Audio Description – Hurstville Post Office telephone

Click the play button to hear an audio description of the Hurstville Post Office telephone

Hurstville Museum & Gallery has recently undertaken an audio descriptions project for a number of collection items to help increase the accessibility of the collection. This entry is part of the project.

Image 1: Hurstville Post Office telephone in Hurstville Museum & Gallery’s collection

The first post office in the Hurstville area opened in 1864, at a site then known as ‘Gannon’s Forest’. The site name was changed to Hurstville in 1881 and a new post office built in 1904[1].  By the 1890s the post office had public telephones available for use, representing one of the newest forms of communication. The demand for telephones at Hurstville Post Office continued to increase such that by the 1940s “in order to avoid congestion at the entrance, caused by people waiting to use the three telephone cabinets available, two more public telephones” were installed[2].

Image 2: Hurstville Post Office, postcard, date unknown [Georges River Council Libraries, GRLS20-128] 

One of the first telephones commercially available was the wall telephone, with a receiver that hung on the exterior. The wooden, wall-mounted telephones at the Hurstville Post Office were manufactured by the Postmaster General’s Department (PMG) Workshops during the 1920s. From 1901, PMG managed Australia’s post and telecommunication services. Many of the telephones used were imported, but others were manufactured locally, often to meet shortages which occurred during the Depression in the 1930s and the Second World War[3]. The post-office telephones were based on a British Post Office pattern[4], and the 37 series telephones, used at Hurstville Post Office, remained the standard auto wall phone until the early 1950s, until they were replaced with bakelite phones[5].  

Find out more about this item on e-hive, our collection database.


[1] ‘Hurstville Post Office’, The Propeller, Thurs 18 Mar 1937, p. 13 https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/23565164

[2] ‘Hurstville Post Office’, The Propeller, Thurs 12 Feb 1942, p. 6  https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/235576660

[3] ‘Australian Telecommunications – History’, https://oldaustraliantelephones.weebly.com/australian-telecommunications—history.html 

[4] ‘Type 37 wall phone’, http://www.telephonecollecting.org/Bobs%20phones/Pages/AustPostOffice/Type37.htm

[5] Type 37 wall phone’, http://www.telephonecollecting.org/Bobs%20phones/Pages/AustPostOffice/Type37.htm

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