Historical information

Electrical telegraphs were point to point text messaging systems primarily used from the 1840's until the late 20th century. It was the first electrical telecommunications system and were sent by an operator or telegrapher using Morse code. Social telegrams were also encouraged and special pictorial forms and envelopes were designed such as the special purple form and envelope which was used when conveying condolence details during World War 2.(fn. Powerhouse https://collection.powerhouse.com.au/object/163103).
There was a brief resurgence in telegraphy during World War I but the decline continued as the world entered the Great Depression years of the 1930s.  Although telegraph lines continued to play an important part in distributing news feeds from news agencies post World War 2, the rise of the internet in the 1990s and the widespread installation of the telephones in homes saw the need for telegrams to greatly decline.
When the Commonwealth Post and Telegraph Act was passed in June 1902, and a national Postmaster General's Department (the PMG) was established the responsibility for the nation's mail and telephone services fell on Post Offices.
The Bendigo Post Office, built in 1887 and situated on Pall Mall was the central distribution centre for receiving and delivering telegrams and continued to deliver communication and postal services until 1997.
Now a Visitor Centre, dedicated volunteers at the Post Office continued to demonstrate and educate the public about telegraphic services and the development of this unique form of communication up until 2019 when Covid 19 disrupted every day life, coupled with the death Ted Rankins (the last Post Master and a long term telegraph volunteer at the Post Office).
This satchel was used by Junior Postal Workers in Bendigo to carry telegrams which were delivered by bicycle in the early years and is part of the postal collection donated by the Rankins family in memory of Ted.

Physical description

Small, dark coloured rectangle, leather satchel with attached belt and ornate buckle. Satchel is made of four pieces of leather: two side pieces, one piece which is folded to create the front, bottom, back and flap and one piece for the central strap. The central strap has a single hole through which a metal toggle is inserted to secure the flap closed. Stitching is evident around the side seams, around the metal toggle and inside flap where strap is attached and has been reinforced. Satchel has four metal tabs to secure the top front to the top sides and an internal pocket on inside. The leather belt is attached to the back outside of the satchel with four metal press studs. The left side buckle also has reinforced stitching. Both sides of the buckle have decorative elements with the words Post Office / Communications/ Australia on the left side around outer circular edge. Underside of right side of buckle end has the words AROS pressed into it.

Inscriptions & markings

Inside flap of satchel; Australia / Post / Telegram / Boys written in marker.
Buckle; Post Office / Communications / Australia.
Underside of right side of buckle end; AROS
Internal; Gold address sticker with Ted Rankins contact details.