Western Australia: 1869-1988.
Telegraph Offices in the Pilbara region

The Pilbara region of Western Australia extends from just south of Onslow north to Port Hedland/Cossack and then extends west through Fortescue, Marble Bar and Newman to the border with the Northern Territory. It is a major mining area and global biodiversity hotspot.

Bamboo Creek.

Bamboo Creek is close to Marble Bar.

The Telegraph Office opened on 20 April 1895. On 1 March 1901, the Colonial Post & Telegraph Office was downgraded to a Commonwealth Allowance Office.

Two formats for a date stamp for use with telegraphic work were issued:
  1. RO2 - P&TO.

Used in violet: 23 December 1898.


Rated: RRRR.

Number in the Census: 1.

Bamboo RO2
23 December 1898.
  1. RO6 - TO.

Used in violet: 30 (?) July 1897.

Size: 28 × 44 mm (e = 0.77).

Rated: RRRR.

Number in the Census: 1.

Bamb Ck RO6-TO
30(?) July 1897.


The Telegraph Office was opened on 9 April 1889 at the southern end of 80 mile Beach.

The Office was closed in 1927.

No special date stamp was issued to the Office for use with Telegraphs. Instead the usual postal date stamps would be used and these were in two formats:

  1. Unframed with two side arcs on either side:



Rated: RRRR.

Number in the Census: 0.

  1. Framed with separation dots:

Used: 12 September 1908 to 29 July 1911.

Diameter: 21 mm.

Rated: RRR.

Number in the Census: 2.

12 September 1908. Condon 1911
29 July 1911.

The Telegraph Office was opened at the Post Office on 17 November 1885 at 8:00 am.

The Post Office had been opened in August 1876.

The Telegraph Office was apparently issued with two rubber oval date stamps:

  1. a Telegraph Office (RO6-TO):

Used: about 1898

  1. a Post & Telegraph Office (RO6-P&TO):

Used in violet: 1900 (?) and 29 March 1902.

Size: 30 × 49 mm (e = 0.79).

Rated: RRR.

Number in the Census: 1.

29 March 1902.
Tasmanian Stamp Auctions October 2015.


The Telegraph Office is listed as opening on 17 November 1885 at 8:00 am.

It merged to become a Post & Telegraph Office in 1904.

The first Telegraph Officer (Station Master) at Fortescue appears to have been Mr. J. J. Lawrence who had previously been at Eucla. He arrived at Bunbury on 17 October 1885 aboard the Franklin to spend time with friends before boarding the Otway to proceed north.

On 10 September 1885, the vote for the Postal and Department was taken into consideration by the House and the following amendments were made after a discussion between the Colonial Secretary and the Postmaster-General: "... the salaries for the assistant telegraphist at the Fortescue £60 (a linesman was deemed to be unnecessary at Fortescue) and that of the native assistant £30 were struck out; the assistant telegraphist at the Ashburton was put down for £70 instead of £60".

Various newspapers (e.g. Bunbury Southern Times 16 February 1895) reported that the general Fortescue area was struck with major rains in the first half of February 1895. Three telegraph poles and about 200 yards of wire washed away between Roebourne and Fortescue. The Perth Daily News (25 January 1895) reported that "heavy thunder storms occurred yesterday between Roebourne and Fortescue, and that at Lagrange Telegraph Station the lightening was so vivid the operator could not stop in the office last evening, having to keep his ground wire on".

The building was designed to house the Meterological recording Office also. As a letter to the Editor of The Western Australian describes the building as being totally unsuitable for the Telegraph Station on the Fortescue River.

Although no date stamp was issued to Fortescue with "Telegraph" etc, two steel circular date stamps are known used during the Telegraph Office period (1885-1904):
  1. Unframed (steel) with double separation arcs at the base (Gouldner type 2b);

Diameter: 28 mm;

Rated: RRR.

Fort 89
28 January 1889.
  1. Framed date stamp (rubber) - Gouldner type 3b.
    Has index number 1 at the top.

Diameter: 22 mm.

Rated: RRR.

Fort 99
18 November 1899.
Marble Bar.

In August 1894, Mr. R. Biederman was appointed Post & Telegraph Master and was transferred from Narrogin.

When the telegraph line to Marble Bar was opened in July, 1894, one of the first messages sent to the Perth press indicated progress: "Broome has at last got a new gaol in which to confine malefactors." It was not as good a prison as Long Bay, for the first five native prisoners lodged in it escaped "in spite of every precaution".

Only one rubber oval TELEGRAPH OFFICE date stamp (RO6 - TO) was issued to Marble Bar for use with telegraphs:

Used: about 1900.


Rated: RRRR.


A rubber oval Post Office/Marble Bar date stamp (RO6-PO) was issued to the office for general use.

Used: 12 Nov 1898 to 6 Nov 1899.

Size: 25 × 38 mm (e = 0.75).

Rated: RRR.

Number in the Census: 3.

Marble Bar PO
12 November 1898.
Nov 6
6 November 1899.
Used on WC-DO-5A.
Usual postal date stamp sometimes used on telegrams. Marble Bar

Newman is one of the main settlements in the Pilbara region. It was established by a BHP subsidiary in 1966.

The privately owned Mount Newman Railway carried iron ore to Port Hedland. On 21 June 2001, a train 7.353 km (4.569 mi) long, comprising 682 ore cars and eight locomotives made the Newman—Port Hedland trip. It is listed as the world's longest ever train. The usual ore trains are over 2 km long.

The Telegraph Office in Newman was a section of the Post Office which was opened on 1 February 1968.

A rubber oval TELEGRAPH OFFICE date stamp (RO2-TO) was issued to Newman in the 1970s.

Used in violet: 27 September 1976.

Size: 31 × 49 mm (0.77).

Rariety: RRR.

Number in the Census: 1.

27 September 1976.


The Telegraph Office at Nullagine opened on 8 February 1897.

It was described as "another isolated telegraph station and  Nullagine was one of the golden camps of the early '90's and was described as having "gold all over the area".


Two date stamps are recorded as having been issued to Nullagine for use with telegraphs.

  1. a rubber oval TELEGRAPH OFFICE date stamp
    (RO6 - TO).
    1 mm side arcs.

Used: 4 August 1897 - 10 September 1900.

Size: 27 × 43 mm (e = 0.79).

Rated: RRRR.

Null 1897
4 August 1897 (6 months after opening).
Nullagine 1899
5 June 1899.
Null blk 4
10 September 1900.
  Nullagine TO
Incomplete strike.
Nullag 2 Incomplete strike.
  1. a rubber oval POST & TELEGRAPH date stamp
    (RO6 - P&TO);

Used: Maybe April 1899.

Size: 29 × 49 mm (e = 0.81).

Rated: RRRR. Number in the Census: 1.

Nullagine P&TPossibly April 1899.
The end of (TELEG)RAPH is clearly on the right side of the date stamp.


A Post & Telegraph Office was opened in 1885 when Ashburton was renamed.

A Post Office had been established at Ashburton on August 1884 and reclassified as a Post & Telegraph Office on 28 July 1885 after the telegraph line had been completed to that stage .

The Office soon handled telegrams for places further north. The Daily Mail of 13 August 1885 "reminds our readers of the notice posted at the Telegraph Office to the effect that telegrams for Cossack and Roebourne, to be forwarded by horse-express from the Ashburton extension, will be received up till eight o'clock this (Thursday) evening".

Port Hedland.

Port Hedland is one of the main settlements in the Pilbara region. The Telegraph Office opened as Boodarrie in August 1892.

In July 1897, it was proposed that the telegraph station at Boodarie be removed to Port Hedland. The improvement was expected to be more convenient in view of the increasing importance of the latter place and the construction of a jetty at a cost of about £10,000.

Tenders were let for a new P&T building in July 1898.

Three date stamps have been recorded as having been issued to Port Hedland for use with telegraphs. The first two issued had the rare TELEGRAPH STATION inscription.

  1. Oval rubber date stamp (RO2 - TS) for P(or)T HEDLAND .
    The TELEGRAPH STATION inscription is itself rare -
    only one other oval Office date stamp incorporating these words (Laverton).

Used in violet: for about 8 months from 20 May 1899 and 2 December 1899.

Size: 25 × 41 mm (e = 0.79).

Rated: RRRR.

Number in the Census: 5.

Port Hedland 1899
20 May 1899.
Pt Hedland Dec
2 December 1899.
  1. A rubber oval date stamp RO4 - TS. It has Hedland - Telegraph Station at the base.

Used about 1904.


Rated: RRRR.

Number in Census: ?

  1. A rubber oval date stamp with a Post & Telegraph Office inscription (RO2 - P&TO).

Used: about 1959.


Rated: RRR.

Number in the Census: ?


Postal date stamps were also used for telegraphic purposes.

The date stamp at the right might be considered to have been used to pay transmission charges although that use is almost certainly impossible for telegrams as the 1893 Post and Telegraph act allowed revenue stamps and postal stamps to be interchangeable only to an amount of 1/-.
That interchange ceased on 25 January 1901.

Pt Hedland 1900
Port Hedland on 2/6 fiscal.
10 September 1900.
Prestige Auctions, Sale 175, Lot 509.

The Post Office opened on 1 August 1878 and it was upgraded to a combined Post & Telegraph Office on 1 October 1885.

The Western Australian of 27 October 1885 reported that "The line reached Roebourne on the 1st inst., and was opened for business the same day, under difficulties, as the operator had to send messages from under a verandah with the sun occasionally shining on him. He is now, however, working with the field instrument in a portion of the Post Office. No move has been made for the erection of a telegraph office".

"Mr. C. McLarty, who has been a telegraph operator in the Roebourne office for nearly two years, left per the mail coach on Thursday for the Nullagine, where he will act as Post and Telegraph master. Mr. McLarty made many friends during his stay in Roebourne"
(West Australian, 29 January 1897).


Two date stamps have been recorded as having been issued to Roebourne for use with telegraphs:
  1. An oval rubber POST & TELEGRAPH OFFICE date stamp
    (RO2 - P&TO).

Used in violet: 1898-99.


Rated: RRRR.

Roe 1
July 1899.
Roe 2
17 August ??.

An oval rubber POST & TELEGRAPH OFFICE date stamp
(RO2 - P&TO).

Used in blue: about 1898.


Rated: RRRR.

  1. An oval rubber date stamp (RO2 - P&TO).
    Unsure if the same as above as no details are avaiable.

Used about 1910.


Rated: RRRR.

The usual postal date stamp was also used at Roebourne especially in the early days of operation.

Roebourne 1885
16 March 1885 - just before upgrade.
Strike recorded during a 12 month period only.

Prestige Philately July 2009 Lot 633.


Tambourah is south of Port Hedland. It replaced Talga Talga.

The Telegraph Office was opened on 6 December 1897. It was, according to official records, reclassified as a Post & Telegraph Office on 1 July 1901 and was closed on 31 December 1903.

The date stamps here show that it was a Post & Telegraph Office by 6 September 1899.

A rubber oval date stamp (RO2 - P&TO):

Used in violet: 6 September 1899.

Size: 26 × 40 mm (e = 0.76).

Rated: RRRR.

Tabbourah black
6 September 1889.

Used in blue: between
6 and 13 September 1899 only. Clearly this example is outside that range.

Rated: RRRR.

Tanbourah blue
Incomplete date.

Western Shaw.

The Pilbara Goldfield News of 1 October 1897 reported : "Our Tambourrah correspondent, writing on the 22nd ult., says: Today the material necessary to the erection of a Telegraph Station at Western Shaw arrived and, as the post holes have been completed for some time, it should not be long before we are in telegraphic touch with the rest of the world".

The Telegraph Office opened on 15 January 1898.

It closed on 25 July 1898.