South Australia - Colonial: 1856 -1900.
Telegraph offices in the Tailem Bend - Pinaroo to Border Town region


Border Town Lameroo Meningie MacGrath's Flat  
Pinnaroo Tailem Bend Wellington    

Border Town.

See entry elsewhere.


"Post Office.
Business at the new Post Office at Lameroo was commenced on Thursday morning (2 March 1911). The recently constructed edifice is not by any means the best in the world, and certainly not what the people have been battling for during the past couple of years but, as “half a loaf is better than no bread”, we must for a while cry content. Mr. R. P. Hoar is in charge and the erection of the necessary telegraphic and telephonic apparatus has been faithfully carried out by Mr. P. R. Bradley".

Pinnaroo Country News
3 March 1911.

The Advertiser of 4 April 1911 reported that, as of the previous day, "The post and telegraph at Lameroo is complete and the operator is in charge but the staff is insufficient for the work".

"Tenders are being called by the Works and Building Department of the Commonwealth for the erection of post and telegraph offices at Pinnaroo and Lameroo respectively". (19 May 1911).



A Telegraph Office was opened on 29 November 1873. Two days before, the South Australian Advertiser (p. 3) anticipated that "on the first of next month we are to have the use of the Telegraph in this township (Meningie) so connecting us with all parts of the colony".

An incident at Meningie in November 1868 underlined the situation in many remote communities and their need for a telegraph station. The South Australian Chronicle for 7 November reported:

"MENINGIE, November 2.

An accident of a serious nature occurred to a Mr. Freeman, Overseer of the Road Works near this township, on Wednesday afternoon, the 28th ult. While he was in the act of placing one of the traces to a dray, the horse kicked at him and broke his leg just below the knee. As quickly as possible he was removed to the Meningie Hotel, where every necessary attention was paid to the sufferer but unfortunately a distance of 15 miles had to be ridden to McGrath's Flat before a doctor could be telegraphed to at Langhorne's Bridge, a distance from thence of some 60 miles. At the latter part of the following day, the medical man arrived and reduced the fracture. This occurrence, with others that have previously happened, shows clearly that, as the telegraph wires pass through the (Meningie) township, and the population of late having increased - and may further increase - it is only right that we should have a telegraph office here".

McGrath's Flat.

The Telegraph Office opened on 30 January 1862 (as MacGrath's Flat). The Post Office had opened in 1858. On 17 June 1862, the Post Office was reopened at the Telegraph Office.

A happy note: WOOD — On the 26th March 1872 at the Telegraph Station, McGrath's Flat, the wife of J. S. Wood, of a daughter.

The Telegraph Office closed on 29 November 1873 and the Post Office closed on 31 March 1882.

A Telephone Office opened on 20 August 1923 but closed in 1927.


Given the reference to telegrams in the March 1911 report below, it can be assumed that the telegraph office had opened in July 1910.

Other records claim that the Telegraph Office was opened at the Railway Station in March 1910 but it was transferred to the Post Office in March 1911.

A Post Office was opened in December 1905.

In 1901, the State Government spent considerable time in discussing the Pinnaroo Railway Bill.

Pinnaroo Post & Telegraph Office - probably about 1911 after the transfer.

Pinnaroo Post & Telegraph Office in 1915.

The Pinnaroo and Border Times of 17 March 1911 ran the following story:

"No better indication of the progress of any town or district could be had than the business transacted at the local Post and Telegraph Office. In a live town like Pinnaroo, it would readily be seen that the increase of business during the last twelve months would be considerable. We have been courteously supplied with figures by the local post and telegraph master (Mr F. Butterworth) in which interesting comparisons are made and unmistakably show that the town is on the up-grade and the volume of trade will soon warrant additions to the local staff.

As Mr Butterworth has received notification of his appointment to Port Lincoln, Pinnarooites may shortly look forward to the removal of this genial officer.

The figures of the business are as follows:

Telegrams sent for the last eight months show an average of 48 per day.

Showing an increase of business for given period in January 1910 and 1911 the figures are:

  • Money orders: £144 and £420;
  • stamps: £53 and £112;
  • postal notes: £70 and £142;
  • remittances: £255 and £420;
  • letters received: Nov. 1909 and 1910: 6,168 and 11,298;
  • letters posted: 4,791 and 10,821.

It will be seen that, in most instances, the records show an increase in twelve months of nearly 100 per cent".

"Tenders are being called by the Works and Building Department of the Commonwealth for the erection of post and telegraph offices at Pinnaroo and Lameroo respectively". (19 May 1911)

Tailem Bend.

The Telegraph Office was opened at the Railway Station when it opened in 1886 - a year before the town was proclaimed.

On 28 November 1913, the new Post Office at Tailem Bend was opened.


Tailem Bend
Tailem Bend.
3 January 1940.

Usual postal date stamp.
Used on telegraph form AB-DO-8H.

On Saturday 22 September 1922, the new race course was opened. The course was situated almost within the town and a telegraph office was also expected to open on that day at the course.

The Race Club was a special feature of the town. In 1929, considerable damage was inflicted on the town - and on the Club. A few months later however, all repairs had been completed and "special provision was made to accommodate all motor inside the course grounds. Patrons were able to view the races without leaving their cars if they desired to do so. The totalisator was improved and additions made to the stalls. The telegraph office on the ground received attention and the secretary's office was improved".


In the early 1890s in South Australia, there was considerable discussion of the need to open up areas in the far eastern and south-east region near the Victorian border to new settlement. To achieve this end, it was planned to construct a Railway line towards Pinnaroo. Part of the incentive for this initiative was the very high rate of unemployment in South Australia about 1893. Although the Government had tried to develop various work schemes, these did little to decrease unemployment.  The Government wanted to do more and bring about a more permanent settlement by encouraging people to be got onto the land in accordance with the provision for village settlement passed by Parliament in 1893.

The unemployed men were informed that the best thing they could do was to form themselves into associations and move on to land as soon as it was available. The Pinnaroo Bill, which would have provided work for many, had unfortunately been thrown out by the Legislative Council. "The men must make some sacrifices for their families and go back on to the land under the Village Settlement scheme".