Tuesday, November 8, 2016

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.