Ladies of the Exchange Mural

The Story Behind This Mural

Michael Wortel is the artist who paid tribute to The Ladies of the Exchange of 1958.

In 1882 the first country telephone exchange in Australia was opened in Maryborough on the upper floor of the Post Office with 32 subscribers.  The Postmaster General’s Department took over the Exchanges in 1901 following Federation.

This mural shows telephonists working the manual exchange in the Post Office in 1958. The ladies are (from left to right): Lorraine Bell (Todd), Shirley Dopson, Merlyn Biggs (Pollitt), Judy Oliver (Gadd), Mary Hyne (Fredricksen), Margaret Byrne (Moller), Gloria Knowles, Val England (English), Judy Tudman (Lavaring), Flora Ross, Tess Cole (Marks), Laurel Walker (Barker) and Isobel Corvesor.

In 1975 Telecom Australia was formed and subsequently the Postmaster General’s Department became known as Telstra.  This mural has been placed on the current Telstra exchange building, which has been home to the automatic telephone services since 1960.

Mural Location

About the Artist

The commissioned artist, Michael Wortel, has an interest in all artistic media.  Michael completed his signwriting apprenticeship in Maryborough with Telecom Australia.  He now has a local signwriting business called Wide Bay Signs.

Contributors to this Mural

The Maryborough Mural Project relies entirely on the generosity of volunteers and sponsors from our local community. The artist’s commission for this mural was generously sponsored by Telstra Countrywide. The photo used by the artist is Image No. (BP 273) and was provided courtesy of the Maryborough Wide Bay & Burnett Historical Society Inc. The Committee would like to thank Mrs Tracey Christoffel, Ms Tracey Gray, Mr Rai Whitten, and Mr Geoff Negus for their time and expertise in coordinating this mural. We would also like to thank the following businesses for their kind sponsorship of the mural.