gallery - payphones currently in service
|Multimedia Phone||Current standard coin telephone. Smartcard and cash. Amper Cardphone||Coin Telephone 3I still in service in Griffith, country NSW. thanks to Simon Blunt for the pic.||The B-eLab Broadband Multimedia Phone being trialed in Launceston, Tasmania.|
|Siemens Goldphone||Red money box phone||Solitaire 8000 Bluephone||Vector|
|Siemens Diamond Payphone||Technicall||Bluephone||Zircon Payphone (British Contour)|
|New Payphones approved for use in Australia.
Available from 'Telephone Technical Services' in Brisbane. www.ttservices.com.au
Made by "Comex Telecom" in Taiwan
Many thanks to Derek Diggles.
|Amper Cardphone||Amper Cardphone|
|Multimedia Phone||Protel XP 1260 www.trendtek.com.au||Protel XP 1230||Compact|
|Photos taken by Simon Blunt in Australia and California.. Click here for full series.||Basic kiosk, introduced in mid-70s and altered a number of times.|
|Griffith. Photo Simon Blunt.||American-style Tatuang payphones privately leased by payfones.com. Photo Simon Blunt.||Oatback shade impro.||Standard - pic. Simon Blunt|
|At Town Hall railway station, Sydney.- pic. Simon Blunt||Solar powered in the oatback...||FLYNN'S BEACH PORT MACQUARIE +61265842816||THE PARADE, NORTH HAVEN +61265594102 thanks to http://www.geocities.com/ payphone_net/home.htm|
PORT MACQUARIE +61265830849
|Alice Springs - pic. Simon Blunt|
|Drysdale station even had a payphone. Even if it was tucked away in a refrigerator. David Bunyard|
of Telstra’s Public Payphones.
Australia is a relatively small payphone market when compared to some other global operators. There are no suppliers who source and build whole payphones in Australia. Telstra has in the past decade designed, built and trialled several innovative models including in 1991 a mobile payphone operating on the AMPS network and in 1996-99 a Multimedia payphone with touchscreen, eftpos, sound and printing capability.
Main payphone suppliers in Australia include Siemens and Doro Australia, along with smaller niche suppliers such as Marconi, Schlumberger, Trendtek Australia, East Coast Telephones and PrintaCall. (TTY). Alcatel/Atlinks provide a small quantity of spare parts for previous models. There are also primary suppliers of payphone booths, eg Plexicor Australia, and a number of repairers and refurbishers of payphone equipment and also suppliers of accessories eg stands, shelves, signage. Together these suppliers and repairers form a very important part and links to the Australian payphone industry.
|history - Chronological list of Australian public telephones|
|1. Cast iron type collector - c1900 to 1920's||2. Sheet metal version collector - 1920's to 1950's||3. Steel pipe version collector - 1930's to 1950's||4. Fixed unit fee (a rectangle type Long Tom) - 1920's to 1970's|
|5. Fixed unit fee automatic barrel type (Long Tom) 1930's to 1980's
click here for more info
|6. Fixed unit fee automatic barrel type (Short Tom) 1930's to 1980's||7. Fixed unit fee manual barrel type (Long Tom) 1930's to 1960's||8. Shelf handset type of Long and short Toms (has a separate table phone attached to the barrel)|
|9. Multi coin attachment standard automatic - 1930's to 1980's click here for more info||10. Multi coin attachment standard manual - 1930's to 1990's||11. Multi coin attachment standard automatic STD type - 1960's to 1980's||12. A reinforced case type of the multi coin attachment.|
|13. A corner mounted type special from the 1940's||14. The Redphone - commercial type - 1963 to 1990's||15. Red phone - domestic type - 1963 to 1983||16. The Easiphone - 1963 to 1981|
|17. CT1 - 1966 to 1980's click here for more info||18. 2 to 3 reinforced types of the above phone||19. CT2 - 1971 to 1981 (2 types)||20. CT3 - 1972 to 2000|
|21. CT3i - 1978? to 1986 click here for more info||22. CT3e - 1986 to 2000||23. CT3c -1989 to 2000 (Card/Coin phone)||24. CT3h - 2000 to present (TSP1 Smart Card phone guts inside CT3 case)|
|25. CT4 - 1983 to present (Siemens Goldphone)||26. CT6 - 1990? to present (Bluephone)||27. CP8 - 1986 to 2002 Creditphone||28. CP9 - 1989 to 2000 (Card only phone)|
|29. CP9 - Smart card and magnetic card type||30. TSP1 - 1997 to present Amper Cardphone||31. Multimedia phone type 1 - 1998? - 2004||32. Multimedia phone type 2 - 1998? - 2004|
|33. Multimedia phone type 3 - 1998? - 2004||34. Tritel (USA type phones) - 2001? to present|
|history - old kiosks click here for Australian Phonebox history|
|Unusual kiosk from Brisbane||Temperate style box (1950s) minus glass, with Soanian asbestos roof.||Unusual version of the Flag style from Queensland.||Byron Bay|
|A Flag Type on Miller Street, North Sydney||A reproduction composite type (now common), Stanley, Tasmania. with thanks to DM.||An authentic one...|
|Temperate style kiosk. Originally painted red. In use 1950s-80s.||Temperate-style kiosk interior ceiling|
Payphones have been part of the Australian social and business environment for over a century. The first public telephone in NSW was provided at the Sydney GPO on 8th March, 1893, some eleven years after the first government telephone exchange was opened in 1882. By World War I, a network of public telephones had been established at Post Offices in both urban and country areas. The next sixty years saw a range of different public payphones introduced as the telecommunications network, exchange and terminal technology evolved.
Telephones - From Electro-mechanical to Electronic Public Servants
editorial will take the reader through some of the many types of public
telephones that were in use in Australia, from their early humble
beginnings to later types of instruments. Included will be the early
`penny' coin heads, as well as the well-known A and B button 'multi-coin'
telephone, which served the public from 1935 until the mid 1970s longer
than any other type. The main reasons for the abandonment of the AB
multi-coin were due to changes in technology, the introduction of
Subscriber Trunk Dialing (STD) routes, and the desire to combat the
ever-increasing acts of vandalism. Some photographs and comments will also
will be made to include public telephone cabinets, since these were many
and varied throughout Australia and are a subject, which would need to be
telephones were first introduced in Australia in the early 1890s, the
first in new South Wales being installed in the telegraph (receiving) room
at the Sydney GPO on March 8, 1893. By 1905 there were 114 public
telephones, and at the end of December 1913 there were 916 installed in
the Sydney metropolitan area. Today, public telephones are known as
'payphones' a marketing term, which I feel merely, plays with words. Much
of my early `area' work in the 1950s involved the installation and
maintenance of many of these electromechanical devices, and I will always
refer to them as `public telephones' - a telephone for the public to use.
1894, the New South Wales Government Gazette dated August 22 published
regulations relating to public telephones, which, in brief, stated that
where the line length was not greater than three miles, the charge for a
three-minute call was sixpence. Where the line was over three miles and
under ten miles in length, the charge for the same period of time was one
shilling. If the length of line was over ten miles, special rates would
apply. These rates changed after Federation, when the Postmaster General's
Department was established, as the local call charge from public
telephones was one penny.
Not a great
deal of information is available about the installation of early public
telephones, but it is known that the demand of these phones increased
dramatically during the First World War. Many were installed at Post
Offices in built up areas, and some at non-official Post Offices in
regional areas. Public telephones appeared in public streets during the
1920s when use of the telephone became more common.
times the telephone instruments used were the same types that were
installed in subscriber's residences, and prior to 1914 Swedish
(Commonwealth) Ericssons were used. After 1916, when the British Ericsson
telephone (rectangular box type) became available, the use of the ornate
Commonwealth Ericsson was discontinued due to vandalism and theft of the
easily removable hand piece.
calls made on the early magneto system involved paying for the call in
advance at the Post Office and then waiting for the connection to be made
by the telephonist (not `Hello Girls', as portrayed in the recent BBC
television series) to a public phone outside the Post Office, which in
some small rural areas would be installed on the verandah. This method was
unsatisfactory when the wanted number was unavailable and the money had to
be refunded to the caller. In some larger Post Offices the public
telephone was installed on the public side of the counter, where privacy
was lacking and everyone could hear part of the conversation. Later types
resulted in the coin box being fitted to the telephone, which was
installed in a bureau or cabinet outside the Post Office. In this
situation, the telephonist would ask the caller to insert his coins prior
to the call commencing, but only after a successful connection had been
established. Coins entered the coin box via the coin head and a chute,
which activated a mechanism, giving a signal to the telephonist of how
many coins (pennies) had been inserted. This system did not need to
provide for refund coins.
1910 the trunk line network was well established, however calls still had
to be pre-paid at Post offices as the cost of calls - calculated on a
distance basis for a three minute period - varied. If the call was
extended to four minutes - you paid for six!
of pre-payment of calls continued into the early 1930s, when the
Postmaster General's Department (PMG) adopted a 'multi-coin' attachment,
which was developed by the British Post Office (manufactured by Hall
Telephone Accessories Ltd.). This allowed callers to make local, trunk and
phonogram calls from the same telephone. At the time this telephone was
being installed, public telephones were being provided at an increasing
rate and away from Post Offices, where trunk calls would have normally
been connected. The new attachment accepted three coin types - penny,
sixpence and shilling, which enabled local or trunk calls to be made by
the telephonist from manual exchanges. Automatic local calls and
telephonist connected trunk line calls from automatic exchanges were also
facilitated. Each coin triggered a signal, which was heard by the
telephonist, ensuring that the correct payment had been made when the
caller was instructed to press button `A', permitting the coins to pass
into the coin tin. Pressing button `B', which enabled a refund to be made,
would give a warning signal to the telephonist and the call would not be
allowed to proceed. This type of telephone underwent many changes to
accommodate increasing call charges, and in 1964 it was converted to
accept sixpence, shilling and two shillings. The changeover to decimal
currency in February 1966 had a minimal effect, as the decimal coins were
of the same gauge and diameter as their predecessors. Some `mufti-coin'
telephones were converted to accept twenty-cent coins only, but in New
South Wales these were restricted to popular coastal resort areas, and
were used to originate STD calls only. The coin box attachment was orange
in color, a distinguishing factor from the standard (black) three coin
type phone was generally known as the variable tariff type, but this term
only applied to a phase of its life when it was fitted with an adjustable
penny mechanism, which allowed alterations to tariff rates without making
major changes to the mechanism. There were two basic variable tariff type
phones; one with a long breech to house a long coin tin, and the other a
short breech, which held a shorter coin tin. They were installed in
locations appropriate to their calling rate.
wide range of leased public telephones was also used (those seen in shops
and restaurants), the most popular being the Victa Red, the Easiphone
(green) and the Goldphone. Some can be seen in the photograph, showing a
number of different types.
Goldphone was intended for use in the generally supervised small business
market. As a successor to the familiar Victa Red, it provided a service to
subscribers and an attractive source of revenue for the business. The
Goldphone was the first leased public telephone to provide STD and
International Subscriber Dialing (ISD) access, electronic coin validation
and the display of remaining credit.
profound development of public telephones was the need for ongoing
engineering design to make the phones less prone to vandalism, which over
the years ranged from minor damage (chewing gum being placed in coin
heads, rendering the instrument unserviceable), to almost complete
destruction. However, the most costly of repairs was due to attempts to
remove the coin tins, which in the case of the A/B multi-coin telephone
would hold as much as $200, a considerable sum of money for its time.
Damage in most cases amounted to hundreds of dollars (a few costing
thousands) where explosives were used in an attempt to separate the coin
tin from the telephone, resulting in the cabinet being damaged. One
incident recorded the whole public telephone cabinet, with phone intact,
being removed from its base by the use of a winch attached to a motor
vehicle. Vandalism resulted in the removal of some public telephones in
Sydney during the late 1970s where these telephones were installed in
areas having low calling rates, and the cost of replacing instruments
which were repeatedly damaged became financially unjustifiable.
public telephones are now far more sophisticated than ever before, as the
introduction of a card-based public telephone service in 1986 saw many
changes being made. The Cardphone accepted only magnetically striped debit
and credit cards issued by financial institutions, and did not have the
facility to accept coins. Since 1986 further developments have followed
whereby electronic public telephones have the capability of reporting (via
a modem) a number of statistics, including their own faults, abnormal call
rates and some acts of vandalism, making the modern public telephone a
smart electronic public servant.
commenced his apprenticeship with the Postmaster General's Department
(PMG) in 1951 and served in many country telephone district of New South
Wales until 1966.After that time the author maintained a specific interest
in all types of telephones, so much so that the lure of the instruments
and the love of a multi-disciplined trade led him to devote more of his
time to authentic restoration work.
here is a collection of public telephones from the early days through to
the 1980s.The telephone at front left comprises a CB telephone type 37CBW,
with a square coin box attachment. It dates from around 1920.Also featured
is the well-known A/B multi-coin attachment, to which is connected a
300AWH type telephone and a short breech variable tariff unit fee (local
call) type public telephone.
back row: Easiphone, Redphone (privately supplied)
middle row: Goldphone, Bluephone, Short-barrelled Variable Tarrif, A and B button box.
front row: Gray paystation (?), Cardphone, CT1, CT3, Domestic Redphone.