I stumbled across a TikTok of all things, featuring video inside some sort of museum of telephony on the Telstra account and thought “wow, that’s cool” – so I had to visit! To my amazement, my kids had the most awesome time!
We went along to film a segment for The Today Show so I assumed the kids would be bored, but that was far from the case.
The Telstra Museum has locations in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. In Sydney its tucked away inside what I can only assume is a former Telstra Exchange facility or office, because it’s far from a Powerhouse like location – however, it’s perfect for what it is.
In the back streets of Bankstown, behind a closed door this room is full of some wonderful treasures from our telecommunications past.
There’s mobile phones from the early days, big enough to pass as a suitcase today, and smaller ones with pull out extendable antennas.
Have one of the amazing volunteers (who are likely former Telstra employees with a love for this very technology) show you things like morse code, telex machines or even the original Telephone Exchanges.
What’s amazing is, much of it is still working!
Here’s my kids using a telephone exchange from the early 1930’s
Old Payphones, even Television and Radio network operations control panels – you name it, these museums have it.
Oh, and there’s also George – the Speaking Clock. Kept ready for the day our mobiles stop telling us the time, a great slice of history itself.
Honestly, it sounds kinda naff, but it’s fascinating. Don’t just go and look, go in, listen to the team tell you about the gear, and then play with the gear – it’s a fully interactive experience.
In Sydney, You’ll find the Telstra Museum at 12 Kitchener Parade Bankstown. In Melbourne at 375 Burwood Rd in Hawthorn.
And in Brisbane, at 3 Oriel Road Albion.
They are not open every day, nor long hours, so check the website for your local operating hours.