Construction of the telegraph line began in 1871 and the first morse signals were sent along the completed southern section of the line in December of that year. The north and central sections of the line were eventually joined on August 22nd, 1872 at Frew Ponds, near Dunmarra, but problems with the undersea cable linking Palmerston with Java were not resolved until October. The final cost of the line was nearer twice the original estimate, but the prestige for South Australia was immense.
The Telegraph Station became the centre of activity in the area and gradually outbuildings were added. These included policemen's quarters, harness and buggy sheds, a Stationmasters residence, a battery room, blacksmith's shop and a kitchen-mess room. Like the original Telegraph Station these were all built with local stone and lime mortar. They had thatched rooves which were later replaced with galvanised iron.
The Telegraph Station operated 24 hours a day and was one of 11 along the 3,000 km line, It was basically self-sufficient, relying on provisions from the south only once a year. Sheep, goats, cattle and their own vegetable garden ensured adequate food and the blacksmith made much of their equipment. The first Stationmaster was Johannes Mueller (1872-1879), other staff consisted of 4 telegraphist-linesmen, a teacher-governess, a cook, and a stockman-blacksmith. The station operated until 1932 when more modern facilities were established in the new township of Stuart, at the corner of Railway Terrace and Parsons Street. This facility has also been replaced by the modern Post Office in Hartley Street and the Telecommunications Centre at the corner of Bath Street and Parsons Street.
Tags: Photo journalism
gwynn56, Irishkate, mikbee and 4 more