Australian Post Office
Telephone No. 232

Telephone, Automatic, Table

Introduced around 1938, the type 232 superseded the Telephone No. 162.  This later model was similar to the Type 162 but technically superior as it had an anti-sidetone induction coil as a standard fitment.

The Type 162 phone proved quite adequate for its purpose, but the rather clumsy attached Bellset with its external cord caused some maintenance problems.  By 1937 modifications had been designed that allowed the whole works to be enclosed inside the cases.  The modifications included a revised combined anti-sidetone and induction coil, a redesigned cradle made from an early cellulose plastic to make repairs to broken cradles less likely, a better non-sticking plunger in the cradle and removal of the external cord from the bell box to inside the phone.

These changes, though not major, turned the phone into a good reliable instrument.  Some companies produced equivalent one-piece models with slightly different styling.  Siemens still produced their Neophone with a case that was lower but more angular, and GEC produced the Gecophone in a more rounded form (see below).  Other companies produced the 232 for the various Post Office administrations as well.  In Australia, AWA (Amalgamated Wireless Australasia Ltd ) started production in 1934.  Initially they used some parts imported from Siemens in Britain, but gradually AWA, TMC and STC were able to produce most of Australia's telephone needs.

The phones could be adapted to auto, CB or magneto use.  At left is a magneto version with a small magneto in a separate wooden box. Even the wooden box was eventually replaced by an art deco-style Bakelite box.

The demand for the phones was high, and so was the price.  Some subscribers found they could buy in a phone from Britain and it would work on the Australian system.  This was tolerated due to a shortage of phones, but in 1942 the PMG announced that it would purchase these phones back from their owners and replace them with the 232.  The purchased phone had to be in good condition , and had to be replaced because of an exchange upgrade (manual to auto) or because the subscriber was upgrading to a coloured phone from the PMG. The purchased phones could be refurbished and reused.  In this way the Neophone and Gecophone and a couple of others joined the ranks of PMG phones, albeit temporarily.

Eventually there were around 300,000 of the 232 issued and they were still being taken out of service into the 1980s.

Long line models, the Telephone No's 251AT and 252CBT were also available.

See also British Post Office Telephone No. 232

Taken from Bob's Old Phones

232MT Model

Effectively a BPO Telephone No. 162.  This set was used for Magneto connections and is seen below on a Bellset No. 25M.  A hand generator and batteries would be associated with this set.  This set is not fitted with an anti-side tone induction coil.


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Last revised July 24, 2021