Series 6 - Telegrams to and from Donald McLean

From 1869 McLean was able to make use of the telegraph to communicate with officials and politicians.

The new telegraph system was first trialled in Christchurch in 1863 and by the end of the decade a network of cables and offices had been established between the main cities and towns. For McLean it was a way to keep much closer contact with those of his correspondents who had access to the new technology.

Most of the telegrams concern McLean's activities as a politician, but there are three folders of "private" telegrams mainly related to business and family matters.

There are 6189 items in this series, of which 12 have been transcribed.

Telegram from Julius Vogel to Donald McLean, 21 June 1872

This image shows an example of the code occasionally used to ensure secrecy. The sender is Julius Vogel, like McLean a Minister in William Fox's cabinet. McLean was in Auckland, and Vogel telegraphed him to say that Fox's rival, Edward Stafford, was manoeuvring to defeat Fox. The telegram reads: "Position of Government very critical - immediate decision necessary - come down at once".

Telegram from Julius Vogel to Donald McLean, 21 June 1872
Donald McLean papers
Manuscripts Collection
Alexander Turnbull Library