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OPENING TIMES:

February to December:
Open daily
 10.00 am to 5.00 pm- Monday to Friday

 10.00 am to 4.00 pm- Saturday & Sunday

Closed:
21st December 2013 to 3rd February 2014

COST OF ENTRY
$7.00 per adult
$5.50 Consession (senior)
$3.00 Children
$18.00 per Family (2Adults, up to 3 children)


Network of Women's Museums
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Women at the Heart | First in their Field | Women's Work

Exhibition - "Making Waves"

Australia’s women pioneers of telecommunications
 
The first telegraph service in the Australian colonies was opened in 1854 but it was not until the following decade that women were first employed as telegraphists by NSW Postmaster-General John Burns. By the 1870's there were many women in country areas who doubled as postmistress and telegraph operator.
 
The employment of women in this field and later in telephone exchanges was considered unwise at first because women were considered not sufficiently mechanically-minded. However, Australia’s first commercial telephone exchange in Melbourne employed 9 girls in 1880, although NSW’s first female telephonist, Jane M’Ilwain was appointed at Gladstone in 1882 by accident - only young boys were employed elsewhere - the first women employees being officially introduced in 1896. WA's first “Lady telephonist” Connie Letch was appointed in 1887 while Queensland women were only permitted to enter the telephone switchboard attendants’ examination from 1899.
 
Florence Vi McKenzie or “Mrs Mac”, Australia’s first woman electrical engineer, licensed woman amateur radio operator and the first woman member of the Wireless Institute of Australia. She opened a school in Sydney in 1939 to train girls in Morse code and radio which became the Women’s Emergency Signalling Corps (WESC) when war was declared. In response to the shortage of telegraphists, 14 of her WESC girls were accepted by the Navy on Anzac Day 1941 forming the Women's Royal Australian Navy Service (WRANS).
 
Radio broadcasting officially began in Australia in 1923 while the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) commenced operations in 1932. However, it was not until 1940 that the ABC appointed their first female announcer, Margaret Doyle at their Sydney studios, followed a year later by Dorothy Crawford in Melbourne.
 
The first broadcast from an Aboriginal woman on state radio was a talk - albeit carefully scripted - by Gambanyi/Pearl Gibbs on Radio 2WL in Wollongong in 1941. An ardent campaigner for Aboriginal rights. Later in 1955, she became the first woman to be appointed to the Aboriginal Protection Board.
 
Women newsreaders were not seen on prime time, major network television until the late 1970's such as ABC’s Margaret Throsby and Channel 7’s Katrina Lee.


Telstra Museum, Adelaide

ISABELLA CLIFF
Australia’s first telephonist was employed at the country’s first commercial telephone exchange in Collins Street, Melbourne in 1880.

Courtesy of Mrs Moira Milgate

F. Vi McKENZIE (1891-1982)
The first Australian woman to graduate in electrical engineering in 1923, she was also the first woman to be granted an amateur radio operator’s license and the first female member of the Wireless Institute.

Courtesy of Miss KWV Smith

DOROTHY SMITH (1909-1994)
The first woman in Australia to graduate as a radio operator from the Amalgamated Wireless of Australasia training school in Melbourne, she was appointed a marine radio officer in 1951.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

MARGARET DOYLE
Australia’s first female radio announcer was appointed by the ABC Radio at their Sydney studios in November 1940.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

MARGARET THROSBY
In 1975 she became the first woman to read a full-length main evening ABC news bulletin on radio since World War II and 3 years later was the first woman to read the 7pm ABC-TV news.

Courtesy of Cherie Romaro, Australian Radio Network

CHERIE ROMARO (b1950)
Australia’s first female music director for Radio 2SM, Sydney and Program Director for Triple M, Sydney before becoming Australia’s first female Radio Network General Manager with the Australian Radio Network in 1992.

Courtesy of Freda Glyn

FREDA GLYNN (b1939)
A co-founder of the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association Group of Companies (CAAMA) in 1980 which includes Imparja, the first Aboriginal commercial television station commenced broadcasting 1988 in Alice Springs. She also established the first licensed Aboriginal radio station, Radio 8KIN FM, broadcasting in regional languages.

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