Museum of Brisbane


  • 11 Feb 2011 — 10 Jul 2011
  • Exhibition now closed

This exhibition celebrated the 150th anniversary of the telegraph in Queensland.

Send: From telegraph to text

When the electric telegraph, a system that transmits encoded information across distance by means of electric current, was first introduced in the 19th century, it revolutionised communication throughout the world. No longer did the receipt of a message require line of sight as in smoke signals, beacon fires or the 18th century semaphore system where moving arms, human or mechanical, indicated letters or numbers. Nor was it reliant on the postal system, which required ships, trains, coaches or horses to deliver messages across distances.

Messages that once took months could be transmitted around the world within several hours, transforming society, business and politics as significantly as the internet revolution of today. The invention of the telegraph, the “instantaneous highway of thought”, was in fact, the real beginning of our modern communication age.