Telegraph Station Bremer Bay WA

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THE OLD TELEGRAPH STATION

The building is a significant architectural structure in the town of Bremer Bay and Shire of Jerramungup. This building was designed by Mr. George Temple Poole. Its style is particularly Australian and blends well with the environment.

On the 1st of January, 1875, Frederick Weld the Governor in Albany erected the first telegraph pole which would carry the telegraph to Eucla, thus “connecting” Western Australia with the rest of the continent and via Darwin, the rest of the world. The line to Bremer Bay was completed by October, 1875, but not formally open for traffic until the 8th of March, 1876 due to the problem of enough of people available to man the stations. The finally agreed number was a station master, assistant, a linesman and a native for field work. Miss Mary Wellstead, daughter of John Senior, was the first operator in Bremer Bay and possibly the first female telegraphist in Australia, until the new appointments at the end of 1877. The first Bremer Bay telegraph station was built in 1875 from timber, and had a shingle roof. The chimney and verandas were added later.

After the original Telegraph station was burnt down, the new Telegraph station was erected in 1896, just next to the first one. This time local stone was used. The building became a well known landmark with its colourful walls. The remains of the first building were cleared in 2000.

After 1930, the P.M.G put the station out to tender and Mr. William Sparks, a farmer from Needilup became the next owner, at a cost of less than 50 pounds. Since then, the Station has been a private dwelling. In 1947 the late North Garnett purchased the building and it was inherited by his son James Garnett in 1974.

The decision to erect the first station at Bremer Bay instead of West Mount Barren as first planned, brought its first European settler John Wellstead within an hour’s walk of the telegraph Station. This proved a boon to the officials who served there as the nearest town of Albany was one hundred and seven miles away.

The entrance was used as the first classroom.

The building is currently classified with the National Trust in a “C” classification. This is one of the only buildings remaining within the town site that is currently considered to have historic significance. It is currently used as a cafe.