Post and Telegraph
To an isolated community such as Mackay, the development of postal and telegraphic communication was very important, and was among the first public utilities established.
The Mackay Post Office
built in 1883. The building was remodelled in 1938 but the original
brick core still survives to this day.
An early report describes business at Mackay being "conducted in a hovel in Wood Street, called, by courtesy, the Post Office." When the mail arrived, it was thrown in a heap in the middle of the room and addressees selected their own mail from the pile. The Postmaster General paid a visit in 1863 and reported the Mackay office as 'very unsatisfactory'. The first postmaster was probably J.T. Baker who was also the clerk of petty sessions.
Pack horse mail services to Nebo and Avon Downs in the hinterland were established in 1865. In 1867 the electric telegraph line from Brisbane was extended from Broadsound to Mackay.
The telephone, invented by A.G. Bell in 1876 came to Brisbane in 1880 and Mackay was connected in 1899, the 7th exchange in Queensland.
An imposing Post Office was built at a site in River Street in 1883. It has undergone many changes, notably to the clock tower and verandah, as well as internal changes, but much of the original building is still retained.
In 1975 ownership passed from the Post Master General's Department to Telecom when the two government departments separated. As Mackay grew, several suburban post offices and agencies were established, and a new mail exchange opened in West Mackay in 1984. A new post office was opened in Sydney Street in 1994.
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Mackay Historical Society
© Mackay Historical Society and Museum
created 12 August 2004.
last updated 09 August, 2006 .
Site maintained by Glen Hall