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section heading icon     Australia & NZ telecoms landmarks

This chronology deals with telecommunications in Australia and New Zealand to 1992.

It covers -

Context is provided by the broader media, business and technology timeline. Constitutional developments are highlighted here.

section marker     telegraphy

1854 opening of telegraph line from Melbourne city to Williamstown

1856 South Australia's first line from Port Adelaide to Adelaide city

1856 length of line in Victoria grows to 36 miles

1856 Victoria, NSW and South Australia colonies agree to collaborate on establishment of intercolonial telegraph network

1857 first line between Launceston and Hobart

1858 Adelaide and Melbourne were linked

1858 Sydney-Melbourne telegraph link

1859 Victoria to Tasmania linked via Bass Strait cable

1860 Reuters office established

1861 Queensland linked to NSW

1861 110 telegraph stations across eastern colonies

1862 first NZ telegraph line (from Christchurch to Lytletton)

1866 first telegraph link across New Zealand's Cook Strait

1867 1,676 miles of line within Victoria

1870 Singapore to Port Darwin cable established by the British Australian Telegraph Company

1872 Adelaide to Port Darwin Overland Telegraph Line (OTL)

1875 link between Adelaide and Perth

1876 first Australia to New Zealand telegraph link

section marker     early telephony

1879 Australia's first telephone service opened in Melbourne

1880 first telephone exchange opened in Melbourne

1880 first Australian telephone directory (44 numbers)

1881 New Zealand's first telephone exchange (in Christchurch)

1885 Henry Sutton's telephane system

1889 Batavia (Jakarta) to Broome telegraph link

1889 first wireless transmission in Australia (600 yards)

1890 first Australian coin-operated public phones?

1891 Brisbane to New Caledonia telegraph link

1901 Batavia linked to Perth via Cocos-Keeling Islands

section marker     federation and an integrated national network

1901 Australian Constitution embraces "telegraphic, telephonic and other like services"

1901 Australia colonial networks become responsibility of federal Postmaster-General (PMG)

1903 New Zealand Wireless Telegraphy Act 1903

1905 Wireless Telegraphy Act 1905 (Cth)

1906 first domestic NZ radio transmission at Christchurch International Exhibition

1907 telephone trunk line between Melbourne and Sydney

1908 first trans-Tasman radio transmission (via HMS Powerful in Tasman Sea)

1910 establishment of Wireless Institute of Australia

1911 Coastal Radio Service (CRS) established in Australia

1911 report of Royal Commission on Postal Services

1912 first automatic exchange in Australia (at Geelong)

1912 Navigation Act 1912 mandates use of radio by oceangoing passenger vessels

1912 CRS stations opened in Melbourne (VIM), Hobart (VIH), Sydney (VIS), Brisbane (VIB), Perth (VIP), Adelaide (VIA)

1913 CRS stations opened in Thursday Island (VII), Port Moresby (VJZ), Mount Gambier, Geraldton (VIN), Rockhampton (VIR), Cooktown, Esperance (VIE), Townsville (VIT), Broome (VIO), Darwin (VID) and Flinders Island

1913 merger of Marconi and Australasian Wirelesss Company as Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Ltd (aka AWA)

1914 opening of CRS stations at Roebourne and Wyndham (VIW)

1914 telephone trunk line between Melbourne and Adelaide

1915 Navy assumes control of wireless broadcasting in Australia for duration of war

1918 first direct wireless message from UK to Australia

section marker     radio broadcasting

1919 experimental broadcast of God Save the King in Sydney

1920 Nellie Melba features in first advertised radio broadcast

1920 PMG regains control of wireless administration from Navy

1921 first Australian weekly radio concert broadcasts in Melbourne

1922 first NZ radio station launched in Wellington

1922 first broadcast from Australian theatre (Her Majesty's in Sydney)

1922 AWA gains licence to operate CRS stations

1923 telephone trunk line between Sydney and Brisbane

1923 PMG approves sealed-set broadcasting system

1923 beginning of regular radio broadcasts in Australia

1923 launch of stations 2SB (later 2BL) and 2FC in Sydney

1923 establishment of PMG's Dept Research Laboratories

1924 launch of stations 3AR and 3LO Melbourne, 6WF Perth, 2BE and 2KY Sydney, 5CL Adelaide, 7ZL Hobart

1925 launch of 2UE Sydney, 5DN Adelaide, 3UZ Melbourne, 4QG Brisbane

1925 first Australia to UK broadcast

1925 world's first live parliamentary debate? (by 2FC)

1926 launch of 2GB Sydney

1927 Royal Commission on Wireless (Cth) in Australia

1927 establishment of Commonwealth Communications Commission

1927 launch of 3DB Melbourne, 5KA Adelaide

1927 first paid political radio advertisements in Australian election

1927 NZ government short-wave radio-telegraph link with Apia

1929 first demonstration of Baird television system in Australia

1929 closure of station 2BE

1929 establishment of Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC)

1930 telephone trunk line between Adelaide and Perth

1930 Raratonga-Wellington radio-telegraph link

1930 AWA launches radiotelephone service between Australia and UK

1930 AWA buys 2AY Albury

1930 public radio-telephone service between Australia and New Zealand

1931 London-Wellington radio-telegraph link via Australia

1931 establishment of Australian Federation of Commercial Broadcasting Stations (AFCBS)

1932 Australian Broadcasting Commission Act 1932 establishes of Australian Broadcasting Corporation as successor of Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC)

1933 ABC establishes Adelaide-Perth radio relay link

1934 first regular tv transmission in Australia (Brisbane)

1935 telephone trunk line between Melbourne and Hobart

1935 R v Brislan; ex parte Williams (1935) 54 CLR 262

1936 NZ Broadcasting Act 1936

1938 establishment of Macquarie and Major commercial radio networks

1939 Australia Calling (later Radio Australia) launched

1941 licenses for Jehovah Witness stations 2HD, 5KA, 5AU and 4AT revoked

1942 Australian Broadcasting Act (Cth)

section marker     OTC

1945 federal government acquires CRS stations from AWA

1946 federal government acquires shortwave broadcasting assets of AWA, forms Overseas Telecommunications Commission (OTC)

1946 first broadcast of federal parliamentary debate

1948 Australian Broadcasting Control Board (ABCB) established under Australian Broadcasting Act 1948 (Cth)

1953 Television Act 1953 (Cth) establishes ABC as national television authority

1953 Royal Commission on Television (Cth)

1954 OTC launches public telex (teleprinter) service

1956 Broadcasting and Television Act 1956 (Cth)

1956 first television transmissions from TCN-9 and ABN-2 Sydney; HSV-7, ABV-2 and GTV-9 Melbourne

1957 launch of Victorian Broadcasting Network

1957 first transmissions from ATN-7

1960 establishment of Nine Network

1960 establishment of Federation of Australian Commercial Television Stations (FACTS)

1961 coaxial cable links Melbourne and Sydney

1962 AFCBS becomes Federation of Australian Commercial Broadcasters (FACB)

1963 National Television Network (TCN, GTV, QTC, WIN, NBN) formed

1966 OTC linked via INTELSAT II

1966 first exchange of tv programs between Australia and UK via satellite

1967 first direct telecast between Canada and Australia via satellite

1974 first official FM radio broadcasts

section marker     deregulation

1975 establishment of Australian Telecommunication Commission (trading as Telecom Australia)

1975 launch of regular colour tv broadcasts

1975 closed-circuit video conference links between Melbourne and Sydney

1975 FACB becomes Federation of Australian Radio Broadcasters (FARB)

1976 radio and television advertising of tobacco banned in Australia

1976 Australian Broadcasting Tribunal Replaces ABCB

1976 first ABC FM radio stations

1977 first authorised Citizens Band radio in Australia

1978 Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) established

1980 first Teletext transmissions in Australia

1980 first commercial FM radio stations in Australia

1981 Aussat Pty Ltd established to operate domestic satellite services

1981 Dix Inquiry

1982 Davidson Enquiry recommends ending Telecom Australia's monopoly

1983 ABC becomes Australian Broadcasting Corporation

1985 first AM stereo broadcasting in Australia

1986 Telecom launches analogue mobile phone service

1987 Telecom Corporation of New Zealand Ltd formed

1989 full deregulation of NZ telecommunications market

1989 Australian Telecommunications Commission restructured as the Australian Telecommunications Corporation (trading as Telecom Australia)

1989 Telecom hands responsibility for telegram operations to Australia Post

1989 permanent internet connection between Melbourne University and US

1989 Australian Academic Research Network (AARNet) established

1990 Telecom NZ fully privatised in 1990 through NZ$4.25 billion sale to subsidiaries of Bell Atlantic and Ameritech

1990 Clear Communications begins to compete with Telecom NZ

1991 Bell Atlantic and Ameritech sell down Telecom NZ stake

1991 AAPT spins off from AAP financial data/news service

1991 establishment of Optus by consortium that includes Mayne Nickless, Cable & Wireless and BellSouth

1991 Special Broadcasting Service Act 1991 (Cth)

1992 last Australian manual exchange (at Longreach, QLD) closed

1992 Spectrum Management Agency (SMA) established under Radiocommunications Act 1992 (Cth)

1992 Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth) establishes Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA)

1992 OTC merges with Telecom as Australian & Overseas Telecommunications Corporation (AOTC)

1992 Optus launches analogue mobile phone network

1992 Todd Corporation takes 24.5% stake in AAPT

1992 Tasman 2 fibre optic cable between Australia and NZ

1992 Vodafone enters Australian mobile phone market as 'third carrier'

1992 Australian legislation for introduction of pay-tv




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