Thursday, September 15, 2016

Explaining the Queensland Post and Telegraph Act of 1891

Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton,), Wednesday 30 December 1891, page 5

Postal Changes. Postage on Newspapers. New Parcels Post Regulations

A supplement to the Government Gazette, issued on Saturday, contained the new regulations relating to the postal and money order branches of the Post and Telegraph Department under the Post and Telegraph Act of 1891. All former regulations on the same subjects are cancelled with the issue of the new ones. In the new regulations it is provided that late letters which may be posted fifteen minutes after the time appointed for closing the mail at the post office, or posted on board steamers and trains intended for delivery within Queensland, must bear a late fee of 1d., in addition to the ordinary postage, and those for places beyond Queensland must bear one single rate in addition to the ordinary postage. Late letters posted at the post office without the late fee will be detained till the next mail, and in the case of these posted on steamers and trains the late fee will be collected on delivery of the letter. No notice has been taken hitherto of special requests for a letter to be returned to a certain address in the event of its non-delivery within fourteen days, as it was against the ordinary postal regulations. It is now provided, however, that requests of that kind will be complied with, and the letter charged with the ordinary postage for re-direction. A somewhat important alteration has been made in regard to unclaimed letters. The practice hitherto has been to keep letters at the office of delivery for a month, and then send them to the head office, where they were advertised and kept for another period, being finally returned to the sender. In this way months elapsed before the sender of a letter got to know that his communication had not been delivered, and it was frequently the cause of loss and inconvenience. It is now provided that letters originally posted in Queensland will be retained at the office of delivery for one month, and advertised there in the ordinary way. If not claimed then they will be returned to the head office and sent at once to the sender. Letters posted to any part of Australia other than Queensland will be kept at the office of delivery for three months, and from foreign countries for six months, when the same course will be pursued as in the case of colonial letters.

The classification of packets, patterns, and samples is new, and is as follows: (1) books, (2) printed papers, (3) commercial papers, (4) patterns and samples. The limit of weight has been increased to 4 lb. instead of 3 lb., and the regulations have been framed so as to make them answer for inland as well as foreign postage. Packets containing merchandise were precluded previously from being sent by post, but it is now provided that merchandise of almost any description not exceeding 16 oz. in weight may be sent as samples and patterns to any part of Queensland or Australia, at book rates, namely, ld. for 2 oz. In regard to newspapers, there is a good deal that is new. First of all the definition of a newspaper has been altered, it being provided that the letterpress must be printed in Queensland from type set up in Queensland or from stereotype plates made therefrom. Newspapers must be registered at the head office, the registration fee being 5s. A copy of each issue of every registered paper must be sent to the Postmaster-General, but need not be stamped. Should the Postmaster-General consider that a newspaper has ceased to fulfil the prescribed conditions of a newspaper as prescribed by the Post and Telegraph Act, the registration thereof is to be cancelled, and every paper sent subsequent to such cancellation is to be charged as a book packet. Any proposed change in the form of a newspaper must be submitted for the consideration of the Postmaster-General. The postage on newspapers published or printed in Queensland to places throughout Australia will be 0.5d. not exceeding 10ozs., and for every additional 10 oz., or part thereof, 0.5d extra; to the United Kingdom, ld., with the additional ld. for additional weight, while to foreign countries the postage will be ld. not exceeding 4 ozs. and 0.5d. for every additional 2 ozs. Foreign or intercolonial papers posted in Queensland to places inland, or intercolonial, or to the United Kingdom, must bear a postage of 1d. not exceeding 10 ozs., and 1d. additional for every additional 10 ozs. or fraction thereof, while to foreign countries tbc postage will be ld. not exceeding 4 oz., and 0.5d. extra for every additional 2 oz. Bulk parcels of newspapers from any recognised publisher or newsvendor, whose name must be registered at the local post office, will have the postage collected by docket, that is to say, a stamp may be affixed to one parcel covering the charge for several parcels instead of stamping each parcel separately. If anything is placed inside a newspaper which is not within the meaning of the regulations the newspaper will be charged postage as a book packet. Two or more newspapers to the same address may be tied together, but the outside wrapper or paper must bear the full postage for each paper. The fee for registering a letter, packet, or newspaper to all places is 3d., which must be prepaid by means of adhesive stamps affixed to the cover. The sender of any registered article may obtain an acknowledgment of its due delivery to the addressee by affixing to the article a postage stamp of the value 2.5d., in addition to the other charges. Correspondence redirected from one country to another in the Postal Union will be charged postage according to the original fee for the distance the letter has to travel. An important regulation regarding letters and packers supposed to contain articles liable to customs duty is to the effect that packets supposed to contain articles liable to customs duty will be dealt with in the same way as parcels. They will be at once opened, examined, and valued by a customs officer in the presence of the postmaster or other postal officer without reference to the addresses. In regard to postcards an innovation is provided in the shape of reply cards. The cards are really double cards, each part bearing a penny stamp one half being intended for the use of the sender, and the other for the addressee in transmitting a reply. These reply cards may be purchased for 2d. each, and are available for transmission all over Australasia.

It is further provided that private firms may have their own postcards printed under certain restrictions. Arrangements may be made for the collection of ordinary letters only from private boxes at business premises. The only new regulation in regard to pillar receivers and receiving boxes is in regard to damaging or destroying the receivers and boxes, and to placing in or against such receptacle any fire, match, light, or explosive, or filth. For the first set of offences the penalty may he £50, and for the second £20. A large number of miscellaneous regulations, and suggestions which arc departmentally old, are now published for the first time. It is provided that when a letter is forwarded under cover to any postmaster with a request that he will repost it in his office, the letter on being reposted must be endorsed showing whore the letter originally came from. Persons sending letters are urged to make the address as legible and complete as possible, as much difficulty is experienced in delivering letters improperly addressed. In regard to telegrams, letters, packets, newspapers, and parcels addressed to a person at a boarding-house or hotel, if they are not delivered within two months after receipt they must be returned to the nearest post office under a penalty of £10.

 Regulations in regard to the inland parcel post are given. The limit of weight is to be 11 lb., and the limit of size 3 feet 0 inches in length, or 6 feet in girth and length combined. Postage, which is to be prepaid in stamps, will be 1 lb. or under 6d., and each additional 1 lb. 3d. Parcels at present will be received only at and forwarded to post offices to which mails are conveyed by rail or steamer or both. Parcels may be re-directed on payment of an additional fee of 6d. Although every care will be taken, the Postmaster-General will not accept any responsibility for damage, delay, or loss of any parcel under any circumstances.

Regulations regarding foreign parcels post have also been made, but the rates have not yet been fixed, as the other countries within the postal union have to be consulted. Special care has been taken in regard to sweeps and such like things. It is provided that where the Postmaster-General has reasonable ground to suppose a person to be engaged cither in Queensland or elsewhere in receiving money or any valuable thing (a) as a consideration for an assurance or agreement expressed or implied, to pay or give, as a consideration for securing the paying or giving by some other person, of any money or valuable thing on an event or contingency on or relating to any horse race, or other race, or any fight, game, sport, or exercise; or (b) for promoting or carrying out a scheme connected with any such assurance agreement, or security or lottery, a scheme or chance not sanctioned by law; or an unlawful game, or (c) under pretence of foretelling future events ; or (d) in connection with a fraudulent business or undertaking the letter shall not be delivered, but shall be returned to the sender. Gratuities for conveying mails by ship have been raised, and there are also a number of clauses dealing with unclaimed letters.