For a third of the twentieth century, the only way Antipodeans could talk with people on the other side of the world was by wireless. The submarine cables that traversed the oceans from the 1860s carried messages in Morse code, ‘telegraphy’, but not voice. From 30 April 1930, the wireless telephone service made it possible to conduct a conversation in real time between England and Australia. This article explores the old era of international wireless telephony at a time when wireless is again transforming social and economic possibilities. It examines the economics and politics of the era, the man most closely identified with the Australian services, the technology employed and the way the service was used, identifying similarities and differences between this period and the present.