South Australia - Colonial period: 1855-1900.
Delivery form: SC-DO-5

General characteristics:

Heading and notes:

Form number No. 13.
Has ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH with crest between words and the Lion and the Unicorn are facing away from each other.
Has printed name of receiving station.

Message area: Five boxes in each line numbered at the left.
Reverse side: Blank.
Colours (text & form): Red on cream.
Size of form overall: 288 × 213 mm or 194 × 223 mm.
Size of datestamp box: 41 × 40 mm or 40 × 33 mm.
Distinctive characteristics of this form:




Napier (UK) to Adelaide via Brindisi.
28 November 1877.

Early use of a handstamp on a telegram.


  • size: 288 × 213 mm;
  • 12 rows of 5 boxes
    (total 60);
  • heading for the name of the receiving Station is ADELAIDE;
  • has a line between "from" and "Station" in the 2nd section and then an entry staring with the word DATED.

The route for the transmission of this form is unclear.

From Napier it arrived in Adelaide - presumably to be sent over the Overland Telegraph line to England for delivery at Eccles in the County of LancashireEccles is of course famous for its Eccles cakes which were banned by Oliver Cromwell in 1650 in the belief that the cakes - and the wakes - had Pagan connections..
The form has however clear instructions about being posted - not telegraphed.

A post charge of £1 3s 6d is shown together with a manuscript note "POST ADELAIDE VIA BRINDISI". That delivery would have taken about two months - a long time for a message saying "Dont be depressed...".

Using Adelaide may have been a quick connection to the steamer returning to Emgland.


Adelaide to Port Adelaide
25 March 1878.
Very early usage of a handstamp on a telegram.

Note a possible correction to the written message has been added in the lower right corner (box 20).


  • size: 195 × 223 mm;
  • 4 rows of 5 boxes
    (total 20);
  • heading for the name of the receiving Station is ADELAIDE.
  • no line between "from" and "Station" in the 2nd section and no words following "Station";

Details of use and rarity.

Schedule number Earliest recorded date Rarity rating
DO-5A None. 28 November 1877 at Telegraph Office, Adelaide. RRRR
DO-5B None. 25 March 1878 at Port Adelaide. RRRR