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One of the last manual telephone exchanges with party lines in Australia was closed down in 1986 in the township of Collarenebri, where most town residents had a telephone number of only three digits, and to make a call outside the exchange area it was necessary to call the exchange to place a call.

For rural residents, many were on a single telephone line identified by a number and a property name, for example one party line was called Gundabluie 1 line.

This often led to traffic congestion in the telephone network, as the line to a destination telephone was often busy.

The electro-mechanical switching equipment required for their operation was rapidly becoming obsolete, supplanted by electronic and digital switching equipment.

The new telephone exchange equipment offered vertical service code calling features such as call forwarding and call waiting, but often was incompatible with multi-party lines.

In June 1968, the conviction of three Winter Park, Florida men on bookmaking charges was overturned as police had used a party-line telephone in a rented house on the same line as the suspects to unlawfully intercept their communications.

Any handset off-hook therefore tied up the line for everyone.

Universities also phased out the systems, which were once common in student dormitories.

Illinois State University terminated its last party line in 1990.In rural areas in the early 20th century, additional subscribers and telephones, often numbering several dozen, were frequently connected to the single loop available. They were frequently used as a source of entertainment and gossip, as well as a means of quickly alerting entire neighbourhoods of emergencies such as fires, becoming a cultural fixture of rural areas for many decades.The rapid growth of telephone service demand, especially after World War II, resulted in a large fraction of party line installations in the middle of the 20th century in the United States.Each party on that single line was identified by a letter, and so to call that party, the exchange would be called and the number asked for would be Gundabluie 1 S for example.The exchange rang a distinct ring down the Gundabluie 1 line, signalling the party's corresponding letter in Morse code.This distinctive ring would alert all parties on the line who the call was for.Three short rings signified the call was for the party with the S letter and so on.The service was common in sparsely populated areas where remote properties were spread across large distances.An example is Australia where these were operated by the Government Post Master General department.Further to this functional deficiency, was a twofold practical deficiency.For though one was only to answer one's own ringing code, every party on the same subscriber line could hear all the ringing codes.

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