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Official opening - new post office at Whyalla

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(BIG 197/64)


■ IQ a.m. Monday; 14th Decembers 1964

Address by the Postmaster-General The Hone Alan S= Hulmer Μ.Ρ»

Let me say first how pleased I am to be in South' Australia - to .perform ...

my first official function in my first visit to this State since my appointment

as Postmaster-General» - . ·

Next I would add my own expressions of welcome to everyone

present at this function* with specific reference to Senator Laught, the - -

Federal Member for this area, Mr, J« Mortimer, the. State M.L.A., Mr. R, Loveday,

the City Commissioner, Mr. C. Ryan, and the Director-General of Posts and

Telegraphs, Mr. F. P. 0*Grady. I am happy indeed that you could all come ·

along to be a part of this function to mark the opening of this new Post Office


Actually, I am no stranger to this State? I was, in fact, a quite

frequent visitor during my term as Minister for Supply.

I believe it is the right policy for the Postmaster-General to visit all

States from time to time, and I have set myself a goal of at least one visit

each year to each State - even though this is difficult to achieve» I believe,

that the Minister should keep In touch with the Chief Officer of his Department

in each capital city and there is no real substitute for personal visits» I

have been in office now for twelve months and, although I have yet to visit

Tasmania, I shall be doing so next month.

And, when I visit a State I like to perform some specific function, in

addition to having on the spot discussions with my senior officers.

The opening of this new Post Office and the obvious growing importance of

this progressive city prompted me to use this occasion for a visit to South


Although I arrived here only yesterday I have been amazed at the phenomenal

development that is taking place.

Some background notes supplied to me by Mr. O ’Sullivan prepared me

somewhat for a thriving, bustling industrial, city but the reality has .

impressed me very much indeed. 1 believe it would be difficult to find

another city in Australia whose population has increased to such an extent

over recent years as it Whyalla. I understand that the population,

here in 1930 was only 1100» Today it is over 18,000 - a tremendous increase

in just over thirty years* ' ■ .

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I know that this continued development has.been largely due to Broken

Hill Pty. Ltd. and, at the same time, other business people have shown their

confidence in your city’s future by establishing business activities here.

A word of commendation must go also to the South Australian Housing Trust,

which has done such a good job in providing homes for the people who work

and- live here· ’ "

And tangible proof that the Post Office has faith in Whyalla’s future . . .

is this new Post Office building· We believed, from the development so.evident

here over the past decade, that we should make provision for the future·. ..

This office is the result and I think you will agree that it will be a worth­

while addition to your city's business area· .

I understand that the first Post Office was established here in 1901

when Whyalla was known as Hummock Hill. It was a wood and iron building -

measuring about 12' by 20'. Twenty years later, the Post Office was

official status and, four years after that, was removed to the building that

you have been using up to the present time·

I always contend that the progress of any centre runs parallel with the

growth of its communications services, and this has certainly been the case

in Whyalla; As recently as 1939) the Post Office staff comprised the

Postmaster, two postal clerks and a telegraph messenger, plus a telephone

exchange staff. Today, a large automatic exchange is in operation, you have

this new Post Office building and Whyalla is the centre of a Post Office

Engineering district and has its own Telecommunications Business Office. .

The total staff in these offices is now 58 and to this figure we must add the

telephone exchange staff and the technical staff responsible for maintenance

of the telephone service*

I think it was a good thing, that, when our rebuilding programme started .

in 1950) it v/as decided that new Post Offices would not be built to a .

standard design. On the contrary, the Policy has been to design each office

as a distinctive unit in its own right, to complement, as far as this is

possible, existing building trends in the area and, indeed, in some cases, to

set a standard for others to follow. Specifically, it is the aim of the Post

Office to design each building to suit the particular requirements of the.

centre concerned and, at the same time, to make a contribution to the aesthetic

progress of the area· '

It is our policy also to provide more space than necessary in a new

office. This is done with a purpose. . We must plan for the future and there

would be little point in providing a new building that would need expensive,,

additions within a few years. ' This, in fact, would be a false economic policy.

Therefore, we plan for development over many, many years and, generally, this

practice has been most successful· So when you walk through the office later

this morning and it occurs to you, as it no doubt would, that it appears to

have more interior space than you would expect, you will know the reason· . I ->


A pointer to the vast development going on everywhere is the fact that

many of our buildings are erected to operate for the first time under official

conditions, replacing non official post offices that had operated perhaps as

an adjunct to a store or a newsagency or even as a separate unite This is

not the case at Whyalla hut it is in many other centres*

Last financial year the Post Office put in hand the erection of 170 .

major buildings - many of them Post Offices, together with a number of telephone

exchanges, line depots and so on* This year another 160 major building . .

projects will get under way and, at the same.time, progress will be maintained

on the really big projects, such as the Edison Telephone Exchange in Brisbane

and the £5 million Mail Exchange building at Redfern in Sydney.

This year the Post .Office has been allocated £77 million for capital works.

Of this amount £70 million will be used for telecommunications projects and

the remainder mainly for postal purposes.

V . . ■

About £36 million of the total capital works vote will be spent with

Australian manufacturers, Australian factories employ about 11,000 people

exclusively on Post Office contracts. The observation I would make here is

that, not only is the Post Office by its expanding communications system

making a significant contribution to the development of Australia but it is

encouraging to the fullest extent our own Australian industries, who have

proved that they can do the job* And, at the same time, Post Office projects

provide direct and indirect employment for many thousands of people.

This financial year the Post Office will connect a record total of

310,000 new telephone services throughout Australia, compared with what was

then a record 297 *000 last year. We shall also provide 3,700 new trunk lines,

ζ Many new automatic telephone exchanges will be installed, including 150 small

automatic exchanges in rural communities.

The Post Office is doing its utmost to provide for the present and future

needs of this rapidly developing, nation. It is not an easy task when one

considers that Australia is a large land mass with an area of 3 million square

miles and that 54$ of the population is concentrated in the six capital cities.

The provision of Post Office services to the remainder of the population

involves vast distances at very high cost. We must cater for every city, town,

and village throughout the Commonwealth with every type of Post Office service.

Today, the Post Office operates over 8,000 Post Offices and 7,000 telephone

exchanges. .

Therefore, if sometimes our customer9 are forced to wait a while for a

telephone, additional facilities at a Post Office, a new street pillar box or

a public telephone, we may hope that they will take into account the many

problems besetting a Department the size of the Post Office and the fact

that its services must encompass a continent. .



' Before i conclude I must .pay tribute to everyone associated with the

erection of this splendid new building. I include in this the Commonwealth

Departments of Interior and Works, my own Department and, particularly, the

. contractors and their employees, all of whom have done a particularly good


It gives me a great deal of pleasure now to declare this Post Office

at Whyalla officially open and, in doing so, I invite the Postmaster,

Mr. Holds, to accept this key to his new building.