The First Message
The first message between Melbourne and Hobart was transmitted on 29 September 1859. The facility was hailed in the newspapers as ushering in a new age for Bass Strait communication and on the 3rd October 1859, Launceston and Hobart had a public holiday to celebrate its completion. Hobart’s Mulgrave battery fired a 21 gun salute in honour of the new link.
Though launched with confidence, the line to King Island failed within weeks and the venture was soon to end in costly anti-climax. After more fruitless attempts to repair it, it was abandoned in the following year (1861). The cable laying had cost £53,000 and would not be attempted again for another 10 years. (Source: Beacons of Hope)