Western Australia: 1869-1900.
People on the Albany-Eucla line.

Any major undertaking depends on people and the way they react to circumstances which arise.

Some of the people who were associated with the Albany to Eucla line were:


Charles Denvers Price.

Western Australia,
Public Works Office,
Perth, 21st Sept., 1875.

Sir, When organised you will take charge of the party now about to proceed to the telegraph line for the purpose of deciding on and laying out the route, and making a reconnaissance of the whole country bordering it, taking the coast on the southward, and a limit of, say, 30 to 50 miles on the northward side. This reconnaissance must be executed on proper and scientific basis, and the principal natural features be geodetically fixed, so that they may be utilised when the work is elaborated further. Reserves and town sites have to be defined, harbors and landing places examined, and at Eucla a town has to be laid out, but on this last matter further instructions will be given.

Besides yourself, there will be two assistants, with a party of the comparative strength particularised in your letter of the 17th instant, the contents of which, following generally my verbal instructions to you, are approved of.

You will provide yourself before starting with all information possibly obtainable, so that you may not be at fault when far from headquarters.

There must be an agreement signed by the whole party, before starting, binding themselves to remain on the work until discharged.

By every means you will endeavor to cultivate friendly relations with any aborigines you may meet, and avoid, if possible, any collision with them.

If you can from time to time collect any small specimens of rocks, minerals, and other objects of interest, it is very desirable you should, noting the conditions and positions in which they may be found, as these will be valuable as illustrative of the physical geography of the country you reconnoitre. All positions fixed geodetically should be, if possible, distinguished by cairns of stones, or otherwise marked, and so described on your maps.

Besides this first work, the entire charge of the reconstruction of the telegraph line throughout to Eucla will devolve on you, and the present overseer, J. Parish, will be instructed by you. It is necessary therefore that you are provided with copies of all the contracts and other papers connected with this work. The contractors for the erection will be referred to you for direction; it is therefore desirable that you take every opportunity of periodically reporting to me on the progress they make, and also advice on the advances that can be from time to time made safely on each contract.

The selection of sites for the telegraph stations will have to be made by you; on this you had better see Mr. Fleming, as to what requirements are desirable, provided they are obtainable.

Whilst on this service you will be allowed five shillings a day, besides the salary and allowances you now draw.

I believe on other matters the verbal instructions I have given you will suffice.

I am. Sir,

Yours obediently,

Commissioner of Works.

Mr. Price (almost always referred to with his initials and not his name Charles) died as a recluse in 1934 living amongst his native friends. His obituary describes his significant contribution to the development of telegraphic communication on Western Australia.


Jonathan Parish.

Charles Price had made a major contribution but the efficiency and effectiveness of his work was enhanced by Jonathan Parrish who was, to all intents and purposes, Price's "right hand man". Parish was the overseer of the Albany-Eucla line and was responsible only to Price.

He also was appointed by Fleming - as Overseer of the Albany-Eucla line and responsible only to Charles Price. His terms and conditions were summarised in a memorandum to overseer Jonathan Parish setting out his duties. The concluding clause of that memorandum is as follows:

To C. D. Price, Esq.,
Surveyor, etc.,


7. To interest himself generally in the work:

Superintendent of Telegraphs.
1/2 /75.

Read and approved.
William C. F. Robinson.

Jonathan Parish lived for many years in Albany after the Eucla line was completed and he is buried there.