While there are many examples of highly innovative developments
in the very wide field of communications, there are three
unique world firsts that are particularly worthy of mention.
Lesser known than most, but perhaps of greater importance
to philatelists of the world, was Colonial Postmaster-General
of New South Wales, James Raymond who introduced the world's
first pre-paid postal system on 1 November 1838, when embossed
stamped letter-sheets bearing the seal of the New South Wales
Post Office were offered for sale at 1s 3d a dozen. An innovative
inducement was offered to the public, who were encouraged
to bring their own paper or envelopes to be stamped for a
fee of just 1s 8d for 25 items.
Another little known Australian innovation was the telephane
- the forerunner of the television. It was invented by Henry
Sutton in Ballarat, Victoria in 1885, three years before the
birth of Scotsman John Logie Baird, who made use of Sutton's
patent just before World War II. Sutton devised it to transmit
the running of the Melbourne Cup horse-race in Melbourne,
to the town of Ballarat. It did not have a screen, and the
viewer had to look into a hole at the end of a long tube.
Sutton's method of signal transfer involved the use of telegraph
lines, which could not handle the amount of data required
for high resolution pictures. Had the radio been invented
before this, Sutton's telephane could perhaps have been more
In 1927, at the suggestion of Presbyterian missionary John
Flynn, electrical engineer and wireless experimenter Alfred
Traeger developed the pedal wireless. The innovative pedal-operated
generator connected to a wireless, provided remote Australian
settlements with a practical and an inexpensive method of
communication with the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
The pedal wireless was also the innovation that made it possible
for the School of the Air to be established.
Due to an unresolved dispute
with the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade),
who copied and adopted as their own certain material from
Tomorrow's World, the Australian Initiative, and published
the material in their Australia Open for Business website,
without remorse or recompense, access
by Australian Government servers to this online edition
has been blocked indefinitely.