Members of the Postmaster General's Department, Queensland, 1900. Collection of the National Archives of Australia. Left to right, W H Whale, E P Scott, H Nelson, S A Thorn, F B Jefferies, F Walker, J W Palmer, P Gourgard, Mrs Dick, F Watson, S H Smith, J R Bradford, John Hesketh, J Power, G Matthews, F Reisz, J W Sutton, J Lawton. 

In 1896 John Hesketh (1868-1917) became Chief Electrical Engineer for the Queensland Post and Telegraph Department. He was the first British Post Office engineer to be recruited to an Australian Post Office. In Queensland he laid the way for several reforms including the adoption of underground metallic wires (by 1910 practically all city-lines were running underground), the provision of standard telephones and the setting of telephone rates. In 1901 he was nominated as the Queensland delegate for the Departmental Electrical Committee which reported on the communication system in the newly established federal government. Through an inspection of the Brisbane telephone system he concluded that Queensland’s telecommunications system was the best within Australia and therefore did not require major reforms. Five years later Hesketh became Chief Electrical Engineer of the Commonwealth Government’s Postmaster General’s Department and in this function he supported the idea of automatic switching and started to set up automatic exchanges for the Australian capital city networks. This was a bold decision. At this time only two large networks in the world had an automatic exchange - Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Collection of the National Archives of Australia

Telegraph pole at the front of the Mackay Post and Telegraph Office in River Street Mackay, c1920.  Mackay was connected to Brisbane and Bowen by telegraph by 1866. Collection of Mackay Regional Council

Collection of Mackay Regional Council

Interior of Brisbane Central Telephone Exchange, Brisbane, 1903. Collection of John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

Collection of John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland image 16249

The first telephones used in Brisbane were imports from the USA, namely Edison-Bell and wall telephones (Edison Carbon transmitter and bell with a Bell receiver or telephone) and were adju

Collection of the Queensland Museum

The telephone provided pathways for people to speak to each other over both short and long distances.

The building housing radio station 4QD, an ABC station servicing the Capricornia region, 1960s. Slide by Ken Self, Collection of the Centre for the Government of Queensland.

© Ken Self and the Centre for the Government of Queensland, 2010

Mackay radio licence area, 2005

Mackay, QLD
1 January 2005
13 August 2010
13 August 2010


Mackay, QLD
Commonwealth of Australia

© Commonwealth of Australia

Map produced by Australian Communications and Media Authority, 2005 showing the licence area of Mackay radio. Collection of Liz Manning.

Through radio waves, information, news, entertainment and music travel the pathways of Queensland.

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