Tenindewa – last manual telephone exchange in WA 1985

On April 13, 1985 Tenindewa was the last fully manual telephone exchange to be automated in WA.  The first rural exchange to be converted was Brunswick Junction on 17 July 1935. It had therefore taken under half a century to complete the task.

Tenindewa exchange, about 80 kilometres east of Geraldton was established in 1962 with 11 customers. Until then many people in the area did not have a telephone service although a phone was connected to the post office in 1913 and could be used by them.

Between 1962 and 1977, the exchange was operated by Tom and Neil Foster.

From 1977 to 1985 their son Des and his wife Annette kept the locals in touch with the world.

Over the years, numbers increased and at the time of conversion there were 24 Tenindewa customers – the cost: $200,000.

Nell Foster and Mary Critch at the closing down party


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