HOME OF THE LADY DENMAN - Local history isn't always about the big story - the everyday story of life in the early development of the region can be a fascinating, entertaining and educational journey.

29 June 2018

Huskisson Post Office.–1843 to 1938

Today we expect to be able to communicate over great distances almost instantly, we become annoyed if mail is delayed by a few days or our phone calls are interupted by bad reception or our internet is not working.  Take a moment to think about what it must have been like when mail was delivered by horseback and telephones were almost non existant.

Huskisson Post office approved.

1843 - The Post Master General (P.M.G) approved a post office for Huskisson, to commence operations on the 12th January 1843.

Mail would arrive at Nowra then be distributed to the surrounding districts by horseback.

1845 - Timothy Donovan was the first person I found any reference to, he delivered mail by horseback once a week from Nowra to Huskisson, Ulladulla, and Broulee a distance today of 140  miles, and was paid 85 pounds per week.

- Timothy Donovan was still delivering mail to Huskisson, Ulladulla, and Broulee, payment was 140 pounds per week.

1849 - Henry Thomas took over the mail delivery, the payment was reduced to 100 pounds per week.

1851 - John Allen took over the delivery by horseback to the beforementioned destinations,  his payment for the service was reduced to 80 pounds per week.

1852 - The post office at Huskisson was discontinued and the letters were sent to the Shoalhaven. (Nowra PO).

1852 - John Allen was was still delivering mail to Huskisson, Ulladulla and Broulee by horseback once a week, his allowence had increased to 120 pounds.

1871 - The post office for the whole of Jervis Bay was located at Tomerong, at that time the centre for local governmant.  During wet weather the roads to the outer districts would become impassable making it impossible for mail to reach Huskisson for days at a time.

1886 –
An "official" post office to service Huskisson residents was established at Tomerong. Huskisson could now expect a mail delivery two days a week.


1904 - By this time the amount of mail being handled by Tomerong P.O had increased to such an extent the Shoalhaven Progress Association put forward a submission to the P.M.G. to have the mail service between Tomerong and Huskisson increased from two days a week to three days.
The Huskisson Post Office was still operated as a "non-official" post and telephone office with a revenue of about 40 pounds per annum. People who needed their mail urgently had to climb aboard tradesmen carts and travel the rough dirt road to Tomerong and back, which was regarded as an unsafe and dangerous pursuit.

post office 1913 husky

- The Huskisson post office's normal mail routine could almost be overwhelmed when the Australian Fleet came to the bay. The post office would be inundated with incoming and outgoing mail.

The post office operated six and a half days a week.

1914 - A letter was sent to the Hon. Austin Chapman by the secretary of the Huskisson Progress Association, Mr. Les Dent, requesting the Saturday half-day holiday be moved to another day. The request was denied on the grounds the present arrangements "were the most suitable and in the interests of the majority of local residents and businesses."


1915 - Representations by the Hon. Austin Chapman to the Deputy Post Master General, (P.M.G) for increased payments to small post offices was denied. It was explained increases could only be paid to offices which can show increases in business. Huskisson Post Office had shown a fall-off in business and payments would be decreased.  Mr. Austin Chapman protested against any decrease in payments stating. " all of these offices are not fairly paid for services rendered."

Huskisson Post Office had a telephone at it's office.

1917 - A request to change the half-day holiday from a Saturday to a Wednesday was rejected on exactly the same grounds as in 1914. The Deputy P.M.G. went on the say, ' Residents can use the telephone in urgent cases on Saturday afternoon, and any time after ordinary business hours  by paying the usual opening fee."


1921  - The post office at Huskisson had not been recognised officially by the authorities.
In December a communication was sent by the Post Master General, (P.M.G.) of Huskisson to the Hon. Austin Chapman requesting that the local post office is raised to official status and that more privacy is provided for receipt and dispatch of telegrams. The matter was considered but it was found that the conditions at Huskisson did not justify the status of the office being raised. The matter of the privacy for handling telegrams was solved by placing a "silence cabinet"  inside the office to provide the necessary secrecy in dispatch and receipt of telegrams.


Huskisson Post Master General seriously injured.

- The Huskisson Post Master General was Mr. Richard Dent, sen., a member of the well known Dent family who pioneered shipbuilding at Huskisson. Richard Dent was helping to launch a motorboat which had just been overhauled from the Dents slipways at Huskisson.  Attached to the launch was a wire rope which played out as the vessel slipped into the water. He noticed a twist in the rope, and put out his foot to clear the kink, but instead of doing that his foot was caught in the wire. The wire tightened with such force that the bone of the leg was snapped above the knee and the wire cut through the flesh almost completely severing his leg. He was taken to Berry Hospital and the leg was amputated a few inches above the knee.

1928 - Francis Riches wrote into the Nowra Leader complaining of the inconvenience she had experienced in trying to get a message out of Huskisson after post office hours. She was appalled at having to pay 3 shillings to use the telephone after hours. She also complained about the lack of electric lighting at Huskisson, stranding her son in the dark. The son had to ask a policeman to show him the way home.

1931 – Like almost every coastal community at that time Huskisson had very poor communication with the outside world, which is illustrated by a story which appeared in the Shoalhaven Telegraph August 1931 about a man named Sydney Thurstan, Haynes 65, who was enjoying a holiday with his wife at Huskisson. Mr. Haynes took a bad turn on Saturday night, attempts were made to get in touch with Dr. Rodway of Nowra. The Huskisson post office had the only telephone in Huskisson, but it was closed and the occupants were away. It was necessary to send a car to Falls Creek where the doctor was communicated with by telephone. By the time he arrived at Huskisson, Mr. Haynes had passed away from a suspected heart attack.

1931 - The sad affair above caused local papers to agitate for a better means of communication between the popular seaside resort of Huskisson and Nowra.

1938 - The popularity of Jervis Bay as a holiday destination was growing rapidly. The post office now had a staff of four and was finally recognised by the P.M.G Department  by consenting to a continuous telephone service.  During visits from the fleet the post office handled many thousands of letters each way, and many dozens of telegrams and phone calls.

1938 - 10 years after Francis Riches mentioned above,  complained about how dark Huskisson was, electric light poles connecting Tomerong and Huskisson were completed. The roads in the district were still in a shocking state and almost unusable in some areas.

1938 - Mr. and Mrs. Grant from the Huskisson Post office were highly praised in the Nowra Leader for their outstanding service to the community in the face of a rapidly growing population and the allocation of a continuous telephone .


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