04 July 2014

Overland Telegraph Station, Alice Springs, N.T.

Excerpts quoted here are from the Visitors History Guide handed out on entry.  They will convey the facts accurately.

Midway along the Overland Telegraph line from Darwin to Adelaide, this Telegraph Station, opened in 1872, played a key role in Australia's development.

The line suddenly reduced the isolation of Australians from the rest of the world.  The exchange of personal and business messages now took hours instead of the months it previously took by sea.

With long or short taps on his Morse key, a Telegraph operator sent coded messages of electrical pulses to the next station on the line.

By 1900, this very isolated Station was home to a cook, a blacksmith-stockman, a governess, four linesmen-telegraph operators, plus the Station Master and his family.

The buggy shed housed horse-drawn buggies, spare harness and the year's supply of flour, tea and sugar.

Telegraph station families travelled in buggies like this to the railhead at Oodnadatta or to nearby picnic spots. Simpsons Gap, 25 kilometres from the station, was the furthest limit for a day's picnic.  A trip out there was a special occasion.  50 kilometres in a day, with a full load, was as much as the horses could manage.

The building was converted to a laundry and bathroom when the Telegraph Station became an Aboriginal children's home in 1932.

The camel drivers were commonly referred to as Afghans but many were from neighbouring Pakistan and northern India.  Their tracks stretched across two thirds of the country, into places where railways did not reach and horses could not travel.


Roy Norris said...

Amazing how things have changed Carole, messages take a second now instead of hours.
Those Buggies/Horse drawn carts, I am sure I saw them on 'The Thornbirds' TV Series.{:))

EG CameraGirl said...

In this day of instant emails it's hard to imagine having to wait weeks and months to get a response from some place far away.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

What interesting history and great photos . Blogging is such a wonderful way to learn. I didn't realize you had this blog in addition to your wonderful birds! Glad to find you here as well.

John @ Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

Interesting bit of history. The telegraph had a similar impact with the west here in America, signalling the end of our pony express messenger service.

Gumer Paz said...

wow I love those old cars! It is as if we were traveling through time!
A kiss from Spain, Carole :)

Bob Bushell said...

Brilliant settings of the old things, love it.

Irma said...

Beautiful photos, Carole.
The old car is really great, I love old things!