Landing the mails at Glenelg in 1874, Australasian Sketcher 21 March 1874.

Mail Anxiety: Foundations of a Revolution

For a British colony literally at the other side of the world, communication with home was vital. However, in the age of sail, ships could take about three months to make the journey and people anxiously awaited news of the arrival of the mails. Extraordinary steps were taken to make even the smallest reduction in delivery time.

The invention of the electric telegraph changed all that. Incrementally, the telegraph replaced steps in the postal chain, shaving, first, hours, then days, and finally weeks off the delivery time. Interestingly, ‘mail anxiety’ was then replaced with ‘telegraph anxiety’.

Presented by Richard Venus, a member of the committee of volunteers coordinating events in South Australia and the Northern Territory to mark the sesquicentenary of the Overland Telegraph Line.

Presented by Martin Walker