12.08.2010 27 °C
The telegraph track runs alongside where the old telegraph line used to be. The telegraph line was built to communicate from Thursday Island to Brisbane using Morse code.
In the year 1885 the first section of the telegraph line was established, it ran between Fairview and Mein just north of Coen. It cost just over $30,000 to build 320 kms of line, and included a path that was 40 metres wide and was cleared of all trees.
It took Forty seven men to build the line and each camp was guarded by Native Mounted Police because of the war like aborigines that inhabited the area.
The northern section of the line was approximately 260km, much of it through boggy swamp country around the Jardine River, this section would also cost $30,000.
As the line was being built Aboriginal tribesmen cut the wire, stole insulators and burnt grass for kilometres around. The Telegraph stations along the line were built like forts.
The telegraph stations at Musgrave and Coen were opened in December 1886, Mein in July 1887 and Mc Donnell and Paterson at peak point on the western end of Punsand Bay, were opened in August 1887 the same year as Mein.
In that same month a submarine cable was laid between Thursday Island and Peak Point. There was now communication between people on the Island and faraway Brisbane by Morse code.
The line was used as a useful tool in World War 2. The last Morse code message from Brisbane and Thursday Island was sent on the 24th of June 1964. It was then used up until it was dismantled in 1987, as a local telephone line was installed through the Cape to Bamaga and with a branch line to Weipa. Today microwave towers are used as communication and in 2006 an optic cable was run along much of the original Old Telegraph Track.
Now days the track is used by four wheel drivers and every year it is getting harder to drive because the track is no longer getting maintained now that there is no telegraph line that needs regular maintenance.
Written by Josh