Telegraph Offices on Cape York.



The Telegraph Office was opened on 25 September 1878.

In 1880, 3,581 messages were sent including 442 OHMS messages. The telegraph staff consisted of an Electric Telegraph Station Master and a line repairer in charge.

The Cairns Post of 31 January 1938 reported: "On Saturday morning (29th), a sale was conducted of the old telegraph building in Abbott Street adjoining the Cairns Post Office. It was conducted by Messrs. E. M. Boden and Co., the auctioneer being Mr. D. Dillon. The premises were disposed of for removal to Mr. D. R. Peiniger, 170 Lake Street, for £58. This will remove one of the oldest landmarks of Cairns".

Cairns 1897
Cairns PO c. 1897.
Source: NLA J2879 QTH447.

A new telegraph office was then built at a cost of £7,500. It was situated in Spence Street facing Anzac Park. That "old Telegraph Office" in Spence Street was demolished in 2006 after approval by the Cairns City Council.



Two date stamps were issued to Cairns for use with telegraphic business:

  1. a RO7-ETO rubber Electric Telegraph oval. Has a Crown inside the inner scalloped oval - so Queensland oval type 1.

Size: 27 × 43 mm (e = 0.78).

Used: 1 April 1892.

Rated: RRRR.

Cairns RO7
1 April 1882.
Used on a transmission form (QC-TO-3).

Provenance: Dave Elsmore.

  1. a circular steel E.T.O date stamp for Cairns recorded used
    on 4 June 1964.



One slogan postmark advertising Telegrams is recorded as being used at Cairns - SEND A TELEGRAM.

Cape York.

The Telegraph Office was opened

CY Repeater
Cape York repeater station in 1949.
Source: National Archives of Australia J3088.
CY 1935
Cape York Post Office about 1935.
CY Horses
Cape York - Unloading horses at the P&T 1905.


In August 1874, a one acre block was reserved in Cooktown for the construction of a Telegraph office. This block was purchased by the Government for £120 soon after. "It is much required, the present office having no dwelling attached for the accommodation of the Telegraph Master".

In 1880, 15,327 messages were sent including 1,202 OHMS messages. The telegraph staff consisted of an Electric Telegraph Station Master, 1 operator, 1 line repairer, 1 clerical assistant and 2 messengers.

Cooktown Coastal Radio: It was reported on 27 September 1912 that Senator Findley, in reply to Senator Sayers (Q ), said that a site had been selected for a wireless telegraph station at Cooktown, and the equipment ordered for this station would be opened in April.

The Telegraph Office opened on 6 April 1887.

A description of the silver mine was published on 25 December 1886.



Herberton 1882
Herberton Electric Telegraph Office.
No date but used on 7 October 1882.
Type 2 oval: BO7-ETO.
Size: 27 × 44 mm (e = 0.79).

Used on QC-DU-1.

Provenance: Dave Elsmore.


Herberton oval
Herberton Electric Telegraph Office.
9 December 1889.
Type 2 oval: BO6-ETO.
Size: 27 × 45 mm (e = 0.80).

Provenance: Dave Elsmore.


The Telegraph Office opened at Geraldton in early April 1885. Geraldton was the name until 1910 when it was changed to Innisfail to avoid confusion with the Western Australian town.

Europeans arrived and Robert Johnstone named the beautiful river after himself.

Innisfail 1911

Innisfail date stamp used for ordinary mail and for telegrams.

Diameter: 29 mm.


The Telegraph Office opened on 11 August 1899.



In 1864, a telegraph line was extended from the Brisbane Telegraph Office to Moreton Island to the Pilot Station. In 1872, that line was extended to the southern end of Moreton Island and then, in 1887, a Telegraph Office was opened at Moreton.

In 1896, a Receiving Office was opened at the Telegraph Office and that operation was upgraded to a Post Office in 1927. The Post Office was closed in 1977.

The Telegraph Office was issued with an oval ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH OFFICE date stamp at some time. It was type 3A-BO7-ETO.

Used in black: 20 June 1904.

Size: 27 × 41 mm (e = 0.75).

Rated: RRRR.

Number in the Census: 1.

Detail of the ETO oval date stamp on the cover below.

Tatts cover sent from Coen to Hobart 9 July 1904.
Passed through Moreton and Cooktown as shown by date stamps on 20 July
and through Townsville on 24 July 1904 before arriving at Hobart on 2 August 1904.


The Telegraph Office was built in 1887 as part of Queensland's Overland Telegraph line. It was a repeater station with large banks of batteries and a generator to boost the power in the telegraph line. From 1896 to 1927, the Office was a Receiving Office after which it became a Post Office until 1930. For further details, see elsewhere.

Musgrave is the only overland telegraph station on Cape York that remains. The old wire has been replaced with modern microwave radio systems and optic fiber.


The Musgrave Telegraph repeater station.

The Office was issued with an oval Electric Telegraph Office (type 3)
brass date stamp (BO3-ETO).

Used: unknown dates.

Size: not seen complete.

Rated: RRRR.

Musg 2d roo
No date.
brown KGV
No date.
Musgrave oval
No date.
Port Douglas.

The Telegraph Office opened on 23 May 1879.

The Office was issued with an Electric Telegraph Office oval date stamp.

Port Douglas oval
Port Douglas Electric Telegraph Office.
P of PORT is missing.
Oval Type 2A: BO7-ETO.
No date.
Size: 27 × 44 mm (e = 0.79).

Provenance: Dave Elsmore.

Thursday Island.

The Telegraph Office opened on 26 August 1887.

Thursday PO
The Thursday Island Post & Telegraph Office.

Postcard sent to Mosman (Sydney) with a "With love from Dad" message to his daughter from a Sailor aboard the S.S. Embling cargo ship. Has a Queen Victoria 1d orange tied by a Thursday Island postal date stamp of 18 May 1908.

Thursday PO
Thursday Island Post & Telegraph Office.
Staff quarters are the building on the left.
TI ETO detail
Thursday Island Electric Telegraph Office.
Oval type 2A: BO3 - ETO.
Detail of the oval date stamp on the delivery envelope.

Size: 26 × 44 mm (e = 0.81).

TI cover
Delivery envelope (QC-EO-2).

Thursday Island to Waroonga
29 March 1888 - about 7 months after the Telegraph Office had opened..