gallery - payphones currently in service

oz-Phonebooths 009.jpg (32265 bytes) Payphone
Multimedia Phone Current standard coin telephone. Smartcard and cash. Amper Cardphone Coin Telephone 3I still in service in Griffith, country NSW. thanks to Simon Blunt for the pic.  The B-eLab Broadband Multimedia Phone being trialed in Launceston, Tasmania. 

Siemens Goldphone Red money box phone Solitaire 8000  Bluephone Vector
Siemens Diamond Payphone Technicall Bluephone Zircon Payphone (British Contour)

oz-Alice 001.jpg (26910 bytes) aus-report2002_2.jpg (80660 bytes) OZ-CX-98 & CX-900-2.jpg (65280 bytes) New Payphones approved for use in Australia.
Available from 'Telephone Technical Services' in Brisbane. www.ttservices.com.au  

Made by "Comex Telecom" in Taiwan

 Many thanks to Derek Diggles.

Amper Cardphone Amper Cardphone
oz-neo_mmp_full.jpg (16072 bytes) Model: Protel XP1260 Model: Protel XP1230
Multimedia Phone Protel XP 1260 www.trendtek.com.au  Protel XP 1230 Compact

gallery- kiosks 

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Photos taken by Simon Blunt in Australia and California.. Click here for full series. Basic kiosk, introduced in mid-70s and altered a number of times.

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Griffith. Photo Simon Blunt. American-style Tatuang payphones privately leased by payfones.com. Photo Simon Blunt. Oatback shade impro. Standard - pic. Simon Blunt

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At Town Hall railway station, Sydney.- pic. Simon Blunt Solar powered in the oatback... FLYNN'S BEACH PORT MACQUARIE +61265842816 THE PARADE, NORTH HAVEN  +61265594102 thanks to http://www.geocities.com/ payphone_net/home.htm  
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PORT MACQUARIE +61265830849
Alice Springs - pic. Simon Blunt
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Drysdale station even had a payphone. Even if it was tucked away in a refrigerator.   David Bunyard 
Wall kiosk.

Distribution of Telstra’s Public Payphones.

Australia is a relatively small payphone market when compared to some other global operators. There are no suppliers who source and build whole payphones in Australia. Telstra has in the past decade designed, built and trialled several innovative models including in 1991 a mobile payphone operating on the AMPS network and in 1996-99 a Multimedia payphone with touchscreen, eftpos, sound and printing capability.
Main payphone suppliers in Australia include Siemens and Doro Australia, along with smaller niche suppliers such as Marconi, Schlumberger, Trendtek Australia, East Coast Telephones and PrintaCall. (TTY). Alcatel/Atlinks provide a small quantity of spare parts for previous models. There are also primary suppliers of payphone booths, eg Plexicor Australia, and a number of repairers and refurbishers of payphone equipment and also suppliers of accessories eg stands, shelves, signage. Together these suppliers and repairers form a very important part and links to the Australian payphone industry.

history - Chronological list of Australian public telephones

1. Cast iron type collector - c1900 to 1920's 2. Sheet metal version collector - 1920's to 1950's 3. Steel pipe version collector - 1930's to 1950's 4. Fixed unit fee (a rectangle type Long Tom) - 1920's to 1970's
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5. Fixed unit fee automatic barrel type (Long Tom) 1930's to 1980's
click here for more info
6. Fixed unit fee automatic barrel type (Short Tom) 1930's to 1980's 7. Fixed unit fee manual barrel type (Long Tom) 1930's to 1960's 8. Shelf handset type of Long and short Toms (has a separate table phone attached to the barrel)
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9. Multi coin attachment standard automatic - 1930's to 1980's click here for more info 10. Multi coin attachment standard manual - 1930's to 1990's 11. Multi coin attachment standard automatic STD type - 1960's to 1980's  12. A reinforced case type of the multi coin attachment. 
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13. A corner mounted type special from the 1940's  14. The Redphone - commercial type - 1963 to 1990's 15. Red phone - domestic type - 1963 to 1983 16. The Easiphone - 1963 to 1981
17. CT1 - 1966 to 1980's click here for more info 18. 2 to 3 reinforced types of the above phone 19. CT2 - 1971 to 1981 (2 types) 20. CT3 - 1972 to 2000
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21. CT3i - 1978? to 1986 click here for more info 22. CT3e - 1986 to 2000 23. CT3c -1989 to 2000 (Card/Coin phone) 24. CT3h - 2000 to present (TSP1 Smart Card phone guts inside CT3 case)
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25. CT4 - 1983 to present (Siemens Goldphone) 26. CT6 - 1990? to present (Bluephone) 27. CP8 - 1986 to 2002 Creditphone 28. CP9 - 1989 to 2000 (Card only phone)
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29. CP9 - Smart card and magnetic card type 30. TSP1 - 1997 to present Amper Cardphone 31. Multimedia phone type 1 - 1998? - 2004 32. Multimedia phone type 2 - 1998? - 2004
Model: Protel XP1230
33. Multimedia phone type 3 - 1998? - 2004 34. Tritel (USA type phones) - 2001? to present

history - old kiosks  click here for Australian Phonebox history

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Unusual kiosk from Brisbane Temperate style box (1950s) minus glass, with Soanian asbestos roof. Unusual version of the Flag style from Queensland. Byron Bay

Booth 6 Booth 7
A Flag Type on Miller Street, North Sydney A reproduction composite type (now common), Stanley, Tasmania. with thanks to DM. An authentic one...
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Temperate style kiosk. Originally painted red. In use 1950s-80s. Temperate-style kiosk interior ceiling 

Payphones have been part of the Australian social and business environment for over a century. The first public telephone in NSW was provided at the Sydney GPO on 8th March, 1893, some eleven years after the first government telephone exchange was opened in 1882[1]. By World War I, a network of public telephones had been established at Post Offices in both urban and country areas. The next sixty years saw a range of different public payphones introduced as the telecommunications network, exchange and terminal technology evolved.

The forerunners to the current public Telstra Smart Payphones were the GreenPhone (CT3) range of public payphones that were first introduced into Australia in 1972, when automation of the telecommunications network allowed for direct dialling of STD and IDD calls. Other significant payphone products which have been introduced by Telstra in the past 30 years are the:

Goldphone (introduced in 1985);
Creditphone (introduced in 1987 and withdrawn this year); 
Bluephone (introduced in 1989) 
Telstra Phonecard (introduced in 1989)
Phonecard Express and Phonecard Card/Coin (introduced in 1992 and withdrawn over the last two years).
Telstra Phonecard in chip card form introduced in 1997
Telstra Smart Payphone introduced in 1997 with a number of models today including card only and robust hybrid models for remote areas and areas of potential vandalism. Telstra Smart Payphone models make up over 97% of all Telstra public payphones operated today.

Telstra has played a key role in the provision of Payphone services in Australia for the past 110 years, and continues its strong commitment to payphones today. Telstra operates over 33,000 public payphones, provides and services approximately 30,000 sold or rented private payphones and leases over 3,000 payphone access lines to other competitive payphone providers.
Deregulation of the payphones industry has resulted in numerous alternative providers of payphones and payphone terminals. There are a variety of payphone operators, different types of terminals, pricing schemes, payment options and functionality in the market.

History of the Telephone in NSW. Bateman J Mar 1980. ISBN 0959478701

Public Telephones - From Electro-mechanical to Electronic Public Servants

by Ray White
This editorial will take the reader through some of the many types of public telephones that were in use in Australia, from their early humble beginnings to later types of instruments. Included will be the early `penny' coin heads, as well as the well-known A and B button 'multi-coin' telephone, which served the public from 1935 until the mid 1970s longer than any other type. The main reasons for the abandonment of the AB multi-coin were due to changes in technology, the introduction of Subscriber Trunk Dialing (STD) routes, and the desire to combat the ever-increasing acts of vandalism. Some photographs and comments will also be included.

No attempt will be made to include public telephone cabinets, since these were many and varied throughout Australia and are a subject, which would need to be covered separately.

Public telephones were first introduced in Australia in the early 1890s, the first in new South Wales being installed in the telegraph (receiving) room at the Sydney GPO on March 8, 1893. By 1905 there were 114 public telephones, and at the end of December 1913 there were 916 installed in the Sydney metropolitan area. Today, public telephones are known as 'payphones' a marketing term, which I feel merely, plays with words. Much of my early `area' work in the 1950s involved the installation and maintenance of many of these electromechanical devices, and I will always refer to them as `public telephones' - a telephone for the public to use.

By 1893 the telephone had started to make its way into the telecommunications area, albeit being only seventeen years since Bell had lodged a patent on what he believed to be the most innovative device yet developed. Commerce and the general public alike still remained dependent on the telegraph system (telegrams), but it was considered to be appropriate that the public telephone should support the existing telegraph system. Of course, it was not known at that time that telephony would surpass all means of communication, and today is at the forefront of `leading edge' technologies!

In 1894, the New South Wales Government Gazette dated August 22 published regulations relating to public telephones, which, in brief, stated that where the line length was not greater than three miles, the charge for a three-minute call was sixpence. Where the line was over three miles and under ten miles in length, the charge for the same period of time was one shilling. If the length of line was over ten miles, special rates would apply. These rates changed after Federation, when the Postmaster General's Department was established, as the local call charge from public telephones was one penny.

Not a great deal of information is available about the installation of early public telephones, but it is known that the demand of these phones increased dramatically during the First World War. Many were installed at Post Offices in built up areas, and some at non-official Post Offices in regional areas. Public telephones appeared in public streets during the 1920s when use of the telephone became more common.

In early times the telephone instruments used were the same types that were installed in subscriber's residences, and prior to 1914 Swedish (Commonwealth) Ericssons were used. After 1916, when the British Ericsson telephone (rectangular box type) became available, the use of the ornate Commonwealth Ericsson was discontinued due to vandalism and theft of the easily removable hand piece.

Payment for calls made on the early magneto system involved paying for the call in advance at the Post Office and then waiting for the connection to be made by the telephonist (not `Hello Girls', as portrayed in the recent BBC television series) to a public phone outside the Post Office, which in some small rural areas would be installed on the verandah. This method was unsatisfactory when the wanted number was unavailable and the money had to be refunded to the caller. In some larger Post Offices the public telephone was installed on the public side of the counter, where privacy was lacking and everyone could hear part of the conversation. Later types resulted in the coin box being fitted to the telephone, which was installed in a bureau or cabinet outside the Post Office. In this situation, the telephonist would ask the caller to insert his coins prior to the call commencing, but only after a successful connection had been established. Coins entered the coin box via the coin head and a chute, which activated a mechanism, giving a signal to the telephonist of how many coins (pennies) had been inserted. This system did not need to provide for refund coins.

By 1910 the trunk line network was well established, however calls still had to be pre-paid at Post offices as the cost of calls - calculated on a distance basis for a three minute period - varied. If the call was extended to four minutes - you paid for six!

The system of pre-payment of calls continued into the early 1930s, when the Postmaster General's Department (PMG) adopted a 'multi-coin' attachment, which was developed by the British Post Office (manufactured by Hall Telephone Accessories Ltd.). This allowed callers to make local, trunk and phonogram calls from the same telephone. At the time this telephone was being installed, public telephones were being provided at an increasing rate and away from Post Offices, where trunk calls would have normally been connected. The new attachment accepted three coin types - penny, sixpence and shilling, which enabled local or trunk calls to be made by the telephonist from manual exchanges. Automatic local calls and telephonist connected trunk line calls from automatic exchanges were also facilitated. Each coin triggered a signal, which was heard by the telephonist, ensuring that the correct payment had been made when the caller was instructed to press button `A', permitting the coins to pass into the coin tin. Pressing button `B', which enabled a refund to be made, would give a warning signal to the telephonist and the call would not be allowed to proceed. This type of telephone underwent many changes to accommodate increasing call charges, and in 1964 it was converted to accept sixpence, shilling and two shillings. The changeover to decimal currency in February 1966 had a minimal effect, as the decimal coins were of the same gauge and diameter as their predecessors. Some `mufti-coin' telephones were converted to accept twenty-cent coins only, but in New South Wales these were restricted to popular coastal resort areas, and were used to originate STD calls only. The coin box attachment was orange in color, a distinguishing factor from the standard (black) three coin type.

The barrel type phone was generally known as the variable tariff type, but this term only applied to a phase of its life when it was fitted with an adjustable penny mechanism, which allowed alterations to tariff rates without making major changes to the mechanism. There were two basic variable tariff type phones; one with a long breech to house a long coin tin, and the other a short breech, which held a shorter coin tin. They were installed in locations appropriate to their calling rate.

During the early years local call charges did not increase greatly, and from 1901 until 1915 the cost was one penny. From 1915 the charge increased to two pence, remaining at two pence for forty years until the fee increased to three pence (three pennies). In 1960 it was increased to four pence, and in 1964 to six pence. As a result of the price increases changes were made to variable tariff public telephones in 1955, when the two-penny coin head was changed to a four-penny coin head. In 1964 the four-penny head was changed to hold a sixpenny coin, and in 1975 the cost of a local call increased to ten cents. Price rises since 1975 now see public telephone local calls set at forty cents.
A wide range of leased public telephones was also used (those seen in shops and restaurants), the most popular being the Victa Red, the Easiphone (green) and the Goldphone. Some can be seen in the photograph, showing a number of different types.

The Goldphone was intended for use in the generally supervised small business market. As a successor to the familiar Victa Red, it provided a service to subscribers and an attractive source of revenue for the business. The Goldphone was the first leased public telephone to provide STD and International Subscriber Dialing (ISD) access, electronic coin validation and the display of remaining credit.

The most profound development of public telephones was the need for ongoing engineering design to make the phones less prone to vandalism, which over the years ranged from minor damage (chewing gum being placed in coin heads, rendering the instrument unserviceable), to almost complete destruction. However, the most costly of repairs was due to attempts to remove the coin tins, which in the case of the A/B multi-coin telephone would hold as much as $200, a considerable sum of money for its time. Damage in most cases amounted to hundreds of dollars (a few costing thousands) where explosives were used in an attempt to separate the coin tin from the telephone, resulting in the cabinet being damaged. One incident recorded the whole public telephone cabinet, with phone intact, being removed from its base by the use of a winch attached to a motor vehicle. Vandalism resulted in the removal of some public telephones in Sydney during the late 1970s where these telephones were installed in areas having low calling rates, and the cost of replacing instruments which were repeatedly damaged became financially unjustifiable.

Modern public telephones are now far more sophisticated than ever before, as the introduction of a card-based public telephone service in 1986 saw many changes being made. The Cardphone accepted only magnetically striped debit and credit cards issued by financial institutions, and did not have the facility to accept coins. Since 1986 further developments have followed whereby electronic public telephones have the capability of reporting (via a modem) a number of statistics, including their own faults, abnormal call rates and some acts of vandalism, making the modern public telephone a smart electronic public servant.

Ray White commenced his apprenticeship with the Postmaster General's Department (PMG) in 1951 and served in many country telephone district of New South Wales until 1966.After that time the author maintained a specific interest in all types of telephones, so much so that the lure of the instruments and the love of a multi-disciplined trade led him to devote more of his time to authentic restoration work.

The photographs appearing in this editorial were supplied on loan by the Telstra Historical Group at Ashfield, Sydney
Shown here is a collection of public telephones from the early days through to the 1980s.The telephone at front left comprises a CB telephone type 37CBW, with a square coin box attachment. It dates from around 1920.Also featured is the well-known A/B multi-coin attachment, to which is connected a 300AWH type telephone and a short breech variable tariff unit fee (local call) type public telephone.

back row: Easiphone, Redphone (privately supplied)

middle row: Goldphone, Bluephone, Short-barrelled Variable Tarrif, A and B button box.

front row: Gray paystation (?), Cardphone, CT1, CT3, Domestic Redphone.