The Number You Have Dialled Has Been Disconnected


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.

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