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Communicating by telephone in the past

This collection of digital curriculum resources focuses on the telephone in Australia, a means of mass communication dating back to the first call made in Melbourne in the late 1870s. The collection is organised into five categories - telephones in business; role of telephonists in exchanges; telephones in the home; using ...


Yorketown Post Office technology

This is a black-and-white photograph probably taken early in the 20th century inside the Yorketown Post Office in South Australia. It shows three men: one is using a typewriter, one identified as Tom Spender is using a morse key, and the third man is using a telephone at a small exchange.


AWA telephone, 1934

This is a table telephone manufactured by Amalgamated Wireless Australia Ltd (AWA) in Australia in 1934. The component parts are constructed from black bakelite (phenol formaldehyde) with four rubber feet applied to the base and two cloth-covered cables attached to the back base. The phone features a dial with applied disc, ...


Telstra T1000C rental telephone, 2003-04

This is a Telstra T1000C rental telephone manufactured by Thomson Telecom Australia between 2003 and 2004. The grey plastic-and-metal telephone features blue push buttons and a spiral cord. There is an LCD screen in the upper right corner above the push buttons. Product information is stamped on the back (not shown).


Plastic toy telephone, c1950s

This is a yellow, red and green plastic telephone, possibly a moneybox. It was used and owned by Bill Boyd in the 1950s, and is 140 mm wide and 70 mm high.

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Radio pirates

Imagine life before mobile phones. In this 1973 clip from a Four Corners program, discover the lengths that many determined Australians were prepared to go to in order to communicate through the air waves from their cars and other locations. This was long before the invention of mobiles, video conferencing, social media ...

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Is Big Brother watching you shop?

Should data from your phone be available to help retailers provide shoppers with a better experience? Mobile phone data about our movements and shopping habits can be gathered by companies and on-sold to retailers. As the tracking technology continues to roll out, some people are questioning its legality.

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iArt: photography on our mobile phones

What is a 'mobile phone artist'? It is becoming more common for art galleries to hold exhibitions of photography taken exclusively with a mobile phone. In this clip, this emerging trend in the art world and on the internet is considered.


Ipswich Post Office switchboard in the 1950s

This is a 1950s black-and-white photograph of a manual telephone exchange at the Ipswich Post Office in Queensland. It shows four women operators at the exchange board and a male supervisor or manager.


A telecommunications advertisement in 1953

This is a black-and-white photograph of a display in the window of a Brisbane telegraph office. A large advertisement encourages people to 'Save MONEY - ADDRESS YOUR TELEGRAMS TO A TELEPHONE ADDRESS - Save TIME'.


Receptionist at work, 1982

This is a colour photograph of a female receptionist sitting in front of an electric typewriter and talking on a telephone in 1982.


Telephonists at the Brisbane telephone exchange, 1910

This is a black-and-white photograph taken in 1910 of women telephonists at the Brisbane telephone exchange. The photograph shows a long row of women wearing headsets and seated at a manual 'plug and cord' switchboard. Two women, who are supervisors, observe the telephonists. The man at the rear of the photograph is the ...


Women working in a telephone exchange, 1929

This is a black-and-white photograph of four women operating the telephone exchange at the Adelaide Railway Station, South Australia, on 23 August 1929. The women sit on adjustable stools with back supports and foot rails. They all wear headphones over their short hair, or hair worn up, and plug lines into sockets on boards ...

Interactive resource

Zou ba! Test your knowledge: three cities

Watch and listen to a phone conversation about travelling around China. Answer questions to move around a board in a game called 'GemQuest'. The questions test knowledge of Chinese language, as used in several learning objects in the set 'Zou ba'. This object is one in a series of three objects.

Interactive resource

Zou ba! Telephones: what's your number?

Find out how to ask for someone's telephone number or give your number to others. Note how the word for the number one changes when recalling telephone numbers. This learning object is one in a series of two objects.

Interactive resource

Zou ba! My house: activities at home

Explore how to tell someone to start or stop a household activity. For example, ask someone to stop playing computer games or doing homework. This learning object is one in a series of three objects.

Interactive resource

Zou ba! Telephones: greetings and conversations

Explore how to greet people on the phone and ask for a person by name. Learn how to reply by stating that the person asked for is available or busy doing something such as sleeping or doing homework. This learning object is one in a series of two objects.

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High-tech art (with a sense of humour): Aparna Rao

This is a video in which artist Aparna Rao speaks about eight artworks she and her collaborator Sieren Pors have created. The objects and installations she describes and illustrates, often in their prototype phase, include 'Uncle phone', a golden typewriter that sends emails, 'The pygmies', 'The missing person', 'Sun shadow', ...


Numbers 20-100

This is a collection of digital activities and printable worksheets that uses the Italian ordinal numbers 20 to 100 in a variety of contexts, such as expressing weights and distances (in kilograms and kilometres), ages, phone numbers and street addresses, and playing cultural games such as tombola. It provides drills for ...

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Mobile phone costs

Have you ever been shocked at your mobile phone bill? If you're not careful mobile phones can end up costing you big bucks. Listen to Natasha Thiele explain the hidden costs of SMS alerts and downloading ringtones and games. This clip provides a context for simple rate calculations.