Australian care package arrives in Alaska with skull and canned fish instead of gingernuts and lollipops

IMPORTANT POINTS:
  • Australian expats receive home care packages in the run up to Christmas.
  • An Australian in the US was shocked to find the contents of her package just before Christmas.
  • Australia Post was unable to provide any information as to what might have happened to the package
Whether it’s Vegemite, Twisties, Tim Tams or Caramello Koalas, Australians living abroad often look forward to receiving care packages of familiar foods from home.
They are often received with even greater enthusiasm around Christmas time.
But when Australian Andrea Eastley, who lives with her family in Alaska, United States, recently opened her “Aussie” package, she was surprised at what was inside.

Here three children had been eagerly awaiting their grandmother’s package in Australia, expecting some of their favorite home products – including biscuits and lollipops – to be listed on the package.

But after opening the package, they were confused.
Inside was what appeared to be the skull of a small animal and a piece of cloth with unknown symbols on it. There was also preserved fish, sealed in clear plastic and “wrapped like a mummy”.

“We believe the package was opened by customs for inspection and they put the wrong things back in,” Ms Eastley said.

A composite image of fish wrapped in plastic, a small animal skull and a piece of cloth with a chart and symbols on it.

These were the items sent to the Eastley family in Alaska instead of the Australian groceries they had hoped for. Source: delivered

The US Postal Service (USPS) website confirms that international packages can be opened by customs officers for inspection, stating, “After customs processing, the customs officer will repackage and reseal the mail.”

Ms Eastley wasn’t sure if the skull was real but said she couldn’t find a hallmark on it. It also had some dirt on it.

The children’s grandmother had assured them that she had put biscuits, lollipops and gravy mix in the package when she mailed it.

When asked by SBS News, Australia Post was unable to provide any details as to what might have happened to the package, other than to confirm that its system recorded the package arriving in the US in early October, almost two months before it was delivered to the family was delivered to Alaska.

What looks like a skull of a small animal.

An animal skull wasn’t quite what this Aussie family expected in their care package from home. Source: delivered

Ms Eastley said she emailed the USPS about the strange delivery and planned to return the items to the post office after Christmas when the queues had eased.

December is traditionally the busiest month of the year for parcel delivery in Australia and Australia Post expects to process tens of millions of parcels this month.

Last year, the service delivered 52 million parcels in December. Australia Post extended pre-Christmas deliveries to Saturdays and has been able to be busy in the days following Christmas trying to get parcels that hadn’t been dispatched before the proposed deadlines in time for December 25 delivery.
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