South Australia.
Telegraph Offices down the Yorke Peninsula.


The Telegraph Offices down the Yorke Peninsula are listed below in alphabetical order.

Soon after Federation in 1901, many of the communities down the Yorke Peninsula were agitating for new Post & Telegraph Offices or a replacement for the buildings built up to 40 years previously.

Ardrossan.

The Telegraph Office opened on 10 February 1879 nearly two years after the Post Office.

 
Edithburgh.

Edithburgh was named by Governor Fergusson after his with Edith.

The Telegraph Office was opened on 15 September 1876.

Edithberg ships
The Jetty at Edithburgh with sailing ships transporting produce from the Yorke Peninsula.
The site for the Jetty was fixed by the Marine Board in 1869 to service the developing farming interests.
  Edithberg 1921
Edithburgh postal date stamp.
12 September 1921.
Kadina.

The Telegraph Office opened in 1862 about one year after the Post Office.

In June 1905, the Mayor asked the Postmaster-General to place on the estimates the amount of £2,000 for the construction of a new Post & Telegraph Office at Kadina. Tenders for the construction were let in March 1906 for a cost of £1, 532 6/-.

Kadina
The Kadina Post &Telegraph Office - the 1906 model.

A letter to the Editor of the Wallaroo Times of 20 December 1882 stated in part:

"Sir—In these days of advancement, is it not strange that the people of Kadina and neighbourhood are content to still bear with the old and inconvenient building used as post office, telegraph office, court house and police station. Considering we have a population of from 4,000 to 5,000, I think we are entitled to a building better and more adequate to the requirements of the district ... in the telegraph department, where will you find another place in the colony where you have to stand in a passage to write a telegram, while people are continually going through, opening and shutting doors?

In an important and rising town like Kadina, I think it is time we were provided with better facilities as regards our public buildings. The present building is only large enough for the post and telegraph office so that we require a new one for the court house and police station".

Taylor St
Taylor Street, Kadina in the late 1800s.
  Kadina rubber cirle

Kadina Telegraph Office - RC2.
3 August 1968.

Diameter: 33 mm.
Used on AA-DO-13D.

Maitland.

The Telegraph Office opened on 18 June 1877 about three years after the Post Office.

 

Maitland
Maitland Post & Telegraph Office about 1910.
 

Maitland 03
Maitland
24 August 1903.

Squared circle cancellation.

Maitland roo
Maitland.
16 July 1914.

Usual Post Office cancellation.

Minlaton.

The Telegraph Office opened on 15 March 1878 - one year after the Post Office.

On 11 May 1883, a tender was accepted to build the new Post & Telegraph Office for the cost of £765.

 

Minlaton 1894
Minlaton square circle.
1 October 1894.

Size: 2.4 × 2.4 mm.
Used on SC-DO-7A.

 

Moonta.

The Telegraph Office in 1865.

 

 

Prior to 1865, the community were agitating that Kadina and Wallaroo had services which Moonta should also have. For example a letter by Luke L. Furner to the Editor of the SA Register on 19 May 1864 , stated the case as follows:

"Sir— As the good people of Kadina and Wallaroo are too energetically urging their respective claims and advantage of position for the erection of the new Gaol, a stranger would be led to suppose that the above-mentioned places were the only two townships on the Peninsula of any importance, and that such a place as Moonta did not exist, or at least was not of sufficient importance to put in a claim for public buildings.

Wallaroo complains that the Post-Office is in connection with a store, the Telegraph Office in a wooden building, and the Court held at an hotel. I am sorry to say that Moonta has no cause for these complaints as the Telegraph and Local Court have no existence here and it is to the great inconvenience arising from this fact that I wish to allude.

For instance, a person having any Court business to transact must take a journey or two to Kadina, a distance of 12 miles; and supposing him not to be possessed of a horse is put to the expense of hiring one or going by the afternoon conveyance, which necessitates the spending a night in Kadina. The inconvenience experienced on account of having no Telegraph Station is equally great, as messages dispatched from Adelaide do not reach us until the next day at about 12 o'clock, so that as far as Moonta is concerned, the line to Kadina is perfectly useless.

The general opinion is that the importance of the place demands the establishment of the institutions referred to and I trust that the Government will give the matter the attention it deserves, that we may not long have to complain of being destitute of these advantages, even though they may be held in hotels or wooden buildings".

Port Victoria.

The Telegraph Office opened on 14 February 1879 about two years after the Post Office.

 
Port Wakefield.

The Telegraph Office opened in 1867. In 1851, the Post Office changed its name from Port Henry to Port Wakefield before closing and re-opening twice.

Port Wakefield was, like many Government offices in 1870, subject to Government savings cuts. The Adelaide Advertiser of 28 May 1870 reported that "retrenchment is still being carried on. The telegraph messenger leaves next month. This arrangement will often cause great inconvenience, as the station master will have all the duties of the Telegraph and Post Office and he may often be away delivering messages when most required".

Port Wakefield
Port Wakefield showing boats and wheat.
Taken about 1906.

Snowtown.

The Telegraph Office was opened on 7 July 1880. Congratulatory messages were sent from the residents to the Governor, the Hon. T. King, to the Superintendent of Telegraphs and to Sir G. Kingston. All were suitably acknowledged. Prior to that, on 4 June, "the Post and Telegraph Office was completed at last, and we hope to be in communication with Adelaide at an early date, as Mr. Sands, Postmaster at Kadina paid us a visit last night for the purpose of making arrangements for opening the office as soon as possible. He also brought a telephone with him and,to the courtesy of that gentleman, we were indebted for an evening's entertainment — several songs, etc being exchanged by well-known gentlemen plainly distinguishable".
(SA Register 5 June 1880).

A further £750 was spent on the P&T Office in 1883.

 
Wallaroo.

The Telegraph Office opened in 1863 about two years after the Post Office.

In June 1908, the plans for a new Post & Telegraph Office were released. The Advertiser described them (on 13 June 1908) in the following way: "plans for the new post, and telegraph office for Wallaroo have arrived. The building will be a neat one, having frontages to Owen Terrace and Irvine Street. The public office will be 26 ft. × 12 ft 6 in and the officer's room 39 ft, x 25 ft while there are seven living rooms with a bathroom. The largest room in the dwelling partition will be l8 ft. 10 in. x 14 ft.; The others will average 14 ft. x 14 ft. There will be verandahs on three sides. The premises will be one storey".

Wallaroo
The new Wallaroo Post and Telegraph Office circa 1910.
 

Wallaroo 1906
7 February 1906.
Squared Circle cancellation
applied to a 10d thick POSTAGE long stamp.
Possible telegram usage.

Size:

Wall 1915
19 October 1915.
Date stamp with time.
Used on SI-DO-3B.

Diameter: 29 mm.
Short side arcs.

Wall 1918
21 June 1918.
Used on SI-DO-4B.

Diameter: 26 mm.
Long side arcs.

Warooka.

The Telegraph Office opened on 22 May 1879 about six years after the Post Office.

At that time, Warooka was about four years old and consisted of a public-house, a blacksmith's shop, a branch of a Yorketown store, four or five private dwelling-houses and two small places of worship. The district was comparatively sparsely populated for, although there were some good patches of agricultural land, there were large portions that can never be utilised for that purpose on account of their rocky or swampy character. "The new Telegraph Station does not come under the category of reproductive works and there are, not wanting, those who should be qualified to judge correctly who assert that the business done at the office will not pay for the kerosine consumed".

Warooka
Warooka Post and Telegraph Office circa 1900.
Source: NLA: D5440 2728.
The building was a three roomed cottage which had been rented from the storekeeper. It was also used as a Post Office and residence for the Postmistress, who was also the operator. The office was fitted up by Mr. Matthews, the Postmaster and operator at Yorketown. In 1884, £780 was allocated for the construction of a new P&T office.

The South Australian Chronicle reported the opening and noted "The telegraph line from Yorketown to Warooka was opened today, also the road over the Moorowie Swamp, a distance of two miles. Mrs. Ward named the latter 'Ward's Crossing'. A half holiday was observed and there was a large number of persons present from the surrounding districts. A dinner was held in the evening at the Warooka Hotel ... The practical utility of the telegraph line, although well constructed, was called in question by many present. ... the line of telegraph to Warooka connects a newly settled but important district with the telegraph system of the world ... we are assured that it will not be the least useful in the colony".

Mr. E. Jacobs, the Mayor of Yorketown, in his toast noted "he regarded the new Telegraph Office ... as a public waste of money. (Cries of Oh! Oh! loud laughter). Mr. Ward added in reply "He is quite right; he means a waste of public money ... but to the present time there had been no waste of public money. In opposition to Mr. Jacobs, he would venture to say that they would yet be glad that this money had been spent. The value of a public work could not be estimated by the £. s. d. (money) returns from it but rather by its direct value to the people living in the district affected by it".

Yorketown.

The Telegraph Office opened on 2 July 1877.

The town was previously called Weaners Flat because it was where the pastoralists separated the lambs from the ewes.

 

 
It is easy to forget the people who worked in the Telegraph Offices. Each of them had their own lives and their special interests. For example, in March 1905, the Chronicle ran a story on Mr. E. H. Matthews, the Postmaster at Yorketown, who was offered the position of Officer-in-Charge of the Streaky Bay Telegraph Office. This offer was almost immediately withdrawn because Matthews had entered the Telegraph service in the mid-1860s and had been in charge of the Yorketown station since 1879. Besides fulfilling his duties connected with the post-office, Mr. Matthews was also Clerk of the Local Court. In his private life, he had a great interest in conchology and had therefore developed a fine collection of shells. He also had a nice lot of mineral specimens and he was an ardent floriculturist.