Penny Stamps and Mining Licences for Sale
The Post Office in Mogo was one of the first to be built outside the Sydney region. It was opened in 1869 under the auspices of Postmaster George Veitch., After he died in tragic circumstances, his wife continued until her marriage to Frederick Ladmore who took over. They were followed by her son, James Veitch, who held the position for many years.
Sending a letter was a big event in 1869. The penny post (approximately 7% of the daily wage) was still no guarantee of delivery. Mail was carried on horseback to Moruya 10 miles away, and 25 miles further on to Bodalla Packhorse mails were carried in 1859 between Braidwood, Reidsdale, Araluen, Mullenderee, Moruya and Batemans Bay twice a week. In 1861 Nelligen was substituted for Batemans Bay as the shipping port for Moruya-Sydney mails.
Rumour and gossip (the fondly named "Bush Telegraph") was often more effective than the Morse Code used for urgent telegrams. Receipt of a telegram was a serious business back then, since it was usually reserved for bad news.
Morse Code (named after Samuel F. B. Morse, its originator) was widely used in the early days of long-distance communications as the equipment was much simpler (and more reliable) than that required for voice. The code consists of short impulses (called dots) and long impulses (called dashes) ~ there is a combination of dots and dashes for each letter of the alphabet, each number and some punctuation characters, for example; If you were to tap gently three short taps, three long taps, three short taps. It would read S.O.S. This is the universally recognised emergency signal , that some say represents “Save Our Souls”.
The Elizabeth Rex (E.R.) red letterbox is from a more recent period of Australia's history.
It was common on the goldfields for any establishment to house more than one enterprise. The Mogo Post Office also supplied the mining licenses, an assaying service and saddlery.
The paper press on the front counter had a dual use. Documents were usually stored in a ribboned roll and needed to be flattened for display or reading purposes. The press was also used to crush small samples of rocks as a preliminary to assaying their gold content.
In NSW Diggers had to pay 30 shillings a month (equivalent to the wage for a female teacher) for the right to prospect a lease of ground of two square metres. They had to pay in advance and keep paying irrespective of whether they had found gold or not. In comparison, squatters only paid ten pounds a year for a licence to graze their sheep over thousands of acres. Governor Wentworth's Goldfield Act of 1853, rather than forcing miners off the gold fields and back into rural labour, ended up causing close to civil war at Sofala, and later at the Eureka Stockade.
There is a Eureka flag suspended in the Post Office. The original was first flown on Wednesday 28th November 1854. It was designed by a Canadian, Lieutenant Ross. It has five white stars on a white cross, sewn on a blue background. Because the women who sewed it did not have much time they folded the material into four to cut out the 8 pointed stars.
On the 150th aniversary in December 2004 all state Premiers of Australia agreed to fly the Eureka Flag to commemorate the event. Victorian Premier Steve Bracks the Flag had become a national symbol of unity."The Eureka Stockade is an event of national historical significance, and the flag is intrinsically tied to that event...It is important that all Australians take ownership of the legacy of the Eureka Stockade. The Eureka Stockade was a critical event not only in the development of our democratic rights and freedoms but our national identity and the fair go culture."