professional historians australia (south australia)
Home > On this day > May > 25 May 1839 First mail delivery in Adelaide

25 May 1839 First mail delivery in Adelaide

 25 May 1839   First mail delivery in Adelaide

On 25 May 1839 letters were delivered to residents in Adelaide for the first time. The first postmaster was the colonial storekeeper, Thomas Gilbert, who was paid £30 per year for his services. Letters cost 1d to post, but the handling of mail was slow. The first Post Office was a tent in the parklands, near where the Railway Station is today, and people could pick up their mail there.

After many complaints the Office was moved, in December 1838, to 17 North Terrace, the present site of the Westpac Bank. Henry Watts was appointed Postmaster-General in charge of the office in a rented portion of the stone building. But there were still complaints of inefficiency. In 1839 the first Post Office Act was passed and rates on all mail was increased to 3d. A Post Office was opened in Port Adelaide and plans made for further branches. In 1848 the main office in Adelaide was moved to the opposite corner of King William Street and North Terrace and in 1851 it was moved again to just north of the present GPO. Ten years later the first iron pillar boxes were erected on North Terrace. The foundation stone of the GPO was laid by the Duke of Edinburgh on 5 November 1867.

The Mail, 24 March 1928, Newspaper Cuttings Book Volume 1, p. 205.

Tags: Gilbert Thomas, mail delivery (first), post office

http://www.sahistorians.org.au/175/chronology/may/25-may-1839-first-mail-delivery-in-adelaide.shtml