The use of postage stamps to pay telegraph charges.

Information about the regulations governing the use of postage stamps on telegrams is summarised below for the post-1900 period.

Information about the use of stamps to pre-pay telegram costs in the Colonial period needs to be examined at length. It can be accessed through the main menus for each Colony above.

Following the practice used at the end of the Colonial period, telegraph charges levied on the transmission of messages were paid or at least receipted with postage stamps. The newly established Commonwealth Gazette announced that, as from 30 June 1902, "the charges on all telegrams, whether official or private, must be prepaid by postage stamps. The public must affix the stamps and the officer receiving the telegram must cancel the stamps in the presence of the person handing the telegram in. Mutilated or disfigured stamps will on no account be accepted in payment of telegraph charges".

Stamps could be supplied by the sender or purchased over the counter. The stamps would be affixed to the transmission form and cancelled with the Telegraph Office date stamp. Higher denomination stamps (over 5/-) were also punctured with a hole to disfigure them and ensure they could not be removed for reuse.

Each week, the Officer-in-Charge of the Telegraph Office or the Postmaster would return all used telegram forms to the Cashier's Branch for accounting purposes.

The use of stamps must be examined in relation to the applicable rates for sending telegrams within Australia or overseas.

Regulations for the use of stamps from the Post and Telegraph Guide (June 1922) are reproduced below:

  1922 stamps

As Cash registers became more efficient, a imprinted receipt replaced the use of stamps - at least in a practical way - even though stamps always were accepted until 1988.