It's something we take for granted now but this year marks 111 years since the telephone came to Nowra.
While Nowra Post Office had a telephone switchboard as early as 1887, and the railway station at Bomaderry used that communication in 1895, the service was not readily available until later.
The first exchange, which opened in the later part of 1908, proved to be a positive starting point for the town.
Apparently the first subscriber was Walter Elyard, a motor launch proprietor operating from premises on the southern bank of the Shoalhaven River near the bridge.
The second was the Albion Hotel with licensee Alexander Reid, while number three was Malcolm Elder, well out of town at Nowra Park.
Also on the list of 17 were the two doctors, the local State MP, Nowra Municipal Council chambers, and apart from other businesses in the Nowra CBD, the bacon factory at Bomaderry.
In the early days Nowra customers paid four pounds annual rental, and the first 1000 local calls were free. Subsequent calls were charged at the rate of four a penny.
The exchange operated in a room six feet by four feet at Nowra Post Office between 9am and 8pm daily, but two years later there was a continuous service.
Some six years later there were 72 names on the directory for Nowra.
There was no longer a 'Nowra 1' on the list with Mr Elyard being allocated 49, a number that was also connected to his residence.
Women with their own private phones included Mss Thorburn (Meroogal), Eliza Hill (Moss Street) and Miss Mrgaret Grant (Plunkett Street).
It took until 1915 for the town to have its first public telephone installed. During the same year the first "telephone girls" were employed, taking up duty on March 29.
The number of subscribers didn't warrant a phone book until 1973, when the Hampden Bridge at Kangaroo Valley featured on the front cover.
During 1981 technology gave Nowra a fully automatic telephone system with Subscriber Trunk Dialled (STD) access throughout Australia.
Information provided by Shoalhaven Historical Society