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Byron Shire
June 1, 2023

Phone book gets a new look

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The 1952 cover of the North Coast Districts Telephone Directory.

This month, a new-look local telephone directory will hit the streets of Northern Rivers towns.

The format has changed, with the height and width of the new White Pages and Yellow Pages now 15 per cent smaller than before, and to celebrate the compact-size book, publisher Sensis has researched the history of the region’s phone book.

‘From the days when rabbit dealers used to advertise, to the modern-day additions of paintball skirmish and jet-propelled skis, it is an interesting look at the evolution of the area and our pastimes,’ Sensis group product manager Jane Blackley said.

‘Known as the North Coast Districts Phone Book in its early days, the Lismore book has changed dramatically over the years. In 1952, an advertisement for Gillespie’s Famous Anchor Flour appeared on the cover and the book consisted of 55 pages of residential listings and 32 advertising pages, which were known as the Pink Pages,’ Ms Blackley said.

Early phone books in Australia included listings for asbestos manufacturers and mulesing consultants but these two categories no longer exist, and one of the new listings is ‘asbestos removal’.

‘Today, we’re seeing more health and beauty, green and IT-related industries featured,” she said.

‘Since 1992, the number of listings in the book under Solar Energy has increased from 35 to around 80. In the same time, the number of Retirement Village listings has increased from 11 to 27. There has also been a move to organics, with Organic Products listings increasing from zero to 16 in the same period and an increase in Art Gallery listings from 24 to 44.

Over time, people’s needs have also changed, with most people now preferring to use a book that isn’t as big and is easier to handle. This has been the biggest criticism of the book, which is why the decision has been made to standardise the format of every phone book and reduce the height and width by 15 per cent, so they’re more convenient to use.’


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