Tasmania - Colonial: 1857 - 1900.
Instructional marking - REPLY PAID.

For various reasons, the sender of a telegram might be wanting a reply to a telegram and so would pre-pay the cost of transmission for that reply. Perhaps the main reasons motivating the advance of the money required for a reply would be:

In these circumstances, the words REPLY PAID or PRE-PAID or Answer Paid could be added to a message - generally at the end - and an indication of the cost pre-paid for the reply would also be added. The recipient would then use a transmission form to write a reply and the cost allowed debited by the Telegraph Office to the original telegram.


Message written on an ad hoc transmission form using part of a sheet of paper.
Message was for transmission from Green Ponds to South Hobart.
1s paid for the first 10 words (only 9 used).

Carlton House at 5 Fitzroy Place was a Georgian style cottage and it seems it was built about 1885.
It was sold in 2020.


An amazing survivor pair of ad hoc forms is known for communication between Hobart and Buckland (via Brighton) on (Tuesday) 16 August 1881.
Almost certainly unique.

The first communication of 10 wordsThe words REPLY PAID were never included in the word count. was from Buckland to Hobart:
The form was received at 2:50 pm and telegraphed to Hobart at 3:45 pm.

It is marked REPLY PAID.

Message reads:

W. G. McMichael.
If accommodation for two will accept six weeks from date.
Reply Paid.
E, Powell

In this telegram, Powell had paid for a reply from McMichael.

The second communication of 6 words was from Hobart to Buckland:
The form was received at 5:26 pm and telegraphed to Buckland via Brighton at 5:30 pm.

It is marked COLLECT.

Message reads:

E. Powell
No accomodation for two.
Situation (?) filled.
W. G. McMichael.

In this telegram, McMichael was using the amount paid previously for his reply to Powell.


Reply paid dockets.

Reply Paid docket issued to Telegraph Offices in Tasmania in booklet form with adhesive at the top.

Height: 15.5 cm; width; 9.7 cm.

The form does not show the authority but as it comes from the Clemente collection, it is unambiguously Tasmanian.

Johnstone Collection.

Colonal Period:

At some time - presumably in the late Colonial period - the Tasmanian Telegraph Office issued a special REPLY PAID form which made record keeping much more direct and easy to trace. Probably to ease administration in the Telegraph Office even further, a Reply Paid section was attached to the form with perforations and could be attached for filing. Only three of these REPLY-PAID forms is still known complete.

At about the same time, the Department issued Docket books to all Offices to help with administering and monitoring the pre-paid telegrams being sent and received and to track Reply Paid telegrams and their associated payments. These books are a forgotten remnant and most people would never have even heard of them.

The scan of a docket is shown at the left. They were issued in booklet form bound by adhesive at the top. Hence each docket could be easily removed.

It is important to recognise that the docket indicates stamps could be used for payment of charges.

Interim Period:

In the Interim period, three forms headed COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA were issued. These had two halves - for the original message and for the reply respectively. One of the three forms was marked for URGENT rate.


Examples of some Colonial Tasmanian telegrams which had been pre-paid are shown below:


Telegram sent to New Town from somewhere now not recorded on 24 April 1885.
The words REPLY PAID have been added to the end of the message.
Has been repeated at an intermediate station (possibly Bothwell).
The cost of this telegram of 14 words was 1s for the first 10 words and 1d for each additional word - hence 1s 4d (1/4).
The cost pre-paid for the reply is not indicated. Presumably, under the circumstances, the sender was willing to pay any cost incurred.