The Cable Station at La Perouse was built by the Eastern Extention Australasian and China Telegraph Company in 1881. Designed by the Colonial Architect James Barnett, its purpose was to receive telegraphs from New Zealand and re-transmit them to the General Post Office in Sydney.
In 1876 a telegraph cable was laid from Nelson in New Zealand to La Perouse in Australia at a cost of 290,000 pounds. Botany Bay was chosen as its terminus because fewer ships passed that way reducing the possibility of damage to the cable. The Cable Station was necessary because the submarine cable could not be connected directly to the landline so messages were received and then re-transmitted to the city.
The Cable Station operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The central part of the station was the instruments room with the wings on either side accommodating the cable operators and administrators. In 1890 a second cable was laid however by 1917 the cable station became redundant because of technological advances in telegraphy. A new cable was laid through Bondi and messages were sent directly to the city.
Between 1920 and 1933 the station was used as living quarters for nurses at Prince Henry Hospital. In 1944 the Salvation Army leased the building for use as a refuge for women and children until 1987 when National Parks and Wildlife took over.
On the 23 February 1988 the cable station was opened as the La Perouse Museum. It houses information about the indigenous people of the area as well as information and artefacts from the La Perouse expedition.
List of References
- Howard Stanley, History of La Perouse Monument Historic Site (LH994.4/STAN)
- The La Perouse Museum Information Sheet
- National Parks and Wildlife Service: La Perouse Museum Guide
- Randwick: A Social History (LH994.41/RAN)
- The Cable Station, La Perouse: Conservation Plan, May 1987 (LH725.099441/NEW)