Australian Public Telephone


Name The (Victa) Redphone
Date  (Introduced in 1964)

jpn-red7.jpg (39784 bytes) jpn-red2.jpg (19764 bytes)
In use in Japan 10 yen unit imported into the UK for trial by the Hull Telephone Co. Never used commercially.
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In use in Australia. see also notes on Japanese red phone

Originally introduced in the early 1960's by Victa Telecommunications.  These phones were later purchased or leased from Telstra. 

Directory assistance 013 and 000 etc also require a coin before you can place a call. With these numbers the coin will be returned after the call.

There are two main types of redphone the tall (commercial) version and the squat (domestic) version. The tall version is by far the most common. It also has two obvious variants a 20c only version and a 10c & 20c version. The tall versions appear to have been manufactured in Japan.

The redphone weighs over 10kg with an empty coin tin. It is very solidly constructed. The redphone has three locks. The back RHS lock is for the payphone owner to make "uncharged" calls. The front RHS lock is for the coin safe. The coin safe contains a small black plastic container which holds the coins.

The LHS lock allows the top to be removed from the telephone. Three connections are made between the top half of the phone and the base. These are for the dial.

The hookswitch mechanism of the redphone has an interesting built in delay. This is to prevent hookswitch dialling. The redphone has a conventional electro-mechanical bell. A circuit diagram is usually pasted inside the case of a redphone. One interesting adjustment is that a PCB key is inserted to allow the phone to be used on SxS or ARK exchanges.

-text by Henry Titchen. Reproduced with generous permission of author.


In general use throughout Japan during the 1970's these payphones were seen in restaurants, bars and cafe's etc.

Unique as in only a few (including this one) were brought over to the UK during the 70's for testing (and then discarded) by the then Hull Telephone Company and converted to accept the old 5p piece as well as the 10 yen coin.

The cable of the phone is connected to the old GPO junction box and worked perfectly - the coin dropping on "call-answered" Now needs converting to the modern plug.

The body of the phone is metal, the handset and cradle are bakelite and the clear dial works smoothly. It has a mellow old-fashioned ring on incoming calls.

There is still a label attached to the front of the phone with "calling instructions" in Japanese but due to it's age this is scratched. The handset and body of the phone are in good condition.

The measurements are approx - HEIGHT inc cradle: 13.75" or 35cm. WIDTH: 7.25" or 18cm. DEPTH: 9.50" or 24cm. The phone weighs approx 12kg.

There is a drawer box lock to the side of the phone to collect coins and another at the back of the phone which enables the owner to make calls without inserting money but unfortunately the keys to this are lost. Inside the drawer are a couple of 10 yen coins and some old 5p pieces.



The early 1960's saw an opportunity to bridge the widening gap between the constraints on provision of public telephones by the PMG, and the damand for privately leased public telephones. The PMG could not provide PT's in shops, factories or flats where expected revenue was insufficient to meet the costs of installation and maintenance. Furthermore the demand in these locations, especially shops and institutions became exceptionally high, and any attempt to meet it would have been frustrated. Two private companies were permitted to market and install instruments of their own, and these proved an overnight success in N.S.W. and the rest of Australia. In some shopping centres leased services may be seen in almost every second shop, the number being far beyond that which the PMG could have reasonably provided.


VICTA RED TELEPHONE: In 1963 Victa Telecommunications began marketing a commercial (for shops and factories etc.) model and a domestic model (for guest houses and homes) on a lease arrangement with subscribers who paid the PMG rent for the exchange line used. The instruments, distinctively red, were manufactured by Tamura Company in Japan.


COMPANY PUBLIC TELEPHONE TAKEOVER: In December 1974 Telecom absorbed all the private company instruments and customers and these instruments then became the responsibility of Telecom who began their own active marketing programme which has continued to the present. Easiphone instruments are being phased out of operation and a revised Red Phone is being successfully promoted for this sector of the market. Coin head changes saw a six penny, so seven cents and in 1975 to ten cents.


History of the Telephone in New South Wales, Jim Bateman, 1980
ISBN 0 95944787 0 1