About Telstra

Telstra Home About Telstra Our Company History Tele­communications Timeline
Telecommunications timeline

Click to view a larger version of these images:
Mounted messenger boy, Mr Dick Manning, 1890 Morse key Morse Inking Register used to record morse code on continuous tape in dots and dashes and then transcribed Morse typepad Morse code Matrix switchboard used to manually switch telegraph lines, 1870 - 1900 Siemens & Halske ABC transmitter Alexander Graham Bell Example of various valves Laying of submarine cable Overhead phone lines Telegram stationary examples
Joseph Henry constructs the first long distance telegraphic device, by sending electronic currents across over a mile of wire, subsequently activating an electromagnet, causing a bell to ring.
Samuel Morse builds the first American telegraph (which is also being developed independently in Europe).
Samuel Morse patents a working telegraph machine, using a dots and spaces code in place of the letters of the alphabet.
Samuel Morse successfully sends up to 10 words per minute through his new system.
Alexander Bain invents the first facsimile machine, capable of receiving signals from a telegraph wire and translating them into images on paper. He uses a clock mechanism to transfer an image from one sheet of electrically conductive paper to another.
Samuel Morse and his assistant evolve the simple code of dots and dashes, now internationally known as 'Morse code'.
The first inter-colony telegraph links are built between Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. Three years later, Brisbane is linked with Sydney.
The Sydney-Brisbane telegraph line is inaugurated.
The first successful submarine telegraphic cable linking Tasmania to the mainland is laid.
The 2000 mile Overland Telegraphic Cable line is completed under the direction of South Australian Post-Master General Charles Todd. At Darwin it later connects with a submarine cable in Java, putting Australia in touch with the rest of the world.
At the age of 29 Alexander Graham Bell invents the telephone.
The Perth-Adelaide telegraph line opens. South Australia becomes the first Australian colony to join the International Telegraph Union later to become the Telecommunication Union.
Following the invention of the telephone, several long-distance transmission experiments are successfully conducted in Australia, at distances of up to 400 km.
Only two years after the first exchange in the world is built, Australia's first telephone exchanges open in Melbourne and Brisbane, followed by Sydney in 1881.
Exchanges open in Adelaide and Hobart, the Perth exchange opens in 1887.

The images on these pages are sourced from Telstra's Historical Collection. The Collection is housed at Telstra museums in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.

Search About Telstra
  • Receive our RSS feeds
  • Glossary of terms
  • Print this page

Follow us on

  • Twitter icon
  • YouTube icon
  • Facebook icon
  • T-Blog icon
window.aPopunder = [['http://www.telstra.com.au/webforms/consumer-survey/index.cfm?REF=http://www.telstra.com.au/abouttelstra/company-overview/history/tele-communications-timeline/', {window: {top:64, left:64, height:480, width:768}}]];