Ginninderra Post Office
Ginninderra Post and Telegraph services
Ginninderra had the first post office on the Limestone Plains, and it was to endure for just over a century, closing in 1962. William Davis Junior - the 'Squire of Ginninderra' - wrote on 4th January 1859 requesting a post office to cater for the growing population of Ginninderra. The request must have been agreed to almost immediately, for the first appointee as postmaster - George Thomas Palmer - resigned on 30th July! Two more appointments followed in quick succession - Davis' brother, Frederick James Davis, then Herbert Medley - before the job went to Davis' bookkeeper, George Harcourt, on 19th May 1862. In the following year Harcourt acquired the Ginninderra store, and was to conduct the postal service at the store for the next twenty years. In 1867 Harcourt moved the store to the northern side of the Yass-Queanbeyan road where it was to operate until 1894.
A telegraph service reached Ginninderra in July 1879, and was operated in the house formally occupied by the village blacksmith, George Curran, who mover to 'more commodious accomodation'. The first telegraph officer was Ernest Marsden, who was replaced in November 1881 by sixteen year old Francis Colls. Colls became both post and telegraph master in the following year, after Harcourt's retirement. Colls was to keep the job for four years.
Francis Colls 1882-1886
Miss Louisa Tobin 1887-1892
George J Ruwald 1892-1905
Mrs Rosanna Blewitt 1905-1913
Money Order facilities were introduced in 1886 and Saving Bank facilities the following year. When Mrs Blewitt sought a salary increase in 1906 she observed that since she began there were three new telephone subscribers, and 'this office is the only Money Order and Savings Bank office between Queanbeyan and Yass'. She was not successful. When she left, the position was taken up by Charles W Thompson, the teacher in charge at Hall school, who was however, still residing at the Ginninderra Schoolhouse. His daughter Bertha performed the duties, lightened by a decision to conduct it as a 'semi-official' 'allowance office'. Business had been declining for some years. This arrangement - with the Hall teacher residing at Ginninderra and carrying out the postmaster duties - persisted until the post office finally closed in 1962. Although he had retired as the Hall teacher in 1958 Richard O'Sullivan was still residing at the Schoolhouse and taking care of the post office when it closed. The last three 'teacher-postmasters' were:
Charles W Thompson 1913-1933
Ray Harris 1933-1937
Richard O'Sullivan 1937-1962
As with a number of other aspects of Ginninderra's history, competition with Hall became an issue around the turn of the century. Hall had postal services from 1888, but not an official post office - and demands for one grew louder in the early years of the new century. A public telephone was installed at the post office in 1906 and a manual telephone exchange with two subscribers opened in 1910. Charles William Southwell, who had taken over the Hall general store in 1901, became Hall postmaster in 1912, and the post office moved into his newly erected store in 1913. Money Order and Saving Bank facilites were available from 1917, and the Hall office had effectively eclipsed Ginninderra.
Note that the location map marker shows only the final home of Ginninderra post office, in the old Ginninderra Schoolhouse. Its first home was somewhere on the Palmerville estate, then George Harcourt moved it up to the Yass - Queanbeyan Road. When Harcourt resigned as postmaster he recommended that the post office be combined with the Telegraph Office, half a mile or so up the Yass Road.
You can find more information on Ginninderra and other ACT post offices and their postmarks here.
Click on the caption (⧉) to view photo details and attribution.
Curtis, T. A compendium of the Post, Receiving, Telegraph and Telephone Offices located in the A.C.T together with their postmarks. actpostmarks.blogspot.com.au/2016/12/home.html