Postmaster-General's Department

Post Master General – Public Telephone, year 1950
Post Master General – Public Telephone with battery for power, year 1950

The Postmaster-General's Department (PMG) was a department of the Australian federal government, established at Federation in 1901, whose responsibilities included the provision of postal and telegraphic services throughout Australia. It was abolished in December 1975 and replaced by the Postal and Telecommunications Department. Two separate legal entities were also established at that time: Telecom (which later became Telstra) and Australia Post.

History

The "PMG" stamp can still be found on many manhole covers, such as this one in central Perth.

The Postmaster-General's Department was created in 1901 to take over all postal and telegraphy services in Australia from the states and administer them on a national basis. The Department was administered by the Postmaster-General.

The first permanent Secretary of the Department was Sir Robert Townley Scott who held office from 1 July 1901 until his retirement on 31 December 1910.

In its first 25 years, the department grew from 6,000 to 10,000 offices and from 18,000 to 47,000 staff.[2] Earnings grew from £2.4 million to £10 million per annum.[2]

In mid-1975 the department was disaggregated into the Australian Telecommunications Commission (trading as Telecom Australia) and the Australian Postal Commission (trading as Australia Post). In 1993 the Spectrum Management Agency was formed to take responsibility of radio and television broadcast licensing, which was then merged into the Australian Communications Authority, that later became the Australian Communications and Media Authority. Telecom Australia changed its name to Telstra in 1995 and has since been privatised.

Abolition

The Department was abolished in December 1975 by the Fraser Government, and replaced by the Postal and Telecommunications Department.[3] The change was intended to take account of the increase in the functions of the department to include all electronic media matters which had previously been the responsibility of the Department of the Media.[3]

List of Postmasters-General

Order Portrait Minister Party Prime Minister Term start Term end Term in office
1 John Forrest - Greenham and Evans (cropped).jpg John Forrest   Protectionist Barton 1 January 1901 (1901-01-01) 17 January 1901 (1901-01-17) 16 days
2 Portrait of James George Drake, ca. 1900 (cropped).jpg James Drake 5 February 1901 (1901-02-05) 10 August 1903 (1903-08-10) 2 years, 186 days
3 Philip Fysh - Swiss Studios (cropped).jpg Philip Fysh 10 August 1903 (1903-08-10) 24 September 1903 (1903-09-24) 261 days
Deakin 24 September 1903 (1903-09-24) 27 April 1904 (1904-04-27)
4 Portrait of Hugh Mahon (cropped).jpg Hugh Mahon Labor Watson 27 April 1904 (1904-04-27) 17 August 1904 (1904-08-17) 112 days
5 Portrait of the Hon. Sydney Smith (cropped).jpg Sydney Smith Free Trade Reid 17 August 1904 (1904-08-17) 5 July 1905 (1905-07-05) 322 days
6 Portrait of The Hon. Austin Chapman, 1907-1908 (cropped).jpg Austin Chapman Protectionist Deakin 5 July 1905 (1905-07-05) 30 July 1907 (1907-07-30) 2 years, 25 days
7 Samuel Mauger - Elliott & Fry (cropped).jpg Samuel Mauger 30 July 1907 (1907-07-30) 13 November 1908 (1908-11-13) 1 year, 106 days
8 Josiah Thomas - Swiss Studios 01 (cropped).jpg Josiah Thomas Labor Fisher 13 November 1908 (1908-11-13) 2 June 1909 (1909-06-02) 201 days
9 John Quick - W. Vincent Kelly (cropped).jpg John Quick Liberal Deakin 2 June 1909 (1909-06-02) 29 April 1910 (1910-04-29) 331 days
10 Josiah Thomas - Swiss Studios 01 (cropped).jpg Josiah Thomas Labor Fisher 29 April 1910 (1910-04-29) 14 October 1911 (1911-10-14) 1 year, 168 days
11 Charles Frazer - Crown Studios (cropped).jpg Charlie Frazer 14 October 1911 (1911-10-14) 24 June 1913 (1913-06-24) 1 year, 253 days
12 Portrait of Agar Wynne (cropped).jpg Agar Wynne Liberal Cook 24 June 1913 (1913-06-24) 17 September 1914 (1914-09-17) 1 year, 85 days
13 William Spence.jpg William Spence Labor Fisher 17 September 1914 (1914-09-17) 27 October 1915 (1915-10-27) 1 year, 40 days
14 William Webster 1908 (cropped).jpg William Webster Hughes 27 October 1915 (1915-10-27) 14 November 1916 (1916-11-14) 4 years, 99 days
National Labor 14 November 1916 (1916-11-14) 17 February 1917 (1917-02-17)
Nationalist 17 February 1917 (1917-02-17) 3 February 1920 (1920-02-03)
15 George Wise - Alice Mills (cropped).jpg George Wise 3 February 1920 (1920-02-03) 21 December 1921 (1921-12-21) 1 year, 321 days
16 Alexander Poynton - Broothorn Studios (cropped).jpg Alexander Poynton 21 December 1921 (1921-12-21) 5 February 1923 (1923-02-05) 1 year, 46 days
17 William Gibson - Talma & Co (cropped).jpg William Gibson Country Bruce 5 February 1923 (1923-02-05) 22 October 1929 (1929-10-22) 6 years, 259 days
18 Joseph Lyons 1932-01 (cropped).jpg Joseph Lyons Labor Scullin 22 October 1929 (1929-10-22) 4 February 1931 (1931-02-04) 1 year, 105 days
19 Albert Green 1931 (cropped).jpg Albert Green 4 February 1931 (1931-02-04) 6 January 1932 (1932-01-06) 336 days
20 James Fenton - Dover Studios (cropped).jpg James Fenton United Australia Lyons 6 January 1932 (1932-01-06) 13 October 1932 (1932-10-13) 281 days
21 Archdale Parkhill.jpg Archdale Parkhill 13 October 1932 (1932-10-13) 12 October 1934 (1934-10-12) 1 year, 364 days
22 Alexander McLachlan.JPG Alexander McLachlan 12 October 1934 (1934-10-12) 7 November 1938 (1938-11-07) 6 years, 25 days
23 Archie Cameron 1940.jpg Archie Cameron Country 7 November 1938 (1938-11-07) 7 April 1939 (1939-04-07) 170 days
Page 7 April 1939 (1939-04-07) 26 April 1939 (1939-04-26)
24 Eric John Harrison.jpg Eric Harrison United Australia Menzies 26 April 1939 (1939-04-26) 14 March 1940 (1940-03-14) 323 days
25 Harold Thorby 1940 (cropped).jpg Harold Thorby Country 14 March 1940 (1940-03-14) 28 October 1940 (1940-10-28) 228 days
26 George McLeay 1949 (cropped).jpg George McLeay United Australia 28 October 1940 (1940-10-28) 26 June 1941 (1941-06-26) 241 days
27 Thomas Collins.jpg Thomas Collins Country 26 June 1941 (1941-06-26) 29 August 1941 (1941-08-29) 103 days
Fadden 29 August 1941 (1941-08-29) 7 October 1941 (1941-10-07)
28 William Patrick Ashley.jpg Bill Ashley Labor Curtin 7 October 1941 (1941-10-07) 2 February 1945 (1945-02-02) 3 years, 118 days
29 Senator Donald James Cameron - Australian News and Information Bureau (cropped).jpg Don Cameron 2 February 1945 (1945-02-02) 6 July 1945 (1945-07-06) 4 years, 320 days
Forde 6 July 1945 (1945-07-06) 13 July 1945 (1945-07-13)
Chifley 13 July 1945 (1945-07-13) 19 December 1949 (1949-12-19)
30 LarryAnthony1953.jpg Larry Anthony Country Menzies 19 December 1949 (1949-12-19) 11 January 1956 (1956-01-11) 6 years, 23 days
31 Portrait of Charles William Davidson, M.H.R. for Capricornia, Queensland, 1948 (cropped).jpg Charles Davidson 11 January 1956 (1956-01-11) 18 December 1963 (1963-12-18) 7 years, 341 days
32 AlanHulme1964 (cropped).jpg Alan Hulme Liberal 18 December 1963 (1963-12-18) 26 January 1966 (1966-01-26) 8 years, 353 days
Holt 26 January 1966 (1966-01-26) 19 December 1967 (1967-12-19)
McEwen 19 December 1967 (1967-12-19) 10 January 1968 (1968-01-10)
Gorton 10 January 1968 (1968-01-10) 10 March 1971 (1971-03-10)
McMahon 10 March 1971 (1971-03-10) 5 December 1972 (1972-12-05)
33 LanceBarnard1967 (cropped).jpg Lance Barnard1 Labor Whitlam 5 December 1972 (1972-12-05) 19 December 1972 (1972-12-19) 14 days
34 Lionel Bowen.jpg Lionel Bowen 19 December 1972 (1972-12-19) 12 June 1974 (1974-06-12) 1 year, 175 days
35 RegBishop1963 (cropped).jpg Reg Bishop 12 June 1974 (1974-06-12) 11 November 1975 (1975-11-11) 1 year, 152 days
36 Peter Nixon 1967.jpg Peter Nixon National Country Fraser 11 November 1975 (1975-11-11) 22 December 1975 (1975-12-22) 41 days

List of departmental secretaries and directors-general

See also

References

  1. ^ a b CA 9: Postmaster-General's Department, Central Administration, National Archives of Australia, retrieved 5 December 2013
  2. ^ a b "Federation- 25 Years' Achievements Reviewed: Commonwealth Problems". The Canberra Times. 21 October 1926. p. 8.
  3. ^ a b Fraser, Malcolm (18 December 1975). "MAJOR CHANGES IN MINISTERIAL AND DEPARTMENTAL RESPONSIBILITIES AND FUNCTIONS" (Press release). Archived from the original on 11 January 2014.