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Combined Monash Probus Club visit to the Museum

Fourteen members of the Combined Monash Probus Club visited the Telstra Museum, which is housed in the old Hawthorn Telephone Exchange and is managed by a group of keen volunteers.

It opened in this building in 1930. It is a typical windowless brick structure built for purpose and not as an architectural gem. The building contains part of the original Main Distribution Frame of phone wires with link blocks dating from 1960s. In its operational days the human workforce was about 15 persons. It became fully automatic from 1960’s in Melbourne.

Members were guided by Murray Rasmussen from 10:30am to 12:15pm, the tour covering how communications worked before and after Federation. Members viewed past and recent tele equipment from early morse code (1844 to 1962), then teleprinters, which shut down in late 1980s. They saw the first telephone designed and manufactured in Australia in 1963. There were telephones galore - wooden wall phones, black rotary dialers, public phones, a fascinating collection of ceramic novelty phones and a display of early mobile phones through to the present day. The evolution of the mobile phones was amazing - from being very expensive and the size and weight of a brick to the iPhone of today. Seeing how technology has changed so rapidly in our lifetime leaves one wondering just what the future holds!

The old phone ‘time clock’ (‘on the third stroke’) built in 1953 was on working display. It is a mechanical unit which has been superseded by a digital version.

Nearby ‘Brother Fox’ Restaurant was the lunch stop where members had a private room and enjoyed an excellent lunch.