Patronage and opportunity

by Margaret Fowler

Public History Internship Project

Macquarie University

“Patronage and Opportunity: A snapshot of five postmistresses at Penrith and St. Marys in the 19th century”.

A narrative account of the work experience of five postmistresses in Penrith and St. Marys, in the latter half of the 19th century.  To be published on the blog website for Penrith City Library’s Research Room.   The project has been supervised by Lorraine Stacker, Information Librarian, at Penrith City Library.

2nd November, 2018


Given the ease with which people connect with each other today, it is easy to overlook how important the postal service was to emerging communities as European settlement moved ever outwards from Sydney.   The post office was often the face of government, an integral part of the social fabric of society at that time. 

The colonial government, aware of the need to keep people connected and progress economic growth in developing districts, had opened the first seven regional post offices in 1828.  Penrith was one of those, an indication perhaps of its growing regional status[1]. St. Marys post office opened 12 years later.

Employment in the post office was heavily dependent on recommendation from local dignitaries, prominent people in communities, family connections and, following the institution of responsible government in 1856, Members of Parliament.   While mostly men were appointed postmasters, there grew an understanding in the Postmaster General’s Department (PMG) that competent women, usually having experience as an assistant to their husband or father, could assume the Office were the postmaster to die or become incapacitated.  Life could be fragile in the early 19th century and early widowhood not uncommon.[2]   Coupled with the social mores of the time where women’s place was in the home, responsible for children and family, the need to supplement family finances when it arose, often proved difficult.  Paid employment in the post office, while salaries were usually low, could offer some women economic relief and a chance to move beyond a socially constricted existence, while maintaining their respectability.    

Faith Adeline Kellett. 

Postmistress at Penrith.

Faith was married to William Kellett who conducted a shop together with the post office, in a rented cottage on the Tindale Estate in High Street, in the vicinity of St. Stephen’s Church.  William had been appointed postmaster in 1849.   An often quoted reminiscence describes the site as being on that of the Old Methodist Parsonage, now determined by the staff of the Penrith Research Library, to be next to the Fire Station or perhaps the current Penrith Post Office site.[3]      Lorraine Stacker, Research Librarian, advises this part of High Street, was ‘to become the commercial and administrative centre of the district’ due to its proximity to the Courthouse.

In 1860 William died, leaving Faith a widow in her late 40s with 2 dependent children.  Charles aged 13, and Susannah 10.   Faith was appointed his successor, there being evidence she had been running the post office while her husband conducted the store.[4]  She was obviously competent and proficient in her duties, as in 1862 due to the volume of business it was processing Penrith Post Office became an official one.  Faith advised the PMG Dept. she had relinquished the shop in order to “render the Office larger and in my opinion suitable in every respect”.[5] However the greater opportunity this afforded Faith, was the salary increase to 200 pounds per year, as recorded in the Public Service List for 1862.   A tidy salary at that time.  

Faith’s duties in the post office were described as “arduous, for she had no assistance…somewhere in the building was a window in which a lamp was continually burning at night presumably as a guide to the mail drivers arriving in the dark hours”.[6]  A letter written by Faith to the Department in 1865 (2 years after the railway reached Penrith), requesting a paid assistant, describes her hours and they were indeed strenuous.  With only “her little daughter” to help her, she writes,

                At 3.06am every morning (Sundays excepted) I am obliged to get up to take in the Western Mails (see Main Western up Time Bill).  At 6.30am I am again in the Office to open, sort and stamp the letters received from Eight Offices, before I can Despatch Four Mails per 7.45am Train daily, namely to Sydney, Parramatta, St. Marys and Blacktown.  At 8am on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, I receive Mails from Bringelly and Mulgoa.  Same days at 8.15am Despatch Mails to Castlereagh and Richmond.  Same days Receive Mails at 4pm from Richmond and Castlereagh, Same days Despatch Mails to Bringelly and Mulgoa at 4.15pm making on those days 19 Mails Despatched and Received.  Again at 6.40pm I receive 3 Mails viz. from Sydney, Parramatta and St. Marys, at 7.15pm Despatch the Western Mails (see Main Western down Time Bill), then for nearly an hour afterwards I deliver the letters received by the 6.40pm Mails to the Inhabitants when they are waiting for them, at 9pm the Mails are closed for Sydney, Parramatta, and St. Marys, to be sent to the Railway Station at 10pm in time to meet the 2.30am Train next morning.   This work is independent of signing Letter Bills, Entering them in Receipt and Despatch Books, Registering Letters, entering them in Registered Receipt and Despatch Books, and (not the least all the memos) and correspondence of various Offices to be answered.  Three days in the week I receive and despatch 19 Mails.  Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I receive and despatch 15 Mails.  On Sundays the Office is open from 9am to 10am and again at 8pm.  I make up 3 Mails to be sent by the 2.30am Train.[7]

Faith’s letter prompted a personal response by Major Christie, the Postmaster General to the Under Secretary for Finance recommending her salary be increased by 50 pounds per year.  It is assumed, she was to pay an assistant out of that.   Christie acknowledged her duties were “heavy…and [emphasised] the postal importance of the township of Penrith”.[8]

This correspondence demonstrates the importance of mail prior to the establishment of the electric telegraph at the railway station in 1869, as the only form of communication for a growing community rapidly turning into a regional centre.[9]     

With her health failing in 1870, Faith sought a government pension under the terms of the Superannuation Act which had become law in 1864, but despite confirmation of her eligibility from the Audit Office in June 1870, it took a long time to come through.[10]   She retired in 1873, and requested her son Charles Henry Kellett be allowed to succeed her.   The Postmaster General confirmed Charles’ appointment remarking it would, “be beneficial to the public interest…Mr. Kellett, Senior had held the office for 12 years, and Mrs. Kellett has been postmistress for nearly 13 years; during the whole of which period the duties have been satisfactorily performed”.[11]  Faith died in January 1876, aged 64.

Single women were by no means excluded from the post office providing they were competent and able to carry out the duties required.  Desley Deacon, an authority on the emerging public service and women’s place within it, maintains country and rural post offices were more likely to offer employment opportunities for women.[12]  In St. Marys, still a country town but showing the first stirrings of the industry that would define it by the end of the century, four postmistresses were offered an opportunity that led to promotion.   For 3 of them, the electric telegraph provided the catalyst.  

Introduced to New South Wales in 1857, the telegraph revolutionised communication.    It also, despite the reservations of the Superintendent of Telegraphs, Edward Cracknell, further opened up employment opportunities for women.   Although under the auspice of the Postmaster General, the Telegraph Department was the total domain of Superintendent Cracknell, who although not very supportive of women working in his Department, publicly remarking on their “inability to keep a secret”, was agreeable to having junior female operators in country and smaller offices.[13]   Supposedly quick thinking and with nimble fingers, women were seen as competent operators often more patient than men.[14]   At the opening of the grand NSW General Post Office (GPO) in Sydney in September 1876, the then Postmaster General Sir Saul Samuel, made a landmark speech,

      During my recent stay in England I visited the Chief Telegraph Office in London.  I there witnessed the novel sight of upwards of 800 ladies busily engaged in the duties of operators.  When in the United States, I had opportunities of observing ladies not only occupied in that capacity, but also in clerical work in the other public offices.  I was informed in both countries that the experiment of employing women in these and similar occupations had been attended with marked success; and I have determined to take the first suitable opportunity of arranging for the instruction of ladies in the duties of telegraph operators, with a view to employment in that branch of the public service of this colony.  I have long considered that one great evil of our social system is the absence of a choice of suitable occupations for active, educated, and intelligent women; and to the full extent of my humble influence I will be glad to promote any movement for opening to them more favourable opportunities for a life of honourable industry than are within their reach at present.[15]

The door was well and truly open.   Despite the lack of a formal training school for operators, family connections were still the best form of patronage (and training) for female telegraph operators who sought employment opportunity in the post office.[16]  

Jane Webb.   Ellen Pegus/Cross.   Mary Russell.   Caroline Palmer.    

Postmistresses at St. Marys.


Although the telegraph did not connect to St. Marys until 1876, Jane’s short tenure as postmistress at St. Marys was an opportunity she and her sister grabbed as their father’s health deteriorated.  Matthew Webb, a bootmaker with a store on the Great Western Road, had been appointed postmaster in April, 1860.[17]   Acting on instructions from the PMG Department in 1875, an  inspector reported that on arrival he was made aware Mr. Webb had died 3 months earlier, after a debilitating illness. 

The inspector advised the Department that Mr. Webb, “following a long and painful illness…[for] several months before his death was unable to transact himself [to] the postal duties


his eldest daughter Jane, assisted by one of her sisters…managed the Office”.[18]  Satisfied that the post office was being conducted satisfactorily, albeit despite some tardy record keeping,  the inspector recommended Jane be appointed the postmistress.   Jane continued on for the remainder of the year, with her sister’s help, having advised the Department she intended to finish up at that time anyway.   It would appear the sisters’ had decided their best course of action was to remain in the post office for the duration of their father’s illness and maintain the business, and continue for a few months following his death.        

Ellen Pegus/Cross

As connection to the telegraph progressed, post offices were being amalgamated with telegraph offices.  St. Marys became an official post and telegraph office in January 1876 and the appointment was given to Miss Ellen Louise Antoinette Pegus, a telegraph operator at Paddington.[19]   She appears to have come from a ‘post office family’ as a letter written by her mother and quoted further on demonstrates.  A weatherboard cottage belonging to James Hackett on the Great Western Road near South Creek, had been rented by the Department to house both the new combined post office and residence.[20]  Ellen’s salary for both telegraph and postal duties amounted to 85 pounds per year.   It is recorded that she had been allowed 2 assistants – Agnes Pegus her sister, and Ellen Rosa Pegus her mother.[21]  As her father, Campbell Pegus R.M. (Royal Marines) a member of the minor Scottish gentry had died in 1864, it would appear that the women of the family had to fend for themselves.[22] It is assumed the 3 women shared the residence.  At the end of her first year at the post office, Ellen married Joseph Cross, the Telegraph Master at Penrith. 

St. Marys had been growing since the arrival of the railway in 1862 and by 1870 was a very busy town.  Chiefly, tanneries of which there were 4 in operation by 1880, the Bennett coach and wagon works which built the massive Bennett wagons that moved the wheat and wool throughout the colony, 3 sawmills operating by 1890, brickyards, and the cattleyards near the railway which during the 2nd half of the 19th century made St. Marys, “the second largest stock mustering town in New South Wales, outside the metropolitan area”.[23]

The post office business too was increasing.  A few months previously, the postal services on offer expanded to include provision of money orders and a branch of the Government Savings Bank (GSB).  Since the GSB only began operating in 1871, to warrant a branch in 1876, is an indication of the level of business conducted.   In July 1876, the St. Marys employment records show Ellen’s husband, Joseph Cross was appointed an assistant in the post office, which by now was becoming quite a family business.[24]   She and Joseph had 3 children during the 7 years Ellen was postmistress at St. Marys and it is assumed her mother, sister and husband looked after the post and telegraph duties until she returned to duty.[25] 

In mid 1882, Ellen must have applied for a transfer to Leichhardt Post Office as the inaugural post and telegraph mistress.  She was successful as Leichhardt’s post and telegraph offices were  amalgamated on 3rd January 1883, the date on which Ellen commenced.   Her mother, Ellen Rosa, in an attempt to secure the St. Marys office for her other daughter Agnes, sought the patronage of an old family friend, Sir Alfred Stephen, to advance Agnes’ application.   Having retired as Chief Justice, Sir Alfred at that time was a member of the Legislative Council and had been appointed lieutenant-governor.[26]   To further Agnes’ chances and drawing on Sir Alfred’s friendship with Captain Peter Pegus when both were in Van Diemen’s Land, her mother wrote,

     Dear Sir Alfred, 

As my daughter Mrs. Cross is likely to be removed from here shortly, will you kindly interest yourself to procure the situation for my daughter Agnes.     She has been honorary Assistant here for the last six years and quite au fait in all postal duties, and also first class operator.   May I entreat you by your friendship for her Grandfather Captain Pegus, to interest yourself on her behalf, she has only her own exertions to depend on for a living.    The salary of Post and Telegraph mistress is only 150 pounds a year.  So if you kindly ask she may have a chance.     She forwards her Application to the P.M.G. by this mail.   May I beg and entreat you to see him at once before it is given away.   Her brother Frederick was ten years in the Accountant’s Branch and had to resign through ill health and her father was Postmaster for nine years, three without payment.   Under these circumstances the P.M.G. may think she has some slight claim.   Trusting to hear from you, 

I remain, 

Yours faithfully, 

Ellen R. Pegus[27]                           

Agnes did not get the appointment, but in his Ph.D. thesis, Ross McLachlan records that in “February 1885, Headquarters had hired Agnes Pegus to help her married sister, Ellen Cross, officer-in-charge at Leichhardt.  In all probability, Mrs. Cross had tutored her offsider in Morse while manager at St. Marys…Agnes’ salary was 52 pounds p.a….and increased to 110 pounds in 1892.”[28]   Such family connections were essential to women in Agnes’ position as they sought secure employment in the post office.  McLachlan’s research showed Agnes lived with Ellen and her family, and Joseph was a railway official.[29]  

The official Leichhardt post office history records Ellen at age 34 in 1888, receiving a salary of 160 pounds a year.[30]   Ellen retired from Leichhardt in July 1896 and died the next year of bowel cancer.  Her Death Certificate records she was 42.[31]  Her mother Ellen Rosa, widow of Retired Navy Captain, died of cardiac failure at Leichhardt, the year after.[32]

Mary Russell

From the late 1870s, residents had been agitating for a more centrally located and substantial post office building.   Hackett’s cottage had become inadequate for Ellen with her immediate and extended family and she had some years before her departure, first rented extra rooms at her own expense, then moved the office altogether.   Her request for a salary increase had been refused, so the move to Leichhardt was perhaps a relief.  The new brick building closer to Queen Street, near the “29 mile stone” was completed in time for the new incumbent, Mary Russell, who commenced duty in January 1883.[33]

Mary was a widow with 3 dependent children.  Her husband had been the postmaster at both Jereelderie and Corowa post offices.  Ross McLachlan maintains her husband had probably taught her Morse code and instructed her in the use of the instruments.[34] Her circumstances must have elicited some sympathy as she had the support of a Committee of local residents at Corowa led by P. C. Piggin, the local auctioneer.   Piggin used his connections in the government to seek a position for her, writing to the Postmaster General’s Department on two separate occasions, citing her need as,

     …most charitable, urgent and deserving…[and requesting the Department]…to kindly assist in obtaining as early as possible some office for Mrs. Russell who is competent to fill the situation as Post Telegraph Mistress in any office in which she may be placed.[35]

In her poignant application seeking an appointment, “in any office about to be established in the Suburbs of Sydney”, Mary wrote, “….my having three children to support and being in straightened circumstances will I sincerely trust excuse my apparent eagerness for employment”.   She states she was the postmistress at both Corowa and Jereelderie, but in reality would have been her husband’s assistant at the latter office.[36]

It was not unusual for women in Mary’s position to request transfers when their personal situation changed, and the Department was often accommodating if the applicant had the necessary skills to do the work.   Perhaps Mary felt she had more support in Sydney if she could secure a place there.   An attached residence too would have been an advantage to a single mother with young children, and a substantial new brick building, an added bonus.       

In mid 1886, Mary was transferred to St. Peters post office in metropolitan Sydney.  It had become a combined post and telegraph office 4 years previously.  The transfer would support McLachlan’s contention that it was cheaper for the Department to put women in the smaller offices so that the more senior males whose length of service attracted a higher salary, went into the busier ones that generated more revenue.[37]  The post office was invariably seen by government as a social service and rarely profitable.  Newspapers for example could be posted free of charge “if posted within 7 days of their publication… and by 1888 over 31 million ‘newspapers’ had been posted. The definition of a newspaper though was rather broad and included most printed matter such as pamphlets, church and state papers, in other words any printed matter that could be construed as “public news”.[38]   Not surprisingly then, the provision of a post office in a community was seen as “an important vote catcher”.[39]

Caroline Palmer

The last of the St. Marys postmistresses during this period was Caroline Palmer.   She commenced duty in July 1886 and had been an operator at Summer Hill.[40]  Mrs. Palmer more than likely had trained in Victoria as in 1883 she requested a reference from the Post and Telegraph Department in that colony.  The Deputy Postmaster General in reply confirmed her 7 years experience in the Department and advised she had proved herself a “capable operator”.[41]    Once again proficiency in operating the telegraph was the catalyst to her employment in the post office.

For the next 25 years, a succession of men had charge of the St. Marys office.  However, as this account demonstrates, between 1875 and 1888 the women postmistresses of St. Marys not only provided a sterling service to their community as the town emerged from a quiet hamlet to a growing industrial centre, but kept the wheels turning in their domestic sphere as well.   


Bergman, G.F.J. ‘Samuel, Sir Saul (1820-1900)’.  Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1976.

Coghlan, T.A. Labour and Industry in Australia: From the First Settlement in 1788 to the Establishment of the Commonwealth in 1901. Vol. 3, Cambridge, United States of America: Cambridge University Library, reproduced 2011.

Deacon, Desley. Managing Gender: The State, the new Middle Class and Women Workers 1830-1930. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1989.

Death Notice. Campbell F. Pegus R.M., Sydney Morning Herald, May 16, 1864, p. 1.

Evans, A.E. “The Post Offices of St. Marys”. St. Marys Post Office File, Local Studies Files, Penrith City Library, undated, pp. 1-5.

Evans, Bert. “St. Mary’s Post Office – History”.  St. Marys Post Office File, Local Studies Files, Penrith City Library, September 1981, pp. 1-7.

Golder, Hilary.  Politics, Patronage and Public Works: The Administration of New South Wales 1842-1900. Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2005.

Green, Annette and Wendy Thorp, “St. Marys Industrial Heritage Study”, Prepared for Penrith City Council, June, 1987.

Hopson, N.C. and R. Tobin.  N.S.W.and A.C.T. Post, Receiving, Telegraph and Telephone Offices: Their Circular Date-Stamps and Postal History. Volume 3 M-S, Darlinghurst, Sydney: The Philatelic Association of New South Wales, 1998.

McCuskey Claire, “The History of Women in the Victorian Post Office”. Master of Arts Thesis,  La Trobe University, 1984.

McLachlan, Ross Warwick. “A Marriage of Convenience: Women and the Post Office in New South Wales, 1838 to 1938”. Ph.D., Thesis, The University of New South Wales, 2009.

McMartin, Arthur. Public Servants and Patronage: The Foundation and Rise of the New South Wales Public Service, 1786-1859. Sydney: Sydney University Press, 1983.

National Archives of Australia (NAA), Series SP32/1, Penrith Part 1, 317277, Penrith Post Office file [Box 518] and Saint Marys, 437177, St. Marys Post Office file [Box582].

National Archives of Australia (NAA), Series C4076, HN 1046, St. Marys first official post office (sketch) [Box 608], 3027012.

National Archives of Australia (NAA), Series C3629, St. Marys [Post Office history file], [Box 511], 1129264.

New South Wales Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.  Marriage Certificate – 4125/1877.   Joseph Edward Cross and Ellen Louise Antoinette Pegus,  Issued Sydney, 18 October 2018.   Death Certificate -5337/1897.  Ellen Louisa Antoinette Cross, Issued Sydney, 27 September 2018.    Death Certificate – 9834/1898.  Ellen Rosa Pegus, Issued Sydney, 18 October 2018.

“Penrith Post Office File”, Local Studies Files, Penrith City Library.

Samuel, Sir Saul. “Opening of the New Post Office”, speech reported in Sydney Morning Herald, Wednesday 2 September 1874, p. 6.

“St. Marys Post Office File”, Local Studies Files, Penrith City Library.

Rutledge, Martha. ‘Stephen, Sir Alfred (1802-1894)’. Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1976.

Rutledge, Martha and J.L. Affleck. ‘Cracknell, Edward Charles (1831-1893). Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 3. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1969.

Stacker, Lorraine. Penrith: The Makings of a City. Ultimo, New South Wales: Halstead Press, 2014.

The Director, Posts and Telegraphs, G.P.O., Sydney. “Leichhardt Post Office”.  Sighted at Philatelic Association of New South Wales, Darlinghurst, Sydney, September 2018, undated, pp. 1-9.

The Director, Posts and Telegraphs, G.P.O., Sydney. “St. Mary’s Post Office History”. St. Marys Post Office File, Local Studies Files, Penrith City Library, undated, pp. 1-6.

White, John S., and Barbara J. Hancock, Editors. The Postal History of New South Wales 1788-1901. Darlinghurst, New South Wales: Philatelic Association of New South Wales, 1988.

[1] John S. White and Barbara J. Hancock, Eds., The Postal History of New South Wales 1788-1901 (Darlinghurst, Sydney: Philatelic Association of New South Wales, 1988), p. 19.

[2] Desley Deacon, Managing Gender: The State, the new Middle Class and Women Workers 1830-1930 (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1989), p. 30.

[3] “The Penrith Post Office and some identities connected with it”, Penrith Post Office File, Local Studies Files, Penrith City Library, undated, p. 4.

[4] Deacon, Managing Gender, p. 33.

[5] National Archives of Australia (NAA), Series 32/1, Penrith Part 1, 317277, Penrith Post Office File [Box 518], Letter Faith Kellett to Post-Master General, 22 September 1862.

[6] “Penrith Post Office and some identities”, Penrith Local Studies Files, p. 4.

[7] NAA, Penrith Part 1, Letter Faith Kellett to Post-Master General, 24 February 1865.

[8] NAA, Penrith Part 1, Letter Postmaster General to the Under Secretary for Finance, 30 May 1865.

[9] Lorraine Stacker. Penrith: The Makings of a City (Ultimo, New South Wales: Halstead Press, 2014), p.45.

[10] NAA, Penrith Part 1, Letter Audit Office to Postmistress Penrith, 16 June 1870.

[11] NAA, Penrith Part 1, Minute for Executive Council from Major Christie, 5 September 1873.

[12] Deacon, Managing Gender, p.69.

[13] Ibid, pp. 70-71.

[14] Ross Warwick McLachlan, “A Marriage of Convenience: Women and the Post Office in New South Wales, 1838 to 1938”, PhD., Thesis, The University of New South Wales, 2009, pp. 71-72.

[15] Sir Saul Samuel, “Opening of the New Post Office”, Sydney Morning Herald, Wednesday 2 September 1874, p.6.

[16] Deacon, Managing Gender, p. 68.

[17] Bert Evans, “St. Marys Post Office – History”, St. Marys Post Office File, Local Studies Files, Penrith City Library, September 1981, p. 2.

[18] NAA, Series SP32/1, Saint Marys, 437177, St. Marys Post Office file [Box 582], Inspector Milham, report to the Secretary General Post Office, 6 August 1875.

[19] A. E. Evans, “The Post Offices of St. Marys”, St. Marys Post Office File, Local Studies Files, Penrith City Library, undated, p. 2.

[20] Ibid., map, p. 5.

[21] NAA, Series C3629, St. Marys [Post Office history file], [Box 511], 1129264, St. Marys Post Office Appointments Register.

[22] Death Notice. Campbell F. Pegus R.M., Sydney Morning Herald, May 16, 1864, p. 1.

[23] Annette Green and Wendy Thorp, “St. Marys Industrial Study”, prepared for Penrith City Council, June, 1987, pp. 11-32.

[24] NAA, St. Marys [Post Office history file], Appointments Register.

[25] Death Certificate – 5337/1897. Ellen Louisa Antoinette Cross.  New South Wales Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Issued Sydney, 27 September 2018.

[26] Martha Rutledge, ‘Stephen, Sir Alfred (1802-1894)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, 6 (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1976).

[27] NAA, Saint Marys, Letter Ellen Rosa Pegus of South Creek to Sir Alfred.

[28] McLachlan, “Marriage of Convenience”, p. 110.

[29] Ibid,. Pages 85 and 83.

[30] The Director Posts and Telegraphs, G.P.O., Sydney, “Leichhardt Post Office”, sighted at Philatelic Association of New South Wales, Darlinghurst, Sydney, September 2018, undated, p. 5.

[31] Op. cit., Death Certificate, Ellen Louisa Antoinette Cross. 

[32] Death Certificate – 9834/1898. Ellen Rosa Pegus, Issued Sydney, 2018.

[33] A.E. Evans, ”The Post Offices of St. Marys”, pages 2 and 5.

[34] McLachlan, “Marriage of Convenience”, p. 103.

[35] NAA, Saint Marys, Letter F.C.Piggin to James Thompson Esq., recommending Mrs. Russell (wdow of late P & TM Jereelderie) for appt. to a P&T office, 22 September 1882.

[36] Ibid., Letter Mary Russell to PostMaster General Sydney, seeking appt. in office to be established in the Suburbs of Sydney, 16 October 1882.

[37] McLachlan, “Marriage of Convenience”, p. 75.

[38] White and Hancock, Postal History of New South Wales, pp. 370-372.

[39] Deacon, Managing Gender, p.57.

[40] McLachlan, “Marriage of Convenience”, pp. 108-109.

[41] “St. Marys Post Office File”, Local Studies Files, Penrith City Library, Letter from Post Office and Telegraph Department, General Post Office, Melbourne, to Mrs. Caroline Palmer, 15 June, 1883.