Communication by telephone between Attunga and Tamworth was made as far back as 1894.  By 1895 a petition was sent to the postmaster general asking that telephone communication be made between Manilla and Upper Manilla. Three years later, tenders were called for the work. However, it was not until 1904 that Manilla took telephone communication seriously. Already two or 3 'phones had been installed, but attempts to obtain the required 20 subscribers to establish an exchange had failed and it wasn't until September 1906 that the first numbers were allotted.

Simpson Telephone

Chemist J.E. Simpson's Telephone  Photo: Dom.

Manilla Post Office c. 1900s

   In 1906, a public telephone was installed by the P.M.G. (Postmaster General's Department) in the Manilla Post Office and the Exchange was subsequently built in March 1907. The 'phone was a Condenser type which could be used on the existing Telegraph Line, which had been connected to Manilla for over thirty years. A condenser telephone could be used on the same line as the Morse key and so was quite economical to install, not requiring an extra line to be put in.  

In October 1907, Manilla's Postmaster reported that there were 27 subscribers and 2 waiting to be connected. Within a year or so, he was writing to the Postmaster General in Sydney, complaining about the increased work and 'begging respectfully' for a 'competent switch attendant' so that the Telephone Exchange could satisfy public demand. Although there was only an average of 49 local and trunk (distance) calls switched through each day, there were many extra incoming calls for residents without a home connection, who had to be found and called to the Post Office. 

1909 telephone lines notice
Telephone Line Notice c.1909
Local Telephone Subscribers1909 
1907 Manilla Phone listings.png
Telephone Subscriber Costing 1906
Telephone Charges 1906



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Images: Manilla Community Archive unless otherwise stated.
Text Edits: ©Diana Nichol  2000-2020   E: |

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