Oral History, John Riddett, Part One

The Postmaster-General’s Department and the Overseas Telecommunications Commission delivered all telecommunications services for the 1956 Olympic Games, from congratulatory telegrams destined for the athlete’s village to international broadcasts. Across telegraph, telephone, radio and post, approximately 7 million words were communicated during the Games and £40,000 in special edition postage stamps were sold.

In his oral history, John Riddett describes life as a postal clerk during the 1956 Olympic Games (starting 42 minutes). Though the telephone was gaining popularity over the telegram, Riddett remembers the surge in demand for telegraphic services: 36 million telegrams were sent during the Games, three for every citizen of Australia.

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