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Collapse Issue 411 - 23 Jan 2017Issue 411 - 23 Jan 2017
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Rail crossing death
Accident highlights 'unresolved issue', says chamber
Tribute and condolences
Why the government shelved the level crossing project
Solution needed before more accidents, says Harris
Department declines to provide information
Proposal to limit hearings at Woy Woy courthouse
MacDonald calls for more consultation on court changes
Labor criticises court service loss
Celebrations at Woy Woy and Wagstaffe
Celebrations at Pearl Beach
Implement a dune plan, says community group
Group plans to continue lobbying for better roads
Association releases black spot survey
Marine Rescue kept busy
Local fishers would support 'buy local' campaign
Police target boating activities
Man charged with murder
Man dies at Umina beach
Teenager injured near Warrah Trig
Build more tourist accommodation, says Wales
Dry start to the year
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Peninsula lives matter
Proposed service station statement misleading
Performing arts in entertainment hub?
Consider flora and fauna on Australia Day
Pelicans don't wear T-shirts
Imperceptive and simplistic
A rip-off and wrong
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Skills to help people avoid suicide
Exercise after breast cancer
A grand master in Chinese health practice
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Classes resume at arts and crafts centre
International performers at folk club
Coloured pencil workshop
Solo performance at Umina cafe
Songwriters' conference deferred for a year
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Matt chosen to provide mechanical support in bike race
Ocean Beach to host Central Coast championships
First place in round five
Old and former members invited
Collapse  HISTORY HISTORY
Pearl Beach pool dates to 1926
Life as a night telephone operator

Life as a night telephone operator

When I transferred to Woy Woy post office in 1966, I was trained as a night telephone operator at the Woy Woy Telephone Exchange, located at Blackwall Rd, Woy Woy, and next door to the old post office.

There were 40 or so telephonists during the day and two male telephonists on the midnight to dawn shift.

A warning call came from Sydney every hour to ensure you were awake, if you failed to answer the call, it would then trigger off an alarm.

One night the inevitable happened, I fell asleep and the very-loud alarm went off.

It was like a fire-alarm bell.

The police constable appeared in a matter of minutes, wanting to know what was wrong.

I explained that I had fallen asleep and this set off the alarm.

"Where's the key?" he asked.

"The postmaster has it," I said.

So he smashed the glass and turned the alarm off.

The postmaster, Mr Bill Collins, was not impressed.

"You'll have to pay for that," he said.

The police, the night-watchman and the security men often called in through the night to have a cup of coffee and to swap stories.

Henry Wong, an owner of a restaurant in Umina, would call in after closing.

He wore a black apron around his waist, which carried his night's takings and also a little pistol for which he had a licence.

It was very tiny, like the ones you used to see carried in ladies purses in the Hollywood thrillers.

Well, Henry was telling a story about his experiences in China during the Japanese occupation.

The police and the security men all dived under the table, while I was too frozen with fear to move.

A voice from under the table said, "Put the pistol down Henry."

Henry looked around, mystified, and reluctantly put the pistol back in his apron.

Another night, a gentlemen rang up the exchange saying he had murdered his wife.

The police went to the man's address and the security man went off on his own to investigate.

He went to the wife's place and there she was, large as life, watching the late-late movie on television.

Would you believe the film was, Murder My Sweet, starring Dick Powell and Claire Trevor?

Whether the man had a nightmare or too much of the demon rum, who can tell, these two incidents were the most exciting things to happen during my stay as a night telephone operator.

Very soon the automatic telephone exchange was built in MacMasters Rd, Woy Woy, and eventually the old manual exchange was demolished.

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