The Mont Albert District - a Pictorial History 1830 to 2013

1899 - Telephone Services

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Demographics
Prologue
Indigenous Heritage
Geology and Topography
Vegetation and Fauna
Climate and Hydrology
1830s
1840s to 1870s
1850s - Parish of Nunawading
1852 - Whitehorse Inn
1861 - Postal Services
1880s - Electricity Supply
1880s to 1920s
1882 - Phantom Railways to Doncaster
1883 - Residential Heritage Precinct
1884 - Broughton Park subdivsion
1884 - Brickworks
1885 - Surrey Hills district - map
1888 - Football Clubs
1889 - Gas Supply and Gasworks
1889 - Doncaster Electric Tramway and Tower
1890 - Mont Albert Railway Station
1892 - Surrey Hills Golf Club
1892 - Water Supply, Reservoirs and Sewerage
1899 - Telephone Services
1905 - The Surrey Dive
1907 - Scouts and Guides
1912 - Mont Albert Village Shopping Precinct
1914 - Mont Albert Progress Association
1916 - Californian Bungalows
1917 - Schools
1917 - Wattle Park
1924 - Early Shortwave Broadcasting from the Surrey Hills district
1924 - Black's Estate
1925 - Bus Services
1929 - Tramways
1930 - Cricket Clubs in Mont Albert
1930s - Balwyn - Beckett Park Bonfires and Wildlife Sanctuary
1948 - Grange Tennis Courts
1957 - Pioneer Park
1961 - Surrey Hills Communications Tower
1981 - Box Hill Miniature Railway
Koonung Creek Parklands
Heritage Notes
Mont Albert Road - Early History
Mont Albert Rd - the East End
Elgar Rd - north and south of Mont Albert Rd
Mont Albert Rd - View St to Elgar Rd
Bushland Reserves
Service Associations
Sporting Clubs
Box Hill Institute of TAFE
Walking Trails
Epilogue
Timeline
The Author's Websites
References and Acknowledgements
The embedded video (below) is a virtual tour of the Telstra Museum, Hawthorn, Victoria. Click to view the video!
 

Historical
The first telephone exchange in Box Hill started in 1899.
 
Up to about 1910, subscribers in Mont Albert were connected to the old Box Hill manual exchange. Nos. were "Box Hill xx" (two digits).
 
Between 1910 and 1930, Mont Albert subscribers were connected to the Box Hill manual exchange.
 
The first automatic telephone exchange in Box Hill opened in May 1930, on the NW corner of Station St and Whitehorse Rd, in the large brick building adjacent to the Post Office. Mont Albert subscribers were connected to this new exchange.
 
It had the five-digit nos."Wxxxx" which later became six-digit, and served subscribers in a large area which extended to Union Rd in the west, including Mont Albert.
 
The original Box Hill Exchange operated with what was known as Strowger pre-2000 electro-mechanical switching equipment, later modernised to the 2000-type.
 
The exchange, with five-digit nos. as Wxxxx was a 10,000 line "Branch Exchange", trunked from the main (parent) exchange at Hawthorn (prefix WA).
 
Other Branch exchanges connected to Hawthorn included Camberwell (1946), Canterbury, Kew (1961), East Kew, North Balwyn, Mitcham, Ringwood  and Deepdene.
 
These comprised the "W"" group.
 
In the late 1950s, six-digit alpha-numeric numbering in the Melbourne metro area was discontinued, in favour of all-numerical numbers.
 
Box Hill (WX) became "89".
 
In the early 1960s, the capacity at Box Hill exchange was increased from 10,000 lines to 20,000 lines, with the introduction of a second prefix "88".
 
In later years, six-figure working moved to seven-figure working. Box Hill subscribers with "89" ÷r "88" prefixes became "890"or "898".
 
In the 1990s, eight figure working was introduced nationally,  with Victorian numbers now starting with "9"". Box Hill numbers beginning with "890" became "9890"" and "898 "numbers became "9898".
 
Signs on some older buildings in the Box Hill telephone area still show the original six-digit numbers beginning with "WX".
 
Recollections by the Author
Your author's telephone service was connected to Box Hill exchange as an "88"" number in 1960, which became "898" and then (the present) "9898"" number.
 
When the author and his family mived into their present home in Mont Albert Rd in 1959, there was no "´ntact" telephone service available, due to the lack of a vacant copper wire cable pair in the street.
 
This was remedied within a few weeks when the telephone service in a neighbour's property was cancelled, thus feeing up a cable pair.
 
On the author's family taking up occupancy in the property, the remnants of an old telephone connection still existed, which had been cancelled by the original owners some time in the 1940s.
 
This was not an underground cable, but a twin coppen open-wire line terminating on two porcelain insulators on the barge-board on the side of the house. One of these insulators is still in-situ!
 
The present underground copper wires, wrapped in paper insulation inside lead sheaths, were laid down in the 1930s. At that time, overhead distribution was being phased out in main roads. These cables survive to the present, carrying live voice and data traffic, including ASDL+.
 
In June 1991, the exchange was closed down, and a brand new exchange was cut over in Carrington Rd, using modern stored-program-control switching technology.

testdesk.jpg
Box Hill exchange Testdesk

The photo (left), shows the Testdesk at Box Hill Exchange, at an unspecified date in the 1960s.
 
Testdesks like this one were installed in most automatic exchanges nationally, and were the nerve-centres for subscriber line testing, new service testing, line testing, fault diagnosis, and management of technical staff on outside fault clearances.
 
The author joined the PMG's Dept in 1956 and much of his training and post-graduation employment was in the maintance of switching equipment.
 
He actually operated the testdesk shown in the picture in 1964 when he was a Senior Technican at Box Hill exchange!
 
He was also at the Deepdene Exchange from the late 1950s and recalls answering incoming calls from technicians and linemen in the field as "WY-oh-nine".
This was "WY09", the number used to contact the "desk". Some old-timer technicians used to answer these calls as "oh-niner" meaning "09".
 
Testdesks were phased out in later years, being replaced by centralized facilities at "main" exchanges.

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