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Fanny Green: Pioneer Of Telegraphy

The Electric Telegraph Station at Point Lonsdale will be in [the] charge of a lady, Miss Green. We are informed that several of the softer sex are now being taught in Melbourne the mysteries of telegraphing. Geelong Advertiser (1 October 1861).

In 1854, Captain John Preston, the lighthouse keeper began building the signal station on the clifftop overlooking the perilous Rip at the entrance to Port Phillip. His niece, Fanny Green, lived and worked in the lighthouse, perched high on the windy clifftop. Fanny’s job was to relay shipping arrival news to Melbourne via the single wire linking Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale. She became proficient with the tidal flags managed by her uncle to assist ships.

Fanny would eventually instruct many female operators, become post-mistress at Malmsbury in 1869 and manage the post and telegraph office at Chiltern during the scare of the Kelly gang.

On her death in 1912 an Argus obituary ran: ‘Miss Frances Green, a regarded officer of the old brigade of telegraphists, died at South Yarra early in March last, at the age of 71 years. Her death revives the early association of Queenscliff’.

Image: at signal station Point Lonsdale c.1890, Miss Fanny Green. Credit: QHM