Traversing the Australian continent from North to South is a telegraph line – a lonely thread of technology that, from its completion in 1872 became a primary source of news from the Old World for the fledgling colonies of European settlement in Australia. On a trans-continental journey a number of years ago, I passed a ruined telegraph repeater station, and was struck by the disparity between the silence and tranquillity of the surroundings through which the telegraph line travelled and the content of the constantly flowing information that the line once would have carried. Telegraphed is a reflection on that moment. The first words transmitted down the line back in 1872 were “We have this day…”, and these appear in morse code throughout the work. Now 140 years later, as Australia finally and belatedly engages in reconciliation between the traditional owners of this country and non-indigenous Australians, those words and their carpe diem sentiments seem to find new resonance.
The work is written for and dedicated to the Fisenden Flute Ensemble – a group comprising many friends and long-time colleagues. I thank them for their support and input in the development of this work.