Commonwealth of Australia, Postmaster-General's Department, Victoria, Urgent Telegram, postmarked Portland 11 November 1918, with the hand-written message 'official message states / armistice been signed / Reuter'.

The telegraph is a rare record of the way this much-anticipated event was communicated to Australia. The Armistice was signed between 5:12 am and 5:20 am Paris time (then just after 2pm Australian time) on 11 November, to come into effect at 11am Paris time. This telegram was sent to Australia on the same day. The Portland Observer and Normanby Advertiser newspaper was published on Monday 11 November and Thursday 14 November 1918. The timing of the publication meant that the 11 November issue came out before the official Armistice announcement, so it was announced in the 14 November issue, on pages 2-3. The contents of this telegram are not specifically mentioned in the issue, although news via Vancouver on the Armistice is mentioned, as is war news from other international services. Local celebrations were described enthusiastically.

The Armistice, marking the formal cessation of World War I hostilities, was signed in a railway carriage in the forest of Compiegne, northern France. The carriage belonged to Ferdinand Foch, Commander-in-Chief of Allied Forces in France.

Physical Description

Single piece of paper, rectangular, off-white, printed at top and left side, and hand-written at centre. Circular postmark at corner. Significant discolouration, staining and foxing, and some creasing. The telegram has previously been adhered to dark-coloured paper, torn off but leaving fragments behind. Remnants of another, off-site paper, are also adhered.

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