The invention of the electric telegraph in the 1820s revolutionised communication and information exchange in the same way the internet did in the 1990s.
It was rolled out in Victoria in the mid-1850s and became an essential tool for Victoria Police by the 1860s and 70s.
The first time police realised the amazing potential of the telegraph was in England in 1845. An operator at Paddington Railway Station received a message from Slouth, a town West of London, to say that a murder suspect had boarded a train bound for London and was seated in the last compartment of the second first-class carriage. Police intercepted the train at Paddington railway station and arrested the suspect, who was later found guilty of murder and sentenced to death.
Victoria Police used the electric telegraph extensively when the Kelly Gang were at large between 1878 and 1880: generating hundreds of pages of correspondence relating to the Gang’s crimes and police operations.