Western Australia - Colonial: 1861-1900.
Overview of developments.


Summaries are provided below for:

  1. construction of the major telegraph line initiatives;
  2. milestones in the Legislation for and the administration of the Telegraph Department in Western Australia;
  3. the dates for new developments in telegraph forms and date stamps;
  4. extent of usage of the telegraph lines -
    domestic use;
    early international use.

Telegraph lines.

21 June 1869 First line in W.A. - from Perth to Fremantle.
17 January 1872 Line from Perth through Guildford, Newcastle and Northam to York completed.
26 December 1872 Line to Albany completed.
8 December 1877 The line from Albany to Eucla to the line from Port Augusta, South Australia to Eucla became operational.
1889. First international cable (Broome to Java) operational.
1901. First cable to Cocos Island, Mauritius and Durban operational.
   
   

Listing of construction of telegraph lines and Telegraph Offices.

Administration and Legislation.

1869 The Western Australia Telegraph Company constructs the Perth-Fremantle telegraph line.
1871-72 The Electro-Magnetic Telegraph Company constructs the Perth to York line.
1872 The Electro-Magnetic Telegraph Company constructs the Perth to Albany line.
1873 Western Australia Post and Telegraph Department became the sole owner of the Colony's telegraph system.
1874 Telegraphic Messages Act amended to define the legal status of a telegram and its transmission.
1877 Telegraphic Messages Act amended to enable the Governor to call an election by issuing the writ by telegram.
   
   

 

Forms and date stamps.

Earliest recorded forms:  
Transmission form: 2 December 1889 (WC-TO-3).
Delivery form: 17 June 1881 (WC-DO-3).
Earliest use of a Telegraph date stamp: 28 May 1910 at Perth.
Earliest use of an Telegraph oval date stamp: 17 January 1897 at Cue.
Stamps not used to pre-pay telegram charges until after Federation.  

Listing of all Western Australian telegraphic stationery.

International use.

Inter graph After telegraphic connection was made to complete the line from Adelaide to Europe, the demand for the international service grew steadily - despite the high rates charged.

The graph shows a constant rise in demand especially after both the 10s 6d. per word rate was introduced in 1876 and the South Australia-Western Australia link had been competed in 1877.

The data on which the graph is based are included elsewhere.