on the Ist August, 1894, over eleven years ago. He has always endeavoured to carry out the Post Office rules and regulations to the letter, and there is evidence that he has been able to give entire satisfaction to the public and to the Department. The following are copies of the Inspector's reports on the jfcffice: March 17th, 1903.—Every duty gets careful and intelligent attention here. October 23rd, 1903.—Inspected office and found stamps, cash, balances etc., correct, and everything satisfactory. June 18th, 1904. —Inspected office, cash, stamps, and accounts correct, all duties being well performed. August 19th, 1905. —Inspected office. Accounts correct, and everything satisfactory. Mr Moon himself makes out ths money-orders, and his periodical statements and post-office accounts. This is all done with his feet. He can also in the same way perform the comparatively delicate operation of changing the date stamp, while date-stamping letters is a simple operation to him. Recently, the growth of business necessitated the appointment of' an assistant, who attends to the mails, Mr Moon still giving personal attention to the money-order and sav-ings-bank business and all account books. As though these duties were not sufficient, Mr Moon undertakes other responsibilities of a clerical nature. He j s secretary, treasurer, and librarian of the local library and magazine club. He is agent, and "own correspondent" ] for the district to two newspapers, the 'Waikato Times' and the 'Argus." It ■will not be surprising, therefore, to learn that he takes a keen interest in politics. Mr Moon resides with his parents, Notwithstanding his physical infirmity, he enjoys splended health. In the house and garden he has a way of his own of progressing by a slipping or sliding motion which is more effective than might be supposed. When goiae any distance, he has, perforce, to'~wfe' an invalid chair. He occasionli a coach or train journey, I JL .which hfe .accomplishes with*little as-

sistance, and is looking forward to the completion of the trunk railway so as to pay the Capital city a visit. Such is the career and an indication of the persevering character of probably the most remarkable postmaster the world has known. Sympathy for one so able to take care of himself in the face of such odds seems almost out of place, as unnecessary. It gives place rather to admiration for the indomitable independence of the man.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ME19110324.2.72

Bibliographic details

LIFE'S HANDICAPS., Mataura Ensign, 24 March 1911

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1,021

LIFE'S HANDICAPS. Mataura Ensign, 24 March 1911

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