Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Harmonising intercolonial postage rates - 1894

Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton), Tuesday 17 July 1894, page 6

Postage Rates

A one of the results of the recent postal conference at Wellington, says the Brisbane Telegraph, a convention to settle the inter-colonial postal relations, and to render them as uniform as the existing laws would allow, was drawn up, and submitted by the heads of departments to the Ministerial delegates, and having been approved by them, it has, with or without modifications, been ratified by the respective Governments, and came into operation on the first of this month. In this colony the convention has been altered in several details to accord with the Post and Telegraph Act of 1891. The following is a brief resume of the alterations referred to, and of the effect of the convention, as adopted, on the previous regulations:-The inter-colonial rates of postage have not been affected. A proposition was, indeed, made, and embodied in the convention, to the effect that a special rate of postage should be made for magazines and periodical literature other than newspapers, of ld. for the first 8 oz., and 0.5d. for every additional 4oz., but as the postal law of this colony had fixed the inland rate on such articles at 1d. for 4oz., to admit a lower rate intercolonially would have been very prejudicial to the trade of the Queensland booksellers, and it was therefore disallowed by the Postmaster-General. A stipulation of the convention that all letters or packets having bank notes or other valuable enclosures, posted without registration, should be compulsorily registered and charged a double registration fee of 6d. before delivery, though agreed to by all the other colonies, could not be accepted here because our Act provides that persons who choose to take the risk may post letters with bank notes enclosed, without registering them; and also because where the law directed the compulsory registration of letters with coin, jewellery, in., enclosed, it permitted only a single fee of 3d. to be collected on delivery. Of course letters of this description posted here and passing into another colony will be subject to the additional charge, which will be imposed by the delivering office. It was also provided that in these colonies, where the laws and regulations would admit of it, no charge should be made for the re-direction of correspondence within certain limits, but as the Queensland Act directs that charges shall be made on this class of mail matter, this colony could not agree to the proposition.

The following arc the modifications of the regulations hitherto in force here: Bulk parcels of newspapers, hitherto undefined, must now consist of at least four copies. Insufficiently prepaid newspapers for the other colonies that have until now been sent to the dead letter offices und destroyed, are sent on to destination, but before delivery there must be paid double the amount of deficient postage. Persons posting large numbers of circulars or newspapers can now pay the postage in cash, instead of having to affix postage stamps to every one of them. This will do away with a good deal of stamp licking. The regulations which required packets, sent by banks, to be wholly open at one end or side has been modified, but only so far as banks are concerned, and now it is only required that such packets shall be sufficiently open to allow the contents to be seen. Circulars not wholly printed, engraved, lithographed. &c., but produced by some other mechanical process, including the copying press, the typewriter, and imitations of it, are now admitted to the packet rate of postage if they are submitted at the post office in numbers of not less than twenty at one time.

Provision is made that packets that have been charged as insufficiently paid letters, for failure to comply with the regulations, and have been refused on account of the postage to pay shall, if, when opened at the Dead Letter office, be found to have only such contents us are properly admissible at the packet rate, of postage, be sent on and delivered to the addressees without charge. Similarly if such packets are opened in the presence of a postal officer; and found to be correct as to their contents, the charges made thereon for simple irregularities shall be remitted.

It will be noticed with satisfaction that almost the whole of the alterations are in the direction of increased liberality and concessions to the persons making use of the post office.