Victoria: 1854-1900.
Telegraph Offices on the Bordertown (No. 5 West) line.


The Beaufort Telegraph Office had opened as part of the first line to South Australia. As the telegraph network grew, the original connections were re-routed and so by the early 1860's, they were integrated into the Bordertown (No. 5 West) line.

The following stations were included on the Bordertown line:

Ararat Ballarat Beaufort Bordertown Dimboola
Geelong Glenorchy Great Western Horsham Jung Jung
Kaniva Learmonth Lillimur Miner's Rest Murtoa
Nhill Raglan Stawell Wabdallah Wal Wal
Warracknabeal Windermere      


1. Ararat Telegraph Office.

Tenders were called in July 1858 for the construction of a Telegraph Office. The telegraphic connection was made in November 1858. It was an early extension from Raglan/Beaufort on the first line through to South Australia.

A Telegraph Office opened about 9 October 1861 - at the same time as the Office in Tamworth, NSW (a random fact!!).

Ararat Post and Telegraph Office.
Scanned from a postcard.

2. Personnel:

May 1879: A valedictory gift in the form of a hand some gold locket has; been presented to Mr. James Lawrence, operator at the Ararat telegraph office, by his brother officials on the occasion of his recent removal to the Head Office, Melbourne.

3. Early usage:

The earliest evidence of the use of the Telegraph facilities is a Telegram delivery envelope (VC-TO-2A) used at Ararat on 12 February 1861. This use was when the Telegraph Office was still in a temporary location and 8 months before the first purpose designed office was opened.

4. Date stamps.

The Office was issued with two formats for date stamps over about a 100 year period.

1. a 1 hole Belt & Buckle date stamp.

Used in black: 19 October 1889 to 14 May 1894.

Size: 27.5 × 38 mm (e = 0.69.

Rating: RR.

Number in the Census: 5.

19 October 1889.
(earliest recorded date).
Provenance: Freeman, Johnstone.
Ararat 1894 green
14 May 1894.
(latest recorded date).
Provenance: Max Watson,
  Ararat pair
4 January 1893.
  1. Used in blue:
    2 June 1891 to 5 April 1892.

Rating: RR.

Number in the Census: 3.

2 June 1891.
Ararat 1892 Blue
5 April 1892 (latest recorded date).

3. The Telegraph Office was also issued with a circular rubber date stamp for ARARAT /TELEGRAPH SECTION.

Used: 29 October 1988 - probably an archival strike for the last day of operation.

Diameter: 32 mm.

Rated: RRR.

Ararat TS
29 September 1988.

We know not when the Telegraph Office opened at Beaufort. The Fiery Creek PO was renamed Fiery Creek P.G.F. on 1 January 1856. It was then renamed Raglan PO on 16 May 1860 then again renamed Beaufort PO on 27 May 1863.

In March 1871, a tender was accepted from Wm. Seeley for the construction of a new Post and Telegraph Office at Beaufort for £1,149 19s.

Now read the entry for Raglan below.

Beaufort Post & Telegraph Office about 1900.

The office was issued with a 1 hole
Belt & Buckle date stamp.
  1. Used in black: 9 January 1890 to 16 August 1896.

Size: 27 × 38 mm
(e = 0.70).

Rated: RR.

Number in the Census: 9.

Beau 1892
15 June 1892.

Used on a Post Card to St Kilda.

Beau 1894
4 May 1894.
16 August 1896.
Latest recorded date.
  1. Used in blue: 6 October 1891 to
    22 July 1893.

Size: 27 × 38 mm (e = 0.70)

Rated: RR.

Number in the Census: 6.

Beaufort 1891 blue
6 October 1891
(earliest recorded date in blue).
18 April 1893.

Detail of the B&B of 9 May 1892 on cover to England (see right).

One of only three recorded covers with a Belt & Buckle date stamp sent to an international destination.

Beaufort England
9 May 1892.
Beaufort blue 1893
Detail of the B&B of 22 July 1893 on wrapper (see right). Latest recorded date in blue.
Part of the wrapper with the blue Belt & Buckle date stamp shown to the left.


The Telegraph Office opened in June 1880 in a wooden building together with the Post Office. "A banquet was held the evening on the 17th June at Dimboola to celebrate the connection of the town by telegraph with other centres of population".

On 10 August 1882, telegraph facilities were also made available to the public at the railway station. The town was originally called Nine Creeks but changed name in 1863.

The Post Office opened on 3 April 1863 as Nine Creeks but changed name to Dimboola in 1869.

By 1883, the community was beginning to petition the Council and Assembly to fulfill a previous promise and erect a new P&T Office - and began some heated community discussion!!!

In August 1884, tenders were called for the new Post and Telegraph Office - "which is urgently required". In mid-November 1884,, the Gazette announced that Mr. W. R. Cooper had won the tender to erect the new Post and Telegraph Office at Dimboola for £1,984 19s 6d.

Dimboola Post & Telegraph Office about 1930.
In November 1885, Mr. James Kelly was transferred from Horsham (see below) to Dimboola to become Postmaster.

The office was issued with a 1 hole Belt & Buckle date stamp.

Used in black: 26 July 1887 to 25 May 1894.

Size: 27 × 38 mm (e = 0.70).

Rated: RR

Number in the Census: 10+

26 July 1887.
Earliest recorded date.

7 January 1891.

On a 1d brown Stamp Duty PSE.

6 September 1893.
Exceptionally strong strike.

On a 2d pink Stamp Duty PSE.
In addition to the Belt & Buckle, Post Office date stamps were also used on telegrams. Dimboola 1936
A usual Dimboola date stamp used
in April 1936.


The Telegraph Office was Gazetted on 14 September 1877 as having been opened.

On 1 January 1879, a Telegraph Office was opened at the Railway Station.

No special date stamps were used for telegrams.

Great Western.

Great Western is near Stawell. The Telegraph Office was opened about 1909 and it closed on 2 May 1910.

The Post Office had been opened on 1 June 1858 and after the separate Telegraph Office closed, it was merged with the Post Office.

A Telegraph Office operated at the Railway Station from 2 May 1910 to about 1916.

A T.O. Great Western date stamp may have been used in the first premises but is unrecorded.

It is known used in four formats - all with a diameter of 29 mm:

1. standard format.

Used: 27 May 1910 to 2 October 1922.

Rated: scarce.

Great Western
21 December 1910.
GE 1918
23 April 1918.

2. date wheel was simply a coloured rectangle.

Used: about 1923.

Rated: RRR.


3. inverted dateline:

Used: 17 February 1923 to 19 February 1924.

Rated: RRRR.

GW 1924
19 February 1924.

4. correct orientation of the date line.
Has a slightly larger gap between the two year wheels.

Used: 10 July 1924 to 24 August 1942.

Rated: common.

GW 1924 space
10 July 1924.

Earliest recorded date after inverted date line corrected.

GW 8 June 1936
18 June 1936.

GW 1936
14 May 1936.

T.O. Great Western date stamp on a commercial cover.
13 April 1932.

Corrected date stamp showing gap between the year wheels.

GW cover


A Telegraph Office opened in temporary accommodation in January 1875. Mr. Kelly was appointed as Officer in Charge.

The Post Office had opened on 1 July 1848.

A lengthy article about Horsham and its Post and Telegraph Office from the Hamilton Spectator of 29 July 1874 is included elsewhere.

The Australasian of 21 July 1877 reported that the Postmaster-General had met a deputation from Horsham "asking that a sum of £1,600 should be placed on the estimates to provide proper Post and Telegraph office accommodation at Horsham. Mr. Cuthbert said he would bring the application before his colleagues".

Very soon after - on 1 April 1879 - the Hamilton Spectator reported on PUBLIC WORKS AT HORSHAM. In part, the article noted "The capital of the Wimmera appears to be basking in the sunshine of Ministerial favour and the inhabitants are in high feather at the large amounts now in process of disbursement for the improvement of the town. The Public Offices, the walls of which are now nearly complete, will be a spacious block of buildings, costing between £9,000 and £10,000. The plan is something like that of the Hamilton public offices but on a larger scale, the frontage being 73 feet by a depth of 52 feet. In addition to the rooms in the two storeys for the accommodation of the Post and Telegraph, survey, lands and receipt and pay departments, there is a battery room and other cool quarters underground, whilst a tall-clock-tower 70 feet high lifts its head for the purpose of telling the time of day".

The Post & Telegraph Office with an elaborate clock tower was opened in 1880.


On 31 October 1885, the Horsham Times noted :"The many friends of James Kelly, senior operator at the local Telegraph Office, will be pleased to learn that he has received a well deserved promotion, having been appointed Postmaster at Dimboola. During the many years that Mr. Kelly has been engaged in the Horsham office he has not only shown himself an apt operator but, by his obliging demeanour, has won the esteem of all with whom he has come in contact".

On 6 December 1895, the Horsham Times carried the following article:


The break in the weather chronicled in the Times of Tuesday was followed by a couple of sultry and very unpleasant days. A little rain, but not by any means suffcient to clear the air, fell on Tuesday, and on Wednesday morning there was a short lived but, whilst it lasted, severe storm of thunder, lightning and wind. A very severe flash of lightning was experienced at the Horsham Post (and Telegraph) Office about half-past eight o'clock. The electricity entered the office and, being unable to get away in the ordinary course, fused the point of one of the arresters, burning off fully half an inch of the brass rod. It then travelled across the room and burst close to the back entrance door. Mr. Martin Dunne, the senior operator, and Mr. William Asquith, line repairer, had an extemely narrow escape from serious injury, if not from death. They reached the door of the operating room just as the electric current was finding its way out. Their first notice of what was going on was the sound of a violent explosion and they were next conscious that the electricity, in the form of a ball of fire, had exploded between them. They were naturally very much scared but fortunately sustained no injury. As a result of the electrical disturbance, the instruments in the office were disarranged for some considerable time".

A Telegraph Office was also opened at the Horsham Railway Station about 1910. It closed in January 1965.

The office was issued with three types of date stamp for use with telegraphs:

  1. a 1 hole Belt & Buckle date stamp.

Used in black: 31 July 1884 to 1890.

Size: 27½ × 38 mm (e = 0.69).

Rated: RR.

1885 cover
13 January 1885.

Horsham 1889
17 December 1889.
Provenance: Hugh Freeman, Johnstone.
  1. a steel TELEGRAPH OFFICE HORSHAM date stamp.

Used: 28 June 1929 and 10 December 1956.

Diameter: 30 mm.

Rated: RR.

Horsham strip 3
28 June 1929.
11 October 1941.
Used on GCF-39C see below.
Horsham 1956
10 December 1956.

Congratulations form GCF--39C used at Horsham 11 October 1941.
Phoenix April 2023.

  1. a rubber double oval TELEGRAPH OFFICE date stamp
    (RO2- TO).

Used in magenta: 1980s.

Size: 33 × 51 mm (e = 0.76)

Rated: R.

Horsham 1984
10 September 1984.
The usual Post Office date stamp was also used on telegrams. Horsham 1923
12 December 1923.

Jung Jung.

The Telegraph Office was opened at the Railway Station in September 1879..

Jung Jung is just south-west of Murtoa.

29 October 1901.

The Telegraph Office opened in September 1882.

A rubber rectangular TELEGRAPH OFFICE date stamp
(RRH1-TO) was used for telegr

ams during the 1980s.

Used in black: 30 June 1989 (archival).

Size: 26 × 35 mm

Rated: RRRR.

30 June 1989 (late usage - probably archival).

The usual postal date stamp was used on telegrams at Kaniva.


The Telegraph Office opened in May 1874.

When the Postmaster-General had met a deputation in 1872, he imposed the following condition:
"if a Telegraph Office were opened, a lady would have to be sent up to take charge of the telegraphic and post office business. Would the shire council provide the Government with accommodation for a year or so, as there were no funds at present for erecting a building? Mr. Murray had no doubt whatever that they would. Mr. Langton said that he had a large number of applications before him and, wherever it was in his power, he would be glad to make extensions". He added that " at Bacchus Marsh, Ballon and other places which had been promised telegraphic communication, the postal returns were far greater than those derived from Learmonth. This was explained by the fact that, within a radius of six miles, there were twelve post offices".

On 5 May 1874, the Ballarat Star reflected the dissatisfaction of the Learmonth residents:

"After a great deal of bungling, the telegraph posts and wires connecting Learmonth with other lines have at last been completed but, at present, are neither useful nor ornamental. Tenders were sent in some time ago for the necessary alterations at the Post Office, but not a word about them has been heard since. It is not the want, moreover, of an operator that has caused the long delay as a young lady was appointed months ago and has, during that time, been assisting at the Creswick office. Much dissatisfaction has been expressed by many residents of the district at the long delay and they naturally ask what's the matter. After the confidence reposed in the hon. member for Ripon and Hampden by the entire constituency, surely Mr Longmore might look in at the department and stir it up to immediate action. The line, I presume, will prove as great a convenience to the hon. Member as to his constituents, and it is hoped that he will be the first to shortly flash the news that the work is at last accomplished".

No special date stamp was used at Learmonth for telegrams.



Miner's Rest.

In 1884, the Post Office had a Postmaster and handled 4,212 posted leters but there was no telegraphic responsibilty.

In 1887, the Post and Telegraph Office had a Postmaster, handled 6,528 posted letters, transmitted 1,304 telegrams and received 1,133 telegrams.


The Telegraph Office opened at the Railway Station in December 1878 after tenders had been called in January 1878.

A Telegraph Office was also opened in the Post Office in June 1880. There were few public buildings in Murtoa in 1880 - the Post and Telegraph Offices and the Court House were leased by the Government from Messrs. Anderson Brothers. The only decent structure belonging to the State was the schoolhouse built of brick in 1877.


Murtoa Post & Telegraph Office 1880.
The Court House can just be seen on the left.
Source: State Library of Victoria 156398.

A one hole Belt & Buckle date stamp was issued to the Murtoa office.

Used in black: 13 April 1885 to 28 April 1892.

Size: 28 × 38 mm (e = 0.68).

Rated: RR.

Number in the Census: 3.]

24 April 1885.

28 April 1892
(latest recorded date).
20 February 1890.

Provenance: Hugh Freeman, Johnstone.

The Telegraph Office opened on 5 January 1882. A note later in the month noted: "From Deputy Postmaster-General: a telegraph office will be opened at Nhill, in charge of Miss Oliver; also that any other arrangement is not practicable at present".

On 9 March 1888, the Colac Herald announced that Miss. Battern from the Nhill office would be replacing Mrs. Dawkins as the Post and Telegraph Office Mistress at Birregurra.

The office was issued with two types of date stamps for use with telegraphic matters:

  1. a 2 hole Belt & Buckle date stamp.

Used in black:


Rated: RRR.

  1. a rectangular rubber TELEGRAPH OFFICE date stamp.

Used: 24 May 1957.

Size: 24½ × 42½ mm.

Rated: RRRR.

Number recorded: 1.

Nhill RRH1
24 May 1957.
Image by courtesy of Brian Sampson.
Ordinary Nhill postal date stamps used on telegrams. Nhill 1935
29 October 1935.
Used for delivery of form


The Telegraph Office opened on 15 May 1858. It was located on the first line to South Australia and the first station after the line began at Ballarat.

In 1864, the Raglan Telegraph Office expended £489 3s 6d on salaries, stores, maintenance etc. Its cash receipts were £97 2s 4d - giving a loss of £392 1s 2d (80%)!!!

  • The Annual Report for 1866 includes only Raglan in all main tables but includes Beaufort and not Raglan in the list of offices by line.
  • The Annual Report for 1868 is the first that has no entry for Raglan in the main tables but there is an entry for Beaufort. In the list of lines, Raglan is however included and Beaufort omitted.
  • In the Annual Report for 1871 , there is no reference to Raglan only to Beaufort BUT the date of opening is changed to March 1858 (we will take that as a typo as the May date for Raglan is substantiated in a number of places.

The Raglan Post Office opened on 1 January 1865.

Stawell (Pleasant Creek).
Bordertown line.

The town was settled in the gold rush of 1853 and named Pleasant Creek. It was renamed Stawell in 1861.

Telegraphic communication was established with Stawell in the first week of October 1861. It opened at Stawell although most references about that time continued the reference to Pleasant Creek.

It is noted in the 1870 Report that, during 1870, Stawell Post Office was renamed Stawell West and Quartz Reef (Stawell) Post Office was renamed to Stawell.

Main street of Stawell about 1880.

The Stawell Post & Telegraph Office.

On 1 October 1861, Charles Grattan Badge was appointed Operator in Charge of the new Telegraph Office at Stawell.

An insight into life at Stawell is provided by part of a column in the Ballarat Star of 15 January 1869:

"There is one matter which has astonished and disgusted our Ballarat visitors - to nearly as great an extent as we have been disgusted long ago — and that is the opposition of the three hotels, three stores and six dwelling-houses which, with the police camp, court-house, shire-hall, telegragh and post office, and receipt and pay-office, constitute the magnificent town of Stawcll.

This wonderful place is a mile and a half away from the four or five thousand inhabitants at Reefs, and any one of the latter people has to go down there for a miner's-right, to get a summons or license, to get a money-order or to cash one, or to send a telegram.

The consequence as regards the latter is that the telegraphic department does not receive from this place a fourth of the revenue it would for many persons prefer to write if they possibly can, rather than go through what is often a farce of sending or receiving a telegram. It is altogether monstrous that business should suffer in this way.

As an instance—a gentleman was expecting a telegram and, after waiting for some time for it, had to leave and go elsewhere The messenger came to Reefs about seven o'clock but the person to whom the message was sent did not receive it till nearly a quarter to eight. There was no conveyance running and, although it was urgent that an answer should be sent that night, it could not go till next morning at eight o'clock and then entailed a walk of three miles.

Among the requests recently urged on the Government was one for the establishment of a proper telegraph and post office with a delivery. The latter item is, of course of comparative unimportance, and, bring so, has been granted. But as far as one can see, telegraphing is as remote as ever. As the latest out, we are, it is stated, to lose our paymaster and receiver and the one from Ararat is to visit us occasionally to issue miner's-rights, etc. What the idea can be one cannot clearly see when remembering that Ararat has very little business and that here the officer is needed at least four days a week. Ararat is declining and its inhabitants — its lawyers and storekeepers — are coming to Reefs, which is making giant strides onwards".

On 7 April 1869, The Ballarat Star reported that "Mr Johnson, Telegraph and Postmaster, Stawell, has resigned his appointment in consequence of it being intimated that he would be reduced a class in the Civil Service, by which means his salary would be cut down about one half.

The Pleasant Creek journal says "Should such wholesale retrenchment be persevered with in the lower branches of the service, where most of the actual work of the department has to be performed and on whose officers a large amount of responsibility rests, we may shortly expect to hear of considerable disorganisation, if nothing worse, amongst the Government employees. The Postmaster at Ararat (Mr Murray) has, we understand, been treated in a somewhat similar manner and will shortly be removed to another station. In the latter named instance, the Government appear to have lost sight of the fact that this gentleman was invited from another colony at a time when experienced electricians were almost unobtainable in Victoria and has since rendered very important service."

A Telegraph Office was also opened at the Railway Station about 1910 which closed about 1966.

The office was issued with a 2 hole Belt & Buckle date stamp in 1890.

Used in black: 11 March 1890 to 14 September 1893.

Size: 27 × 38 mm (e = 0.70).

Rated: RRR.

No. in Census: 2 (same date 14 Sept 1893).

14 September 1893.
Used on VC-DO-15A - see below.
Note: 2nd hole not printed.
Top section of delivery form
VC-DO-15A showing the use of the Belt & Buckle date stamp shown above in detail.
VC-DO-15A Stawell

The Telegraph Office opened in May 1873.

The Post Office was opened on

No special date stamps were used for telegrams.

Wal Wal.

The Telegraph Office


A T. O. date stamp was issued to the office.

Used: 6 July 1912 to 1963.

Diameter: 27 mm.

Rated: RRR.

Number in the Census: 9.

6 July 1912.
Wal 1915
10 June 1915.
  Wal 1937
22 November 1937.

21 May 1955.
Warracknabeal (Werracknabeal).

On 21 October 1884, the Horsham Times reported that "I have it upon the very best authority (writes our Werracknabeal correspondent) that the secretary of the Progress Association, who is now in Melbourne, sent a telegram the other day with the cheering and important information that we are to get telegraph extension in Werracknabeal. Referring to railways matters, I am extremely happy to be in a position to state that we have received information from the best authority that we may look upon the construction of our line as an accomplished fact. This is the news of news. We have been, in the past, alternating betwixt hope and fear, and now we are naturally jubilant. The advantages derived from railway communication cannot be over-estimated besides the enhancement of the value of property in the district. The only question that troubles us now is the question of how long we shall have to wait before a commencement will be made in constructing the line. Of course the sooner constructed the better we shall like it, for carting wheat a distance of 30 miles is no foolish matter".

On 16 May 1885, the Australian noted that the Railway Commissioners had invited tenders for the construction of another branch railway line - from Murtoa, on the Dimboola line, to Werracknabeal, a distance slightly over 31 miles. The new railway was to pass through purely agricultural country, very similar in character to that between Horsham and Dimboola. That line would facilitate the line of telegraph. The Murtoa-Weracknabeal railwau line was opened on 12 May 1886.

On 9 April 1886 - the Warracknabeal Progress Committee received correspondence from the Postmaster-General stating that money for the Post & Telegraph Office would be placed on the estimates that month. In addition, an inspector would visit shortly to inspect and select a site.

In July 1908, Mr. C. G. H. Booley was transferred as telegraph messenger from Dimboola to Warracknabeal.

"On Saturday night 7 February 1885, our township (of Werracknabeal) was lightened up for the first time, by the lamps erected by the St Arnaud Shire and it gave a homely and cheerful appearance".

Two formats for circular rubber TELEGRAPH SECTION date stamps were used at Warracknabeal:

  1. RO4-TS (possibly RO3).

Used: 7 July 1977.

Diameter: 32 mm.

Rated: RRR.

Number in the Census: 2.
Only 1 used on a telegram

7 July 1977.
Used on AA-DO-12C.

  1. RO3-TS.

Used in violet: 8 October 1981
to 17 October 1985.

Diameter: 35 mm.

Rated: RRR.

Number recorded: 4.

10 September 1984.

17 October 1985.

Postal date stamps were also used on telegrams.

Used on a telegram: 23 August 1949.

Diameter: 31 mm.

Rated (Used on a telegram): RRR.

Number recorded: 1.


23 August 1949.
Used on a telegram (AW-DO-10 (45)).



There is a complication here - there are two towns with telegraph offices in Victoria named Waterloo:

  • one on the Bordertown line on a branch from Beaufort;
  • another in Gippsland east of Warragul along the northern side of the Strzlecki Ranges.

The Report for 1887 lists a Telegraph Office opening in conjunction with the Post Office at Waterloo. This Office was the one on the Bordertown line because a Post Office had been opened at Waterloo (Gippsland) in October 1878 and a Telegraph Office opened there in January 1880. The Gippsland Waterloo Office changed name on 20 December 1883 to Yarragon.


A Telegraph Office was opened at the Railway Station in March 1884.