South Australia.
Telegraph offices on the upper northern line - Clare-Kooringa to Port Augusta and Quorn.



The Telegraph Office was opened in


The Telegraph Office opened on 19 October 1877.

On that day, the following copy of the complimentary messages exchanged between His Excellency the Governor and residents of Caltowie on the opening of the new Telegraph Office there has been handed to us for publication by the Superintendent of Telegraphs:

To His Excellency Sir W. F. D. Jervois, Governor Province South Australia — May it please Your Excellency — On behalf of residents of Caltowie we beg to exchange congratulations with Your Excellency on this the occasion of the establishment of telegraphic communication with this rising township. We would avail ourselves of this opportunity of expressing our satisfaction on Your Excellency's appointment as Governor of this province. We are sure that your administration will be fraught with many advantages to the colony. Wishing Your Excellency, Lady Jervois, and family health and happiness. On behalf of residents Caltowie, W. K. Mallyon, C. E. Cranston, Ernest Peters, W. B. Pepperell, M. Cranston, Jun. August Rehder.

To Messrs. W. K. Mallyon, C. E. Cranston, Ernest Peters, W. B. Peppere, M. Cranston, and A. Rehder. 'I am most happy to exchange congratulations with you on the occasion of the establishment of telegraphic communication with your rising township. I accept with many thanks your kind expressions towards myself and your good wishes on behalf of Lady Jervois and family. W. F, D. Jervois, Governor-in-Chief.

Messages were also sent to and replies received from the Hon. E. Ward (Minister of Agriculture and Education), Messrs. J. P. Boucaut, M.P., R. Rees, M.P..W. B. Rounsevell, M.P., C. Peacock, JP. (Mayor of Adelaide), D. Bower, M.P. (Mayor of Port Adelaide), and C. Todd, C.M.G.
South Australian Register
20 October 1877.


8 May 1936.

Standard Post Office cancellation used on 2d Cable.

Crystal Brook.

The Telegraph Office was opened on 23 March 1877. It opened first at the Railway Station which was not conveniently situated for a Telegraph Office.

Soon after the opening, on 4 August 1877, in answer to a question in the House, the Minister of Agriculture stated "that the Post and Telegraph Offices were not amalgamated at Crystal Brook ... the telegraph is at the Railway Station, which is not conveniently situated for a post office".

Crystal Brook
Crystal Brook Post & Telegraph Office in 1930.


At a meeting held at Crystal Brook, principally for the discussion of the railway question, the necessity of obtaining a suitable building for a Post and Telegraph office was discussed.

The present Post and Telegraph office business, it was stated, was carried on in a little wooden building in the railway yard which consisted of two small rooms about twelve feet square each. In one room, the whole of the post and telegraph business was carried on; the other was the Postmaster's bedroom. Over thirty mailbags were received or dispatched daily and the building was in every way inadequate to the business carried on in it The space set apart for writing telegrams was limited and inconvenient in the extreme; and the delivery arrangements were inadequate.

Mr. Prescott proposed that a memorial to the Government be prepared and signatures obtained asking for a new post-office. It was not necessary to refer to the want of a post-office. The unsuitableness of the present building was patent to all. Tbe large amount of business done, in mails, telegrams and post-office orders, entitled them to a suitable building. There was no other town in the North of any importance so badly supplied as they were, and the present building was a disgrace to a township of the age and importance of Crystal Brook and it was time they had something better.

Mr. John Miller J.P. understood, when the present building was erected, that it was to be only temporary. He considered that it was unsafe for the large and important business passing through it. A match dropped by chance might cause the destruction of many valuable papers as tbe building would burn like a tinder-box if once started. Stone was plentiful in the district and building reasonable and they were entitled to a more suitable building. He seconded the resolution.

Mr. F. H. Edward, J.P, pointed out that any one with a knowledge of telegraphy could stand at a distance and learn distinctly messages passing through the office. He supported the resolution, which was carried.

Messrs. F. H. Edwards, J.P., P. H. Claridge, E. Prescott, P. M. Keville, G. L. Debney, J.P., were appointed a committee to prepare the memorial and obtain signatures. The meeting broke up with a vote of thanks to the Chairman.
South Australian Register
27 June 1881.

On 20 January 1883, the Register noted: "The new Post and Telegraph Office was occupied to-day; it is a great improvement. There is a nice cool change in the weather and rain is falling".

In December 1921, "two sheets of iron were blown off the roof of the telegraph office (during a thunderstorm) which was otherwise damaged. Telegraph office and instruments were drenched with water".

Crystal Brook
Crystal Brook squared
circle date stamp..
12 May 1909.

Used on 6d "thick Postage".



The Telegraph Office was opened on 7 June 1875. "The weather was wet; but if the number of messages sent on the opening day may be taken, as a criterion, the office ought to pay. It is of no use crying over spilt milk; but if the office had been opened before Christmas, it would no doubt have paid expenses to date, or even done more. It is open now in the dullest season of the year and of course will be compared with other places for the next three months at a disadvantage. In spite of that, it will be a boon to the district and, from the acknowledged importance of the place, it is the general opinion that the business of the office will be satisfactory. The usual congratulatory messages having been sent and replies received"
South Australian Chronicle 12 June 1875.

The SA Advertiser reported that, on 17 August 1886, Mr. Todd, the Postmaster-General, with Mr. Knuckey, arrived here yesterday. This morning Mr. Todd visited the telegraph office and the corporation garden, in which place the rain gauge is kept. Both gentlemen proceeded to Port Pirie from here".



The Telegraph Office opened on 5 May 1877.

On 23 December 1884, the Council of Jamestown passed a by-law against the Salvation Army marching and band-playing on Sundays. Trouble was anticiapeted after the decision received vice-regal confirmation.



The Telegraph Office (finally) opened on 15 February 1884 with Miss Wissen as the Postmistress. Work on the new Post & Telegraph Office had commenced on 19 June 1883 with the total cost being £738. The buiding was completed during December 1883 but nothing had been done about constructing the telegraph line over the 13 miles from Red Hill - despite a visit in July 1883 by Mr. Knucky of the Telegraph Department to inspect the road. The line was finally completed by the end of January but the office remained closed despite Miss Wissen taking charge of the building on 29 January.

The town was named by Edward John Eyre from the aboriginal name meaning "red banks".




The Telegraph Office was opened in 1866.



The Gazette allocated £783 15s for the construction of the Post & Telegraph Office on 5 May 1882.

Port Augusta.

The Telegraph Office was opened in 1866. It was reported in the newpapers that Mr Todd, Superintendent of Electric Telegraphs, left Adelaide on 24 August 1866 for the purpose of opening the telegraph office at Port Augusta.

Pt Augusta
Port Augusta Telegraph Office 1867.
Source: Library of South Australia B 47759.
  Port Augusta 1950s
Post Augusta in the 1950s.
The Post and Telegraph Office is the low building on the left.
The Town Hall is further down the street behind the FJ Holden.
Port Aug 1878
Port Augusta.
6 May 1878.
Diameter: 24 mm.

Used on SC-DO-6Aa.
Second earliest known use of a date stamp on a telegram form in South Australia.

Pt Aug 1878 2)
Port Augusta.
22 April 1872.
Diameter: 23 mm.

Used on SC-DO-7A.


Pt Aug 1966
Port Augusta.
26 April 1966.

Used on

Port Germain.

The Telegraph Office was opened on 13 August 1880.

Port Pirie.

The Telegraph Office was opened on 10 October 1874 about a year after the Post Office opened.

The town was originally called Samuel's Creek. It was renamed Port Pirie Creek in 1846 after the John Pirie which was the first vessel to navigate the creek when transporting sheep from Bowman's Run near Crystal Brook. It then became Port Pirie in 1848 when the area of land was subdivided into a township. It became more established in 1871 when it was surveyed by the Government Surveyor and streets were marked out. It became a municipality in 1876.

Work was carried out in 1880 at a cost of £1,875.

Pt Purie 1870
Port Pirie Post & Telegraph Office about mid 1870s.
The first Office.

Pt Pirie
Port Pirie Post & Telegraph Office about 1890 - the second office.
Source: NLA 10202.

An amusing prelude to the opening of the Telegraph Office was that at the beginning of September "a man rode in hot haste to the Port Pirie Postmaster with the information that a portion of the new telegraph line had been blown down at a distance of 12 miles or so from the office. He was somewhat chagrined to find that as the line is not yet working, the damage done was of no immediate consequence, and that his only reward for his 24 mile ride was such consolation as may attach to the performance of a disinterested and good-natured action. The Telegraph Office is now ready to be handed over to the operator so soon as that functionary shall put in an appearance. It is understood that the necessary fitting and instruments have been shipped by the Lurline, so the residents are in a fair way to have one of their wants supplied without much more delay".
South Australian Register
3 Sept 1874.

The Advertiser, of 27 September 1898, reported that the community disquiet with the operation of the Port Pirie P&T Office was reported to Sir Charles Todd by a deputation on the 24th: "...for some considerable time past, complaints had been rife with regard to the late and non delivery of letters, the contents of important telegraph messages being divulged, and other abuses existing in connection with the working of the institution. The suspension and subsequent dismissal from the service of two boys employed by the department showed that abuses existed... the working of the office had on more than one occasion been characterised as a burlesque ... there are numerous instances where letters had been miscarried or had not been delivered at all, departmental information had been divulged and other abuses existed which had provoked tbe most caustic remarks on the general inefficiency of the institution. The accommodation was altogether inadequate and compared very unfavorably indeed with that afforded in towns of far less importance. It was a disgrace that customers should have to wait, sometimes for a quarter of an hour, to transact ordinary business at the windows. Better facilities should be afforded for the dispatch of work, increased accommodation should be given the officials, and mere lads should certainly not have access to information which it was essential should be kept inviolate ... the precautions adopted in Adelaide of messengers waiting outside the office for telegrams should be adopted in Pirie".

Revovations were made to the building shown above but these did not overcome the problems for long. Complaints became more frequent and detailed until, in January 1908, the Postmaster-General himself (Mr. Mauger) visited Port Pirie to inspect the facilities and receive a deputation. While there, he entered a stationer's shop and asked for some Pirie postcards and made special enquiries for one of the post-office. Quite unconscious of the identity of his customer, the assistant replied, "Oh, we haven't got one of the post-office. It's not good enough for a postcard".

The Mayor of Port Pirie was the first to address Mr Mauger: the deputation) "were waiting on the- Postmaster-General to urge the provision of postal facilities adequate to the town and its large volume of business. He was not going to say anything about renovations. They had had enough of them under the State regime, but they would ask straight out for a new building altogether. There was no other town in South Australia where the facilities were as bad in proportion to the population and the volume of business, and he felt sure that in Mr. Mauger's own State of Victoria there was no place half the size which possessed such poor post-office accommodation. When under the control of the State Parliament they had suffered so-called improvements to the building, which had really made matters worse. The present post-office had been built 26 years ago when tbe place had only about one-twelfth of its present population, and when Port Pirie was merely a wheat exporting port. Now it was the outlet for the great Barrier traffic and circumstances had altogether changed".

Later in the discussion, there was an interesting exchange. Councillor Morrow, noting the lack of action and the poor office accommodation, stated "In the past they had been tickled with some feathery promises and they had shown much patience. The delay, however, would not matter so much if Mr. Mauger decided on a radical improvement. He trusted that the Postmaster-General would take into consideration their forbearance and remember the saying that "hope deferred maketh the heart sick" for they certainly had begun to feel a bit qualmish on the matter. Mr. Mauger replied "Because thou art neither hot nor cold, I will spue thee out of my mouth. (Laughter) Councillor Morrow retorted "That's what we want you to do - to throw up a new post-office". (Hear, hear and laughter)".

The site suggested for the new combined offices was "a portion of the block between the institute and Green's Chambers, held by Messrs. Darling & Son on a miscellaneous lease, which it is understood will expire shortly. It is believed that the State Government could resume it and come to an arrangement with the Federal Government for its use for post-office purposes".
Adelaide Advertiser 23 January 1908.

By the end of 1909, work was in progress to renovate the new Post and Telegraph Office - scheduled to take 5 months. As an indication of the demands on the Port Pirie telegraph office at that time, The Advertiser noted on 23 November 1909 that during the previous 12 months 442,035 letters had been despatched and 547,993 received while 25,123 telegrams had been sent in addition to high volumes of other services.

Port Pirie 1898
Port Pirie squared circle date stamp.
21 October 1898.

PP 1955
21 March 1955.

No indication if designed for Telegraphic or Postal usage.

Diameter: 31.5 mm.

Used on AD-GDF-54.



The Telegraph Office was opened on 23 September 1880.

In February 1880, community agitation for the opening of a Telegraph Office at Quorn was becoming quite vocal. By November 1880, "Mr. Munro, the contractor for the erection of ... the Post and Telegraph Office, has commenced operations, but owing to the fact that 'some one has blundered' is almost at a standstill. The difficulty the Post-Office appears to be some doubt as to the block on which it is to be erected, but no doubt this will be shortly settled". The cost was budgeted at £575.
South Australian Register 17 November 1880.

In June 1886, the community was awaiting the letting of a tender for the new P&T Office.

Quorn township about 1910.

Red Hill

27 December 1877



The Telegraph Office was opened on 23 August 1880.

A deputation met the Minister for a lengthy discussion about the location of the Office on 4 May 1881.



The Telegraph Office opened on 21 March 1877 - presumably in temporary premises.

The South Australian Chronicle of 12 May 1877 reported the lively exchange of a deputation which was followed up by an editorial in the Register.



The Telegraph Office opened on 14 April 1880.

From a postcard with the images taken by Latte Marner.