Sunday, January 25, 2009

Myer Phone Number

As I have written before, but can't now find, where we grew up, telephone party lines were common. Our old one was 41W or 41UU. I never saw it written, so I don't know which. A short ring followed by two longer rings would get our attention.

By the time I came more phone aware, most phone numbers were six digits, ** ****. Then along another digit, *** ****. Now **** ****. I don't think the number of land lines would now be increasing at the pace they were. It is now cheaper to have broadband internet than two dial up lines, one for the phone and one for the pc. That was the clinching factor when we switched to broadband in the late nineties.

Before my time, Melbourne phone numbers used to be two letters, followed by mostly four digits e.g. UV 1234.

One phone number that always used to amuse me, and I know some of you will remember it, is Myer Melbourne, our large department store in the city.

Here is the present one for the main switchboard, 9661 1111. Relying on memory here, but only shortly before phone numbers went to seven digits, the Myer number became 61 1111. But for most of the time when I think every phone number in Melbourne had six digits, an old one of ours in Balaclava was 31 4101, the 31 one denoting a connection to an Elwood exchange, Myer stuck with just five digits, 6 1111.

I think this lasted into the nineteen nineties and seems very odd nowadays and did even back then. Do I recall the switchboard used to answer with 'Which department please?'


  1. We still have a six digit phone number. 87****...the 87 being the code for Fleetwood, the other four digits, apparently, being the number of the Chinese Takeaway on North Albert Street, if the drunken pillocks who phone me up by accident every Saturday night and ask for two fried rice and a sweet and sour chicken are anything by which to judge.

  2. I only love Myer because it is where I was fitted for my first was embarrasing at my young age, lol...I do not know their number, I just go there. Oh, and I love the smell of their fragrance dept :)

  3. Anonymous11:40 am

    I've always known the eight digit and the (03) for Victoria. I rarely call overseas (not least because some of my relatives are mad).

  4. i remember the weird Myer number it was either 61111 or 66111 but either way it was very odd given the rest of Melbourne had moved to 7 digit numbers (which are now 8). Perhaps they paid Telecom/Telstra a tidy sum to keep the old-style number!

  5. I can remember ringing Myer in the early 90's when their number was uber-short and wondering if it was a misprint lol.

  6. the Brighton exchange was XM which became '96' - my grandmothers phone was XM2000 and became 96 2000
    Now it would be 9596 2000.

    And I remember hundreds of people were EMPLOYED on switchboards.

    oh for the old days.

  7. Brian, I recall Hyacinth Bucket had a similar problem. Your area codes cover much smaller areas, and so not the need for so many digits.

    Youth bragging about their age will not be tolerated Reuben.

    TV AU, I reckon it was because the Myer phone system was so old and antiquated, it could not be changed. The phone system still functioned perfectly well. I would be interested to know why.

    Checking up on your lay by Jayne?

    They would be Call Centres now Ann. Get with it. Pretty privileged phone number 2000.

  8. You just turned up as the top result when I put "myer melbourne switchboard" into Google.

    All I wanted was their current number, but this was a nice read. Thanks!

    1. Thanks Kazman. I had forgotten about this post.