How far would you go to chase down your missing package?

Lottie Twyford 13 September 2021 24
Empty mailbox

Opening an empty mailbox wasn’t quite what Tanya Wright was hoping for. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

When a package goes missing, it’s a pain.

When a package with sentimental value goes missing, it’s painful.

Palmerston woman Tanya Wright knows this feeling well. Since July – before the ACT was in COVID-19 lockdown – she has been expecting a package from her mother-in-law who lives in Hervey Bay, Queensland.

In the package is a handmade cardigan, a red beanie, a library bag with a dinosaur sewn on it, and some hand towels.

It should have been delivered on Thursday, 15 July.

Since then, Tanya has been on a mission to track down the items.

There have been phone calls, hours sitting on hold to various agencies, Facebook posts, tracking down people who think they might know something, letterbox dropping, and learning more about how packages are delivered than she thought she’d ever need to know.

Pink and purple cardigan

This is the hand-knitted cardigan that should have been delivered to Tanya’s family in Palmerston. Photo: Tanya Wright.

There have been hours spent learning about how many of her street names there are in Australia (there’s no others within Canberra, or within 100km of the ACT, in case you’re interested).

While there is a Palmerston in the Northern Territory, she is 100 per cent sure it didn’t end up there.

Tanya says she has exhausted pretty much all of her avenues. The last place the package has been tracked to is a GPS location near her home in Palmerston, but there isn’t a delivery photo to verify this.

She thinks it may have mistakenly ended up with a neighbour or another house in her suburb because her home recording system shows it wasn’t delivered to her own house.

“It’s a system that only records if there is movement or if someone rings the bell,” explains Tanya.


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She’s been around to ask those neighbours closest to her and is now pleading with the wider community to “double-check your letterboxes, your houses, check in with your neighbours, friends and family”.

Some of the wackier theories she’s come across on Facebook include a warehouse in regional NSW that’s meant to be full of stolen packages.

Right now, Tanya isn’t concerned about who has got it, why they have it or why they might not yet have returned it.

“I have a four-year-old asking every day where his package is, and a one-year-old who I can’t dress in her ‘cardi’,” she says.

“I can’t even send my mother-in-law photos of the kids with their gifts from gran to proudly share among her friends.”

The hand towels were meant to have been Tanya’s birthday present.

She’s even offering a $100 reward for anyone who might be able to locate the package.

So far, the community response has been incredible, says Tanya. People have offered to knit her a cardigan just like the one the family is missing, and chip in for the reward.

“We aren’t going to take up any of these offers though because we count ourselves among the lucky ones with a roof over our head and we are able to pay the bills,” she says.


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In a statement to Region Media, an Australia Post spokesperson acknowledged the challenges of current circumstances, in which record volumes of parcels are being delivered.

The current protocol for delivering parcels dictates that posties and drivers knock at someone’s door three times and call out before leaving a card or safe-dropping a parcel.

The spokesperson said that reasons for a card being left without knocking would be access or safety issues, “such as an off-leash dog – and this could happen even when a customer is home”.

Customers are encouraged by Australia Post to download their mobile app which provides an option to have parcels left in a safe place.

If an item is incorrectly addressed or is unclaimed at the post office and can’t be returned to its sender, it is sent to a mail redistribution centre where it is opened, catalogued and stored for two months, during which time the customer service team will try to connect mail to customers.

If the two-month retention period lapses and the item hasn’t been claimed, all identifying markings are removed and the item will be auctioned, with 100 per cent of the proceeds donated to charity.


What's Your Opinion?


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24 Responses to How far would you go to chase down your missing package?
Kate Carey Kate Carey 7:04 am 14 Sep 21

I complained and the retailer sent a replacement. About 6 months later I found the original parcel pretty much buried under a big bush in the garden.

Linda Broadhurst Linda Broadhurst 12:37 pm 13 Sep 21

Try the Nextdoor app. A few stray deliveries have been posted there.

Lisa Nichols Lisa Nichols 11:30 am 13 Sep 21

I lost a parcel once...I tracked and rang the depot of its entire route and eventually it was declared stolen from the depot but at least I made them accountable and took it to management, I wouldn't get off the phone until they talked to me. I even had them check cameras at the depots to track the driver you just need to act like the FBI hope they find the parcel.

Guy Hosking Guy Hosking 10:41 am 13 Sep 21

I bought an ebay item recently that required signature on delivery so I redirected it to a parcel locker at Dickson post office through the Australia Post app.

Fyshwick depot seems to have returned it to the vendor because the redirected parcel locker at Dickson was different to the address on the package.

AP systems are full of holes where one hand does not know what the other is doing.

Jennifer Reilly Jennifer Reilly 9:50 am 13 Sep 21

So many mistakes by delivery drivers but we are so lucky that the majority of Canberrans are so honest that they take it upon themselves to make sure the right person gets it . Australia Post take notice !!!!!

Kelley Stewart Kelley Stewart 9:22 am 13 Sep 21

I've twice this year had cards delivered here at 78 when they were supposed to be 18. German/Dutch 1 looking too much like a 7 for our Postie. First time I knocked on 18's door to make sure it was them. 2nd time I just dropped in their mailbox.

phydeaux phydeaux 9:21 am 13 Sep 21

I will still hold Aus Post a little ahead of the USPS in America. A parcel sent to me from the U.S. East coast, clearly and properly addressed, was sent to Austria.
They sent it back.
So the imaginative types in the USA found a town similar to where I lived (not in Canberra at the time) ….. in Ireland.
Maybe someone in the Irish PO knew someone in Australia, because rather than sending it back they moved it directly here.
Only about three months in all.

Melissa Liddon Melissa Liddon 8:23 am 13 Sep 21

We’re still trying to contact Australia post about my son’s 18th birthday gifts. I have the claim number from his grandfather, and the tracking number but the auspost system is completely automated and it keeps telling me to contact the sender. It’s sitting somewhere at the Fyshwick depot, but in lockdown evidently we can’t go there. And can’t call them. Sent emails and no response.

    Nicole Baxter Nicole Baxter 9:09 am 13 Sep 21

    Melissa Liddon contact Aust Post on Facebook. They seem very responsive, well have been in the past.

    Melissa Liddon Melissa Liddon 9:16 am 13 Sep 21

    Nicole Baxter thanks. Will give it a try.

Loris Manns Loris Manns 8:01 am 13 Sep 21

Over the years I have had 3 parcels left for me that were not mine. Have delivered them to their rightful homes. Usually the street number is wrong. e.g one was for 19 not 9. Such a simple mistake! Good luck.

Jody Maree Harrison Jody Maree Harrison 7:15 am 13 Sep 21

Safer sometimes just to get a parcel box , one time I got 3 parcels in 3 different lockers . Has only been 1 time no lockers available . Great idea and free to use

Holli Jay Holli Jay 6:49 am 13 Sep 21

I’ve dropped to parcels off recently to the owners not even the same number house I no there under pressure but not even the right number

Judith White Judith White 10:32 pm 12 Sep 21

Anything valuable, I pay for insurance. and a signature.. with AP. It's well worth it...

    Awol Wallis Awol Wallis 11:07 pm 12 Sep 21

    Judith it’s not going to help with sentimental items though sadly…

    Jasper Roo Jasper Roo 11:20 pm 12 Sep 21

    Judith and use a parcel locker. They’re free.

    Roberta Winters Roberta Winters 6:47 am 13 Sep 21

    Judith White and at the moment they dont seem to be getting people to sign they just leave and take a picture unfortunately

    Judith White Judith White 9:01 am 13 Sep 21

    Awol Wallis I think if you actually pay for insurance (I recently paid an extra $20) and required a signature. It is expensive, but what are sentimental items worth ?? I think Aust. Post are pretty careful if you pay enough money...

    Judith White Judith White 9:05 am 13 Sep 21

    Jasper Roo Yes, the expensive parcel I sent recently went to a Post Office parcel locker. Went from Canberra to Melbourne in about 2 days.

Rhonda Haggar Rhonda Haggar 10:06 pm 12 Sep 21

Have had two deliveries last week not belonging to me.Drivers need to pay more attention to details

    Michelle Batchelor Michelle Batchelor 11:03 pm 12 Sep 21

    Rhonda Haggar Same! Right number, different street name

ChrisinTurner ChrisinTurner 4:02 pm 12 Sep 21

Australia Post is unfortunately no longer a reliable deliverer of parcels to residential addresses. In many cases delivery is not even attempted, as CCTV proves in this case. Cards are not left. The problem is worse if it is raining. Mind you Amazon and other couriers are no better. Post Office “Parcel Collect” works.

    Man With The Plan Man With The Plan 6:29 am 13 Sep 21

    You aren’t wrong there. I’ve had Australia post send a parcel back to an international sender, stating that my address doesn’t exist (they obviously didn’t look very hard).
    I managed to have it intercepted in Sydney, only to have the guy in the parcel office tell me that maybe the delivery driver didn’t know where Queanbeyan was.

    JS9 JS9 9:50 am 13 Sep 21

    The large majority of Amazon parcels are handled by Australia Post….

    The use of contractors for parcels means service delivery quality varies wildly – we have a magnificent guy at the moment here in our suburb – always rings the bell, always leaves parcels inside the secure front door (apartment building) if he can rather then carding, always super polite.

    He had someone else helping out the other week however due to massive volume – complete opposite. 3 times had to go to post office to pick parcels up, when every time we were at home and he didn’t ring the bell.

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