South Australia - Colonial period.
Telegraph lines to Victoria constructed in South-east.



The Telegraph Office opened on 18 November 1879.

In May 1877, it had been reported that "The Border-Town folks are again moving in the matter of their long delayed railway and telegraph. At a meeting held the other day, resolutions were carried in favor of pressing the claims of the district on the Government".

In August 1909, the floods were so bad that the Postmaster was imprisoned in the Post and Telegraph office and telegraphed the Adelaide office to say that he could not get out to read the rain gauge because of the water.


Bordertown 1905Bordertown squared circle used on postcard but was also used on telegrams.


Borsertown 1948Bordertown 22 July 1948.

Diameter: 28 m.

Used on AW-DO-10 (46).


The Telegraph Office opened in 1857 in its own building (which is now the Goolwa Visitor Information Centre).

The Post Office had opened in 1854 and the original building is still used as the Post Office. It is the oldest Post Office building in the State still is use. It was made from travertine limestone with a hipped shingle roof.


Also in 1854, a horse-drawn tramway to Port Elliot began operation which, from 1859, used the verandah of the Post Office as the tram stop. That was an obvious place because the tram had to collect and deposit mail. See complete details in the excellent report written by Carol Cosgrave.

Guichen Bay (Robe).

The Telegraph Office opened on 21 July 1858 as Guichen Bay and changed its name to Robe in 1866.

The Post Office had opened in December 1846 but changed its name to Robe in June 1847.

In October 1861, £200 was allocated in the Estimates for a Telegraph Office at Guichen Bay.

Guichen Bay was the oldest port of that part of the South Australian coast and it had been the main outlet for the wool from the Tatiara and Mosquito Plains regions to the east. By the 1870s, the trade moved to Port MacDonnell in the east and Lacepede Bay (Kingston) in the west (which also became the terminus of the railway from Narracoorte).

Robe 1905
Robe Post & Telegraph Office about 1950.

Kingston (Lacepede Bay).

The Telegraph Office opened on 2 October 1867.

In the 1866 Estimates, £2,000 had been allocated for a Telegraph Station and Post Office. The new building was soon regarded as being a "superior Post & Telegraph Office".

In addition to the features noted above (see Guichen Bay), Kingston also attracted the interests of Victorians as Horsham was only 60 miles to the east and the area around Kingston was freer of mallee scrub and more resembled the Wimmera lands.

No special date stamp was issued to the Office for use with telegraphic matters. Instead the usual postal date stam was used for telegrams.

Framed datestamp.

Diameter: 23 mm.

Rated: C but uncommon on a telegram.

4 February 1884.
Used on SC-DO-6Ac

McGrath's Flat.

The Telegraph Office opened on 20 January 1862 (as MacGrath's Flat) but closed on 29 November 1873. The Post Office had opened in 1858.



A Telegraph Office was opened on 29 November 1873.

An incident at Meningie in November 1868 underlined the situation in many remote communities and their need for a telegraph station. The South Australian Chronicle for 7 November reported:

"MEN1NGIE, November 2.

An accident of a serious nature occurred to a Mr. Freeman, Overseer of the Road Works near this township, on Wednesday afternoon, the 28th ult. While he was in the act of placing one of the traces to a dray, the horse kicked at him and broke his leg just below the knee. As quickly as possible he was removed to the Meningie Hotel, where every necessary attention was paid to the sufferer but unfortunately a distance of 15 miles had to be ridden to McGrath's Flat before a doctor could be telegraphed to at Langhorne's Bridge, a distance from thence of some 60 miles. At the latter part of the following day, the medical man arrived and reduced the fracture. This occurrence, with others that have previously happened, shows clearly that, as the telegraph wires pass through the (Meningie) township, and the population of late having increased - and may further increase - it is only right that we should have a telegraph office here".


The Telegraph Office opened on 7 June 1876.

Millicent usual postal date stamp.
2 August 1948.

Used on AW-DO-10F (45).

Mount Gambier.

The Telegraph Office opened in 1858.

The Post Office had opened on 22 September 1846. The early mails were carried and delivered by the police.

It was notified that, as from 3 August 1867, the Post Office business would be conducted in the old telegraph building. (Border Watch). However, on 4 August 1877, the Minister of Agriculture stated in the House that "nothing would be gained by amalgamating the Post and Telegraph offices at Mount Gambier".

Mt Gambier 1860Mount Gambier Telegraph Office in 1860.
Source: Museum Victoria B27047.
Mt Gambier 1870Mount Gambier Telegraph Station in 1870. Mt Gambier 1880Mount Gambier in 1880.
Source: Museum Victoria B21766-41.


(Right): The garden reserve in front of the Mount Gambier Post and Telegraph Office.

The stairs leading down can be seen in the centre.

It is uncertain - but suspected - that it was in this garden that the sparrows were released by Mr Stapleton on 13 May 1868.


In the new Australian Parliament, on 30 October 1902, the question was asked that, when the new telegraph rates came into force, would the name "Mount Gambier" be counted as one word or two. The Chief Secretary did not know the answer but said the problem would be overcome by simply calling it "Gambier".

A more detailed history of the Mount Gambier Telegraph Office is contained elsewhere.

A steel date stamp was issued to the Mount Gambier Telegraph Office for use with telegraphic matters (SC1-TO). The inscription at the top is:

Used: 19 January 1970 (only recorded date).

Diameter: 30 mm (1.5 mm and 2 mm side arcs).

Rated: RRRR.

Although Mount Gambier was allocated a post code in September 1967, the code of 5291 does not appear on this date stamp. Possibly the date stamp was made earlier but there is no record of earlier use.

TO Gambier
19 January 1970.
Used on Confirmatory Delivery
envelope AA-EC-3Ae (68).

The Telegraph Office opened in July 1863. Until 1861, it had been known as Mosquito Plains. The town was spelt as either Narracoorte or Naracoorte.

The Border Watch of 22 November 1882 noted "on this year's Parliamentary estimates was a line of £750 for building a new post and telegraph office in Narracoorte ... the money passed will not do Narracoorte much good if it remains in the Treasury... Mr. Wicken and his assistants do their work in the present office very well as far as the public is concerned, but not with much ease or comfort to themselves as the one room of the post-office is very small and the telegraph room is nearly as cramped. As rent has to be paid for the present office, the Government would save money by building a new office as well as adding to the convenience of the postal officials and the public".

The editor added - I need only say "That's so."

SL Narracoorte Narra unframed

Narracoorte unframed date stamp.
8 March 1893.

Also a SL name stamp used on the same telegram delivery form
SC-DO-7A. Shows the two spellings of the name.


The Telegraph Office opened in 1860.

On September 1873, £450 was to be place on the estimates for the additions to the Telegraph Office and the Post Office in Penola. On 10 October, 1875, the House of Assembly was requested to allocate £500 for the construction of a new Post & Telegraph office at Penola.

Mt. Gambier Border Watch: 12 June 1876 - "The new Post and Telegraph Office (at Penola) has been commenced. The foundations are in. In the internal arrangements a great mistake has been made. The corner of the street, and the most frequented, is apportioned to the Telegraph Department, and round the back slums to the Post-Office. Now it should be just vice versa. The postal department should be at the corner and the department round at the back. As it is, all the small children, and a great many grown up ones too, will be going into the telegraph lobby asking for letters, to the great inconvenience of person's sending messages".

The 1876 Penola Post & Telegraph Office about 1900 showing the mail stage coach outside.

Pen 1905
The Penola Post & Telegraph Office (at right) about 1905 along the Main Street.

The Hotel is on the other side (at center) with Robe Street running between them away from Main Street.

Port Elliot.

The Telegraph Office opened in 1857. The name is occasionally also written as "Port Elliott".

The Post Office had opened in May 1852.

Pt Elliott 1872

Unframed Port Elliott date stamp of
1 September 1872.

Used on a 2d orange de La Rue (perf 10) with a rare S.T. (Superintendent of Telegraphs) overprint in black
(rating RRR).

Victor Harbor.

The Telegraph Office opened in 1865.

Vic Harb
Victor Harbour Post & Telegraph and Hotel about 1915.

The Telegraph Office opened in 1857.

The Post Office had opened in July 1839 at the Police Station and was one of only six post offices which had been opened prior to 1841. It was moved to a separate building in August. Nevertheless the police were still in charge of mails until 1850.

Willunga 1911
  Willinga 1913

Willunga date stamp.
24 October 1913.

Used on 1d Roo.