Cape York Telegraph Station
Cape York Post Office
- Radar/signal station
- North and Cape York
Punsand Bay, Cape York 4870
During August 1942 the post office was visited by a detachment of the 2/7 Cavalry Regiment, known as Cobb Force. The unit, made up of about 80 armed personnel equipped with heavy military trucks, had set out from the south to determine whether the Cape York telegraph track could be traversed by vehicle, and also to investigate for any signs of Japanese activity on the Cape.
Paterson Telegraph Office—?the final station in the link from Cooktown to Thursday Island—?was originally located at Paterson Hill, near Peak Point. The undersea cable connecting the station with Thursday Island was laid in November 1886 and opened in 1887. Due to continuing problems with the cable link, Paterson Telegraph Office was moved in 1894 to the present site on Punsand Bay, where it became the Cape York Post and Telegraph Office. At the same time, a new cable route to Thursday Island by way of Horn Island was selected. The post office remained staffed during World War II.
In 1943 a four-channel telegraph system was installed as a wartime emergency and a new submarine cable was laid. Failure of the undersea cable to Thursday Island in 1953 prompted the closure of Cape York Post Office and the wartime telephone carrier station, nearby. A radio telephone connection between Thursday Island and the mainland was installed in 1956, its terminal at the new settlement of Bamaga. The Cape York Post Office finally closed in September 1960 when the staff moved to Bamaga. Most of the high-set corrugated iron building has been salvaged for other uses and only concrete and timber piers and remnants of iron water tanks remain.
Pearce, Howard (contributing author).
Howard Pearce (Ed.). Heritage Trails of the Tropical North: A heritage tour guide to far north Queensland, Environmental Protection Agency, Brisbane, 2001.
Howard Pearce. WWII: NQ: A cultural heritage overview of significant places in the defence of north Queensland during World War II. Environmental Protection Agency, Brisbane, 2009.
Website: specialoperationsaustralia.com, 2/7 Australian Cavalry Regiment.