William Morton

William Morton – 1840

The Governor approved of the establishment of a Post Office at the village of St. Mary’s and of “incurring of the sum of seven pounds for the necessary stamps, etc” on the 22 September 1840. (1) The Post office was classed as a Type C65, which was the oval stamp used.

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Type C 65

The first adhesive postage stamp did not appear until January 1850. (2) William Morton (3) was appointed the first Postmaster, and listed as having no other Government job. He was not to receive any salary but was allowed to keep twenty percent of the postage collected for the year. In 1840 this amounted to two pounds one shillings and one pence. (4) Morton does not seem to have stayed in the job or the district for very long. (5)

The Governor in 1840 was Major Sir George Gipps; the Colonial Postmaster was James Raymond, with Queen Victoria having come to the throne three years earlier. (6) James Raymond, Esq, Postmaster General of New South Wales in correspondence to His Excellency Governor Sir George Gipps, reported that before 1828, mail was only being despatched to Penrith twice a week and this was “entirely dependent on the convenience of the coach proprietor,” (7) for the time it took getting there which was at least two days. St Marys residents would have probably had to go to Penrith to fetch their mail. Mr John Perry held the contract for carrying mails in 1839 from Penrith to Bathurst and from Penrith to Sydney. (8) The 1843 Directory listed Thomas Hadley as a mail coach contractor at Penrith: according to J T Ryan, Hadley and John Perry of the Rose Inn were partners in a Penrith-Sydney service. (9)


  1. Australian Archives, Files SP32 series, Post Office, St Marys, Colonial Secretary, Register Inward Correspondence 1834-1844.
  2. John S White, The Postal History of NSW 1788-1901, Philatelic Association of NSW 1988, pp 115 & 365.
  3. There does not seem to be any record of William Morton in Births, Deaths and Marriages, Pioneer Index 1788-1888 on CD-Rom at Penrith City Library. A A (Bert) Evans, Local History Section, Penrith City Library, Post Office File, refers to Mr William Merton. Another history of St Marys Post Office in the same file calls him William Martin.
  4. Australian Archives, SP 32 series, Post Office St Marys.
  5. NSW Archives 1841 Census, X949, p 67. A Morton is listed as being in residence at St Marys; parish Rooty Hill, district Penrith with number of persons listed as two.
  6. NSW Archives 1841 Census, X949, White p 455
  7. Sydney Gazette, 31 December 1839, p 2 (letter dated 27 April 1839)
  8. Penrith Press 1 September 1965, p 15
  9. J T Ryan, Reminiscences of Australia, Penrith Local History Collection, Penrith Library, pp 165-6