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Post Office problems on the Eureka Diggings

The postal service was the subject of frustration and debate on the Eureka Diggings. Rather than a single organised service, rival storeowners were vying for business from the local diggers.

19 November 1852
Published Source
Australian National Dictionary Centre, The Gold Rushes and Australian English: a resource for researchers, teachers and students, Australian National University, 2005, http://www.anu.edu.au/andc/res/aus_words/gold/index.php. Details
This material is provided by the Australian National Dictionary Centre, a joint project of the Australian National University and Oxford University Press Australia.


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To the Editor of the Geelong Advertiser and Intelligencer. SIR,—Having observed in the columns of your paper of the 13th instant, some remarks in an article headed "Scraps from Eureka{.}" I beg leave through your paper to give that information which the writer of that article seems very anxious to obtain. He states that he has been for the last four months trying to understand how the Post Office is managed, and in despair is about to give it up. Now, as the writer G.W. is known to me, and from my knowledge of him I am led to believe that he is an enquirer after truth, I shall be most happy to give him every information on the subject, and as there are others who are interested in the matter, permit me to state that many months since I received my appointment as Postmaster for Ballarat, since which time I have endeavoured to give satisfaction. When the Eureka Diggings were first opened, several persons, principally the storekeepers, expressed a wish that a branch Post Office should be established at those diggings, to save the trouble of walking three miles for their letters. I therefore engaged a person of the name of Little to take the management of a store and branch Post Office at Eureka, and finding his duties were heavy, also engaged a person to assist him. I have observed since I established the branch Post Office, several storekeepers have placards in their stores headed "Post Office." Now this is calculated to mislead the diggers, and what was intended to save much valuable time, will cause by having more than one Post Office at each diggings, much delay and trouble to those who have letters sent them. Delays in the delivery and forwarding of letters, have, I regret to state, taken place in a few instances, not on my part. An arrangement was made for one of the troopers to convey and to fetch the mail bags from Buninyong. Occasionally the troopers have neglected to call for the bags, and therefore a post has been lost; and it ought to be remembered that the trooper may have other duties to perform in Buninyong, for I have received my letters in Buninyong and answered my correspondents before the trooper has left Buninyong with the Ballarat bags. A remark has been made by G.W. respecting a gold broker’s silk flag being deposited in the pocket of the postmaster. This is a deliberate untruth, and I regret that the writer has not ascertained the correctness of the statement, before he committed it to paper. The paragraph states that the Ballarat Post Office is a great humbug, a sepulchre of correspondence, a vile delusion. Surely G.W. cannot be aware that I have at considerable expense engaged a person whose duty is confined to receiving and delivering of letters and newspapers, who I firmly believe discharges his duty faithfully. The public should distinctly understand that the article headed "Scraps from Eureka," is from the pen of a rival storekeeper, who doubtless is anxious to become, like others, a collector of letters for the vigilant Mr. Akehurst, whom he has been pleased to signify with that title. Henceforth G.W. might with more propriety sign himself Alexander the Coppersmith. Yours most respectfully, JOHN ADAMS, Buninyong, Ballarat, and Eureka Store. Geelong Advertiser, 19 November 1852