South Australia - Colonial: 1854-1900.
Overview of S. A. developments.

Summaries are provided below for:

  1. construction of the major telegraph line initiatives;
  2. milestones in the Legislation for and the administration of the Telegraph Department in South Australia;
  3. the dates for new developments in telegraph forms and date stamps;
  4. extent of use of the telegraph lines;
  5. Summary of Annual Reports and other Reports contained in this site.

Telegraph lines.

26 November 1855 James Wallace McGeorge opened a private telegraph line between Adelaide and Port Adelaide.
January 1856 S.A. Government bought McGeorge’s telegraph line.
18 February 1856 S.A. Government opened its first line from Adelaide to Port Adelaide.
22 May 1858 First line to Victoria (via Mount Gambia and Portland) operational.
11 September 1866. First line to New South Wales (via Overland Corner and Wentworth) operational.
8 December 1877. First line to Western Australia (via Eucla) operational.

See the overview of line construction in South Australia and the listing of Telegraph Offices in South Australia.


4 November 1855 Charles Todd with his wife Alice arrive to take up his position of Superintendent of Telegraphs and Government Astronomer. He is accompanied by Mr. E. C. Cracknell (his first assistant) and significant supplies of telegraph equipment.
1857 Act No. 6 providing for the construction and management of Electric Telegraphs.
March 1858 Royal Assent to the Electric Telegraphs Act.
1869 Electric Telegraph Department merged with the Postmaster-General's Department but retained the Electric Telegraph Department heading on stationery.
1870 Todd appointed to the dual position of Postmaster-General and Superintendent of Telegraphs following the decision to amalgamate the two Departments.

See the list of Official Reports for South Australia included in this website.

Forms and postmarks.

Earliest recorded forms:  
Transmission form: 19 February 1894 at Morgan (SC-TO-3).
Delivery form: 17 November 1857 (SC-DO-1).
Earliest use of a date stamp on a telegram form: 4 November 1876 at Glenelg (SC-DO-5A).
Earliest use of a Telegraph date stamp: 16 May 1888 at Telegraph Office, SA.


Extent of usage.