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Telecommunication history

Short introduction

Brief Summary
A short account of Australia's communication changes from horse to satellite.

Postal service
The Australia postal service first came into operation from 1809 with postmaster’s appointed to offices in each state and territory over time with the growth of each colony. Prior to colony control mail was delivered via ad hoc methods which were carried out by the good nature of shopkeepers, early settlers and travellers.

With the Gold Rush of 1850 the postal service expanded rapidly and in 1901, the Commonwealth government of Australia took control of the postal service and still does to this present day.

Telegraph / Telephone
The introduction of Morse code to Australia in 1853 was well received with telegraph lines being established across the continent linking capital cities by 1872. In 1879 the first telephone service started. The Australian government kept control of the swift uptake in the new technology and set to mind that all Australians were to have access to communications services. The postmaster general was made responsible for telecommunications in 1901 by the commonwealth government of Australia. With the rapid growth of above and underground services to a vast continent by 1975 the government split the postal and telephone departments to form the Australian Postal Commission and the Australian Telecommunication Commission.

Experimental TV started in Australia in 1930 though it was not until 1954 the Menzies government announced the introduction of a television system which was up and running in time for the 1956 Olympics. On 16th September 1956 the first network words were spoken “good evening, and welcome to television”. The introduction of television has had a significant impact on Australian lifestyle.

Australis-Oscar-5 was Australia’s first satellite built at the University of Melbourne in 1966 and launched in 1970. And presently more than 14 operators have Satellites in service over Australia. Satellite communications have rapidly sped up the global information exchange and continue to play an increasing dynamic in today’s environment.

In the mid-1970 the Universities of Melbourne and Wollongong exchanged computer files using a dial up connection. In 1983 Australia was connected to America via an internet connection and researched continued until a viable national network system was approved in 1989. From 1990 major communication companies started rolling out separate internet cabling for high speed broadband – coaxial. Today National broadband network (fibre optics) and wireless satellite towers continue to be installed and updated to increase data capability, speed and link all Australian geographical locations.