Many years ago, in fact. But this telephone stands on a shattered timber platform dug into the side of a towering dolorite cliff, on an island at the juncture of the Southern Ocean and the Tasman Sea. There’s few more remote phone booths on the face of the earth.
For many decades, this phone had a vital purpose: supply ship crews unloading provisions and people onto Tasman Island would dial up the lighthouse keeper to let him know they’d arrived, and he’d start up a winch and cable car to get the load from sea level to the top of the lonely island: a painstaking journey of about 900 feet. From 1906 to the 1970s, this is how building materials, food, furniture, livestock and humans were loaded onto Tasman’s windswept plateau. It didn’t always go to plan’.
You can read more about Tasman Island in Jock Serong’s story (with stunning images by Jon Frank) in our new issue, available in good bookstores and newsagencies on 22 January.