ABI Brother and myself were given electronic morse code machines for christmas I suppose, when we were kids. Before wireless and bluetooth, our morse code machines had to connect with wires. We had a lot of fun with them before they failed to proceed, as many electronic toys did back then. Our walkie talkies did not work for long either. The tin cans with string were more reliable.
I learnt morse code, but now I only recall SOS. It is not like riding a bike but more like piano playing. Use it or lose it.
Morse code became terribly important as a method of direct communication that did not rely on a slow ship or land transport. In 1871 a submarine cable appeared in Darwin. In 1872 the cable from Adelaide joined to the cable from London at Darwin and there was now a direct electronic connection. Through repeater stations and the competence of morse code operators, a message could go to or from London in seven hours.
This year, 2012 is the 140th anniversary of the cable connection. It was truly a remarkable achievement. Our indigenous were suspicious of this cable running through their lands, and insulators could be shaped to make very good spear heads. Once they realised the cable meant them no harm, the thieving stopped.
I wish I could turn back the clock and remember the economy of morse code as against the lengthiness of emails. Perhaps the simple brevity of phone text messages is like the morse code of old.
Beechworth and send a morse code message. I could even send a telegram from what is surely one of the last remaining telegraph stations, built in 1858. Would the message convert to a phone text, an email or a Face Book post?