The Eastern Colonies of Australia were connected by a undersea telegraph cable from Indonesia to Darwin
News from the Eastern Colonies and the world took up to three weeks to reach Western Australia. To stop this isolation a telegraph line had to be erected from Albany to Adelaide via Eucla.
In 1872 Governor Weld commissioned the first post at Albany Post Office and the instructions were “erect a Telegraph Line from here to Eucla” (1300 kilometers). The means of communication in those days was morse code using single wire with earth return.
Western Australia was known for its excellent timber and milling process therefore 13,000 of these poles were milled at Alverstoke Mill (near Brunswick Junction). They were shipped by sailing ships from Bunbury to various drop off points between Albany and Eucla.
The tapered Jarrah Poles were 17’6′ 5.3m, the bases were 5″ which is 125m square
During a trip to Israelite Bay in 1975, I came across telegraph poles and with the help of my friend Max Cook we brought one back to Esperance.
Max Cook on left with me on the right.
On another trip in the 90’s further on from Israelite Bay I came across a straight line of these poles and was surprised to see there was still jarrah poles standing over 100 years later. I then realised the urgent need for preservation.
My first attempt at preservation was to erect the sign below which is behind the Bilbunya Sand Dunes 300 km east of Esperance. Subsequent trips to the Bilbunya Dunes, revealed that these remaining poles were not going to last for ever unless preserved under cover
The two stainless steel signs were made by another friend John Crawfords at his Esperance Sheet Metal business and I stamped a duplicate copy of the words on the back of each one.
In 2019, with the assistance of my good friend Susan Holland, we drove to Wattle Camp were we camped overnight and due to the shocking track conditions we had to repair the small 6’x4’ car trailer.
Next morning it was on to the Dunes. We located two suitable poles in one stretch along the edge of the salt lake. They were in good condition for their age and I proceeded to dig them out of the black mud and then drag them the 100 mtr to the track on the edge of the lakes
We arrived back in Esperance just before midnight with a long load on the little trailer.
Next morning we cleaned them down and were astonished at the markings and condition of the base of one of the poles.
The arrow is called the “broad arrow mark” and was used to mark Goverment property
The poles can be seen in Shed 5 at EMRG