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THE WIRE: Stories of Morse Code

Published: Thursday, 5 July 2018 at 11:01:11 AM

Image courtesy of Barking Wolf.

Since its inception in the early 1900’s, Morse Code has played a pivotal role in creating a more interconnected world. But has the ease and accessibility of communication changed the very nature of how we connect? As we move towards a more automated, immediate society, what are we losing along the way?

In early 2017, Tom and Mitchell met with the remaining members of the Morse Code Fraternity of WA to learn about the role Morse played in connecting Perth to greater Australia and the world. Morse communication was powered by people, and with any language comes error, interpretation and personality.

With the advent of more sophisticated communication technology in the latter half of the 21st century, the unique language of Morse Code was made redundant. In more recent years, many of the last Morsecodians have stopped practicing their craft due to old age and sickness. As a result, the fraternity closed its doors for the final time late last year. This marked not only the end of era, but embodied the sense of loss for members, both in the way of personal identity and mateship.

Technology continues to shape our social interactions and disrupt the way interact. As major industries like automated taxi services, roboticized mines and online dating become the mainstay, what place will we reserve for the human touch?

'The Wire: Stories of Morse Code’ was produced for the Wireless Hill Museum and funded by the City of Melville.


Barking Wolf is a Fremantle-based documentary partnership comprised of Tom Allum and Mitchell Withers. Their works serve to open up discussions and unearth the less tangible, less thought about aspects of society. Through the mediums of film and sound, the pair share stories that seek to connect deeply with audiences and encourage them to reflect on who we are, how we treat each other and the places we live.

Past projects include Intergenerational (Curtin University), a short series that looks at the challenges of two young men with intellectual disability as they transition out of high school.The films explore how nurturing relationships, fundamental respect and trust are key factors in assisting young people to join the workforce.

Youth Stories of Change is a documentary that takes a systemic look at the state of the youth work sector here in WA. The film gives voice to youth workers on the ground, advocacy bodies, politicians and decision makers, as well as the young people impacted by services.

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