By Danielle Kutchel
Love is in the air at Australia Post’s Dandenong Letters Centre – and not just on Valentine’s Day, but every day.
There are around 25 married couples working together in the facility, with 13 of them having met while working for Australia Post or at the facility.
Of the couples, 10 wives work in the video coding department while their husbands work in other departments, and six couples work on the same 6am shift.
Romance blossomed early for Niki and Francois Leclair, who first met when she did work experience at Australia Post as a 16-year-old.
At the time, she bragged to her friends about how good-looking he was.
She returned in a full-time capacity five years later, and Francois remembered her.
“We met at the clock cards again – I was clocking out, he was clocking in, and it kicked off from there!” she laughs.
“He said, ‘we have to catch up and do something, definitely, definitely, definitely’, and we have not looked back since!”
They’ve now been together for 20 years and married for 14. It’s almost a family tradition: Niki’s parents also worked together at Australia Post.
For nearly 18 years Niki worked the night shift, so the couple only got to see each other for a few hours a day.
“It was 22 hours apart, and I missed my husband all the time,” she says.
Now they work the same shift, which Niki says works well for their relationship.
“It’s not only given us a great job and a good life, but also a lifetime partner. Each day I’m happier than the one before,” she says.
Asked what the secret to a happy marriage is, they say in unison: “communication and trust”.
Ping and KC are also happily in love, after 35 years of marriage.
Although they met and married overseas, they have shared several decades at Australia Post.
Having children meant taking on different shifts so that there was always someone to look after the babies, but now that the kids are grown, Ping says they can work the same shifts again.
“It’s time for us now,” she says.
KC jokes that they are “lucky” to work in different areas of the letters centre, but they agree that working together has helped them grow as a couple and has provided many hours of topics to talk about, as they share the same workplace and colleagues.
Having the same cultural background and language has also helped.
KC says they’ve had a “wonderful time” together.
Their secret, Ping adds, is to “forget and forgive”.
“We had a lot of arguments about the children and their education, all the time. But we remember the good things and what we’ve done for the family, then forget what’s not good and forgive.”