Overview of the date stamps.

In Queensland, date stamps for use with telegrams appear to have been introduced about 1880. It is difficult to identify the date precisely as no telegraph form issued by Queensland had provision for a date stamp and no Gazette notice instructing Telegraph Officers can be located.

The earliest recorded date stamp directly associated with the telegraph is the Telegraph Branch/G.P.O. date stamp of 8 April 1882.

There are three types of date stamp which were used in Telegraph Offices:

ETO Oval Townsv CTO BNE
1. Oval Electric Telegraph Office date stamps - unfortunately with no date. 2. Chief Telegraph Office
date stamps used in Brisbane.
TO Towns Cloncurry Barcaldine
3. Telegraph Office and T.O. date stamps.
Also includes date stamps used
at Railway Telegraph Offices.
4. Usual date stamps used for postal purposes - from either the Colonial or the Australian era.

The circular steel postal date stamps used after Federation in 1901 have been classified by Terry Dell with assistance in recent years from David Price. His detailed lsting and explanations are available elsewhere.

It is worthwhile recording here a comment by a disgruntled telegram user in the Brisbane Courier of 16 May 1917:

Telegraphic Date Stamps.

Smudge writes:

Sir -The public have recently been afforded an insight into the sloppiness oí the methods that prevail in the Electric Telegraph Department of Queensland and the position seems to call for criticism from the community that pays the piper.

I have before me six telegrams received in the past few days and an essential thing about them is the date on which they were issued at the Brisbane Central Telegraph Branch. The dates cannot be deciphered. There is a square space for the office date stamp on the right hand side of the telegraph form and, as if to symbolize the department as one of misfits, a round stamp of a very antiquatcd metal type is used for the purpose of signifying the date.

The "purpose" however, is rarely reached and neither will it be more than occasionally reached while the impressing combination consists of a badly inked, unsuitable kind of stamp with an unsuitable kind of boy at the other end of it.

If it were possible to impress upon the department that a rubber stamp - preferably a square one - which would conduce to it being placed right side up oftener gives better results than a badly worn metal one and also to impress upon the user that rubber stamps don't require as much sledge hammer force behind them as hammers do, businessmen might be saved some unnecessary trouble and many regrets that the theoretical perfection of national undertakings is sacrificed on the altar of inefficiency.