Thursday, November 12, 2020

Mail services between Brisbane and Cairns - 1901

Morning Post (Cairns) Tuesday 20 August 1901, p. 2


At a meeting of the Cairns Chamber of Commerce held last week amongst other matters discussed was that of postal communication from the South. It is some time since Townsville and its back country received the consideration from the Government in regard to postal matters that its importance deserves. The Government was prevailed upon after a long agitation to recognise the fact that special arrangements should be made to give the North a fast mail service. As settlement advances in Queensland the unsuitableness of the site of the metropolis of this State as an entrepot becomes more marked. Situated in the South-East extremity of this State there is a seaboard of 1500 miles to the North, every point of which is entitled at some time or other to be placed within reasonable easy communication of the accidentally situated capital. Any Government which does not wish to encourage separation is called upon to reduce in some way the disabilities under which the far North labours with regard to mail service. Digressing for a moment from our subject-matter, the term far North is commonly used by Southern politicians, and contains an implication that we placed outside the bounds of rapid and easy communication. There is no reason why this implication should obtain, beyond the accident which places Brisbane where it is. We are nearer the centres of European civilisation and the worlds marts than our southern sisters, and yet the term, far north is applied as if we were on the outer bounds of civilisation whereas the contrary is the case. The application of the term becomes therefore a reproach on the circumstances that have placed outside the margin of easy communication, a territory which by its relative position with regard to the older civilisation of Europe is less deserving of the implication of remoteness than most other portions of this continent.

It is also a reflection on a Government which having the power to bring us within easy postal range, yet expends in works in the South large sums of public money, a very small proportion of which would be sufficient to satisfy our requirements. To remove the cause for this reproach is therefore clearly the duty of those who wish to preserve for Brisbane the status which by accidents she holds amongst the towns of Queensland, and to a certain extent this is being done, partly by the extension of the coastal line of railway which having reached Gladstone is now being extended to Rockhampton - one more step to its ultimate destination at Cape York - and partly by the establishment of a rapid mail service from Brisbane to Townsville, by subsidising the A.U.S.N. Co's steamer Barcoo, at the rate of £20,000 a year.

The mails are carried from that port to Cairns by the Palmer which receives a subsidy of £2ooo a year. The northern mails leave Brisbane … at 4 o’clock, a period of – hours. The Palmer leaves with the northern mails at 10 a.m on the same day, but calling in at every little port on the way she only reaches Cairns on the Tuesday afternoon, thus taking about two-thirds of the time occupied in the transmission of the mails from Brisbane to Townsville. And this interval between Townsville and Cairns could be bridged by the Barcoo in 11 hours.

Thus Cairns receives its Brisbane mail on Tuesday afternoon instead of at 4 o'clock on Monday afternoon. If there were no remedy for this it would be idle waste of ink to write of it, but fortunately there are two easy- and effective methods by which it may be obviated, and by which Cairns may be permitted to participate in proportion to her importance, and her relation to the resourceful territory lying behind her in the fast mail service provided by a Government which hugs to its bosom the illusion that Townsville is the hub of the North. Surely, in view of the vast sums spent in Townsville, Cairns is entitled to this small consideration. It is unnecessary to wax discursive on the importance of this port and its back country. As an entrepot for inland settlement, it yields in importance neither to Rockhampton nor Townsville, and occupies a similar position with regard to its western trunk line of railway to those which Brisbane, Rockhampton, and Townsville, respectively, do to theirs. The requirements of the territory tapped by its inland railway, demand that Cairns shall share in the consideration shown to Townsville with regard to postal service. And this may be done in one of two ways. Leaving a margin for unexpected delay or accident, the Barcoo could leave Townsville immediately on delivering her mails there, and steam to Cairns and back to Townsville in 24 hours. By this means, Brisbane mails would reach Cairns by this service, on each Monday afternoon, and there need only be a delay in the departure of the Barcoo from Townsville for the South of a few hours beyond the present time. A slight alteration of the timetables for western mails at each coastal town en route could easily be made to meet the trifling delay in her time of sailing.

We are aware that an objection to this method of expediting our mail service has been put forward on the ground that the Barcoo would have to wait for the tides to enter this port but this difficulty could easily be surmounted by running a small steamer to meet her at the entrance. This objection at the same time suggests a strong reason why the sand dredge "Hercules" or "Sampson" should be directed to this harbour. Here lies the opportunity for vindicating the utility of these dredges. While we urge this as one of the methods of providing ft' swift mail service to Cairns we also are not forgetful of the fact that the period of contract with the A. U. S.N. Co. practically precludes this method of expediting our mail service. It is not available at present, but the termination of the contract will bring the opportunity for applying it.

As a temporary arrangement however, there is the alternative of a steamer to go direct to Cairns from Townsville leaving the mails for the intermediate ports to be carried by the steamer leaving Townsville on Monday, evening, Whatever method is adopted however it is obvious that an important town like this cannot be expected to calmly submit to having its most important mails delayed a whole day while there is a comparatively easy remedy for the existing defective arrangements. Our postal arrangements in other directions are also capable of improvement. For instance the Saturday steamer arriving from Cooktown leaves Cairns at all hours on Saturday evening for the South so that it is impossible for the local Post-master to notify the hour of closing the mails until notified of the time of her arrival.

Also the Western Mails arrive at 6 p.m., and in the event of the steamer leaving early in the evening as she frequently does, but little time is available for the local officials to make up the mails. As a matter of fact, on one occasion this steamer went on her way south before the arrival of the Western Mails, and a special steamer had to be chartered to carry them on to Townsville. If there were necessity for haste to reach Townsville it would be another matter, but on Sunday no cargo can be discharged and therefore if this steamer were restricted from leaving before 9 p.m., both the public and the post office officials would be better served without any inconvenience or delay at Townsville. Another matter needing attention was discussed at the last meeting of the Chamber of Commerce in connection with mails from Port Douglas to Townsville carried by small steamers calling in at every port. If these mails were transhipped to the large steamers at Cairns, which do not put in at these intermediate ports, they would reach Townsville three days earlier than they do at present We think we have said enough to show that postal arrangements in Cairns need the attention of the Postmaster General of the Commonwealth, and we would suggest that as the Chamber of Commerce has already taken the matter into consideration, their hand should be strengthened by a monster petition, and the co-operation of other local bodies.

Rockhampton post office - early history - 1902

The Capricornian,  Sat 12 Jul 1902, p. 10


A post office was of course, established very early in the history of the town, with Mr. P. D. Mansfield, storekeeper, Little Quay-street, as postmaster. Mr. Mansfield carried on this work in addition to his other business. In 1861 Mr. J. E. Rutherford, chemist, had the post office at his shop, where the Bank of New South Wales now is. While Mr. Rutherford was the postmaster the premises had a narrow escape from destruction by fire. Mr. Rutherford's shop was next to the "Bulletin " office, and when that office was destroyed in August, 1862, Mr. Rutherford’s building caught on fire thrice, but the flames were successfully extinguished each time and the premises saved, though considerable damage was done. Apparently no material injury was done to the mails in the office. When the southern mails arrived there was always a great rush for the Post Office, and the crowd pushed and struggled to get to the window. This continued for a few years, though by degree the facilities for handing out the letter, and papers were improved, and the work was accomplished more expeditiously.

Soon after the fire Mr. John Smith was appointed postmaster, and the Post Office was removed to a little building in the vicinity of the present Supreme Court. A wooden building was next erected on the site of the present office at the corner of East and Denham streets, but it was only a makeshift, and in 1866 a two-storey brick office was built. It seems the plans for the Maryborough and Rockhampton Post and Telegraph Offices were prepared at the same time, and in consequence of the extra cost of material at Rockhampton it was found that the building could not be erected here for the price allowed. The authorities got over the difficulty by giving the Rockhampton people the Maryborough plans, and vice versa, Maryborough thus getting the better building of the two.

About a dozen years ago the brick office here was found inadequate and was replaced by the present fine stone building. Mr. Smith held the position of postmaster for some years, and early in his term letter-carriers were appointed, Messrs. G. Daglish and E. A. Isaac being the first. Towards the end of the sixties, Mr. J. E. O. Daly, a brother of Mrs. C. S. D. Melbourne, was appointed postmaster, with Mr. D. C. McPherson as assistant. Some few years after Mr. Daly was succeeded by Mr. D. Peterson.

One of the most difficult facts for the present generation to understand is that the early settlers were in a great measure cut off from the outer world. To-day news is received by cable in a few hours from the most distant parts of the world. In former times the news from Great Britain had to be brought by steamer, and was generally seven or eight weeks old by the time it arrived in Rockhampton. Even when telegraph lines had been brought largely into use in Australia, there was no cable, and news from Great Britain had to be telegraphed first from Melbourne, then from Adelaide, and afterwards from Albany, when the mail steamers arrived at these ports. Steamers usually fired two guns on arriving in the town reach of the Fitzroy and the steamer with the English mail fired three, so that all knew when the English mail was on board. One day the man in charge of the gun on one of the Queensland Company's boats sent the wad through one of the windows of the Joint Stock Bank. This led to the practice being discontinued.

Rockhampton was getting a big town before it was connected with Brisbane by telegraph. It was in 1863 that this much-wished-for boon was obtained, the line running from Brisbane via Toowoomba, Dalby, Hawkwood, and Banana. Other extensions were made with more expedition till Rockhampton eventually became connected with all the principal towns in the colony. Mr. O. G. Langley was the first telegraph master, and after many years excellent service he was succeeded by Mr. E. L. Hanna, who, after twenty-two years' service, has just been promoted to the position of chief of the telegraph service in Queensland.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Postal Express Delivery - 1897

The Queenslander Saturday 30 October 1897 p. 863

Postal Express Delivery.

Regulations for an "express delivery" service at certain towns in Queensland have been approved, and will come into force on the 1st November. There are four systems by which letters and packets not exceeding 8oz. in weight can be specially delivered, namely:

l. By special messenger all the way. This is the most expeditious service, and to secure it letters, etc, must be handed in at an "express delivery" post office.

2. By special messenger after transmission by post. For this service a letter may be posted at any post or receiving office, or in any letter-box or tram posting-bag, and be "expressed" on reaching the delivering office, providing such office is an express delivery office.

3. By special delivery in advance of the ordinary delivery by letter carrier. By this means any person may make an arrangement with the postmaster of any express delivery office to secure the immediate delivery of his own correspondence on its arrival.

4. Special delivery by travelling mall officers at all stations where the mail trains are timed to stop without passing through the local post office or waiting local delivery.

In the system of local service by special messenger all the way. In Brisbane letters and packets not e exceeding 8oz. in weight will be accepted at the Chief Post Office and the post offices at South Brisbane, Woolloongabba, Fortitude Valley, Albion, and Toowong. They will also be accepted at most post offices from which there is a delivery of telegrams. Such offices are designated "express delivery offices." The scale of charges is as follows:

(a) In Brisbane for a letter or packet not exceeding 8oz. in weight for the first mile or part of a mile, in addition to the proper postage, 4d., provided that the minimum rale, including postage, shall not be less than 6d.; for every additional half-mile or hart of half-a-mile, up to two miles, 2d.

(b) Express messages will be delivered by foot-messengers, by omnibus, or by bicycle, at the discretion of the department. If the sender desires a cab or other special conveyance to be used, the actual fare must be paid in addition to the express fee and postage.

(c) At the suburban and country post offices the express delivery is limited to one mile from the post office.

(d) All charges, including both postage and fee, must be fully prepaid by valid postage stamps affixed to the letter or packet.

Posting and Distinctive Marking.

(a) Every letter and packet intended or express delivery must be handed in, and not posted in a letter-box, during the hours when the office is open for ordinary business. After the office has closed they may be posted in the letter-boxes in the ordinary manner, but will not be delivered until the following morning.

(b) The words "express delivery" must be boldly and legibly written by the sender above the address in the left-hand corner of the cover. When posted in a letter-box there must be in addition a broad perpendicular line drawn from top to bottom both on the front and the back of the cover.

(c) There is no express delivery on Sundays and holidays.

Reply and Further Service.

When a reply is required to an express delivery letter or packet, the words "wait reply" must be legibly written by the sender immediately under the words "express delivery," and the postage and fee required for the reply must be affixed by postage stamps Immediately under the above endorsement on the article to which a reply is desired. The messenger will be allowed to wait ten minutes for the reply. When the letter or packet sent in reply, or as a further service, is to be taken to an address on the messenger's homeward route the express delivery fee will be 3d. in addition to the ordinary postage, otherwise the full fee as for the original service must be prepaid.

Acceptance of Express Articles by Telegraph Messengers.

A telegraph messenger on delivering a telegram may, if desired, take back to the post office at which he is employed a letter or packet for express delivery. The postage and fee must be prepaid by the sender by means of stamps affixed to the article. The express fee will be charged as from the residence of the sender and not from the office where the messenger is employed.

Letters and packets intended for express delivery from the post office of destination only can be posted like ordinary articles, but they must be clearly marked, "Express delivery," and have a thick perpendicular line drawn on each side of the envelope. The fee of 4d. in addition to the ordinary postage must be prepaid by affixed postage stamps, and the minimum rate, including postage; is 6d. Letters and packets marked as directed, and fully prepaid, will be delivered by special messenger immediately after receipt of the mail in which they are enclosed. The conditions already specified for express letters and packets for the local service will also apply to those intended for- express delivery after transmission by post.

Persons or firms who desire at any time to receive their letters or packets, not exceeding the weight of 8oz. each, or. in the aggregate a total weight not exceeding 4lb., in advance of the ordinary delivery, may have. them delivered by special messenger on payment of the following fees—namely, the full express fee of 4d. a mile or fraction of a mile for one article, and each for each, additional article beyond the first.

Letters or packets with the ordinary postage fully prepaid, together with the usual late fee, and an express delivery fee of 4d., affixed by postage stamps, will be accepted by any travelling mail officer for delivery at any railway platform where the mail train is timed to stop. Such articles must be marked by the sender, "Express delivery," in the manner previously directed, and this endorsement will be covered by the date stamp of the T.P.O. to indicate that no further or local express delivery service is required. The sender must arrange for a special messenger to meet the train on arrival at the platform, and apply at the travelling post office for the article. If this is not done the letter or packet will be handed loose to the person carrying the mails to the. local post office, and delivery must be obtained in the usual manner.

The following are declared express delivery offices: Albion, Bowen, Brisbane, Bundaberg, Cairns. Charleville, Charters Towers, Cooktown, Croydon, Dalby, Fortitude Valley, Gladstone, Gympie, Ipswich, Mackay, Maryborough, Mount Morgan, Normanton, One-mile, Petrie-terrace, Queenton, Rockhampton, Roma, Sandgate, South Brisbane, Southport, Toowong, Toowoomba, Townsville, Warwick, Woolloongabba, and such other offices as the Postmaster-General may from time to time appoint.

Queensland Postal Stationery Literature - Ian McMahon

Queensland Postal Stationery Literature - Ian McMahon. This annotated bibliography first appeared in the Queensland Stamp Collecting Facebook Group in September 2020

Given the lack of an up-to-date comprehensive catalogue for Queensland Postal Stationery I thought a summary of some of the main references might be helpful. It is not meant to be a comprehensive bibliography. (PSC is the Postal Stationery Collector and most of these references are available on the Postal Stationery Society of Australia Website ( Postal Stationery is the Journal of the United Postal Stationery Society [USA].

Higgins and Gage’s Queensland listings remain the most recent catalogue listing of Queensland and despite its simplified nature, its omissions and its flaws it remains in use by both dealers and collectors. The lettercard listing in particular is seriously flawed and collectors should use the listing in Bill Walton’s articles (see below). The most recent edition was the Ausipex edition in 1984. Earlier catalogue listings can be found in the Robson Lowe and Asher Catalogues: The Encyclopaedia of British Empire Postage Stamps. Robson Lowe Vol. 4, The Empire in Australasia, 1962 and Grosser Ganzsachen-Katalog Siegfried Ascher.
Queensland Postal Stationery Phil Collas 1979 (plus corrections and additions published in Philately from Australia – June 1983 pp38 pp, March 1984 20 pp): Collas published a very good account of Queensland postal stationery which is still ‘a must read’ today. Unfortunately, it has no illustrations at all making it difficult to use but the information it contains makes it worth the effort.
The Postal Stationery of Queensland Alan Griffiths published by British Society of Australian Philately 2018: Alan Griffiths formed a very good collection of Queensland postal stationery which went up for sale at Abacus Auctions in February 2020. The collection included a wide range of proofs and essays as well as many rare items of Queensland postal stationery many of which are described and illustrated in the book. Alan’s monograph is the ‘book of the collection’ as he states in his preface, I embark on this in the knowledge that other collectors of this field will no doubt be able to add to the contents, but it is produced in an attempt to provide a more comprehensive listing as a starting point. The monograph draws heavily from, and has extensive quotes from, Collas. It should be read in conjunction with both the printed and (preferably) the online Abacus Auction catalogue: Auction No 240 1 March 2020. See also the review by Wayne Menuz in Postal Stationery March-April 2020 pp 112.
Articles and other resources
1909 1d postcard with four line-heading including ‘The address only to be written on this side” (see below): A number of mint and used copies of this postcard are known. See Queensland 1910 Postal Cards Bernie Beston PSC August 2000 pp 39-43
1910 view cards: The views on the view cards have been the subject of many articles in the PSC. The current list of the known views is included on page 101 of this issue. For a discussion of the source of the views see The 1910 1d Queensland Postal View Card Bernie Beston PSC May 2015 pp 42-46
1910 postcard with front as for the view cards but without the view: A number of mint copies and a used copy of this card has been recorded (see 1910 Queensland 1d Printers Imprint Card Bernie Beston PSC February 2008 pp 99-100).
Department of Public Instruction Postcards: See Queensland Postal View Cards Bernie Beston PSC May 2000 pp 4-8 and A New Queensland Postal Card Gary Watson PSC Feb 2010 p 107.
Other articles:
Queensland 1d Rose Post Card of 1889 Carl Stieg Postal Stationery January-February 1988 pp 12
Queensland Postal Stationery Used in British New Guinea Bernie Beston PSC May 2003 pp 16-21
1910 Queensland Scenic Postcards John Sinfield PSC August 1999 pp 53-55
And Now There Are Thirty ... John Sinfield PSC November 1999 pp 67
Australian Rarities: Bisected Queensland Reply Postcards John Sinfield PSC August 1999 pp 55-56
Hand-painted Postal Cards Queensland Bernie Beston PSC February 2000 pp 104-106
1910 Queensland View Cards New Discoveries PSC November 2003 pp 73-76
1910 Queensland 1d Post Card Bernie Beston PSC February 2010 pp 103-104
Queensland 1904 1d Reply Card Bernie Beston PSC August 2007 pp 70
Bernie Beston PSC November 2003 pp 73-74
Queensland A New Discovery Wayne Menuz Postal Stationery July-August 2003 pp 95
For a listing of the lettercards see:
Lettercards of Queensland Bill Walton Philately from Australia Vol XL (3) September 1988 pp 56-64, Vol XL (4) pp 82-85
A new sequence Hypothesis for Queensland Lettercards Bill Walton Philately from Australia Vol XLII (1) March 1990 pp 23-25
See also:
Queensland Letter Cards Bernie Beston PSC February 2002 pp 99-105


The 1d wrapper perf ‘OS’: This is considered to be a forgery. See the Review by Wayne Menuz in Postal Stationery March-April 2020 pp 112.
See also:
A Contribution to The Classification of The Queensland Post Office Newspaper Wrappers Issued in The Period 1891-1912
Sybrand J. Bakker PSC August 2006 pp 35-42, PSC November 2006 pp 71-78, PSC February 2007 pp 100-104
Juxtapositional and Textual Varieties Of 1899 1d Carmine/Vermilion Queensland Wrappers John Courtis PSC August 2007 pp 46-51
Varieties Of Queensland 1899 ½D Green Queen Victoria Newspaper Wrapper Professor John K. Courtis, PSC November 2008 pp 69-72
Queensland Wrapper With Inverted Cliché Mark Diserio PSC February 2009 p 114
The 1891 Queensland ½d Green Newspaper Wrapper Jan Kosniowski PSC February 2013 pp 3-13
Guide Marks On Queensland Newspaper Wrappers Jan Kosniowski PSC November 2015 pp 111-117 February 2016 pp 10-17
Queensland Post Office Postal Stationery Wrappers: A Tetralogy About Advertising Connections John Courtis PSC May 2014 pp 50-55
Queensland Wrapper with Private Printing Dave Elsmore PSC February 2005 p 111
STO Envelopes
See also:
Queensland Printed To Private Order Stationery Bernie Beston PSC November 1999 pp 68-72
Queensland PTPO And Post Office Official Envelopes Peter Guerin PSC May 2007 pp 11-15
Mount Morgan Gold Mining Company Limited Printed to Private Order Envelopes Bernie Beston PSC August 2007 pp 53-54
The New Zealand Insurance Company & New Zealand Accident Insurance Company Printed To Private Order Envelopes PSC. Nov 2009 pp 72-84
Queensland Stationery Peter Guerin PSC May 2002 pp 3-6
Queensland Postal Stationery Re-Visited Bernie Beston PSC May 2002 pp 6-12
Queensland: The New Zealand Insurance Company & New Zealand Accident
Insurance Company Printed To Private Order Envelopes B. P. Beston PSC. November 2009 pp 72-84
Queensland PTPO Envelope With Inverted Stamp Ian McMahon PSC November 2016 pp 101
Postal Notes
Craig Chappell Queensland Postal Notes PSC November 1998 pp 67-73
Dave Elsmore Queensland Postal Notes 1880-1996 2004
Dave Elsmore Queensland Revenue Stamps on-line catalogue
Registered Envelopes
Queensland King Edward VII Registration Envelopes: Hugh Campbell Philately from Australia March 1993 pp 25;
Mark Diserio Philately from Australia June 1993 44 pp; Bernie Beston Philately from Australia June 1994 pp 37
Queensland Postal Stationery Re-Visited Bernie Beston PSC May 2002 pp 6
Queensland Formular Registered Envelope Bernie Beston and Ian McMahon PSC February 2003 pp 114-115
Wayne Menuz Queensland Registration Envelopes Postal Stationery Volume: 47 Number: 3 Year: 2005 pp 77
Queensland’s Last Registered Envelope Ian McMahon PSC August 2010 pp 40
My Favourite Stationery Ian McMahon Postal Stationery March-April 2016 PSC pp 75
Queensland Specimen and CTO Postal Stationery
Ian McMahon Queensland Specimen and CTO Postal Stationery PSC November 2016 pp 113-114

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Tram Posting. How it has worked

Telegraph, Wednesday 3 October 1894, page 5

During the four months ending September 30 there have been posted in the receptacles attached to the tramcars of this city 17,363 letters, 1,809 newspapers, and 463 packets. Considering the other facilities that exist for posting in the districts traversed by the trams, and the fact that they are not very extensively used during the cooler months, the figures are satisfactory. The tram posting system has, since its introduction here, attracted the attention of the postal departments of the other colonies. As was noted some time since, New Zealand has adopted a method of posting on trams, boxes being attached to the cars for the reception of letters only, instead of bags, which are used here for the reception of all kinds of correspondence. The Postmaster-General of South Australia made particular inquiries as to the system in vogue here, and was furnished with full particulars; but, owing to the tramcars not passing the Adelaide office, it is thought that the expense there would be too great at present. In his letter to the Brisbane office Sir Charles Todd says: "The Brisbane system appears to be very perfect, and I have no doubt will prove a great convenience to the public." From Sydney also inquiries have been made and information furnished, but there, as in Adelaide, the trams do not pass the office.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Private Post Cards

Interesting article on the introduction of private post cards in Queensland

Queensland Times, Thursday 13 December 1894, page 4

Private Post Cards

The Postmaster-General is (writes our Brisbane correspondent) determined that every facility shall be offered to the public to transact its business through his department. In addition to the extension of the parcel post to all parts of the colony from the first of next month, he has now decided to admit private post cards to all the privileges hitherto exclusively enjoyed by the official cards issued by the post office. Regulations will therefore shortly be published under which, from the 1st of January next, private cards conforming in size and substance to the office cards, and of approved colour, will be admitted to the inland, intercolonial, and British and foreign circulation, at the same rates of postage as are now charged for the ordinary post cards, such postage being prepaid by means of stamps affixed to the cards. In thus admitting private cards, Queensland is following the lead of the British office where this concession has been long contended for, but it should be remembered under circumstances quite different to those hitherto obtaining here. In the United Kingdom the exclusive sale of post cards has been a considerable source of revenue to the post office, the public being compelled to buy from the department, and to 
pay a high price, very considerably above cost, thus a card, with a halfpenny stamp was sold for three farthings, and if larger numbers were purchased the price was proportionate; here the price of the impressed only is charged, and the cards, though costing in the aggregate a large sum for the material and printing, are given to the public without charge. This will explain to those unacquainted with the circumstances the reason of the long and persistent demand made in England by Mr. Henniker Heston and other postaI reformers, for the admission of private cards, and the disinclination of the Imperial Treasury to concede the demand because it involved a sacrifice of revenue.

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.