Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Postal Services available - 1908

Darling Downs Gazette (Qld), Friday 27 March 1908, page 3



Booklets of 1d. and 2d. postage stamps may be purchased at a cost of £1 each— the face value of the stamps obtained therein. The inside pages of the cover contain printed columns showing date, item, and amount, and enable purchasers of the booklet to keep a record of every stamp used therefrom.


The postage on large quantities of letters, packets, or newspapers, for transmission within the Commonwealth, or to New Zealand or Fiji, may be prepaid in cash. The, amount of postage on such mail matter, posted at one time shall not be less than £1. The posting may be done at the General Post Office and certain of the principal post offices. The mail matter must be handed in at the post office between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., but if handed in after 3 p.m. it will be subject to detention 'if its despatch interferes with the despatch other mail matter.

Special provisions exist regarding the hours of posting and minimum amount of postage in the case of newspapers posted by registered newspaper, proprietors or by news vendors.


The sender of a registered article may either at the time of registration of thereafter upon payment of a fee of 2.5d, obtain an acknowledgment of its due delivery to the addressee or other person to whom it is delivered.


When sending articles of value through the letter or packet post the registration system should, be availed of.

The fee charged for the registration of any article is only 3d., and when registered the article can be traced in its course through the post; if the article be lost whilst in the post, the Postmaster-General will (subject to the provisions of the Regulations) pay the value of the article up to a maximum amount of £2. Any postal article (other than a parcel) may be registered.


By paying a fee of 6d., signing an undertaking to pay on demand the amount due, and making a deposit at the rate of 1b. for each 4s. or part of 4s. of the declared value of the parcel, the sender of a parcel addressed to Cape Colony, Germany, the United Kingdom, and certain  foreign countries, via the United Kingdom, may take upon himself the payment of the Customs and other charges ordinarily payable by the addresses.

A final settlement takes place as soon as the amount of the charges due has been ascertained from the country of destination.


Tate Tin Mines mail run - 1885

Queenslander (Brisbane) Saturday 7 February 1885, page 206

The Mail Service of the Tate Tin Mines.

H. KRACKE. Tate Tin Mines, 12th January.

SIR, —Ever since the mail has been run between Thornborough and Georgetown, via the Tate tin mines, it has always been a humbug, because the mail has hardly ever arrived in proper time, and sometimes there has been no mail for a month. The inconvenience is easy to imagine where there is a population of about ninety persons. I would say nothing at all if we had any other communication with any other part of the world, but we have to depend entirely on this line of mail. The Tate tin mines are going ahead rapidly; about 250 tons of tin was got last season, and no doubt it will be the richest stream tin field in Queensland, if it is not so already. This mail was run long before the Tate tin mines were opened; it was then only for the convenience of the two or three stations, and why should we not have a mail now? The principal blame attaches to the contractor, Mr. Robinson, of Georgetown, for not having fulfilled the contract. We now are already over two months —since the 7th of November, 1884—without a single mail again. The cause of stopping this mail line is that Mr. Robinson, the contractor, sent a telegram down to the Postmaster-General in Brisbane to the effect that it would be impossible to run the mail any longer owing to the country being in such a bad state for want of rain. But, as luck happened, we soon had heavy showers of rain which made the grass grow in a very short time, and a telegram was sent at once from the receiving officer at Tate tin mines to the Undersecretary. General Post Office, which stated that there was no reason whatever to delay the mail as there was plenty of grass and water everywhere. The country was certainly for a few months in a bad state, but not so bad that the mail could not be run, for packhorses came up loaded from Port Douglas all through the dry season. But the stoppage is not to be wondered at when a contractor takes a contract at such a low figure that he cannot afford to give his horse a feed of corn after a day's journey of about fifty miles. These are the only reasons why the mail could not be run; it is not the bad state of the country. The contractor had no right whatever to throw up the contract simply because it would not pay him to carry it out. But why does the Government allow this? A few weeks after Mr. Robinson gave up the mail contract tenders were called for a special mail, but none were accepted. The reason why I do not know. Several telegrams were sent down, and also a petition to the Postmaster-General from all the inhabitants of the Tate tin mines, but not even an acknowledgment was received. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Life and times of James Ball

An article on James Ball of Ipswich. Includes him working for John Douglas in Talgai in 1859 and 25 years working in the Ipswich post office.

Queensland Times (Ipswich), Saturday 25 July 1914, page 10
Old Identities. Mr. James Ball. Seed Merchant and Stationer of Ipswich.

Fifty-five years in this state. Quarter-of-a-century in local post-office. An early bandsman, assisted in formation of agricultural and horticultural society.
(By "Red Gum.")

Born at Bristol, England, Mr. Ball comes from a good old gardening family, and he was a first-class gardener when he set sail from the old country for Moreton Bay early in the month of February, 1859, in the ship Glentanner, arriving in Brisbane, after a tedious five months' voyage, about the 12th of June. Fellow passengers of his were two nephews of the late Mr. Walter Hill, curator of the Botanic Gardens, Brisbane, and Mr. Ball spent his first evening in what is now Queensland at Mr. Hill's residence, where the "new-chums" put in a jolly time in genial surroundings. Mr. Ball was chiefly concerned as to what he should "turn his hands" to, but that did not trouble him for long, as he was immediately engaged to proceed to Talgai station, near Allora, then owned by Messrs. Hood and John Douglas, the last-named gentleman subsequently, after the separation of Queensland, representing the constituency of Camden in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly. At a later period, probably about 1863, he (Mr. Douglas) was returned as member for Port Curtis in the Queensland Parliament, eventually becoming the Hon. John Douglas, C.M.G. (since deceased). His son, Mr. H. A. Douglas, now represents the Cook electorate in the Legislative Assembly. Regarding Mr. Ball's engagement with Messrs. Hood and Douglas, it was for six months at £40 per year and rations found, and was accepted with the view of obtaining "colonial experience."

Mr. Ball left Brisbane on the 13th of June--53 years past----- in the old river-steamer Hawk, his worldly possessions comprising three boxes of fashionable clothes, &c. (which he never wore, as will he shown later on in his story. The voyage to the "head of navigation," was commenced at 7 a.m., and, crawling along at almost a snail's pace, the Hawk reached its destination at 5 p.m. "We had ample time," remarked Mr. Ball, "to admire the scenery during the trip, and the river banks were well-clothed with beautiful tree foliage." Mr. Ball spent his first night in Ipswich at a boarding-house, situated on a part of the Girls' Central State school's play-ground, in East-street, opposite Billy O'Rourke's Cottage of Content Hotel. The next morning his "colonial "experience "started in earnest as his passage was "booked" for Drayton, the capital of the Downs, per medium of the bullock-dray, owned by one " Billy" Marks, whose father, in those days, kept the Three-Mile Creek Hotel. The dray was loaded from the stores of Messrs. Walter Gray and Co. (afterwards known for years as Messrs. J. and G. Harris's (stores), in l Bremer-street, on the site now occupied by the Girl's Central State school. According to "Wattie" Gray's scales, Mr, Ball's weight was (9.12) rather good, and he, for a "new chum youngster." Prior to leaving "Limestone," he purchased a blanket and other necessary articles "required for the bush journey," so that a couple of days after his arrival from dear old England he had started for the Darling Downs, now considered to be ''the garden of Queensland" then an extensive sheep run. The first day's journey ended by camping at the Three-Mile Creek; the second at the Seven-Mile Creek; Rosewood was reached on the third, and there a "damper" was made, bread not being procurable.

Meat was cooked on the road, and "billy" tea was made. Mr. Ball states that he thoroughly relished everything, as travelling in the open air gave him a keen appetite. They passed Grandchester on the fourth day, and on the fifth the Little Liverpool Range was negotiated, during which he received a very fair idea as to what is facetiously termed "bullock-drivers' language," which was of a most expressive description. On arrival at Laidley, surveyors were found to be at work in pegging out what is now known as the "old township." Gatton was reached on the sixth day, and it took the "bullockies the whole day to cross the Lockyer Creak, which was in flood, a string of (28) oxen having been used in getting the vehicles from bank to bank, in which efforts Mr. Ball states that he was a most interested spectator, as, on the dray, were his three boxes of clothes, &c. Owing to the terrible state of the roads, "Billy" Marks was compelled to camp for two days, but Mr. Ball, in exploring the mysteries (to him) of the bush, was badly stung by a "stinging tree." The pain was most excruciating, said Mr. Ball, and he never wants to experience the like again. Helidon was "discovered" on the ninth day out; on the 10th, Murphy's Creek was crossed, and the foot of the Main Range reached, the whole of the 11th day being spent in climbing the great dividing range, "the wild grandeur of which," remarked Mr. Ball, "completely astonished me. I had never previously seen any sight so gloriously magnificent." Toll having been paid at the old turn-pike gate, they subsequently reached the summit of the Main Range, and, on the 12th. day out, they passed through "The Swamp"--now the dignified Toowoomba, the capital city of the Downs-but then only a few slab huts and an old wooden hotel. Finally, they arrived at Drayton, the "hub," of the Darling Downs 55 years ago.

Mr. Ball stayed at a boarding-house on the night of his arrival there. The late Mr. William Horton, father of Mr. T.P. Horton (Crown lands Ranger in the Wide Bay district, but well known in this city), kept the leading hotel--"The Bull's Head'"--in Drayton. At a stationer's shop, kept by the late Mr. Wm. Handcock (brother of the late Mr. Geo. Thorn, sen.), Mr. Ball paid 6d for a bottle of ink, which would cost only a penny now. A single needle cost him 3d. Drayton terminated " Billy" Marks's journey, and leaving his boxes at a store, Mr. Ball loaded with his "bluey," billy-can, a damper, tea and sugar, started off on "the wallaby" for Talgai, on the tramp thither camping a night at Cambooya, arriving at his destination some 15 days after he had left Ipswich. He was told off to the single men's quarters, consisting of slab huts, and was served with a tin plate, knife and fork, and a pannikin. The unrefined sugar --- -"cockroach" sugar, as it was termed---- was of the same hue as molasses. Mr. Ball shared his quarters with three other companions, and this "partnership" proved a lucky one, for one of his mates---Gunn by name, an old identity -- was an inveterate fisherman, as well as being a first-rate cook. His catchings comprised fine Condamine cod, so that Mr. Ball's hut was always well supplied with fresh fish. The old man was a keen Scotchman, said Mr. Ball. Mr. Ball's principal duties were to attend to the station garden, a position he fulfilled to perfection, but sometimes he was called upon to look after sheep. His rations consisted of fresh beef once a week and "corned" beef on other days. In those days potatoes were an unknown luxury, but there was served out "'potato flour," imported in tins from Chili, and when moistened it resembled mashed potatoes. The "old camp oven" was the best friend the pioneers of 55 years ago had. "When once fairly established on the station," said Mr. Ball, "I quickly found my English clothes far too heavy, so I gladly purchased a couple of Crimean shirts and two pairs of Moleskin trousers. I was now an Australian. Washing day (we did our own washing and made our own beds) occurred once a week, and on those days the banks of the Condamine presented quite an animated scene. In about a month's time my three boxes arrived from Drayton, per horse team. I exhibited my 'home' collection of clothes, and much fun was created at their appearance. I sold a top-hat ('bell topper') and a dress suit for (£4), our Scotch cook (Gunn) having been the purchaser. They all fitted him as if specially made, and he looked a "regular swell." He fancied himself too! Everything was 'knocked down to the highest bidder, even to the boxes, and I garnered in (£10) on the transaction." Mr. Ball also related an incident in which one of the shepherds figured. Hearing of the probable arrival of an immigrant vessel, the shepherd referred to, after obtaining permission and drawing his cheque, at once set off on horseback, with a spare horse, for Brisbane in search of a wife, whom he was to select from the new-chum girls on their arrival in the metropolis. The ship came, the immigrants were landed and taken to the depot, where "Mr. Shepherd" was waiting to "pick" his choice, which panned out all right. The marriage eventuated, and a start was made for Talgai, the newly-made wife having been "packed" on horseback, and on her arrival at the station, "via Cunningham's Gap, she vowed she would "' never spend her honeymoon again like that." Mr. Ball states that while at Talgai station, he met Mr. Joseph Sparkes, subsequently the veteran tailor of Ipswich, for the first time. "On the declaration of Separation Day, on the 10th of December, 1859, we, said Mr. Ball decided to have a 'spree,' and dispatched the cook to the store for the necessary raisins, currants, and flour for a big pudding in honour of the occasion. The raisins were 'lively'---- they ran about, notwithstanding which the pudding was proclaimed a huge success!"

The end of January, 1860, completed Mr. Bail's six months' engagement, and he then decided to try his luck in Melbourne. He drew his cheque, and after purchasing a suitable outfit, he tried several stations to get a "billet" driving cattle to Victoria. He was either too late or too early. Anyway, he came on to Toowoomba, where, on tendering a cheque for £1 for tea, sugar, and flour, the change was given in "I.O.U.'s" of 2s 6d each, payable on demand at a certain storekeeper at Toowoomba, so that Mr. Ball was compelled to negotiate them there. The nearest bank was at Ipswich, where, after five days tramp-from Toowoomba, he duly arrived, and cashed his cheque at the Bank of Australasia, then situated in Brisbane-street, on the site of the ironmongery department of Messrs. Cribb and Foote. He walked to Brisbane, intending to take a passage by steamer to Melbourne. On arrival at the metropolis, Mr. Ball stopped at boarding-house, where he tasted bread and butter, and slept in a bed, for the first time for over six months. He became very feverish, and on visiting Dr. Ward, of Nundah, Mr. Ball was pronounced to be suffering from malarial fever. He was three months under the care of Dr. Ward (for whom he afterwards worked on Dr. Ward's station for six months), who advised him to return to Ipswich, which advice he accepted, and when strong enough, he did so, and has been here ever since. That completed Mr. Ball's roaming adventures.

Subsequent to Mr. Ball's return to Ipswich, in the early part of 1861, he was engaged as gardener by the late Mr. Thomas Bell (father of the late Sir Joshua Peter Bell, who then resided with his son-in-law (the late Hon. Thomas de Lacy Moffatt ). Their place of residence was on Limestone Hill, styled "Mary Villa," and now known as "Cintra." Mr. Ball quickly turned the rocky surroundings into a beautiful garden, in which efforts he was assisted by Messrs. Thomas Lavercombe and John Hogan, both residents of Newtown at the present time. At a later period, prior to the marriage of Mr. (then) Joshua Peter Bell to Miss Dorsey (eldest daughter of the late Dr. Wm. McTaggart Dorsey, and sister of Mr. Alexander Dorsey, recently Crown Land Agent at Ipswich), the Hon. T. de Lacy Moffatt removed to Waterstown (Mr. Thomas Bell accompanying them), and "Mary Villa" was prepared, under Mr. Ball's supervision, for Mr. and Mrs. Joshua Peter Bell's residence after theilr marriage, for which ceremony Mr. Ball supplied the flowers, also decorating the residence of Dr. and Mrs. Dorsey, which was situated in Thorn-street, on the same side, but to the north of Dr. Dunlop's surgery. 'It was a very grand wedding," said Mr. Ball, "the carriage horses having been ridden by postillions (the late Messrs. Harry Ploetz and John Gordon, both fine horsemen) in full hunting costume." Mr. Ball remained subsequently in the employ of Sir Joshua Peter Bell, until the latter removed to Jondaryan. The incident during Mr. Ball's engagement at "Mary Villa" occurred, of which he still retains a distinct recollection. He had occasion to visit Waterstown, intending to make the trip on horseback, by way of North Ipswich. On arrival at the site of Mr. Robert Jeffrey's pontoon bridge at the foot of Ellenborough-street, the punt was found to be "out of action" owing to the flooded state of the river. Mr. Ball then rode down the southern bank of the stream. and, when opposite the residence of Mr. T. de (Lacey) Moffatt, he "cooeed" from the southern shore. His presence was observed, and a young woman came forward, and, obtaining a boat near by, she rowed across the swollen river in splendid style. Mr. Ball, having tied his horse where he attended to his business required of him, and when this was terminated the same lady rowed him back to the southern side. "This lady," remarked Mr. Ball, "subsequently married an esteemed resident of this city, and was the mother of a prominent local politician."

About this period Mr. Ball was married to Miss Parkinson, a sister of the late Mr. Hugh Parkinson, of the "Queensland Times." Their first residence was near Rosehill. Subsequent to leaving the employ of Sir Joshua Peter Bell, Mr. Ball was engaged at the ironmongery stores of Messrs. T. H. Jones and Co., in Bell-street. The brothers, the late Messrs. James and David McIntosh (so well known in connection with the early volunteer movement and old-time rifle-shooting), were engaged at Messrs. T. H. Jones and Co.'s, Mr. James McIntosh having been the manager. Mr. Ball remembers the removal of the post-office from Bell-street to its present site in Brisbane-street, on the 26th of August, 1862. Mr. Ball remained at Messrs T. H. Jones and Co's for a couple of years, when he received an appointment in the Post-Office, under the supervision of the late Mr. Richard Gill. This was half-a-century ago, about which period he removed to the site of his present residence in Roderick-street. In the early sixties, he was a member of the first volunteer band formed in Ipswich under the leadership of the late Mr. F. Cramer, who was a fine clarionette player. Mr. Ball's instrument was the cornet. The artillery branch of volunteers was formed afterwards, said Mr. Ball. He remained in the post-office service for something like 25 years, without having had, during that quarter-of-a-century, a single day a holiday, and he left the service after a most honourable career. For the last 10 years of his post-office work he was entirely in charge of the night-work. "We were always," said Mr. Ball, "kept up to our eyes in work. Besides myself, there were Messrs. Richard Gill, John Evan, and S. Lewis. The English mail arrived only once a month, but I have seen heaps of newspapers, 4ft. in height on the floor, and the busiest periods we experienced were during the 'rush' of immigrants to Ipswich at the time of the early railway construction works from Ipswich westward. Mails were despatched to all the stations between Ipswich and Nanango from Ipswich to Charleville, and daily from here to Brisbane. The post-office work increased in volume every year," said Mr. Ball. "and I felt that I required a 'spell,' so I retired on a pension some 27 years past, since which time I have been in business continuously, in Nicholas-street."

When Mr. Ball first took up his residence in Roderick-street, his was the only house in that vicinity, and there were comparatively few dwellings between it and the cemetery. The place now styled "Lyndhurst," in South-street, was the principal club-house (known then far and wide as the North Australian Club---- a very busy centre 50 odd years ago), and the hill (now well adorned with substantial residences) between the Club-house and Mr. Ball's home was the principal cricket ground for the boys of the old East Ipswich Primary school (better known in those days as "Scott's school"). Mr. Ball re-members the visit to that Club of the late Duke of Edinburgh, in February of 1868; also the appearance at the same institution, later on, of the late Col. Sam. Blackall, the second Governor of Queensland, one of the most popular Governors in this State, especially with the Ipswich folk, as testified to by the Blackall Monument in Brisbane and Nicholas Streets. Mr. Ball also recollects the old merry racing days, under the auspices of the North Australian Jockey Club. He also recalled to mind, witnessing willing tribal fights between blacks, in the vicinity of Denmark Hill. In addition to his post-office duties, Mr. Ball interested himself in other concerns helping to advance the progress of Ipswich and West Moreton. He was one of the originators of the movement, as far back as (48) years, for the formation of the Ipswich Agricultural and Horticultural Society. This society was established in March of 1866, as the result of a petition to the then Mayor of Ipswich (Ald. John Murphy), signed by Messrs. James McIntosh, J.C. Foote, Benjamin Cribb, William Hendren, Fred. C. Daveney, J.G. Foxton, Henry Bathos, Henry M. Cockburn, Hughes and Cameron, H.C. Williams, Chas. L. de Fattorini, and Henry Challinor. The late Mr. Henry Kilner, too, evinced great interest in its advancement. The first show was not held, owing to much depression, until the 17th of December, 1868, when one part was held in the School of Arts, and the other in East-street, next to Mr. W. Milsom's residence. Ploughing matches were also held under the same auspices 46 years ago, remarked Mr. Ball. He was likewise a member of the first committee appointed by the Education Department in connection with the East Ipswich Primary School (under the regime of the late Mr. John Scott). He was chairman. Boys and girls were taught 40 odd years under the one roof, and, said Mr. Ball, "only the other day, Miss Roulston, who had charge of the girls' section, called in to see me, and she seemed to be in robust health." Mr. Ball was also appointed on the committee of the Central Girls' State School (Mrs. L. A. Bryant being the head mistress at the time), and he occupied the position on those respective committees for many years. He has also filled the position of judge in the agricultural and horticultural class at all the principal shows of Ipswich and West Moreton--Ipswich, Gatton, Marburg, Rosewood, &c., as well as at Brisbane. "Yes," replied Mr. Ball, " I well remember, the sensation caused in Ipswich, 49 years ago, on the receipt of the news of the 'sticking-up' of Cobb and Co.'s mail coach, near Oxley, by a so-called bushranger, but the excitement soon subsided when it was learned that there was no blood spilled. Nor do I forget," concluded Mr. Ball, "the sensation caused in the surroundings of Club-House Hill, during the early seven-ties, by the continuous night robberies by an American negro, whose 'plant,' was discovered in the cellar of the old Club-House." Mr. Ball is still in the enjoyment of fair health, and he looks as if his 55 years' residence under our sunny skies has not robbed him of much vigour.

Correct payment for parcels - 1886

Queenslander (Brisbane), Saturday 27 November 1886, page 858

Notices to Correspondents

I consequence of the penalties inflicted upon us by the Post Office authorities for parcels irregularly posted or insufficiently stamped, we have given instructions to our messenger to receive in future no parcel or manuscript on which insufficient postage or other penalty is charged on delivery.

Persons forwarding MS to us by post are requested to bear in mind that a penny stamp is sufficient only for a package weighing less than 2oz and that an additional penny is required for every 2oz after the first. We would repeat also that the envelope must be open at each end and be endorsed "MS only for publication.” This repeated notice is necessary as we have since the above notice appeared had to pay fines on several parcels.. 

Postal Arrangements at Kingsborough - 1877

Queenslander (Brisbane), Saturday 17 February 1877, page 6
Postal Arrangements at Kingsborough
A public meeting was held at Kingsborough, on the 20th ultimo, to take into consideration the existing postal arrangements, more especially as affecting that township. Mr. T. Jackson was voted to the chair, and resolutions were adopted unanimously as follows :
(1). ''That it is the opinion of this meeting that the postal communication between this township and the seaboard is unsatisfactory, the last mail having been delivered by the mailman on his way from Thornborough to Cairns (the port for this district); thus not giving the inhabitants time to reply to return mail"
(2.) "That the Postmaster-General be communicated with requesting him to instruct the Postmaster at Cairns to make up a separate bag for this township, to be delivered either an hour before or an hour after the one delivered at Thornborough.''
(3.) "That this meeting is of opinion that it would be nearer for the mailman to go to Thornborough via Kingsborough than to go to Kingsborough via Thornborough."
A resolution was also passed that the Minister for Works be requested to put on a road party to improve the communication between the various townships, reefs, and crushing mills; and a committee was appointed to forward the resolutions of the meeting to the respective Ministers to whose departments these matters belong. The request for roads calls for no special remark; but the censorious tone adopted in reference to the postal arrangements is scarcely justified by the facts. The resolutions are so framed as to convey the impression that a permanent postal service was at the time in existence, and working badly; but this is not exactly true.
There was some time since a mail running between Thornborough and Byerstown, connecting at the latter place with the Cooktown and Palmer line; but representations having been made to the Postmaster-General that this branch line would be uncertain, if not utterly valueless, during the summer months, owing to the swollen state of the Mitchell River at its crossing place on this road, the mail contract was terminated on the 31st December last, and tenders were invited for a service between Cairns and Thornborough. Meanwhile, to maintain postal communication with the Hodgkinson, two or three special mails were despatched between Byerstown and Thornborough, and on the 15th ultimo a special mail started from Cairns for Thornborough, at the exorbitant cost to the Government of £20 the trip; and this mail, the first from Cairns, and of an experimental character, must have reached the goldfield a few days before the meeting, and is evidently referred to in the first resolution passed at the public meeting, as "the last mail having been delivered by the mailman on his way from Thornborough to Cairns"—that is, on the return trip, the two townships being within a short distance of each other. The residents of Kingsborough must be aware that permanent postal arrangements cannot be made in a day with a new district, by a track which cannot yet be dignified with the name of road, and which is at present so far from being definitely determined, that its course may be considerably altered a few weeks hence. We feel perfectly sure, however, that the authorities will not fail to use every diligence to meet the reasonable requirements of the new goldfield.
Tenders were invited for the conveyance of a weekly mail between Cairns and Thornborough for a term of two years; one of the tenders received has been recommended for acceptance, and the matter will probably be decided at the next meeting of the Executive. The successful tenderer will we are informed, on commencing the service, be instructed to run the mail between Cairns and Thornborough via Kingsborough, although the information to hand regarding the track is so conflicting that no decided opinion can at present be formed of the desirableness of serving the Hodgkinson townships in the particular way indicated. Possibly the arrangement most convenient to Kingsborough would not be suitable for Thornborough. However, when the permanent mail is actually established —probably two or three weeks hence —every effort will doubtless be used to make it as far as possible satisfactory to all parties concerned.

Newspaper postage matters - 1891 and 1897

Darling Downs Gazette, Saturday 11 July 1891, page 4

Newspaper Postage

This is a great nuisance. There can be no doubt about that, but the battle can always be safely left to the metropolitan journals. To them it is an unmitigated infliction. Being able to work on a vaster scale, which means more cheaply, than we provincialists, the big dailies, under the fostering care of a paternal Government which carries thousands of tons of such literature free from one end of the land to the other, are able to squash by sheer weight most country organs of public opinion into a woeful state of flatness, so that the raison d'ĂȘtre of these last narrows down into a localism of a mile or two in radius.

With such handicapping it is hard work and requires a lot of watching to keep the stagnant waters of localism from smothering you; to be an organ of opinion extending beyond the span-wide circle; to be the advocate of something besides the interests of the one-street town in which you live, and live. This journal is doing it, or trying hard to, at any rate, but not with impunity. The imposition of post age duty on newspapers will at least have the effect of keeping back the competition of the big dailies in some small degree, but whether that degree be sufficient to compensate for the certain disadvantages and the extra work and worry of the thing is another matter. But as we said already, there is no occasion for us to 'fash' about it. The metropolitans will block the vile, iniquitous and retrogressive measure if it can be done. It will be all that to them, however it may affect the struggling exponent of one divisional board.

Brisbane Courier, Saturday 9 January 1897, page 4

Intercolonial Newspaper Postage

Arrangements have been entered into with the Queensland postal authorities whereby N.S.W. newspapers for circulation in this colony can be posted at Wallangarra. The postage rate will therefore be at the rate of 1d. for every 10oz., as compared with 1⁄2d. for every 2oz. if the newspapers were posted in New South Wales. Under this arrangement the "S. M. Herald" forward the papers for Queensland circulation to their agent at Jennings, who affixes the necessary stamps to them, carries them across the border, and posts them in the Intercolonial mail train.

Problems with the Drayton Post Office - 1850

Moreton Bay Courier (Brisbane), Saturday 19 January 1850, page 3

Drayton Correspondent

The Postman did not arrive here from Brisbane until Thursday morning, which caused some inconvenience to parties in the district. As it is very desirable that such irregularities should be stopped at once, the Postmaster has very properly laid an information against him, under the 41st sec. of the Postage Act, for loitering on the road. The true cause of the delay will thus be ascertained, and, if it is through his negligence, the punishment inflicted on him must have a beneficial effect on the other postmen. It is only fair to add that for the last twelve months he has been very regular to his time. Talking of the Post Office, I may state that great complaints are made throughout the district on account of the utter impossibility of obtaining post-office stamps. The supply forwarded to the Postmaster was not sufficient for the demand in Drayton alone, not to say anything of the district. Procrastination is the thief of time," and never was the old saw more fully verified than in the dilatory proceedings off the post-office authorities in Sydney.

Postal irregularities at Ipswich and Brisbane - 1858

North Australian, Ipswich and General Advertiser (Ipswich), Tuesday 14 December 1858, page 3

POSTAL IRREGULARITIES. — We are in receipt of letters, by the Thursday's mail, from subscribers at Calandoon and Dalby, complaining of great irregularity in the receipt of their papers. The papers are sent regularly from Ipswich by the Wednesday's mail, packed in parcels, which remain intact until their arrival at Drayton. Our Calandoon correspondent says, 'I sometimes get none at all, and then receive three old numbers. The North Australian came very regularly till the alteration of the Drayton mail, but 'since then we have not once had it in time.' The communication from Dalby says: 'I am surprised at my not getting my paper regularly; I had none last week, and such is frequently the case.'

IRREGULARITIES OF THE BRISBANE POST-OFFICE — The Free Press has hazarded a defence of the irregularity we complained of in a previous issue, by which our English letters arriving in Brisbane on a Saturday were not despatched by the special mail with the Sydney correspondence, but delayed until Monday, causing a delay in the delivery of thirty six hours. The plea in extenuation is that the English mails are now sent direct to Brisbane, and extra labour is imposed on the officials there. That, certainly, may be a valid excuse for detaining the special mail for an hour or two; but it forms no defence to our charge of sending a special mail with only a portion of the letters. Moreover, the newspapers are not now sent by the special mail which the contractor had hitherto been bound to carry. If the sorting of letters and papers demanded in more time, let them take it and delay the mail for that purpose; but it is sheer folly to despatch it with only a part of its contents. We recollect our contemporary could be hard enough on those who rendered public service gratuitously, though he is now volunteering a defence for lapses of duty committed by paid servants.

Postal Reforms. Posting Letters. Collection and Delivery - 1899

Telegraph (Brisbane), Saturday 11 February 1899, page 2

Postal Reforms. Posting Letters. Collection and Delivery

The Postmaster-General (Hon. W. H. Wilson) has found that increased facilities for posting must lend to a proportionate increase of business in the postal branch of his department. The advances already made in this direction by the establishment of the tramway car posting system, and the proposition to extend this system to omnibuses whore the proprietors are willing to accept a reasonable remuneration for placing their vehicles at the disposal of the department, not only in Brisbane, but in other towns of the colony, do not meet the requirements of residents in the suburbs and sparsely populated localities. The Postmaster-General has therefore directed that a departmental rule shall be issued requiring all letter-carriers to accept from residents in the districts where they are employed letters for posting that are fully stamped, and to convoy such letters to the nearest pillar-box, post office, or other posting receptacle, regard being had to the most speedy means of transmission of the letters to the office for which they are intended. Provision must however, be made that the curriers shall not be required to accept letters for posting from persons who reside within a quarter of a mile of any posting place, and also that they shall not be retarded in their work of delivery by waiting for letters to be posted.

Mr. Wilson has had the system in vogue in certain of the larger cities of the United States in connection with the delivery of correspondence, and the collection of letters for the post by the use of boxes which provide for this double convenience, brought under his notice. So far back as 1892 a commission was appointed by the United States Postmaster-General, for the purpose of examining and reporting upon certain boxes submitted to his department for this purpose, and in consequence of the report brought up, and of subsequent tests in actual working, it was decided that the use of the approved box was not only a distinct convenience to the residents, but was also beneficial to the post office, as it provided for prompt delivery without waiting for personal attendance of persons to accept their list, etc. This system is, however, advantageous only in cities and large towns where it is incumbent upon the carriers to call regularly when making their deliveries and from where the house to house delivery is continuous, and is not adapted to those localities where the houses are at some distance from each other and where the calls for delivery purposes are irregular. It must be understood that the post office does not provide such boxes. These are supplied by the persons requiring this service at their own expense, and only approved boxes are taken cognisance of by the department.

Mr Wilson has decided to obtain boxes of the authorised patterns from the States, and also to call for tenders for supplying them in quantities, and if they are found to answer they will be supplied at cost price to persons desiring to use them in suitable and approved localities. Contrary to the British practice no charge is made for this collecting of letters from private houses by the carriers. It. is worthy of note that the Queensland Post Office was the first in the colonies to adopt the modern system of looked private boxes for the delivery of correspondence at the post office, and the only Australian office that has utilised the American system of sorting the letters directly into the boxes, in which they travel to their destination, and also the simple and effective means in the travelling post offices on the railways.

Letter Carriers' Grievances - 1885

Telegraph (Brisbane), Monday 14 December 1885, page 2

Letter Carriers' Grievances

The following is a copy of a petition presented to the Superintendent of Mails on Friday last: — 'B. T. Scott, Esquire.— Respected Sir,— We, the undersigned letter-carriers of the city and suburbs of Brisbane, beg most respectfully to draw your attention, and through you the attention of the Postmaster- General, to the grievances under which we labour, with a view to their removal.

We would especially direct your attention to the long hours which we are obliged to work — namely, from 7 a.m. until 5 and 6 p.m. every day, and occasionally even later than that. And we regret to say that while working those late hours we are sometimes denied a reasonable time for refreshments, which the following will show. On September 7 and 17, it was 8 and 7 p.m. when we ceased work, and we were deprived by order of Mr. Wright of any food from midday until we left the office, and considering the long distances many of us have to go before reaching our homes, the injustice of such on order must be apparent. Again, on October 1, 2, 12, 19, 20, and 29 it was 10, 7.46, 9.30, 8.46, 6.45, and 11.30 p.m. respectively when we ceased work, while on the latter date it was midnight before the last of us left the office, and on the two former of those dates we were only allowed twenty and twenty five minutes at 6 p.m. for refreshments, a time altogether inadequate to go from the office and partake of food and return. Besides, it was equally as late before we stopped work on several occasions during the month of November, but notably on two, viz., on Sunday, 22nd, being engaged from 3 to 11 p.m, and on the 27th it was 12 p.m., and that, too, on the latter day, without receiving any extra pay, and to still further aggravate those evils of which we so justly complain, we wore on the 30th ordered back to the office at 7.15 p.m. to put in our letters for the next day, without any valid reason being assigned for such, to our minds, an unnecessary and unjust proceeding. Such long hours of labour and such scant time being allowed for meals, is contrary to the spirit of the present age, and utterly at variance with the recognised principle of the eight hours' system of Queensland. We would therefore respectfully urge that in future our working hours be reduced to eight per day— namely, from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m., with one hour (where practicable) from 12 to 1 o'clock, for dinner.

We would further point out the injustice of the system which prevails at present, of our being compelled to wait on the various mail-boats, after doing our two, and in some cases three, heavy deliveries during the day; sort all newspapers, packets, &c, from the same, besides having to empty the town letter box, stamp all letters deposited therein, and keep a daily record and make a monthly return of the same, in addition to our other duties, namely, cross sort those newspapers and packets, besides the placing of those papers, as well as our letters, for careful distribution, which is sometimes more than sufficient for us to do with justice to ourselves, and to give satisfaction to the public and also the department.

We would, therefore, strongly urge the necessity of being relieved of those extra duties which do not properly belong to us, and if they did are really more than we are able to do.

We would also point out that in consequence of the large number of houses which are being erected, and the rapid increase of population, the runs are much too large to be worked with the present number of hands, therefore the necessity of a revision of the various runs, and an increase of hands, so as to make the work a little less laborious must be obvious, and will, we hope, receive early attention. The present system, or rather the want of system, which now obtains of our having to- initial up letters, and wait on mail in the mornings, especially the mail from South Brisbane, which usually arrives about 8.30 a.m. (and which often contains hundreds of letters, circulars, &o.. from auctioneers, building societies, and other public bodies), the time when we are supposed to leave the office, for our first deliveries, is extremely inconvenient and objectionable, and should be so altered as to afford us sufficient time previous to that hour to have our letters and papers properly sorted before leaving, thus enabling us to reach the public in a reasonable time, whereas now we are unable to do so with any degree of comfort, for the reasons stated above, and being thus detained through no fault of our own, we are often most unreasonably, and also in the most disagreeable manner, remonstrated with for being late.

We would venture to hope that some remedy may be speedily applied to put an end to this state of things, which leads to a good deal of friction and unpleasantness, which should not exist in any department of the State.

Moreover, the present practice of shifting us from run to run, and not infrequently when we have our letters, &o:, sorted, and are just on the point of departure from the office to commence our deliveries, is exceedingly disagreeable to us and very inconvenient to the public; because, we contend that to send us to deliver letters into strange districts with which we are unacquainted; and where the houses are not numbered; (especially on English mail days), is not only manifestly unfair, not to say unjust to us, but it is a source of great inconvenience and annoyance to the public in those districts. We trust, therefore, that some change will shortly be made in this direction.

We would also venture to suggest that the Government be urged (if such be required) to pass a law compelling owners of properties to have their houses and vacant allotments duly numbered, so as to prevent mistakes being made in the delivery of letters.

We would further request that in future when new hands are being engaged, and when we are removed to strange runs, that they, or we, be accompanied for a abort time at first by some person acquainted with the districts in which we are to be employed.

The light of the room in which we have to do our sorting is very defective, and many' mistakes occur by the misplacing of letters in consequence, besides it is very injurious to the eyesight. We trust that steps will be speedily taken to remedy this, defect.

We would further request that on national holidays we be allowed the whole of the day instead of the half day which we have at present, a privilege which is enjoyed by most of the Civil Servants, and by almost all other classes of the community- ; besides, if this concession were made to us, it would be very little inconvenience the public, especially those in business, most of whom live off the premises in any case, while many of the others are seldom at home during those days, therefore numbers of the letters which are taken out for delivery on those days are returned to the office undelivered. Thus unnecessary, and in some cases double duties are imposed on us without conferring any corresponding advantage on the public.

We desire to state that the present mode of dealing with reports which are made by respecting the delay and misdelivery of letters and other alleged irregularities on our part, is both clumsy and very unsatisfactory If, instead of receiving such reports (many of which being made more through pique than anything else) with such readiness and credulity, and also in our absence, and we having to answer them in writing, wo were allowed to see and converse with the complainant themselves, before such reports were acted upon, we would in most cases be able to give such explanations as would satisfy all parties concerned, we would thus be saved much labour and annoyance., besides a little cash which we sometimes have to pay in the shape of fine.

In conclusion we have to express our regret at having to address you at such length (or indeed at all) on such matters as are here submitted for your consideration, but our position is such, both from being overworked, and while endeavouring to discharge our multifarious duties to the best of our ability, we are so inconsiderately treated, that unless we had lost all sense of self -respect and manhood we have no other option but to bring the matter under your notice and in such a form as will convince you of the genuineness of  our complaints, and the necessity of  the changes which we are seeking.

Awaiting your early and we trust favourable reply, we are respected sirs yours etc the undersigned.

Here follow the signatures.


Telegraph (Brisbane), Thursday 17 December 1885, page 2

The Letter Carriers' Petition

To the Editor. — Sir,— I was not surprised at the letter carriers' petition to the manager of the mail branch. I consider it is quite time the Brisbane Post Office officials were put under the management of a thoroughly competent official from the old country (the same as the Railway Department was and is under Mr. Thallon, traffic manager), then the first, second, and third deliveries would be despatched from the General Post Office in something like reasonable time. The first delivery of letters, etc., by the letter carriers should be over by 9 a.m., the second at 11.30 a.m., and the third at 2. 00 p.m. Instead of that we see the letter carriers leaving the Post Office to commence their several deliveries of letters at the very time they should have completed them. With regard to the letter carriers having to sort and assist at making up the mails, in no post office in England is that allowed. It is contrary to all post office routine and common sense. In the old country the Senior letter carriers sort the letters for the town delivery after they have been through the hands of the sorting clerks, for which they receive extra pay. After the senior letter carriers have divided the letters, etc., into the various rounds then each man has only to make up the letters for his own delivery. By such an arrangement as this business is facilitated, and the letters, etc., are in the possession of the public in a shorter space of time. The letter carriers having stated their grievances, it now remains for the public to back them up, and insist on the much-needed reforms being carried out, if it amounts to the instant dismissal of the incompetent officials that now impede rather than accelerate business. — Yours, etc.

Late Post Office Bristol. Brunswick Street, Valley.


Telegraph (Brisbane), Friday 10 August 1883, page 3


To the Editor. — Sir,— Permit me to address a few remarks through your valuable columns concerning the delivery of letters in general. Owing to the free postage of newspapers, &c, the circulation of printed matter has increased so enormously that letters are delayed in consequence. The letter carrier must find it impossible to carry a large pack of papers, parcels of books, magazines, &c, and attend faithfully to the delivery of letters, which is the most important and responsible of his duties. Of all Government employees none occupy a more responsible position than the individual to whom the delivery of letters is entrusted, yet few are hampered so much. No Government subordinate should be more respected and better paid than that of a latter deliverer, and the head officials should so deal with the letter deliverers as to impress upon them daily the importance and sacredness of their daily duties. What serious interests are often at stake and depend upon a single letter? What anxieties await daily to be relieved by a single letter, the loss of which, or the delay, may occasion intense sufferings, and perhaps, the most serious consequences. Hence the letter carrier's duty is not only a most responsible and serious one, but one of benevolence also, and he should be so dealt with as to feel that he is not only doing duty in his daily round, but that he is on a message of mercy also. If he is duly impressed with a sense of the importance and sacredness of his office, he will be stimulated to a faithful discharge of his duty; and his labours will be lightened, or the more pleasant, as he feels that he is not merely a machine, but that his position affords latitude for benevolence, enabling him by faithfulness to be a messenger of mercy also. Instead of this being the case, what do we find? The poor letter deliverer is made to carry heaps of rubbish in one hand with the most important messages in the other. He is made a mere beast of burden to carry the most frivolous and ridiculous parcels, such as quack doctors' sheets, stump orators, political notices, speculators' specimens of some new Punch, Figaro, or foolery, with other heaps of useless lumber too numerous to mention. The consequence is respect for the sacredness of his duties is destroyed, and, finding it impossible to attend to both duties, he is compelled to sacrifice one to the other, or neglect both. A reflective mind cannot meet a postman, however humble, without felling respect, if not a reverence, for the man, owing to the peculiar duties in connection with him. But this must soon give way if the man is to become a mere news vendor, carrying in one hand contemptible buffooneries which are placed on a level with the most sacred documents he holds in the other. A letter carrier has no more, or rather he ought to have, no more to do with parcels than a physician has to do with driving a night cart, because he understands the sanitary laws and chemical principles better than the humble individuals who are engaged in such work. If a physician were compelled to unite the one with his profession, he would not be long before he renounced both. Parcels have no more to do with letters than a night dray has to do with a physician's practice. One or two new hands have lately been obliged to give up their position, they had been employed in London as letter deliverers but finding that here they were merely beasts of burden they gave up, as it was impossible to do both duties faithfully. What is the remedy for this? Do as they do in London, let the letter deliverer attend to his duty, and never touch a parcel, excepting deeds, wills, documents, etc., which, owing to their importance belong to the letter delivery. But newspapers, printed bills, and parcels, books, magazines, and all such like lumber, let there be men especially set apart for such work, and have a spring cart or a pack horse for such purposes. Until this be the case our letters must of necessity be delayed — Yours, &c,

Mr. Observer. Brisbane, August 9.