New South Wales - Colonial: 1858-1900.
Insights through the career of Mr. Middleton.

Goulburn Herald
12 January 1906.


MR. C. A. MIDDLETON, post and telegraph master at Goulburn, will shortly retire from the service after the extended term of 41½ years with the department.

His first appoint ment was at West Maitland in July 1861, and after 18 months there, he was transferred to Sydney, and took up the position of assistant operator. At that time the office was on the site of the present structure, but of course a much more insignificant building than the fine, commodious premises which now adorn George Street and Martin Place. One of the pillars which formed part of the facade of the old building now stands as a guide to mariners at Bradley's Head and marks the measured mile over which trial trips are done.

In 1863 the department was only four years old and the whole of the work was performed by four operators, Mr. Middleton being one of them. Only four lines were in use, two running south, one west, and one north. Altogether there were about a dozen hands in the Sydney office, in cluding the superintendent; now there are hundreds. Those were the days when the bushrangers were causing alarm, and at times very long messages of crime reports had to be taken which taxed the operator a great deal. On one occasion, it fell to Mr. Middleton's lot to receive a telegram of 1000 words regarding the shooting near Goulburn of a celebrated bushranger. It might be mentioned that Mr. Middleton was an expert operator at this time, and he made light work of the tasks which he often had to perform.

The charges for telegrams in those days were much higher than they are now. A telegram of ten words to Melbourne cost 9/- with 9d. for every additional word. The price was subsequently reduced to 7/- for ten words, and this was considered a great concession. The cost of sending a message from Sydney to Goulburn was either 3/- or 4/- and to Yass a trifle more; differential rates prevailed in those days.

After a successful term in Sydney Mr. Middleton was appointed to Hay, where he opened an office in 1864. He stayed in Hay for six years and was then promotel to Wagga, where he served for nine years. His next move was to Goulburn in 1878, where he has resided ever since. The office was then in the Court House grounds and was a small building facing Belmore Square. The work was not nearly as heavy as it is now, there being only two operators.

There is another old official connected with the Goulburn office, viz, Mr. J. W. Daniel, and of whom Mr. Middleton speaks very highly. He joined the service under Mr. Middleton twenty-six years ago, and has, with but a short interval, been with him ever since.

Mr. Middleton has, during his term in Goulburn, been most courteous and obliging to the general public, and has most faithfully attended to his duties. Mr. Middleton intends to continue his residence in Goulburn.