This year marks the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Overland Telegraph Line (OTL). To commemorate this defining moment in Australian history, the State Library has explored an untold aspect of this story, being the impact and influence of the Overland Telegraph on Australian children.
The construction of the central OTL was such a remarkable feat of communications engineering that the legend seeped into the Australian psyche.
Much has been documented about the OTL but few official histories refer directly to children. If they do, it is without concern, and never by name. Where there is history though – there are children.
Using items from the State Library collection, such as toys, books, games, photographs and the written archive, discover how telegraphy infused the lives, learning, expression, work and play of children. The experiences of telegraph station children are uncovered, and we reflect on consequences of the OTL for Aboriginal children. There are children whose fathers worked away on the Line, became invalided, or died in the service of connecting Australia to the world.
Image: Children dressed as telegraph poles and other communications engineering, on the Post Office Tableau float for the Pageant of Progress parade, 1936. SLSA: B 8334/91
How do I get to the State Library by public transport?
The 'State Library, Art Gallery, Museum' tram-stop is just outside the State Library. There are bus stops close by near the War Memorial on North Terrace. The closest train station is the Adelaide city station on North Terrace.
You can plan your journey via Adelaide Metro.
Is there car parking near the State Library?
The nearest car park is Wilson's Adelaide Central car park, 225 North Terrace, next to David Jones.
There is paid metered street parking along Kintore Ave and Victoria Drive.
Where is the wheelchair and stroller access?
Access to the Spence Wing first floor and the Mortlock Chamber is via the lift in the glass foyer entrance of the library.
There is on-street disabled parking available in the nearby roads. View more information and maps of Adelaide City Council's Disability parking for permit holders.
How do I check if the Mortlock Chamber is open when I plan to visit?
The Mortlock Chamber may close for private events, check our opening hours for any closure times.
When it is open you can visit the Mortlock Chamber on the ground floor to look at the exhibition bays. The upper levels of the Mortlock Wing include quiet study areas.
Is there a cafe at the State Library?
Yes, the State Library Cafe is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 4pm and Saturdays from 12 to 4pm.