Victoria - Colonial period: 1854-1900.
Gippsland line.

The telegraph line running to the east of Melbourne was constructed over a long distance to Sale before intermediate stations were opened. This strategy was in keeping with the policy of opening up the facility of telegraphic communication to the widest area possible to serve important economic and social needs and then constructing appropriate intermediate offices.

Hence, in 1864, the Gippsland line consisted of Melbourne, Rosedale, Sale and Port Albert - the last being the administrative centre for Gippsland and a busy Port for transporting goods between Melbourne and Tasmania.

The line ran almost directly east to Sale from which further extensions could be developed at later times and Telegraph Offices added as needs arose and could be prioritised.

The line originally started at Melbourne but changed over the years.

For example, in 1887, the Gippsland line consisted of three lines - running together between some Telegraph Offices:

Wilson's Promontory Line (No. 1 East): Wilson's Promontory, Foster, Port Albert, Tarraville, Sale, Rosedale, Traralgon, Morewell, Moe, Yarragon, Trafalgar, Warragul, Drouin, Pakenham, Berwick, Dandenong, Oakleigh.

Gippsland Line (No. 2 East): Dandenong, Warrugul, Sale.

Omeo Line (No. 3 East): Omeo, Bruthen, Bairnsdale, Stratford, Maffra, Sale, Rosedale, Traralgon, Warragul, Dandenong, Malvern, Armadale.

By 1890, increased construction and a re-configuring of the linkages meant that there were seven lines to and in the Gippsland area. Those lines which were not solely for telephones include:

Line 29: Malvern test box, Dandenong, Warragul, Rosedale, Sale, Tarraville, Port Albert, Foster, Yanakie (telephone), Wilson's Promontory;

Line 30: Melbourne through Malvern test box, Oakleigh, Dandenong, Berwick, Packenham, Drouin, Warragul, Yarragon, Trafalgar, Morwell, Traralgon, Rosedale, Sale, Maffra and Stratford;

Line 31: Melbourne through Malvern test box, Oakleigh, Dandenong, Packenham, Warragul, Morwell, Traralgon, Rosedale, Sale, Stratford, Bairnsdale, Bruthen, Tambo Crossing, Ensay, Swift's Creek, Tongio (last 4 telephone) and Omeo;

Line 62: Melbourne through Malvern test box, Caulfield Racecourse, Oakleigh, Dandenong, Berwick, Packenham, Warragul, Moe, Traralgon, Toongabbie and Walhalla;

Line 115: Warragul through Drouin to Buln Buln (telephones - Drouin a repeater);

Line 117: Port Albert through Alberton to Yarram Yarram;

Line 119: Bairnsdale through Bruthen, Cunninghame to Orbost;


Following the construction of the long line to Sale in 1864, the next developments were:

Extract from the Annex to the 1887 Report showing the Lines of Telegraph.
Harrietville -the end of the Bright Branch from the Corowa/Wahgunyah Line can be seen at the top.
After the Melbourne-Sale line had been serviced with Telegraph Offices, the push beyond Bairnsdale was planned as a separate branch from the Gippsland Line. Stratford was opened as a combined P&T office in 1873 and later extensions were made to the south-east to Cunninghame (now Lakes Entrance) and to the north to Omeo (see an image of a wood engraving titled "erecting the telegraph line to Omeo"

Other offices around the general region were subsequently opened according to local demand - such as at Buchan and Maffra. An 11 mile line from Omeo south to Cassilis was erected in 1894.

The railway line was being constructed in 1889. One branch ran from Dandenong to Warragul and then to Leongatha and on to Alberton. In October, two locals found coal "which was jet black, and burns brilliantly in an ordinary fireplace. The seam has an average width of 5 feet, and is near the surveyed route of the Warragul to Leongatha (railway) line". The railway line from Korumburra to Leongatha was opened on 14 December 1891.

On 21 May 1891, tenders were called in the Gazette for the supply of 1,300 Telegraph Poles for the Korumburra to Port Albert line. In 1894, a 30 mile line was erected from Leongatha to Foster. In 1896, a half mile extension line was constructed between Korumburra Railway Station and Korumburra Post Office.

This whole area was a very rich source of quality coal. In the Barrier Miner of 20 April 1891: "The Mines, Department has received information, though at present of an unofficial character, that the most important mineral discovery yet made in the colony has just been made at Jumbunna, in Gippsland. The report is to the effect that the Government diamond drill which is boring in that locality came upon a seam of black coal, 5ft. in thickness, at a depth of about 300 ft. The report has yet to be confirmed officially. The thickest seam of black coal previously found in the colony was one of 4ft. in thickness penetrated by a diamond drill boring at Korumburra".

In the Sydney Morning Herald of 14 May 1892: "The giant drill boring for black coal between Korumburra and Strezlecki, South Gippsland, a few days ago, passed through a seam 3 ft. 10 in thick at a depth of 534 ft. To-day it passed through another seam 3 ft 3 in thick at a depth of 538 ft. The latter is not such good coal as the former seam, being more mixed with shale".

27 Oct. 1916: Gippsland Mercury:


During the past few days, members of the Telegraph Staffing Committee, have been officially visiting Sale in connection with their system of establishing repeating telegraph centres through the Commonwealth. We understand that it is proposed to make Sale a repeating centre for Gippsland, business being centred here from Omeo, Orbost and Bairnsdale on the east, as far as Moe on the west and Foster on the south. Telegrams from those and intermediate localities would come into Sale, and then be rattled through on the duplex system to Melbourne. This would mean a much more speedy and effective service.

The system is working well in Queensland and New South Wales, where it has already been established. There will be at Sale a staff of about five operators on duty at a time, kept constantly going and to accommodate them certain alterations to the present office will be effected.

Under the duplex system from the local office, a hundred messages an hour could be sent and received on one wire".