I think that the background of Skypak makes quite an interesting story.
The seeds of the Company started in Japan, by two Australians.
One had arrived in Japan as a member of the Australian occupying forces after the defeat of Japan and had remained after the formal end of the occupation in 1952.
His command of the Japanese language was so good that he found work in the Japanese film industry playing the part of the ‘idiot’ westerner. Later he would be asked to read the news on television – in Japanese.
I understand that he met his future business partner at a function. His future business partner worked for the Australian Trade organisation in Tokyo.
In 1957 a Japanese company called Overseas Courier Services or OCS for short, was founded to offer speedy document delivery worldwide for Japanese businesses.
As part of this courier service OCS also offered newspaper subscriptions to Japanese businessmen living abroad, and one of their major destinations was Sydney in Australia.
Our ‘film star’ and Australian Trade official could see an opportunity, so they approached OCS and offered to be their agent in Sydney, because at that time the Japanese companies were expanding in Australia.
Their proposal was accepted, and they organised document deliveries in Sydney as well as Japanese newspapers.
Although the above picture is in English most of the newspapers were in Japanese.
Business was good and as the partners delivered inbound documents, they were asked to take documents back to Japan. Later they were asked to courier documents to the UK & the USA.
This new business would require a different name to OCS so Skypak International was born as an agent for OCS.
The idea of international newspapers took hold, so they started selling subscriptions to various newspaper such as the London Times & the Financial Times.
Demand for American papers generated the import of the New York Times.
They needed a name for this new product – and ‘Newsfast’ was born to compliment the ‘Document Courier’ service.
The company could not grow without opening an office in Melbourne, some might say the business capital of Australia, so Skypay International opened a Victorian office to service mainly the banking industry.
It was the banking industry that gave them their next idea. The ANZ Bank (Australia and New Zealand Bank) asked if Skypak could take their New Zealand share holder’s annual reports to New Zealand – and post them -Mailfast was born.
At that time (well before the internet) Australian companies had to issue an annual report of their business and each report would be posted to share holders who were located all over the world.
The postage cost was extremely high via Australia Post . . . .so Skypak Mailfast offered to ship the mail for the UK shareholders to London and post them all at local rates – they offered the ANZ Bank a package deal of airfreight and posting, which turned out to be below the price of Australia Post – sold, said the ANZ!
There was a consideration that this might be illegal in Australia as the postal service was a Government controlled service.
It was illegal for anyone other than the post office to handle personal mail, but it was not illegal for business mail to be handled by anyone.
Mailfast had arrived and even managed to upset the UPU (Universal Postal Union) which is a UN organisation that coordinates postal policy across the world.
They could not fault the service because it was not illegal to airfreight business mail and to allow the destination post office to distribute the mail locally – all post offices currently offer this service and Skypak Mailfast was doing exactly that, by beating Australia Post rates for large volumes of the same type of mail – annual reports.
This was the company that I had joined as their operations manager for Victoria.
I spent my first day at work in Australia working alongside the warehousemen who processed the courier traffic.
I made sure that I went out to the airport, which was about 20-to-30 minute drive to see exactly how the system worked i.e lodging out going courier traffic and collecting inbound documents.
Later in the afternoon I was with one of the drivers to do pick-ups in the city centre. Just to clarify the pick-ups were courier documents not a lady of the night.
As the day ended for me, which was around 6.00 pm, the manager gave me the keys to one of the operational vehicles and said that I could take it home for the weekend, and that it had become my ‘company car’ when the office was closed, but it was to be available for anyone to drive during business hours.
I was over the moon, someone else was going to pay for the fuel, and Maureen could drive the second-hand car that I had bought for the family!
The two children in the picture are our son & daughter, my daughter is now 47 and my son 45, at least I would not have to say to them ‘if only’. The picture shows my ‘new’ (for me) company car.
With keys in my hand, it suddenly dawned on me that I did not know how to get home, and it was now dark and it was raining heavily. I had arrived by tram and train . . .
I figured that as I had navigated around the world surely, I could find my way home without a map.
Sat-nav for cars had not been invented at that time and a street map was of little help in the dark while driving, so I headed for Port Philip Bay, because I reasoned that as soon as I got my feet wet, I would turn left and just follow the coast road until I recognised an area that I knew, such as the railways station.
The trip along the coast was about 40 km (25 miles) and in the rain it took me nearly two hours.
After the excitement of the day, driving an unfamiliar car in heavy rain and in darkness, and not being sure of where I was going or even where I was during the drive, it was great relief to reach home, eat a hot meal and fall exhausted into a comfortable bed.
Welcome to Skypak and Australia.