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Hiccup to Wiki snail mail amid all the fuss

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Daniel Flitton

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PSSST. Want to share a secret? Here is the place to send it. But be quick. This postbox to contact WikiLeaks in Australia is about to shut down.

Australia Post insists its sudden decision to close the University of Melbourne Post Office has nothing to do with the fact that Box 4080 is the Australian postal address for submissions to the whistleblower website.

But an announcement last Friday said the branch would close on December 17.

Coincidence?

Or has the ever-closing security net around WikiLeaks been tightened a notch further?

WikiLeaks offers copious advice for how the would-be leaker can contact the website.

Online submissions are the preferred method but the less tech-savvy - or those worried about leaving an electronic trail authorities might follow - are encouraged to reach ''our trusted truth facilitators'' via old-fashioned snail-mail.

Leakers are told to address letters ''to WL or any name likely to evade postal censorship in your country''.

WikiLeaks addresses to receive material are advertised in countries around the world and with security agencies presumed to keep a close watch, the outfit advises an unlisted address to send material can be arranged.

The University of Melbourne postbox is thought to have been selected by Julian Assange, the Australian founder of WikiLeaks who studied mathematics at the university but did not graduate.

The architecture and planning building, where the post office is located, is to be demolished soon. But plans are not yet fixed and insiders expressed ''surprise'' Australia Post had decided to close so early.

Australia Post said the decision was not taken lightly, but customer numbers had dropped 50 per cent since 2007.

The university said postboxes used by staff would be relocated elsewhere on campus.

Whether the WikiLeaks postbox belongs to a staff member remains a secret.

For now.