In 1936 the eyes of the engineering world were on Tasmania...
Our link to the mainland
Although as early as 1859 Tasmania was linked to the mainland of Australia by a cable laid across Bass Strait this could be used only for telegraphy communications. With the laying of a new submarine cable the Post Office achieved it’s ambition, the linking by telephone of all the states of the Commonwealth and making available to the people of Tasmania and King Island facilities which had long been enjoyed in other parts of the Commonwealth.
Many months of intensive research preceded the placing of the order for the necessary cable. Three repeater stations were erected at Apollo Bay, King Island & Perkin’s Bay (Stanley). This was to be the longest cable of its kind and the most modern in the world. The eyes of all communication authorities as well as the engineering world were on Australia as the task was commenced.
Commissioned for the Battle of New Guinea
During the 2nd world war, the Army commissioned the use of the other Bass Strait cables to assist with operations in the battle for New Guinea. The cables were taken up and re-laid between North Queensland and New Guinea, providing a vital link between the Australian forces fighting the Japanese advancing on Australia.
Throughout this time, Tasmania was entirely dependent on the single cable from Stanley, via King Island for its only reliable tele-communications with mainland Australia. As such, the Cable Station had a small home guard garrisoned to guard over it.
The end of an era
The cable was taken out of service in 1967 and today modern communication systems are more reliant upon ‘satellites’ and a new ‘optic fibre’ cable that was laid in June 2003 by Telstra.
The new optic fibre cable serviced Stanley and the rest of Tasmania to enable access to modern day telephone and broadband internet systems.
Now we have the introduction of the National Broadband Network (NBN) and well… that’s another story!