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Telephones

Do you have a smart phone? You probably do and you can talk to almost anyone, anywhere in the world. But have you thought back to a time when telephones were scarce, and fixed to the wall?  The telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876. In the 146 years since then telephones have undergone a meteoric technological and social change.

Queensland was an early adopter of telephone communications. The first telephone call in Queensland, from Brisbane to Ipswich, was made in 1878, only two years after Bell’s invention. And two years later, in 1880, Queensland’s first telephone exchange opened at the Brisbane General Post Office.

Redland Museum’s telephone display presents the complete history of telephones in Queensland. Here you will find examples of telephones and related objects dating from the time of the Colony of Queensland, through to the present day. There are examples of phones from the 1890s, very famous phones with funny names like the “skeleton phone” and the “candlestick phone”, a comprehensive collection of “wooden box” phones, black Bakelite phones from the 1930s to 1960s, and the colourful plastic phones from the 1960s to 1990s.  You will also find an original telephone booth, and a manual telephone exchange.