Western Australia - Colonial: 1861 - 1900.
Instructional marking - COLLECT.

The COLLECT facility was available to users of the telegraph system to send a telegram and charge the cost to the recipient of the telegram. This facility was referred to as COLLECT TELEGRAMS.

Such a use was not unusual and the practice was adopted in all Australian Colonies as well as being continued well into the Australian era - and of course with more watchfulness and more forms.

In Colonial days, all the Colonies provided the COLLECT facility by simply requiring a sender to annotate the transmission form with the word COLLECT. The Operator would calculate the cost and add that to the message on the transmission form after the added word. The recipient of such a telegram would then be notified that a telegram had arrived for them or a messenger would bring it to the address shown and the recipient would pay the required amount before being able to access their telegram. If the potential recipient of a Collect Telegram refused to pay the cost, the sender had to pay together with any other costs.

There are always those in the community who wish to rort any system for their own greedy interests. The Collect system was sometimes used to advertises goods and services to people who paid the fee necessary before realising what the message was.


1. Western Australia regulations:

In contrast to South Australia, NSW and Victoria, Western Australia had no such system of Collect Telegrams and refused to accept that type of telegram from another Colony - even if payments had been made. The South Australian Register of 11 November 1897 described the differences and difficulties as follows:

Prepaid and 'Collect' Telegrams. Businessmen who have been accustomed to the manners of the South Australian Telegraph Department have shown some annoyance at the fact that telegrams dispatched to Western Australia, even when the receiver is well known to be a 'good mark,' are invariably required to be prepaid. The reason is that Western Australian telegraph offices do not receive 'collect' telegrams. Of course telegrams in answer to messages originating in Western Australia for which the reply has been paid are accepted without demur, and Press telegrams do not need to be prepaid. The Telegraph Department in the western colony not only applies the rule referred to to persons outside the province, but it holds good among the residents of the colony.

The fact is that the South Australian Telegraph Department bears a name for liberality to its customers that does not attach to any other telegraph department, perhaps in the world. Throughout Great Britain, as also in the eastern colonies of Australia, telegraph messages must be accompanied by the necessary fee for transmission, the departments taking no risk. In Victoria the fee is paid in the form of stamps, which the sender attaches to the message. Cases sometimes arise in South Australia of a person dispatching a 'collect' telegram which is refused. This, of course, entails worry and at times loss to the department.


2. The COLLECT annotation used during the W.A. Colonial period.

Not many examples of COLLECT telegrams are recorded for Western Australia.

Message on form WC-DO-4Aa from Perth to Albany 28 July 1890.
Has 6d COLLECT annotation for the 10 word message.

See a slightly earlier annotation also on the same type of form but used at Albany on 13 Devember 1889.