The National Communications Museum explores the power of communication and the technologies that enable it to create and transform societies. We are a dynamic and contemporary museum that fosters connectivity and understanding and facilitates conversations around the ongoing challenge of communication.
Designed by award winning architects Carr Design, the Museum sits in an emerging cultural and STEM precinct alongside neighbouring Swinburne University of Technology and opposite the Hawthorn Arts Centre, on Burwood Road, Hawthorn. Visitors to the National Communications Museum can explore the fascinating stories of Australia’s technological innovation and resourcefulness in overcoming vast distances in an often-hostile natural environment.
Focusing on two-way communication – both analogue and digital – the Museum will host an array of working material artefacts and technologies, developed and designed in response to one of the fundamental drivers of our humanity: the innate need to connect.
Technologies the museum will explore include Indigenous communication methods past and present, post, telegraphy, telephony, two-way radio, satellite, social media, the National Broadband Network, and the innovations and technologies of various Australian communication developers and vendors. The Museum will provide engaging and interactive experiences that are accessible and meaningful to all visitors.
For over sixty years a small band of Postmaster-General’s Department (PMG), Australia Post, Telecom and Telstra former and current employees have passionately collected and preserved communications artefacts: telegraph and telephone equipment, postal bags, uniforms and machinery, cables and equipment, photographs and ephemera dating back to the 1850s.
In 2018 Heritage Telecommunications Limited (HTL) trading as the National Communications Museum was established with the support of former and current Telstra employees, and the endorsement of senior management at Telstra to develop strategies for consolidating- and ultimately interpreting and sharing, the important communication artefacts scattered across the country.
HTL is an independent not for profit subsidiary of Telstra Corporation Limited, registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission with Deductible Gift Recipient status through the Australian Tax Office. HTL was registered as a charity with the aim(s) of:
- Advancing culture by establishing and operating public museum to collect, preserve, and maintain items, and artefacts of historical significance involving the postal and telecommunications industries,
- Advancing education by educating the community on the history and development of the postal and telecommunications industries.
In late 2018 HTL purchased a warehouse and fit it out as a state of the art, climate-controlled collection storage facility. The task of consolidating the nationally dispersed collection into the new facility commenced in October 2019. Simultaneously, work commenced to transform the 1939 Telephone Exchange in Burwood Road Hawthorn, into the future facing ‘National Communications Museum’. Architects Carr Design were briefed to successfully incorporate the building’s industrial aesthetic and the in-situ working collection – primarily telephone exchanges – into the final design. A tender document for the build was issued in December 2020, with building works commencing in April 2021 with an expected opening date in 2023. The new Museum sits in an emerging cultural and STEM precinct – alongside Swinburne University of Technology and opposite the Hawthorn Arts Centre – five kilometres east of Melbourne’s CBD.