Bondi Beach Cable Entry Room 1972

Bondi Beach Cable RoomBondi was the landing point for Compac and at the end of our Cable Course in 1972, Percy Day took us on a tour of the cable path through Centennial Park and the streets of Bondi. Percy toured the Compac Cable path every Monday to make sure that there was no construction work that would put the security of the cable at risk.

We visited the cable entry room and noted that there was more than just the Compac Cable in the room. In fact there were many old telegraph cables terminated in the room and one of the universities was graphing the voltage / current generated on the cables by the earths changing magnetic field. Percy had to check the paper recorders and mark the dates.

Bondi Beach Cable Room

Percy Day – marking the time and date. top is Mick?, below left is an Eng Branch person, below right is Doug Llyod, under him is Len Vella and Con ? – he was a trainee that came through at around the same time as me and worked briefly in the ITMC before leaving OTC

Would someone good at remembering names remind me. Give me numbers and events and I am fine. Names escape me over time. Sorry.

The science here was wonderful. Thousands of kilometres of wire laid on the ocean floor and short circuit to the ocean at the distant end due to a cable break – maybe due to an earthquake. The lengths of cable are lying in the changing earth’s magnetic field.and are thus generating a tiny current as the earth’s magnetic field changes. A magnificent experiment. The cables radiated north and east. You could not have built such a test from scratch. Even modern repeater cables would not work as they had resistive drops to power each repeater 45kms or so. It had to be the very old cables that signaled by Morse Code! Looking at the phases of the change it is possible to precisely plot the changes in the earth’s magnetic field and where the poles have moved. The

It is interesting to see the old massive 1.5 volt batteries – a thing of the past. They often used batteries like these on telephones in the old days before exchanges provided the 50V to power the microphones. They also used them for filament supplies for battery operated valve radios. Here they were powering the paper records as there was no mains power in the cable room.

3 thoughts on “Bondi Beach Cable Entry Room 1972

  1. This brings back memories, I was a jointer/maitainance on the 1962 cable, afterwards patrolling the route in an old landrover ,that had a canvas roof, when raining had to drive with coat hat and gum boots on. I was the xray man on the 1971 cable, had an army troop carrier truck to tow the gear around with, many a sticky moment on the wet paddocks. Hoped to write a book, but gaveup trying to get photos from telecom.

    • Ray, Pity about the book. I would have loved to have seen that in print. Its not too late. There are photos about that others have that would do the trick including mine. Happy to let you print it. I have some PFE photos that I am about to publish too. Also Compac mod / demod equipment. Let’s get this book published! The photos do not have to be NZ end only. We can mix and match whatever is about. With your stuff and the Australian Stuff, there will be plenty!

  2. I do like the old 9 Lives Batteries that were used for so many things.Everything from door bells to portable radio valve heaters. They were big and lasted the distance for applications like the one in the picture above. This must have been about the time they were phased out, so one of their last jobs. The one was known as the No 6 Dry Cell and I remember that we had 2 of them on the door bell at home and I replaced them with a couple of D cells in my youth as we could not get them. Their big claim to fame was for telephones in the early days when the exchange did not provide volts for the microphone. Your batteries did that and you cranked the generator to signal the operator. That was before my time and our old bakerlite? phone had full exchange power. It was Sydney FB-1668 or really 32-1668. The dial had the letters associated with each number. When I bought my own house in 1978, the numbers in the area were still the same and I got 32-1007. In that house during renovation of the fireplace, I discovered letters with a 5 digit phone number printed on the top of the page. That would have used the old batteries more than likely. These days almost every conceivable tool sits in our pockets in what we call our smart phone. I even use an app with a small version of a Theodolite! we will never see the likes of these batteries again, but they underpinned so much of what was being powered when I was born. From what I can find, these were made specifically for the Australian market. Similar batteries overseas were rectangular.

    Some info for those interested:

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