Australia - International: 1928 - 1946.
Cable & Wireless.

In 1928, the battle between the cable companies and the Marconi wireless operation of the Beam came to a head. Technological developments enabled one group and then the other to provide a better service.

 The cable companies were however heavily subsidised by a number of Governments while Marconi was experiencing financial difficulties especially in the short term.

In 1928, an Empire Government Conference was held in London with the covert agenda being to determine an equitable basis for a merger of the competing interests under Government (i.e. London’s) control. Recommendations were made, with subsequent parliamentary decisions passed, to establish two separate companies as from 28 April 1929:

 In 1934:

  • the name of the second company was changed to Cable and Wireless Ltd.;
  • the name of the holding company was changed to Cable and Wireless (Holding) Ltd.

The whole of the overseas cable and radio-telegraph services throughout the British Empire (including especially Australia, Canada, India and South Africa) was now under British control. That merger inluded not just the Eastern group of Companies but also the Marconi companies (including the AWA technology), the Pacific Cable Board and the English Post Office (Empirado).

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In March 1934, the Post Office issued an official circular stating:

“Approval has been given for one common routing indicator Via Imperial to be adopted for Cablegrams (in lieu of the existing separate indicators Via Eastern and via Pacific) as from 1 April 1934. The new message forms printed by the Cable Company will show the route Via Imperial only. Stocks of the existing Via Eastern and Via Pacific forms will, however, not be exhausted for some time and these forms may, in the meantime, continue to be presented at Post Office counters”.

In 1946, the Chifley Labor Government passed the Overseas Telecommunications Bill and established the Overseas Telecommunications Commission (Australia) – the OTC. This organisation replaced the UK-based Cable and Wireless authority with a strategic marriage between the Postmaster-General’s Department and the OTC.  The OTC also inherited all AWA operations.