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Hawthorn Telephone Exchange and Telstra Museum

Architect: 1939

City of Boroondara | B05

Building Description

A hidden gem of telecommunications history, the 1930s two-story redbrick former Telephone Exchange forms part of the Hawthorn Heritage Precinct. The building is set to be transformed into the first National Communications Museum, where it will house the most comprehensive record of telecommunications in Australia.

The building’s Heritage Telecommunications Collection reflects the history of Telstra from its beginnings in the 1850s encompassing pre-Post Master General’s Department (PMG), Telecom Australia and AOTC. The interior is an authentic mid-twentieth century exchange, complete with early telephones, the original Speaking Clock, computers, mobile phones and fully operational switching equipment. When fully completed, it will house a significant collection of telephony artefacts dating from the 19th century, as well as exhibits of communications of the future. Many items are already available to view and are ‘hands-on’ for visitors.

The collection presents the development of communications in Australia with items that represent the interaction of communication technology and the social and political developments throughout the history of Australia. The building is due to be fully operational by 2020, and will include an Education Centre, a community conference centre and other public facilities.

What's On

Self-guided tours of the museum and main distribution frame available throughout the opening times. Museum volunteers, experienced telecommunications engineers and technicians available for short tours and demonstrations.

Need to Know

  • Open: Saturday 27 & Sunday 28 July 10am–4.30pm

  • Tour Type: Open Entry, Guided + Open Entry, Self-guided

  • Tour Details: Tours on request running 60 minutes in groups of 20

  • Access: Fully accessible, pram accessible, all ages

  • Notes: Toilets available

  • Kids Activity: Meet the original talking clock, hear your name in Morse code and make phone calls like your parents use to! See the main distribution frame, watch calls travelling through a live switching network and get involved with plenty of hands-on displays and original equipment.

  • Building Type: Cultural

  • Architecture Era: Interwar (1919-1940)

  • Transport: Tram stop 73: Burwood Rd/Glenferrie Rd on route 16

  • Photo Credit: Richard Schipper


375 Burwood Road, Hawthorn, 3122, Hawthorn, VIC


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