Punts and the Post

The Sydney Morning Herald

12 March 1845


The notice taken by your Gundagai correspondent in the Herald of the 26th February, has directed attention to some remarks of a previous correspondent, which I did not at the time notice, or I would not have delayed informing you the very great service the punts plying on the large rivers intersecting the line of road to Melbourne have been to the community at large.

Without them the certainty and regularity of the overland communication, which I presume is so desirable "not only to Sydney, Melbourne, and Portland, but to the districts in the interior, extending over a distance to the latter place of 850 miles, and to the stations, &c., issuing from the main line of road,"- could not I am convinced by several years' experience be kept up without them; and it affords me pleasure to testify to the desire at all times evinced, early and late, often at midnight, by the proprietors of these punts to cross the mails, even when attended with considerable risk to their property.

It is true that previously to the punts being placed on the rivers we managed to get the mails across on hollow logs, sheets of bark, washing tubs, &c., the time thus consumed could then be made good again on other parts of the road, not so now, when the time allotted to perform the journey has been reduced from three weeks to six days, and which will not admit of delays.

These facts, I conceive, entitle the proprietors of punts to every consideration; and I am sure if leases of the fords were granted them, not only would the charges be reduced, but the dangerous creeks in the immediate neighbourhood of the rivers would soon be made passable; indeed I have heard one of the parties express himself to that effect.

I am, gentlemen, Your obedient servant, Edward B. Green, Contractor for the Port Phillip Mail. Bookham, 4th March.

P.S.- I may here mention the dangerous and all but impassable state of the creeks between Yass and Melbourne; if something is not done to them before the approaching winter, it will be vain to expect regularity in the mails. I should say from three to five hundred pounds would put it in as good repair as need be I expected over bush roads.