New South Wales - Colonial period: 1858-1900.
Lines in the north-east region.

The north-east region of New South Wales is defined in this site as being bounded by the region east of the first telegraphic line to Queensland and down to the Sydney-Parramatta line.

The map of the region below shows the main telegraph lines and the telegraph offices opened to about the mid-1880s. The lower part of the map joins to the south-east region while the left side of the map joins to the north-central region which extends to Bourke. For reference, some lines and telegraph offices from the north-central region have been added.

The colours used for the telegraph lines on the map indicate the broad time periods with details of developments provided below:


North east

To 1862:

Prior to the construction of the first line to Queensland in 1861, the basis of the NSW telegraph routes were established.

On 21 February 1859 the Department of Lands and Public Works advertised in the Government Gazette (p.423) for:

"tenders for the supply of material (wire excepted) and for the workmanship necessary for the erection of a line of Electric Telegraph from a pint on or near the Blacktown Road to Windsor and thence to Wiseman's Ferry, Wollombi, West Maitland, Maitland and Newcastle ... the Government supplying the telegraph and binding wire in Sydney". 

This contract, and another advertised simultaneously for the line to Bathurst,

"had to be completed, and the works handed over to the Government within six months from the notification of the acceptance of the Tender, time being considered of the essence of the contract".

Telegraph offices were established at Wollombi and Morpeth in 1860 as part of the need to connect to Newcastle in the same year. At that time, Morpeth was an important river port for the export of coal and timber.

After the first line to Queensland had been completed, a new line from Glen Innes to Grafton on the coast was constructed. The Grafton Telegraph Office was opened in late 1862. Grafton had been established in 1851 and was the centre for a timber industry exporting to a variety of markets.



During the next 10 years, no major new lines were constructed in the region. Uralla was added to the main line and extensions were constructed to Tamworth and Inverell.


1873 onwards:

After 1873, construction slowly extended lines all along the coastal side on the Great Divide:

The planning of these lines was influenced by the agricultural and dairy industries which were developing along the coastal regions. The new lines also slowly developed into an additional line from Queensland to Sydney to support the main line through Armidale and Tenterfield.