Wheatstone Telegram with message displayed in a version of morse code on strips of paper tape pasted on to a backing sheet.

The main text of the decoded message reads: "Changing address Saturday writing love"

In the Wheatstone telegraph system, an operator used a perforator to encode the message to be transmitted as a sequence of holes punched in paper tape. The tape was fed into a transmitter which converted the pattern of punched holes into a sequence of long and short pulses of electric current which were sent along the telegraph line to the receiving station. The receiver converted the pulses into a succession of short and long marks on a strip of paper tape. The tape was cut into suitable lengths and pasted on to a backing sheet for record purposes. A copy of the decoded message was provided to the recipient of the telegram.

The version of the morse code used in this telegram was the Universal Telegraph Code, adopted by all the Australain Colonies on 1st August 1897.

Physical Description

Single leaf of brown paper. Five lengths of white paper tape carrying code markings pasted on to brown paper.

More Information

  • Collection Names

    Telegraphy Collection

  • Collecting Areas

    Information & Communication

  • Acquisition Information

    Donation from Mr Brian O'Shaunassey, 26 May 2003

  • Inscriptions

    Black masthead in upper centre": "WHEATSTONE TELEGRAM". Beneath masthead: "Auto No ......." and "Station to ........" In upper left corner, with black line border at right and below: "Form E. T. No. 11 Time Received ....... Time Transcribed ........" In upper right corner, at top centre of square box with black line border: "DATE STAMP" Below DATE STAMP box: "Time Sent ......" Around circumference of circular stamp partially within DATE STAMP box: "TELEGRAPHS WAGGA WAGGA NSW" Across diameter of circular stamp partially within DATE STAMP box: "16APR24" Note: Decoded message reads:

  • Classification

    Communications, Telegraphy, Output

  • Category

    History & Technology

  • Discipline


  • Type of item


  • Object Measurements

    34.4 cm (Length), 21.1 cm (Width)
    Measurements are of the largest piece of paper, the brown piece.