Here in Australia, from the mid-1890s,
spark transmitter experiments with radio telegraphy had taken place with 12” and 14” coils, even prior to Marconi’s
spanning of the Atlantic.
In Hobart, in 1902, there was a successful contact
with the HMS St. George, which was one of the first ships accompanying the Duke of York (later KG5) on his visit to Australia
to open the first Federal Parliament in Melbourne.
Several contacts were achieved with the ship, both on the Derwent Estuary and
on the east coast of Tasmania, with the greatest distance about 100 km.
In 1905, Australia’s Wireless Telegraphy Act
officially recognized communication by wireless, which was confined to ships’ navigation and some land-based amateurs.
Marconi’s influence was felt as far away as Australia, In 1906, the Marconi
Company officially opened stations at Queenscliff (Victoria) and East Devonport (Tasmania).
On the opening day for traffic, July 12 1906, messages
were exchanged between the Australian Prime Minister and Australian State Governors. Other dignitaries were also able to communicate
via telegraphy over the 150 km of water across Bass Strait.
First Ship-to-Shore Stations
1910, the first temporary ship-to-shore station opened in Australia, in Sydney, with the callsign
ATY. A second station, callsign AAA, opened in 1911 from the roof of the Australia Hotel. Both stations were expected to maintain
contacts with shipping entering Sydney Harbour, as well as with some land-based stations in Australia’s Pacific coast,
and at Mawson Base in Antarctica.
In 1912, permanent stations opened in Melbourne (VIM),
Perth (VIP), Sydney (VIS), Hobart (VIH), and Brisbane (VIB).
In 1913/1914 many other stations started up for ship-to-shore
services, in Australia and the islands. Some of these remained in operation into the 1970s, though the original spark transmitters
were phased out by the 1940s.
By 1913 there
were 19 radio telegraph stations operating from Australia for ships at sea.
Test Messages from England
1918, Mr E. T. Fisk, Managing director of AWA undertook s series of experiments
for the reception of in Australia of wireless test messages sent from the Marconi Transmitting Station at Carnarvon, Wales.
This resulted in a public demonstration, in September 1918, of the reception at Wahroonga NSW of
the first direct telegraphy message from England to Australia. The messages were sent from England by the PM, Mr Hughes and
the Minister for the Navy Sir Joseph Cook, who were in London at the time. The high power Marconi station in Wales called
"Sydney" three times and then sent the messages, which were received by Mr Fisk at his home in Wahroonga.
In June and July 1923, Guglielmo Marconi's transmissions were completed during nights
on 97 metres from Poldhu Wireless Station, Cornwall, to his yacht Elettra in the Cape Verde Islands. In September 1924, Marconi transmitted
during daytime and night-time on 32 metres from Poldhu to his yacht in Beirut.
By 1920, Australia had only 21 land stations under the control of the Government
– there were no private land or experimental stations, but some Government and ship stations did exist.
In the mid-1930s, general use of longwave for commercial broadcasting had become
limited generally to the European and Middle Eastern areas, as local broadcasting had become very much dependent on mediumwave
Longwave transmitters using valves, were at that time being used only for worldwide radio telegraphy circuits,
having been converted from the earlier arc, spark gap, and HF alternator systems.
Mediumwave broadcasting had commenced
in most parts of the world by the mid-1930s, and had gained a strong foothold over longwave as a domestic/regional communications