The construction of telegraph lines in Victoria.


The first line was constructed in Victoria in 1854. Further lines were constructed almost immediately and construction continued at a rapid rate to meet a range of Government economic and social policy priorities.

Telegraph Offices were opened along lines along which messages could be sent with maximum efficiency. Hence ten major lines were in operation by 1882 - and these are shown in the diagram below. From these major lines, additional Branch lines were constructed to service special areas.

The lines kept changing as additional constructions were completed. Frequently, an Office would be transferred from one line to another. Consequently the Offices and the lines shown below for 1882 had several differences from those operating in 1870 (for example) or in 1890. Indeed, as constructions progressively covered most of Victoria and newer technology facilitated switching between lines more easily, more lines were created - most with only a few Offices on them. By 1890, there were 211 lines involving 8,720 miles of wire. A listing of these lines is attached.

Details of the construction of the lines to 1882 and the Telegraph Offices involved (to about 1890) can be accessed below. The full listing from the 1882 Report is attached. The first Victorian lines as well as the first line to South Australia were quickly reassigned to other lines although both lines are presented here in their original form and the Offices are also included in their alternative lines. The status of the lines as of December 1864 is also provided.

  1. 1854-56: first lines in the Melbourne area and out to Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo.
  2. 1857-58: first line to connect to South Australia via Portland.
Name of Line Included Branch lines Offices
Horsham.   Offices from Ballarat via Ararat and Stawell to Horsham and west to Dimboola, Kaniva and Border Town (S.A.)
Donald   Offices from Ballarat to Donald via Maryborough and St Arnaud.
Wycheproof   Offices from Bendigo (Sandhurst) to the north west via Wedderburn to Chalton and Wycheproof and vis Mysia to Boort.
Swan Hill   Offices from Melbourne via New Gisborne and Kyneton to Castlemaine then north via Inglewood to Kerang and Swan Hill.
Echuca (Northern) line Inglewood Branch from Bendigo via Bridgewater. Offices from Bendigo via Rochester to Echuca plus the three offices on the Branch.
North-Eastern. Heathcote, Yea, Goulburn Valley, St. James, Wahgunyah, Bright and Woods Point. Offices from Kilmore via Avenel, Benalla, Wangaratta to Wodonga, the Goulburn Valley Branch, the Wahgunyah Branch and the Woods Point line.

 

Line summary
Name of Line Included Branch lines Offices
Melbourne CBD   See list.
Melbourne -
NE lines
Whittlesea, Kangaroo Ground and Lilydale. Offices on the three branch lines.
Melbourne suburban Mornington Peninsula. Offices in suburbs and in the Mornington Peninsula.
Southern Coast. Suburban Offices around the west side of Port Phillip from Werribee to Queenscliff .
Otways lines   Offices include Birregurra and Winchelsea plus Cape Otway, those on the Surf Coast (Lorne and Apollo Bay) and earlier offices near Geelong and Melbourne.
Western Coast   Offices from Mount Gambier (S.A.) to Portland, Warrnambool through to Colac.
Cross Country Western Apsley, Branxholme, Rokewood and Merino. Offices from Ballarat via Streatham to Hexham, Hamilton and Casterton and then to Apsley and Narracoorte (SA) and also south on the Portland Branch.
North-Western (Ballarat).   Offices from Melbourne via Bacchus Marsh and Melton to Ballarat.
Gippsland Bairnsdale and Cowes (Philip Island). Offices from Dandenong to Sale, Port Albert and Wilson's Promomotory and offices on Cowes Branch.