Post & Telegraph Offices


Following recent speculation as to the early and earliest Post Offices on KI a publication was located: The Post & Telegraph Offices of South Australia and Northern Territory by Martin Walker published at Torrensville in 2004. The following is a list of the Offices on KI. There is some difficulty in establishing when some of these places ceased to be a Post Office. Some of them were Post and Telegraph offices and then became just one or the other. It is clear that the first Post Office on KI was at Hog Bay in 1860 becoming Penneshaw in 1904.

The first Post Office in the Nepean Bay area was Kingscote at what is now Reeves Point in 1862 and it moved to Queenscliffe in 1883 to what is now Kingscote.

Chris Ward - April 2016

This update submitted by Chris Ward November 2018.

Walker makes it very clear that the first post master in S.A. was Thomas Gilbert the Colonial Storekeeper who was gazetted on 10 April 1837. His hut was about where the Newmarket Hotel is today. The General Post Office was not established until 1851. Walker is of the view that most earlier so-called post offices were merely people who acted as short-term collectors of letters for despatch on ships about to depart the new colony. Once the ship departed their job was done. This fits in with what Charlotte Reeves was doing in the early days at Nepean Bay.

Some details of early post offices and postmasters are as follows. If there are any KI post offices that I have not included, let me know and I’ll see what I can find. I think there may have been a post office at Muston.

  • American River opened in 1890. G.D. Buick was post master from 1891 to 1902 (Garibaldi David Buick?)

  • Cygnet River opened in 1870. Postmaster included G. Woolard 1870-1876 (George?); J. W. Davis 1876; J.N. Daw 1877-1893 and J.W. Daw 1894-1902

  • Hog Bay opening approved by Colonial Secretary on 30 April 1860. J. Bristow was first postmaster 1861-1870 then J. Adams 1870-1876; W. Sealy 1877 and Thomas Simpson from 1878-1902. J. Bristow and J. Adams are the same person as Mrs Janet Bristow remarried after the death of her first husband

  • Kingscote opening was approved by Colonial Secretary on 17 April 1862. The office closed in 1866 and reopened in 1871 when A. Reeves was post master from 1871-1876; G. Paris was post master in 1877 and A. Reeves again from 1877-1884 when the post office moved to Queenscliffe (present day Kingscote). I’m hoping State Records can come up with the postmaster/s from 1862 to 1866

  • Wisanger opened 1 December 1882. Postmaster from 1883 to 1902 was Henry Partridge. On 21 July 1904, the post office moved 1½ miles further from Kingscote

  • Salt Lagoon opened in 1890 and closed in 1922. Post masters included J.H. Trethewey 1891-1900 and Ethel M.D. Trethewey 1900-1902. From 1902 to 1920, George Gobell [senior] ran the Salt Lagoon General & Post Office [Reference Trove: Fire at Salt Lagoon-destruction of Post Office ] On 16th Jan 1911: The Salt Lagoon general store & post office was burnt down. The cause thought to have been from a candle burning left burning [using sealing wax on letters].After 1920 to 1922 The Salt Lagoon General Store and Post Office was run by George Gobell [junior] - Geoffrey Chapman.

  • Eleanor River opened 1 July 1880 and closed 31 January 1883. Postmaster W. Thompson

  • Karatta opened 1 November 1884 and closed 1 April 1886. Postmaster H.Y.A. Harper (Hugh?)

  • MacGillivray opened in 1909 and closed in 1952

  • Cape Borda opened in 1876 and closed in 1966. I have a list of 14 ladies and gentlemen who were postmaster between 1876 & 1906.

  • Cape Jervis opened in 1873 and closed in 1969. I have a list of seven postmasters between 1873 & 1917

  • Cape Willoughby opened in 1880. There were 33 Postmasters mostly being the wife of the head lightkeeper

  • Penneshaw name change from Hog Bay w.e.f. 18 October 1904. Postmaster E.C. Trethewey 1910

  • Queenscliffe opened 1 September 1883 name of town and post office changed to Kingscote in 1903. Postmaster G.J. Paris 1883-1884; A Munt 1885-1887; R. McClure 1888-1895; H.S. Rumball 1895-1902

  • Emu Bay opened in 1911 and closed in 1955

Source: Walker, Martin, Post, Telegraph & Post Offices of S.A. & N.T. 2004

Kingscote (Queenscliffe) telegraph

25 Dec 1875 commencement of KI Submarine cable to Normanville project, completed in 6 days. 13 Aug 1876 KI Cape Borda to Kingscote overland cable connecting to Adelaide.

Samuel Allen TOWNSHEND - according to his obit: "... joined the Post and Telegraph Department, being appointed to the Semaphore Post Office in 1875. He remained there for a short time, and was then transferred to Kingscote, when the first [telegraph] office was opened at that place. The overland telegraph line to Port Darwin had been opened but a few years previously, and it was the ambition of every young adventurously inclined telegraph official to become one of the well-known "O.T." men. In 1877 Mr. Townshend achieved his desire, and received an appointment to the Peake Telegraph Station, situated near the present town of Oodnadatta. ..."

LATE OBITUARY. (1925, November 28). Observer (Adelaide, SA : 1905 - 1931), p. 28.

THE FIRST TELEGRAPH OFFICIAL AT QUEENSCLIFFE. Mr Townshend, of the Telegraph Department, is (with Mrs Townsend and daughter) on a visit to Kingscote. Mr Townshend was the officer who opened the first telegraph office at Queenscliffe (now known as Kingscote.)

(1908, March 7). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 4.

The Kingscote post-office is an institution of undoubted antiquity, and as such is entitled to the veneration and respect of the ancient order of Islanders; but it is ingeniously situated so as to be as much out of the way as possible. The newcomers, however, do not look at the matter in a proper light, and are agitating for reforms and innovations with regard to postal and other matters which the ancient inhabitants have never dreamt of. The ruins of a jetty stretch out into the sea from the Post-Office point, ...

THE TOURIST. (1883, July 7). Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904), p. 46.

1899 Moss Hart (ex-Adelaide manager of the Eastern Extension Tele-graph Company) has been interested in the Loch Sloy wreck stories because as a lad, he tells me, he served for several years in the Post and Telegraph Department, and being stationed at Kingscote in 1899, had the task of registering the deaths of 21 members of the crew, names all unknown.

Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954), Thursday 12 February 1942, page 2

KINGSCOTE, September 4.—For some considerable time efforts have been made to have the post-office on the point near the Kingscote jetty removed. The building is so situated that large teams were unable to turn and other traffic became congested. A portion of the post-office has been up over 25 years, and the roof leaks considerably. At the last district council meeting it was decided to recommend, as a remedy of the trouble, that a portion of the police reserve be handed over to the Postal Department, and that the Police Department resume a part of the post-office ground.

THE COUNTRY. (1911, September 7). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931), p. 11.

Photo: courtesy State Library SA, photographer W. S. Smith, dated approx 1907.

Post Office buildings and flagstaff on the foreshore at Kingscote. On the left, part of the jetty can be seen with its rails for freight wagons. Painted on a small shed on the left is the advertisement 'Martin Brothers, Burlington House, Adelaide, Importers, Drapers, Tailors and General Furnishers' [On back of photograph] 'Post Office, Kingscote / 1907-13'.

1907 Farewell Social and Presentation. On Wednesday evening last some 50 or 60 ladies and men assembled in the Council Hall, Kingscote, for the purpose of spending a farewell social evening with Mr C. H. Hartwig who, after acting as telegraph operator and assistant-in-general to Mr R. Lamprey at the Kingscote P.O. for some time (during which he had gained the respect and esteem of all) has been transferred to the G.P.O. Adelaide. ...

Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), Saturday 14 December 1907, page 5

1915 Thomas Richard Shirley [1884-1976] leaves after a short period to by replaced by Frank Hubert Butterworth [1882-1965].

VALEDICTORY. (1915, July 3). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 5.

Mr F. H. Butterworth, Postmaster of Kingscote, who recently received notice of his transference to the Port Broughton Post Office, will leave on Monday for his new station. Mr E. G. Murton, of Pt. Broughton, who succeeds Mr Butterworth, will arrive this evening.

PERSONAL. (1916, June 10). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 4.

MURTON, Elliott Clarke

b. 30 Jul 1881 Wallaroo, SAd. 05 Nov 1949 Prospect, SAe. Electoral roll BET 1939 & 1943 Kingscote, Kangaroo Island postmasterm. NORMAN, Muriel Joan 12 Nov 1904 Penola, SA d. 12 Jun 1954

CLARK, Lindsay James Matthew (Len)

b. 09 Jan 1912 Spring Creek, SAd. 18 Feb 2000e. Electoral roll BET 1939 & 1941 postmaster, Penneshaw, Kangaroo Islandm. STIRLING, Jean 14 Apr 1936 Penneshaw, Kangaroo Island, SA

HEWITT, Archibald John

b. 22 Aug 1910 North Adelaide, SAd. 10 Sep 1988e. Electoral roll BET 1939 & 1943 Kingscote, Kangaroo Island, postal clerk

Mr A. J. Hewitt who has been on the postal staff at Kingscote since January 1938 has been promoted to the Hindmarsh Post Office. He departs for the Mainland on Saturday, 14th April. Mr V. Quinlivan will commence as Postmaster at Kingscote from that date. He will fill the vacancy caused by the transfer of Mr E. Bouse to Nuriootpta. Mr D. Wasley is providing relief until a successor arrives to fill the vacancy caused by the departure of Mr Hewitt. Mr Rex Potter has left the Postal Service and his place has been taken by Mr Brian Cave of Adelaide.

PERSONAL (1951, April 13). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 1.