HILL END POST OFFICE 1858-1900

In August 1858 a petition was signed by 141 residents of the locality known as Bald Hills. The petition was accompanied by recommendations that a local storekeeper, Mr. Walter Beames, junior, be appointed as the first postmaster, as he was considered: “a fit and proper person to undertake the duties and responsibilities of the situation of postmaster.”

The Bald Hills Post Office was opened on 1st November 1858, in the charge of Walter Beames, junior. Beames junior, advised in August 1859, that he had disposed of his business and was leaving Bald Hills. He nominated as his successor James Otis Phillips, the purchaser of his store. Mr. J. O. Phillips was appointed on 1st October 1859.

In the early 1860s there was a deterioration in the mail service from Sofala to Bald Hills. The postmaster and a number of residents petitioned for a trooper “who always goes with the down escort to Sofala” to bring the mail for Bald Hills with him on his return journey.

Later the police discontinued the carriage of the mails by their troopers and as the population at Bald Hills was not sufficient to warrant the expense of a regular office, it was decided to close the post office from 1st may 1863.

In 1866 rich gold reefs were discovered in the district, which was then known as Hill End. By 1869 the population had grown greatly. On 27th June 1869, tenders were called for the conveyance of the mail between Tambaroora and Hill End. It was advised that in the event of the tender being taken up that William Graham Cochrane should be appointed as postmaster. There were no acceptors for the original tender, but William Cochrane submitted an offer to carry the mails either by horse or by foot.

The post office was opened under the name of Hill End on 1st August 1869 in the charge of W. G. Cochrane. On 1st October 1870, Cochrane tendered his resignation, and nominated Mrs. Mary A. Kerr as postmistress. Mrs. Kerr had been postmistress at Cassilis. Mrs. Kerr took charge of the post office on 1st November 1870.

Mr. Alfred Newman, an auctioneer and sharebroker, succeeded Mrs. Kerr in charge of the post office on 1st July 1871. Money order facilities were extended to Hill End at the time of Newman’s appointment.

William J. Slack, formerly a postmaster at Tambaroora, succeeded Newman as postmaster on 1st April 1872. In April 1873 Slack obtained permission to rent more suitable premises fro Mr. Thomas Wythe. This building was situated in Short St., in the centre of the town. Up to this time premises owned by Mr. Henry Stuart, had been used for a post office. Slack kept agitating for a new post office and it was occupied about 1st September 1874. It was situated on part of the reserve which had been set aside for the Public School.

Telegraph Office

The telegraph system was extended to Hill End during August 1871. It is believed that the first instrument at Hill End was an alphabetical telegraph instrument. This was a simplified type of morse instrument which did not require a knowledge of the morse code by the operator. Although a policy of amalgamation of post offices and telegraph offices had been commenced in 1870, it was not unusual for telegraph offices to be opened as separate establishments.

John Gallagher, a junior operator, was appointed on 21st August 1871. then Richard Johnson was appointed telegraph station master at Hill End on 1st January 1872. In 1873 William McIlrick had been appointed as an operator. A telegraph messenger was also employed.

William Raper succeeded Richard Johnson on 1st April 1874. Raper was designated as an operator. William Raper was appointed as being telegraph station master in 1875 and the date of his appointment to this position was given as 1st April 1874. He was assisted by a telegraph messenger.

Thomas Channon was appointed telegraph station master on 24th January 1876. Charles Chapple succeeded Channon on 1st October 1877. His assistant was a telegraph messenger.

Amalgamation

During 1875, both the postal and telegraph services began to decline, and Mr. Slack resigned on 28th June 1875. The Department decided to amalgamate the post office and the telegraph office under the control of the telegraph station master, William P. Raper. He took charge of the amalgamated offices on 1st July 1875.

Thomas Channon, who was then stationed at Dubbo, was brought to Hill End, and succeeded Raper as post and telegraph master on 3rd February 1876. Raper replaced Channon at Dubbo.

Charles Chapple succeeded Channon on 21st September 1877. His wife was employed as assistant, the following year. In 1889 because of his wife’s illness, Chapple arranged an exchange of positions with the post and telegraph officer, Arthur Meynick, at Bateman’s Bay.

A. R. J. Meynick became postmaster on 13th April 1889. He remained at Hill End until 30th April 1900. He was succeeded by T. F. Bell, formerly of Brewarrina.

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