Early postal history – Gympie

In 1867, after the Gold Rush of Gympie had commenced, the Postmaster-General, Mr Thomas L Murray-Prior reported to parliament that the Gympie goldfields had attracted a large population and numerous complaints of a lack of postal services! He visited Gympie and arranged for a clerk from Brisbane to open a money order office in Gympie and to take charge of the post office building when finished.

These first Postal services began from the Mary Street shop of Mr E.H. Booth, who became the first unofficial postmaster, until the official postmaster was later appointed. Booth was an auctioneer and estate agent by profession. His initial salary was 12 pounds per annum. Postal business had increased to a huge extent that by February the following year, in 1868, his salary had increased to 150 pounds per annum.

Gympie Creek Post Office

The Gympie Creek Post Office building was situated in Duke Street just below where the automatic exchange next to the old Duke Street Post Office building.

The appointment of the first “official” postmaster was Mr James Baird from Brisbane. The official appointment was listed in the newspapers  – printed on late July and early August 1868. 

It is reported that the Gympie Creek Post Office was opened and made official status by 9 July 1868. On the 8th July 1868 in the Nashville times it was reported of a new post office with postmaster Baird, however it was reported as Yandina!? In the newspapers, in June 1868 it is reported that the new post office was being erected and advertisement of the Gympie Post Office commenced in the Nashville Times on 25 July 1868. Interestingly though this clearly does not align with the tender advertisements and awarding of contract being advertised in November and December 1868.

On 6th November 1868, the Department of Public Works put out a tender for persons willing to contract for the erection of a Post Office at Gympie. On 16th December the tender accepted were advertised – being R. M. Hyne, who was Richard Hyne. (You can read more about Mr Hyne on the Hyne Timber website). Yes, the name synonymous with Hyne Timber company.

Mr J. Baird ran the post office with two clerical assistants and a letter carrier. By 1869, the post master annual salary was 300 pounds per annum, which was very high standards of the time!

The first regular mail service ran between Gympie and Maryborough, weekly by horse in 1868. Mail from Brisbane was sent by ship (Gneering) via Mooloolaba whenever the opportunity arose. Cobb & Co services began by November 1868 with the first coaches from Brisbane to Gympie, with a 4 horse team over a difficult track. The driver of the first coach services was Hiram Barnes who reached Gympie on the evening of the second day out from Brisbane and was met in Gympie by cheering crowds through the diggings and carried shoulder high to the Northumberland Hotel for a festive welcome and a well-earned drink! The service ran with 2 coaches operating the line and up to 3 times a week.

Sadly, Postmaster Baird died suddenly of a heart attack on 8 March 1876 aged around 46 years. Mr Frank Cummings was then appointed as Gympie’s second postmaster following Mr Baird’s passing.

March 1876

Postal services were transacted from the Gympie Creek Post Office until the erection of the newer building on Commissioner’s Hill, completed 14 May 1880.

The building was demolished in May 1970.