160 years of Australian telecommunications

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Peter Gerrand


Australian telecommunications


The Australian telecommunications industry has reached its 160th anniversary this year measured from the completion of its first electrical telegraph network on 3 March 1854, linking Melbourne to Williamstown. The back story to the implementation of that first network suggests that Lieutenant Governor Charles La Trobe and the colony’s first General-Superintendent of Telegraphy, Samuel McGowan, should be celebrated as the founders of Australian telecommunications: the visionary and his appointee, the entrepreneurial project manager. A brief overview is given of how the Australian telecommunications industry has evolved to the present day, including the evolution of the Telecommunications Society of Australia (now TelSoc), a society of volunteers supporting the industry since 1874, i.e. for 140 years of the industry’s 160 years.


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