An old wooden telephone box at Ross has been given a new lease on life as a source of local stories.
There are two of the “Tasman Flag” red wooden telephone boxes located on Ross’ main street – only one of which houses a still-working pay phone.
Both boxes have been maintained by the Tasmanian Wool Centre for many years, which still attract much attention from tourists and passersby who stop to have their photos taken inside them.
“We feel privileged to call Ross our home,” a text section on the inside of the telephone box reads.
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“Whether our families have been here for generations or we have arrived more recently we have a story to tell.”
“So ‘dial up a local’ and listen to some tales that only we locals would know.”
About two years ago, the wool centre decided to make use of the empty phone box and began to workshop a plan.
The idea that followed would be to gather stories from residents, to be loaded into a traditional-style telephone for all to step in and listen to.
Funding for the project was obtained through the Tasmanian Community Fund, with project management was provided by the wool centre.
Joe Robinson, a technician from Bitlink in Launceston, developed the software and built a vintage telephone with a dial mechanism for accessing the stories held within.
There are seven stories now loaded into the phone, each to be found through a different number on the dial – which has given the telephone box its “dial a local” name.
Stepping into the phone box, people are not just presented with audio stories either.
A large backdrop image shows a woman sitting at the switchboard of the Campbell Town Telephone Exchange in the 1960s.
From here, the wool centre plan to rotate a series of stories throughout the year as more are collected from residents, an effort to give even further insight to those who pass through the town and stop for a photo.
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