A historic paper from 1991 which details the development of the public telephone system of Western Australia between 1887 and 1987.


The historic paper (Moynihan, 1991) details the development of the public telephone system in Western Australia over the century between 1887 and 1987, through interpretation of contemporary material, photographs and other written records.

The paper divides the timeline of development into five periods: namely, the Colonial System 1887-1900, Federation, Between the Wars 1914-1945, Post-war 1945-1973 and Telecom 1973-1987.

The author has undertaken significant research of written records and quotes a number of interesting sources including the West Australian newspapers the Inquirer, The Western Australian Times, the Herald (Fremantle) and The West Australian. He also quotes from the Proceedings of the Western Australian Legislative Council and various Commonwealth Reports after Federation. Towards the end of the paper he quotes from more contemporary sources such as Telecom (now Telstra) publications and Engineering Heritage Conferences and papers.

It would seem that, despite Federation, Western Australia developed its public telephone system relatively independent of the Eastern States and was required to satisfy the unique requirements of a geographically large State. The author has also provided a selection of fascinating black and white photographs which are relevant to the subject matter.


Moynihan, J. F. (1991). Interpreting the Engineering History of Telephony in Western Australia, 1887-1987, Telecommunication Journal of Australia, 41(3), 55-65.


The Historic Paper

(Please refer to the PDF download link for the complete paper.)