Victoria - Colonial: 1854-1900.
Lines for the Newspapers.


The Newspapers in all Colonies depended heavily on telegraphic communication for instant news from within the Colony, from other Colonies and from international sources. It became untenable for their dependence on the usual Government lines to provide the required currency in their reporting or to cope with the sheer volume of traffic.

In Victoria, the several main newspapers were in discussion with the Government to establish their own lines. For example, The Argus on 3 July 1882 reported:

"The increasing pressure of telegraphic business with Sydney has induced the proprietors of The Argus to enter into an arrangement with the Telegraphic Department for the use of a special wire between that city and Melbourne. It was proposed, in the first instance, to have a fresh wire laid from Melbourne to Sydney which would be at the disposal of The Argus at all times. The department, however, while showing the greatest readiness to meet the views of the paper, found that practical difficulties which could not be overcome stood in the way. It was impossible therefore, to carry out the original proposal but a modification of it has been adopted. There are three telegraph lines connecting Melbourne with Sydney and The Argus is to have the exclusive use of one of them during the night - the wires at that time not being required for general business. To facilitate the transmission of messages, an instrument has been fitted up in The Argus office and an operator is in attendance during the whole of the night to receive telegrams which are thus in the printer's hands within a few moments of their despatch from Sydney. The new arrangement has been found to work most satisfactorily".

The Annual Report for the Year 1890 appears to be the first inclusion of references to Telegraph lines being dedicated to Newspapers. The lines included in that Report are:

Line number Route of line
81 Melbourne to Argus Office (Telegraph line)
82 Melbourne to Argus Office (Telephone line)
83 Melbourne to Age Office (Telephone line)
88 Melbourne to Herald Office
153 Melbourne to Age Office (Telegraph line)
165 Melbourne to Daily Telegraph Office (Telephones)
204 Melbourne to Standard Office (Telegraph line)