The Bega Pioneers' Museum has countless reports and stories on local issues. This one is on the history of the Bega Post Office.
THE names of 35 prospective subscribers for telephonic communication were submitted to the Postmaster-General soon after the petition of September 20, 1906. Twenty-nine of these people lived within one mile of Bega Post Office. Included in these were:
F.A. Clark, J.H. Beresford, John Underhill, John Spence, J. Jardine, Henry Underhill, W.A. Smith, S.H. Pearce, R. Henderson, J.T. Rogers, C.A. Stiles, W. Rixon, F.W. Zingel, J.C. Jackson, P. McNamara, B. Gowing, M.F. Evershed.
When the Department decided to establish a telephone exchange, Sirl Bros. secured the contract for the supply and erection of the necessary poles.
The Bega Telephone Exchange was opened for business at 3pm on December 31, 1906, with 19 subscribers.
A day service only was available. However, after an additional nine applications for services had been received, it was decided to provide continuous telephone service from April 10, 1907.
Gas lighting was not installed until the end of May, and in the meantime candles were used for lighting the switchboard.
In common with most other South Coast towns, the establishment of mail communication with Bega was not an easy matter, the principal means of conveyance being by the Clyde steamers (which usually ran twice a week), and by other steamers as opportunities occurred.
During 1856, a mail service was opened between Bega and Bombala. In 1859, the Bodalla to Bega service, which had also opened in 1856, was extended to Pambula, via Merimbula. This completed a coast mail line by road from Wollongong to Eden, the mails all being carried on horseback.
The first coach to carry mails in this corner of the State was on the service between Merimbula Wharf, Merimbula Post Office and Bega. In 1868, Andrew Rixon of Bega was the contractor but he only kept the two-horse coach on the road for about three months, and the horseback service was reverted back to until the 90s.
The earliest records of mail contracts did not appear until 1861, and were published until 1891.
In 1861, C J MacGregor carried the mails on horseback weekly from Moruya to Bodalla, Bega, Merimbula and Pambula for £160 per annum, and Chas Robertson took the mails on from there to Eden. John Otton, junior, also did the trip once a week from Moruya to Bega.