Queensland - Colonial period: 1861-1900.
Lines constructed in the south-east region.

As the telegraph system gained more popularity with private individuals and the private business sector, the efficiency and effectiveness of the Southern line to New South Wales was evaluated. In addition, it became increasingly important that, with the growth in telegraphic communication, there had to be multiple lines between Brisbane and Sydney. Some of those lines to the south came through the South-West region.

On the east side of the first line - say east of Warwick - there were two stages in the development of lines to the south as well as lines to serve the population in that region:

  1. a second line close to the coast;
  2. a new line to shorten the first line south via Toowoomba.
  This map extends north to the Brisbane Roma Mackay region.



This map extends west to the South-West region.

  This map extends south to the north-east region of NSW.

1. The coastal route.

In the Report for 1872, a 75 mile extension line was proposed from Brisbane via Beenleigh to the NSW border. Tender were invited for the construction of the line "from Brisbane via Beenleigh and Nerang Creek to connect with the NSW system near the River Tweed". This line was opened in June 1975. The line branched at or near Nerang to Southport and the Queensland component ended at Tweed Heads.

Tenders for the supply of materials and the necessary workmanship to construct a Nerang-Southport branch of the line closed on 21 July 1879.

The line continued in New South Wales to Kynnumboon which is 854 km from Sydney. That township had a post office which had opened on 15 August 1868 and then a Telegraph Office was opened on 1 November 1875. That is a timely date confirming the link through to Brisbane.

On 15 April 1882, the Kynnumboon office was renamed Murwillumbah.

The line immediately continued down the coast to Lismore where a Telegraph Office had been opened at the Post Office on 1 February 1875. The Post and Telegraph services at Lismore were merged on 1 March 1875. That line was also extended to Grafton which completed the circuit to Sydney via Glen Innes. Further details of these northern NSW lines are provided elsewhere.


2. Revision of the first line.

Stanthorpe was a township of the Southern Tin Mins. It was very close to Maryland. and it was connected to the circuit on 19 August 1872 by a ten mile extension from the NSW place called Bookookookara. The Report for 1872 notes "Telegraphic communication appears to have been greratly appreciated by the inhabitants of this extensive mineral district, judging from the number of messages passing through the Stanthorpe office". An additional wire was also erected on this Brisbane via Stanthorpe to New South Wales near Bookookookara line in 1872. That wire was to be connected to a second wire to Sydney to improve the business further.

In March 1873, another line was opened between Rosenthal Creek (a little to the south of Warwick) to Stanthorpe and much of the old (1861) line was renewed.

Fasifern, to the south-west of Brisbane was a growing area with a relatively large number of people. It was therefore decided to open a line to that area and, on 13 June 1877, a line from Ipswich to Fassifern was opened (near Aratula).

That began an analysis of how a shorter route could be operated from Brisbane to Tenterfield.

The next solution required a line to be opened between Fassifern and Warwick - a distance of 45 miles. The route went over Spicer's Gap and across the Great Dividing Range through terrain which was exceptionally difficult. Nevertheless, the line was laid and it opened on 27 May 1879.

The Fassifern to Warwick line became known as the "Via Recta" - which translated into either " the bottom way" or "the right way". Given the shortening of the distance, both are appropriate translations.

The line from Stanthorpe to the NSW border was probably later re-routed to run along the railway line - tenders being called for this construction on 6 August 1885.



After the wires had been erected, communication between any two nominated places had to be networked. Often two adjacent wires ran for miles before diverging to their respective destinations to form the actual transmission lines. Preferably more than two wires would serve a single place so that messages could still be transmitted even in the event of an interruption to one line.

A summary of the lines which served the South East region before Federation - divided into Southern District and Northern District regions which they may have crossed - together with their line numbers, is presented in the following table.

Line # From To Note
S3 Brisbane Tweed River via Southport
S21 Dugandan Nanango via Ipswich
S31 Brisbane Railway Nerang  
S40 Warwick Railway Killarney  
S52 Bethania Beaudesert railway  

Legend: S = Southern district lines; N = Northern District lines.