New South Wales - Central Telegraph Office.
Delivery using pneumatic tubes.


In common with a number of Telegraph Offices in Australia or overseas, the Sydney Telegraph Office installed pneumatic tubes to expedite delivery of telegrams to particular locations.

On 24 September 1903 in the Commonwealth Gazette, tenders were called for the installation of a Pneumatic Tube service at the General Post Office in Sydney. This service connected areas within the GPO as well as to some of the busier Telegraph Offices in the CBD nearby.

The Exchange was one of the first of these Offices to be connected to the Sydney Telegraph Office.

Tubes London
Pneumatic tubes installed in the London Central Telegram Office.

The seated gentleman on the right is placing a message into one of the canisters which will be put into the vertical tubes and then sucked along by the vacuum to its destination some distance away.

One of the busiest times during which the pneumatic tubes were used was in 1910 when there was considerable share trading activity because of gold discoveries in Western Australia. This use is also the first time the use of Urgent rate telegrams were used in significant quantities in NSW. The Sydney Morning Herald of 30 November 1910 described the situation as follows:

Speculators in a Quandary: For several days, pink has been the prevailing colour of the sheaves of telegrams delivered to the share brokers at the Sydney Stock Exchange through the pneumatic tube from the Central Electric Telegraph Office. In nine cases out of ten, they are either from Southern Cross or Adelaide and deal solely with the feverish speculation in Bullfinch shares. In many instances, they are most contradictory, especially those coming from Southern Cross. First, one reports a discovery of rich gold on a particular lease. Another one contradicts the report. Another gives currency to a "rumour" that a big find has been made - it may be north, south, east or west of the Bull Finch Proprietary mine.

There is a run on the stock and then another pink messenger says there is no truth in the story. The reported discovery of rich gold on the Young Bullfinch lease is a case in point. It was contradicted and again reaffirmed; whilst our Southern Cross correspondent states that the manager of the Bullfinch Proprietary mine, Mr. Harris, saw the ore and tested it himself. With these conflicting statements flying about, the speculators did not know what to do. Some operators went on the axiom "when there is a doubt - bear" - hence there was a lot of "short selling" yesterday. According to our Adelaide correspondent, operators on the Stock Exchange of that city are beginning to be a little more cautious for he remarked, apropos of Saturday's proceedings, "Some operators felt that the reports from the West had been too good to be true. Fears of salting, market rigging and such-like crept in and, with recollections of past incidents revived, there was a general uneasiness and pronounced cautiousness at the opening of the market on Monday".