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Post Office records year of steady growth

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Saturday 21 January 1939, The Sydney Morning Herald

Many Innovations.

Gramophone records made by the “Girl With the Golden Voice,” the ideal telephone operator selected by the British Post Office, are now being used in the training of telephonists in New South Wales.

This is only a minor one of many innovations made by the Post Office in 1938, which has, in all departments, been a record Post Office year in this State.

The growth of the Telephone Department may be gauged by the fact that there are now 251,000 telephone instruments in New South Wales. The total for the metropolitan area is 159,000, an increase of 9,000 during the year. In the country there are 92,000, an increase of 3,500.

The training of telephonists is undertaken very seriously in Sydney, and arrangements will be made soon for lectures and demonstrations to be relayed to telephonists in country centres. Despite the increased number of automatic exchanges, the telephone girl still plays a vital part in trunk line work.

New South Wales now has 18 rural automatic exchanges, ten of them installed during 1938, and at each of these is one of the new multi-coin devices to enable public telephone users to obtain and pay for trunk line calls. There are also about five of these devices at key points in the metropolitan area, and more will be installed as soon as possible. A full automatic exchange will be opened at Tamworth in February-the first to be installed in a large country town.

Overseas calls increased about 20 per cent for the three-day period covering Christmas. There were 20 calls on the new direct radio route to the United States.


Coloured lines on graphs kept in the mail section might well be taken as a business activity index for New South Wales during the year. They rise to an impressive peak, 33,500,000 articles posted, in March, when the 150th Anniversary celebrations brought hundreds of thousands of visitors to Sydney; fall off steeply at the beginning of winter; rise again to the March total in August; and climb a million higher in November. For December, the temporary plotting of the graph, subject to correction when final figures arc obtained, shows a peak of 42,000,000 articles posted.

Postal business at Christmas-for the 14 day period ended on Christmas Eve-totalled 23,459,000 articles, an increase of more than 660,000, compared with the figures for 1937. Parcels figures were lower, but packets showed a marked increase, indicating that more people posted Christmas presents weighing less than 1lb. The weight of malls handled was 3,200 tons.

An unusual feature of the Christmas posting was a very light mail on Christmas Eve, explained, apparently, by the fact that Christmas Day fell on Sunday.

The experiment of stationing a uniformed officer at the posting boxes at the G.P.O. to explain to people which of the many boxes should receive their letters and packets, proved an unqualified success, and will be repeated in future at peak periods.


The 150th anniversary celebrations involved a great deal of extra work for the telegraph department, special telegraph facilities being provided at all major events. An important feature of this department’s business has been the restoration, since the enforcement recently of new legislation against starting-price betting, of telegraph services at all racecourses, which had been inoperative in some cases for two years, and in the case of Randwick and Warwick Farm for 12 months.

Teleprinter services have increased steadily, and there are now 60 in operation in Sydney.

The public is making increasing use of the phonogram service, a staff of 60 girls, which was increased to 130 at Christmas, being engaged in taking down telegrams from telephone subscribers.

Telegraph facilities in the far interior are being steadily increased as a result of the cooperation of the Department and the Australian Aerial Medical Services. Messages may lie sent from any point where a transceiver pedal wireless station-is established, and these are passed on from the base radio stations maintained by the Aerial Medical Services to the Telegraph Department and sent to their destinations as ordinary telegrams.


The most important postal work to be undertaken in 1939 will be the beginning of the extensions to Sydney’s G.P.O. A great modern block is to be built on the land at present occupied by Hoffnung’s building, in Pitt Street.

Beginning on Christmas Eve Hoffnung’s, Ltd., have been transferring their stock and equipment to their new building, and it is expected that the Post-office will take possession of the Pitt Street premises about February 11. Before then, tenders will have been called for the demolition of the present Hoffnung building, and probably also for the structure which will replace it, the erection of which is expected to take about l8 months.

Written by macalba

June 11, 2010 at 10:02 pm

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