Brian Mullins, Les Edwards and Ronald McDonald demonstrate Morse code as part of the Sydney Morsecodians display at Grafton Shoppingworld for Jacaranda.
Brian Mullins, Les Edwards and Ronald McDonald demonstrate Morse code as part of the Sydney Morsecodians display at Grafton Shoppingworld for Jacaranda. Adam Hourigan

Trio of tappers get a message

BEFORE email, text messages and even faxes, Morse code delivered messages across the nation, and during the Jacaranda Festival people have the opportunity to send their own telegram via Morse code from Grafton.

Morse code was used by the post office for 108 years as a means of transmitting and receiving telegrams.

A message intended for Beechworth from Ulmarra would have passed through telegram operators at Grafton, Sydney and Melbourne before reaching Beechworth.

Telegrams played a big part in the lives of four Grafton telegram boys who went on to send messages from Sydney's telegraph branch.

In the 1950s Grafton telegram boys Ivan Loy, Tom Grainger, Leo McPhillips and Brian Mullins passed a test in Morse code at five words per minute to qualify to enter the Postal Training School in Sydney.

They were in the last class to graduate from the school conducted by the postmaster general's department in 1956.

As part of Jacaranda celebrations, the telegram service will be operating in Grafton Shoppingworld.

People can make a donation to send a telegram to any destination around the world.

As well as the telegram they also receive a free poncho raincoat. People connecting a new Telstra service or updating an existing service during Jacaranda week will also be able to send a free telegram.

Telegraphists Les Edwards, Mal McGrath, Ronald McDonald and Brian Mullins will be on hand to a send telegrams via Morse code.



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