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Press Release: Telegraph to Tamworth

Issued: 22 January 2006

IF you’re nursing an achy breaky heart because you can’t make it to this week’s Tamworth Country Music Festival, bootscoot down to Cape Otway Lightstation where you can send a Morse code message to wish your favourite star all the best in the Golden Guitar awards.

A pair of telegraphists will be at the Cape Otway Telegraph Station on January 25 and 26 to receive and distribute messages around the world from country music fans in Tamworth, New South Wales.

Cape Otway has been chosen as one of 12 receiver stations around Australia and will be manned by Peter Shaw and Ted Rankin, both of Bendigo.

Mr Shaw said Telstra had sponsored two lines into Cape Otway so the veteran telegraphists could accept their share of up to 3,000 messages sent from Tamworth.

The Morsecodians Fraternity at Tamworth usually transmit messages, but don’t receive them.

This year Mr Shaw has asked for a noticeboard to be erected in the Telstra Marquee in Tamworth’s main street so fans can send messages to their favourite country star – be it Sara Storer, Troy Cassar-Daley, Kasey Chambers or even Hollywood’s Russell Crowe who will play at the Golden Guitar awards.

You can send a message to festival favourites, or friends and family visiting Tamworth, free of charge from Cape Otway Lightstation’s historic telegraph station between 9am and 5pm on January 25 and 26, Australia Day.
The station was built in 1859 to forge a communications link between Tasmania and the mainland.

It was later used as a Lloyds of London signalling station and received messages from the thousands of sailing ships which negotiated Bass Strait to deliver hopeful immigrants to the fledgling colony and goldfields.
The recently restored Telegraph Station is now open as a museum and is one of the highlights of a visit to the Lightstation precinct.

For further information please contact Lightstation manager Paul Thompson on 5237 9240. Both Paul and telegraphist Peter Shaw are available for interview.

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