Western Australia: 1869-1988.
Telegraph Offices in the far northern region
.


The far north region of Western Australia contains important areas now referred to as:

Bamboo Creek.

The Telegraph Office was opened on 20 April 1895. On 1 March 1901, the Colonial Post & Telegraph Office was downgraded to a Commonwealth Allowance Office.

 
Two formats of a Post & Telegraph date stamps were issued:
  1. RO2 - P&TO.

Size:

Rated: RRRR.

Bamboo RO2
23 December 1898.
  1. RO6 - P&TO.

Size:

Rated: RRRR.

 
Broome (Roebuck Bay).

The Telegraph Office - called then Cable House - opened as Roebuck Bay on 9 April 1889 to service the third Java-Australia cable. It handled the international telegraphic traffic (mainly from Western Australia with some inter-colonial messages as well) in addition to the inter-colonial Western Australia messages through the far north.

The change of name to Broome was effected in 1892.

NB: see also Tit Bit # 6.

Broome nowThe Broome Cable Station as it is now - as the Court House.

 

The major use of the Broome Electric Telegraph Station had been for the third Eastern Extension Company's cable from Java.

Cable House - as the Telegraph Office was called - became redundant when the cable was closed in 1905 and the Telegraph Office was merged into the Post Office building. By 1914, Eastern Extension decided to sell Cable House. Advertisements were placed as follows (e.g. Sunday Times (Perth) 12 April 1914):

BROOME! BROOME!

Tenders called closing Noon, 14th instant:
Office of Eastern Extension Telegraph Company, Moir Chambers, for CABLE HOUSE, all Outbuildings, and Free-hold Three Acres comprising Town Lot 99.

Centrally situated main street.

Tender should be accompanied with approved deposit two and a half per cent of amount tendered.
Further particulars may be obtained from the Superintendent.

 

Four types of date stamp were issued to Broome for use with telegraphs:
  1. Broome steel circle E.T.O. (SC1 - ETO) for use with the cable from Java in 1889.

Used: 11 July 1902 and 20 July 1911.

Diameter: 21 mm.

Rated: R.

Number in the Census: 40+

Broome 1902
11 July 1902.
Broome 1903
20 January 1903.

NOTE: the 1903 date stamps omitted the 0 for the decade.

  Broome 1908
15 May 1908.
Broome 1911
20 July 1911.
  1. a rubber oval Post & Telegraph Office date stamp (RO7 - P&TO):

Used: about 1909.

Size:

Rated: RRRR.

   
  1. a rubber oval Post & Telegraph Office date stamp (RO4 - P&TO).

Used: 15 December 1913 to
31 January 1914.

Size: 28 × 43 mm(e = 0.76).

Rated: RRRR.

Number in the Censu: 2.

Dec 1913
15 December 1913.
Broome RO4 1914
31 January 1914.
  1. a rubber oval Post & Telegraph Department date stamp (RO7 - P&TD).

Size:

Used: about 1923.

Rated: RRRR.

   

Carnarvon.

Carvarvon is situated south of the Gascoyne River and served as a shipping point for the wool produced in the pastoral district.

The Telegraph Office opened in August 1884. By the mid 1890s, there was still no Post Office but there were two hotels and two stores for the population of 200 plus a school house, a church, a library, a hospital and a gaol.

 

Carnarvon
Carnarvon 8 September 1910.
WESTERN AUSTRALIA at base.

Commonwealth period Type A.
Used from March 1904.

Only one date stamp was issued to Carnarvon for use with telegraphs:

  • RO2 - P&TO oval rubber date stamp

Used: about 1934.

Rated: RRR.

 

Cossack.

The Telegraph Office was opened at the Post Office on 17 November 1885 at 8:00 am.

The Post Office had been opened in August 1876.

The Telegraph Office was apparently issued with two rubber oval date stamps:

  1. a Telegraph Office (RO6-TO):

Used: about 1898

 
  1. a Post & Telegraph Office (RO6-P&TO):

Used in violet: 1900 (?) and 29 March 1902.

Size: 30 × 49 mm (e = 0.79).

Rated: RRR.

Number in the Census: 1.

Cossack
29 March 1902.
Tasmanian Stamp Auctions October 2015.
Cue.

Cue was the chief town in the Murchison goldfields. In 1896, it was the terminus of the railway line from Geraldton but there were plans to extend the line to Nannine. In addition to the gold, the town was surrounded by extensive pastoral interests.

The Telegraph Office was opened in November 1894.

Cue PO
The Cue Post & Telegraph Office about 1895.
Fells
Mr. E. D. Fels was appointed as the first
Post & Telegraph Master in August 1894.
Cue 95
Cue about 1895.

Source of all 3 pictures for Cue: Souvenir of the Postal, Telegraph & Telephone Departments of Western Australia, Christmas 1896.

Cue 1904
Cue normal postal date stamp.
13 April 1904.

Diameter: 22 mm.

Used on WI-DO-1A.

Cue 1934
Cue normal postal handstamp.
29 November 1934.

Diameter: 26 mm.

Used on AB-DU-3.

 
A wide variety of rubber oval date stamps were issued to Cue for use with telegraphs. A detailed review of the Cue ovals is included elsewhere.

In summary, the following are known:

 
RO2 TO 1947
RO2 - TO - used during 1946-47.
Two formats.
RO2 TO 1895RO6 - TO - used between 1895 and 1901 (missing from Goulder (2002)); RO7 TO 1897
RO7 - TO - used about 1897
(missing from Goulder (2002);
RO2 P&TO 1897RO2 - P&TO - used about 1899.
One format and with an error in C(ue).
RO6 P&TRO6 - P&TO - used about 1900.
Two formats.
RO7 P&T
RO7 - P&TO
- used between about 1905 to 1919.

Two formats.
Day Dawn.

The Post & Telegraph Office was established on 15 November 1894. It closed on 25 October 1930.

The office was issued with at least four types of rubber oval office date stamp (types RO2, RO6 and RO7 - in two formats) which were used with telegraphs.

  1. RO6 - TO.

Used: 10 March 1897.

Size: 27 × 44 mm (e = 0.79).

Rated: RRRR.

Number in the Census: 1.

Day Dawn 1897
10 March 1897.
Used on WC-DO-4C.
  1. RO2 - P&TO.

Used: 16 June 1899.

Size: 26 × 40 mm (e = 0.76).

Rated: RRRR.

Number in the Census: 1.


Day Dawn 1899
16 June 1899.
  1. RO7 - P&TO.
    W.A. not included.

Used: 17 January 1907.

Size: 31 × 50 mm (e = 0.78).

Rated: RRRR.

Number in the Census: 1.

DayDawn 1907
17 January 1907.
  1. RO7 - P&TO.
    W.A. included.

Used: 15 November 1910.

Size: 24 × 46 mm (e = 0.85).

Rated: RRRR.

Number in the Census: 1.

Day Dawn 1910
15 November 1910.

Derby.

The Post Office opened in Derby in June 1884. The combined Post & Telegraph Office opened on 3 April 1889.

NB: see also Tit Bit # 6.

 

A rubber oval Post & Telegraph Office date stamp (RO2-P&TO) was issued to the Office:

Used: about 1975.

Size:

Rated: RR.

 
Fitzroy Crossing.

According to Gary Watson, an office called Fitzroy was opened in January 1891. It was soon downgraded to a Telegraph Office on 1 September 1892 and renamed Fitzroy Crossing in 1907.

The office was (possibly) issued with two types of rubber oval date stamp.

  1. RO6 - TO.

Used: about 1898;

Size:

Rated: RRRR.

 
  1. RO2 - P&TO.

Used: about 1901.

Size:

Rated: RRRR.

 

Fitzroy RO2 TO
Fitzroy River Telegraph Office.
13 June 1898.
RO6 - TO.

Not previously recorded.

Prestige Philately February 2013 Lot 1384. Gary writes "The earliest recorded datestamp is 'FITZROY' of 3 July 1901. So the oval date stamp above is either an earlier Fitzroy marking or, more likely, it indicates that the office was originally called Fitzroy River".

Fitzroy Sturt
Fitzroy Crossing.
5 August 1930.

The usual postal date stamp on a pair of 1½d Sturt commemoratives.

Fortescue.

The Telegraph Office is listed as opening on 17 November 1885 at 8:00 am.

It merged to become a Post & Telegraph Office in 1904.

The first Telegraph Officer (Station Master) at Fortescue appears to have been Mr. J. J. Lawrence who had previously been at Eucla. He arrived at Bunbury on 17 October 1885 aboard the Franklin to spend time with friends before boarding the Otway to proceed north.

On 10 September 1885, the vote for the Postal and Department was taken into consideration by the House and the following amendments were made after a discussion between the Colonial Secretary and the Postmaster-General: "... the salaries for the assistant telegraphist at the Fortescue £60 (a linesman was deemed to be unnecessary at Fortescue) and that of the native assistant £30 were struck out; the assistant telegraphist at the Ashburton was put down for £70 instead of £60".

Various newspapers (e.g.Bunbury Southern Times 16 February 1895) reported that the general Fortescue area was struck with major rains in the first half of February 1895. Three telegraph poles and about 200 yards of wire washed away between Roebourne and Fortescue. The Perth Daily News (25 January 1895) reported that "heavy thunder storms occurred yesterday between Roebourne and Fortescue, and that at Lagrange Telegraph Station the lightening was so vivid the operator could not stop in the office last evening, having to keep his ground wire on".

The building was designed to house the Meterological recording Office also. As a letter to the Editor of The Western Australian describes the building as being totally unsuitable for the Telegraph Station on the Fortescue River.

Although no date stamp was issued to Fortescue with "Telegraph" etc, two steel circular date stamps are known used during the Telegraph Office period:

 

 
   
Hamelin Pool.

The Telegraph Office was opened on 21 April 1884.

Despite Adgee's best efforts, the Telegraph Office at Hamelin Pool was never issued with a date stamp for telegraph purposes.

Mamelin Pool
Clarence Vician ("Adgee") Cross was the last Linesman to work from Hamelin Pool Telegraph Station.

Adgee had to cross a flooded river to repair a line and left his clothes on the other side.

A better view than of the building itself :)

Marble Bar.

In August 1894, Mr. R. Biederman was appointed Post & Telegraph Master and was transferred from Narrogin.

When the telegraph line to Marble Bar was opened in July, 1894, one of the first messages sent to the Perth press indicated progress: "Broome has at last got a new gaol in which to confine malefactors." It was not as good a prison as Long Bay, for the first five native prisoners lodged in it escaped "in spite of every precaution".

Only one rubber oval TELEGRAPH OFFICE date stamp (RO6 - TO) was issued to Marble Bar for use with telegraphs:

Used: about 1900.

Size:

Rated: RRRR.

 

Marble Bar PO
Post Office Marble Bar.
6 November 1899.

RO6-PO.
Size: 25 × 38 mm (e = 0.75).
Used on WC-DO-5A.

Marble Bar
Usual postal date stamp sometimes used on telegrams.
Meekatharra.

On 14 November 1906, the Kalgoorlie Miner reported that "the Postmaster - General had informed Mr. H. Mahon, M.P., that his request for the establishment of an official post and telegraph office at Meekatharra has been granted. The office will be opened as soon as the necessary premises have been provided, and without any guarantee from the State Government. The postmaster will also perform mining duties, and the remuneration for this will be subsequently arranged on an equitable basis, according to the work done and the accommodation provided".

Meekatharra
Meekatharra - street scene in 1920.
Source: WA Library 217 255 PD.

Two date stamps had been recorded as having been issued to Meekatharra for use with telegraphs:

  • RO2 - P&TO oval rubber date stamp used about 1928 (rated RRRR);
  • RO2 - TO oval rubber date stamp (rated RRR). Although thought to have been used only about 1962, the examples shown here indicate three formats were used from 1950 to 1971.

The variations on the three later RO2 - TO formats are not elsewhere recorded.

 
Meek 1950
Telegraph Office.
13 June 1950.
RO2-TO.

Size: 29 × 49 mm (e = 0.81).
Rated RRR.

1962
Telegraph Office.
24 October 1962.
RO2-TO.

Size: 31 × 52 mm (e = 0.80).
Rated RRR.

1950
Telegraph Office.
16 December 1971.
RO2-TO.

Size: 31 × 49 mm (e = 0.77).
Rated RRR.

Mount Magnet.

 

 
Three rubber oval date stamps are recorded as having been used at Mount Magnet with telegraphs
  1. a rubber oval Post & Telegraph Office date stamp
    (RO4 - P&TO).

Used: about 1910.

Size:

Rated: RRRR.

Number in the Census: 1.

   
  1. a rubber oval Post & Telegraph Office date stamp
    (RO6 - P&TO).

Used: 10 February 1943.

Size:

Rated: RRRR.

Number in the Census: 1.

Magnet 1943
10 February 1943.
 
  1. a rubber oval Post & Telegraph Office date stamp
    (RO2 - P&TO).

Used: 14 March 1945.

Size:

Rated: RRRR.

Number in the Census: 1.

Magnet 1945
14 March 1945.
 
The usual steel date stamp used for postal purposes was also applied to telegrams. Mt Magnet 1932
Mount Magnet on 2d red KGV.
13 August 1932.
 
Nannine.

A mining town about 50 miles north-east of Cue. It became the ultimate terminus of the Murchison railway when it was extended beyond Cue.

The Telegraph Office opened on 12 November 1894 to serve the population of about 300 - but also for communication for the Warden's Court to transact mining business and which sat monthly.

No special date stamp was issued to Nannine for use with telegraphs.

Nannine
Source: Souvenir of the Postal, Telegraph & Telephone Departments of Western Australia, Christmas 1896.
Newman.

Newman is one of the main settlements in the Pilbara region. The Telegraph Office in Newman was a section of the Post Office which was opened on 1 February 1968.

A rubber oval TELEGRAPH OFFICE date stamp (RO2-TO) was issued to Newman in the 1970s.

Used in violet: 27 September 1976.

Size: 31 × 49 mm (0.77).

Rariety: RRR.

Number in the Census: 1.

Newman
27 September 1976.

Nullagine.

The Telegraph Office at Nullagine opened on 8 February 1987.

It was described as "another isolated telegraph station and  Nullagine was one of the golden camps of the early '90's and was described as having "gold all over the area".

 

Two date stamps are recorded as having been issued to Nullagine for use with telegraphs.

  1. a rubber oval TELEGRAPH OFFICE date stamp
    (RO6 - TO).
    1 mm side arcs.

Used: 1899 (?) - 10 September 1900.

Size: 27 × 44 mm (e = 0.79).

Rated: RRRR.

Null blk 4
10 September 1900.
  Nullagine TO
Incomplete strike.
Nullag 2 Incomplete strike.
  1. a rubber oval POST & TELEGRAPH date stamp
    (RO6 - P&TO);

Used:

Size: 29 × 49 mm.

Rated: RRRR.

   

Onslow.

A Post & Telegraph Office was opened in 1885 when Ashburton was renamed.

A Post Office had been established at Ashburton on August 1884 and reclassified as a Post & Telegraph Office on 28 July 1885 after the telegraph line had been completed to that stage .

The Office soon handled telegrams for places further north. The Daily Mail of 13 August 1885 "reminds our readers of the notice posted at the Telegraph Office to the effect that telegrams for Cossack and Roebourne, to be forwarded by horse-express from the Ashburton extension, will be received up till eight o'clock this (Thursday) evening".

 
   

Peak Hill.

Situated between the Gascoyne and Murchison Rivers abut 120 miles from Nannine. Nearly all the leases for gold mining were owned by one company. The town was established in 1892 and gazetted in 1897. Up to 1913, about 270,000 ozs of gold were extracted. A further 600,000 ozs were extacted in the 1980s. In 1898, the town had 190 people - 180 were males and 10 were females.

The Telegraph Office

 

Three date stamps have been recorded as having been issued to Peak Hill for use with telegraphs:

  • RO2 - P&TO oval rubber date stamp used December 1898 to 1899
    size 27 × 41 mm (rated RRRR);
  • RO2 - P&TO oval rubber date stamp used about 1912 (rated RRRR);
  • RO7 - P&TO oval rubber date stamp used in violet size 26 × 46 mm
    (rated RRRR)

Peak Hill
Peak Hill W.A. Post & Telegraph Office.
Used in December 1898 on three 3d brown Swans.
RO2 - P&TO.
Size: 27 × 41 mm (e = 0.75).
Rated RRRR.

Prestige Auctions November 2013 Lot 520.

Port Hedland.

Port Hedland is one of the main settlements in the Pilbara region. The Telegraph Office opened as Boodarrie in August 1892.

Tenders were let for a new P&T building in July 1898.

Pt Hedland 1900
Port Hedland on 2/6 fiscal.
10 September 1900.

This use is almost certainly impossible for telegrams as the 1893 Post and Telegraph act allowed revenue stamps and postal stamps to be interchangeable to an amount of 1/-.
That interchange ceased on 25 January 1901.

Prestige Auctions, Sale 175, Lot 509.

Three date stamps have been recorded as having been issued to Port Hedland for use with telegraphs. The first two issued had the rare TELEGRAPH STATION inscription.

  1. Oval rubber date stamp (RO2 - TS) for P(or)T HEDLAND .
    The TELEGRAPH STATION inscription is itself rare -
    only one other oval Office date stamp incorporating these words (Laverton).

Used in violet: for about 8 months from 20 May 1899 and 2 December 1899.

Size: 25 × 41 mm (e = 0.79).

Rated: RRRR.

Number in the Census: 5.

Port Hedland 1899
20 May 1899.
Pt Hedland Dec
2 December 1899.
  1. A rubber oval date stamp RO4 - TS. It has Hedland - Telegraph Station at the base.

Used about 1904.

Size:

Rated: RRRR.

Number in Census: ?

 
  1. A rubber oval date stamp with a Post & Telegraph Office inscription (RO2 - P&TO).

Used: about 1959.

Size:

Rated: RRR.

Number in the Census: ?

 
Reedy.

The Post & Telegraph Office was opened at Reedy on

Reedy is located in the Murchison between Cue and Meekatharra. The town was Gazetted in 1934 after several gold discoveries during the early 1930s.

Reedy 1930
Reedy in 1930.
By courtesy of the State Library of WA.

A rubber oval date stamp (RO6-P&TO) was issued to the Office for use with telegraph work.

Used: in red - 12 April 1940.
in violet - 18 May 1940.

Size: 34 × ??.

Rated: RRR.

Reedy cover
18 May 1940 - used as a violet strike on a cover to Perth.
Details of the two known date stamps from Reedy struck in the colours of red and violet. Reedy April
12 April 1940.
Reedy May
18 May 1940.
Roebourne.

The Post Office opened on 1 August 1878 and it was upgraded to a combined Post & Telegraph Office on 1 October 1885.

The Western Australian of 27 October 1885 reported that "The line reached Roebourne on the 1st inst., and was opened for business the same day, under difficulties, as the operator had to send messages from under a verandah with the sun occasionally shining on him. He is now, however, working with the field instrument in a portion of the Post Office. No move has been made for the erection of a telegraph office".

"Mr. C. McLarty, who has been a telegraph operator in the Roebourne office for nearly two years, left per the mail coach on Thursday for the Nullagine, where he will act as Post and Telegraph master. Mr. McLarty made many friends during his stay in Roebourne"
(West Australian, 29 January 1897).

 

Two date stamps have been recorded as having been issued to Roebourne for use with telegraphs:
  1. An oval rubber POST & TELEGRAPH OFFICE date stamp
    (RO2 - P&TO).

Used in violet: 1898-99.

Size:

Rated: RRRR.

Roe 1
July 1899.
Roe 2
17 August ??.

An oval rubber POST & TELEGRAPH OFFICE date stamp
(RO2 - P&TO).

Used in blue: about 1898.

Size:

Rated: RRRR.

   
  1. An oval rubber date stamp (RO2 - P&TO).
    Unsure if the same as above as no details are avaiable.

Used about 1910.

Size:

Rated: RRRR.

   
The usual postal date stamp was also used at Roebourne especially in the early days of operation.

Roebourne 1885
Roebourne.
16 March 1885 - just before upgrade.
Strike recorded during a 12 month period only.

Prestige Philately July 2009 Lot 633.

Tambourah.

Tambourah is south of Port Hedland. It replaced Talga Talga.

The Telegraph Office was opened on 6 December 1897. It was, according to official records, reclassified as a Post & Telegraph Office on 1 July 1901 and was closed on 31 December 1903.

The date stamps here show that it was a Post & Telegraph Office by 6 September 1899.

A rubber oval date stamp (RO2 - P&TO):

Used in violet: 6 September 1899.

Size: 26 × 40 mm (e = 0.76).

Rated: RRRR.

Tabbourah black
6 September 1889.
 

Used in blue: between
6 and 13 September 1899 only. Clearly this example is outside that range.

Rated: RRRR.

Tanbourah blue
Incomplete date.
 
Wooramel.

The Telegraph Office was opened at Wooramel on 24 December 1897.

 

 
The Office was issued with a rubber oval Post and Telegraph Office date stamp.

Used: about 1909.

Rating: RRR.

 
Wyndham.

On 25 May 1896, William Bannerman rushed into the Telegraph Office at Wyndham and shot the operator (Edward Geo. Worth). Bannerman received two years hard labour for manslaughter.

Two date stamps are recorded as having been issued to Wyndham for use with telegraphs:

  1. RO2 - P&TO oval rubber date stamp.

Size: 27 × 42 mm (e = 0.77).

Used: about 1898.

Rated: RRRR.

 
  1. RO2 - P&TO oval rubber date stamp.

Size: 31 × 53 mm (e = 0.81).

Used: about 1946 in violet.

Rated: RRRR.