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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]

Telegraph Office

Telegraph Office.

The Telegraph Office is reached by the public from the northern side of the Post Office building, the public counter being on the ground floor, close to the Post Office public room. In the instrument room there are over fifty operators, and the entire staff, including messengers, clerks, and others, numbers over 100 persons. The office is one of the busiest in the colony, as a great deal of transmitting work has to be done through it. In the Christchurch district there are now about 890 miles of lines, carrying about 3400 miles of wire.

Mr. John William Gannaway, Inspector of Telegraphs for the Canterbury District, received his appointment in 1899, having served a period of fourteen years as inspector for the Nelson district. Mr. Gannaway was born in England in 1852, and educated at Southampton. He came to New Zealand in 1868, and landed at Wellington.

Mr. John William Mason, Officer-inCharge of the Christchurch Telegraph Office, is a Victorian by birth. He was born at page 147 Port Fairy in 1845, educated at the local grammar school and entered the Victorian Telegraph Department in Melbourne in 1861, from which he resigned at the end of 1863, having acepted an engagement under the Provincial Council of Southland as officerin-charge of the Bluff telegraph office, which he opened at the end of January, 1864. Mr. Mason was transferred to Christchurch when the General Government took over the telegraph lines of the Colony in 1866, was removed to Dunedin eight months later, and appointed to the charge of the Wellington office on the completion of the first Cook's Strait cable. He was re-transferred to Christchurch in 1868, where he has remained. Mr. Mason has been an athlete in his day, and was at one time champion sprinter. He was married in 1869 to a daughter of the late Mr. J. Hill, an old Colonist, and has six sons and six daughters.

Mr. Joseph Henry Dearsley, Chief Counter Clerk in the Christchurch Telegraph Office, was born in Essex, England, in 1853, and arrived in Lyttelton per ship “Grassmere” with his parents in 1855. Entering the telegraph department as a messenger in 1867, he has, with the exception of two years at Greymouth occupied a position in the local office, and has been chief counter clerk since 1875. Mr. Dearsley was married on the 18th of May, 1876, to a daughter of Mr. Eltenton Mitchell, headmaster of St. Alban's school, who lost his life on the s.s. “Tararua” when taking his first trip after retiring from active life.