The EXCHANGE - Going Automatic

The changeover from the manual exchange system to the automatic exchange at Manilla happened at 7.00am on Wednesday, 26th March 1980. 

At that time, Telecom's Technicians severed the links to the manual exchange and connected Manilla subscribers to the automatic equipment. Manilla subscribers were able to dial their own calls within the local network and to other places throughout Australia via the Subscriber Trunk Dialling (STD) system. 

Manilla telephone exchange switchboard

Manilla Telephone Switchboard [1 of 4]

Information on making telephone calls from Manilla was shown on page 16 of the 1980 NI telephone directory and new six-figure telephone numbers for Manilla subscribers were also listed. Telephonists were no longer employed at Manilla after the manual exchange closed and operator-assistance for trunk calls, enquiry calls and like services were provided from the Tamworth Manual Assistance Centre. "And so," they said, "the shutters fall on an era that has seen us to modern day technology - the sounds of voices of service giving way to a very impersonal 'beep-beep". 

 From front: Iris Sing, Norma Russell, Jean Lawler, Judy Upson, Ida Kimber, Carol Hanley-Smith

Manilla Express March 26 1980

^1982Manilla Telephone Exchange Workers

" 2 phone numbers are provided for the Fire Brigade, a business number, which is connected to the Fire Station and the Captain's Residence (851---) and a special number for the reporting of fires (851---). 

When a person rings to report a fire, by ringing the special number 851--- the FRS system takes over and rings the phones in six different firemen’s residences. Any of these firemen or their wives will accept the call and can activate alarm bells in all firemen's homes and also sound the station siren to summon the men to attend the fire. In the unlikely event of none of these six phones being answered within about 30 seconds, the FRS system activates a special set of relays in the exchange and the alarm bells in all firemen's homes are rung automatically. The system also acts off the station siren, which will continue to sound until one of the firemen attends the station to accept the call. All Manilla residents should keep the Fire number (851---) near their phone for use in case of an emergency. 

The business number (851---) should be used for enquiries or information concerning the Brigade and (851---) ONLY for Fire or emergency calls. It is very important for the caller to stay on the line until the call has been answered, even though the siren may have already sounded because the Brigade will not know the address of the emergency until the caller gives the information. " 

Manilla Express March 1980

END of an ERA

'number please' girls



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