Backstage access to our collections: Keep in touch


Our latest in-house exhibition Keep in touch inspires visitors to both reminisce and discover how technology and communication has developed in the Georges River Area from analogue to digital. The exhibition focuses on different forms of communication such as writing, Morse code, Auslan, braille and mass communication such as newspaper, television and radio.


1980.1652 – G. E. 5-valve Mantel Duette radio

Radio, also known as wireless telegraphy, is a technology that was first developed during World War One. Radio provided a medium that could educate and entertain people from the comfort of their own homes with programs of music, news, and plays adapted for radio becoming popular. Listening around a ‘wireless’, such as this G. E. 5-valve Mantel Duette radio [1], became a new family pastime.  This model was released in 1934 and cost £17 (approximately $300 today) which was the cheaper option of their “town and country models”. In their advertising campaign potential buyers were told that they “must hear these new sets… their power, volume and range will amaze you”.


2001.22 – Broadcast and Television Receiver License calling card

However, radio was not always so accessible, previously there were restrictions placed on what people could listen to as they had to buy a license to listen to a particular station [2].   In 1923 “sealed set” regulations were put in place which allowed listeners to purchase licensed radios set to the wavelength of one station. This was not a popular scheme and many were able to avoid paying a license fee by either building their own radio receiver, known as a crystal set, or modifying the radio purchased to receive more than one station. When television began to be implemented in the late 1950s people were able to purchase both a radio and television receiver licence; those who did not risked fines of up to £50 [3].

unlicensed fined

‘Unlicensed wireless sets’, The Propeller, 25 Nov 1937, p.2

Exhibition on until 27 January 2019.



Tully, Helen. ‘Licence to… watch tv?’, National Film and Sound Archive,

‘Unlicensed wireless sets’, The Propeller, 25 Nov 1937, p.2


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