The Telstra phone exchange in the main street of Richmond was automated in 1972. Previously, the manual exchange had a staff of 30 women plus 2 male night attendants.
If you’ve walked by there recently, you’ll see it’s now an overgrown eyesore, with weeds spilling over the fence and choking what would otherwise be a pleasant space. People are telling me that it was so lovely once it won awards and people got their wedding photos taken there. A rockery and a wooden arbor are still inside.
Given that we’ve completed some beautifications along the main street, I don’t think it’s too much to ask Telstra, who posted a $2.1B profit last year, to clean it up, or even turn it into a mini-park.
Then, something wonderful happened. After I wrote to Telstra corporate, I actually got some action!
By Wednesday, I had a response from Corporate to promise that something would be done, and that they’d call me to discuss the long term future of the site, which used to be so pretty, I’m told it won garden awards. the next day, workmen attended despite the rain and cleaned up the site. Then, I received a phone call from the head of property maintenance at Telstra. They apologised for letting it slip off the radar, have committed to undertake maintenance on a monthly schedule, and are very, very open to granting permission for it to be a community garden. What they’ve asked for is a concept design. We need to find a landscape gardener prepared to draw one up. I’d also like to engage the Chamber of Commerce and local businesses to sponsor. No one is more surprised than me, and I’m happy to praise Telstra for doing the right thing and for reacting so quickly!

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