The famed Marconi had been very
active in the experimental development of wireless as a tool for distant communication, beginning in 1894.
Ten years later, the Marconi
Company in Australia established two temporary wireless stations, one in coastal Victoria and the other on the northern edge
of Tasmania, as a public demonstration of the usefulness of wireless communication between the Australian mainland and Tasmania.
During the years 1910 and 1911,
four temporary interim wireless stations were established in Australia, and these were on the air as ATY and
AAA in Sydney, AAM in Melbourne, and VZE on the small King Island close
However, during this same time period, the government was actively
involved in planning and preparing for an extensive network of coastal wireless stations that virtually ringed the entire
continent. Each of these stations was designed with a spark gap transmitter and a tall tower, with a simple crystal set as
During the year 1912, a total
of eight of these new wireless stations were installed; five on the continental mainland, one in Tasmania, and two in distant
island territories. The two largest stations, Sydney and Perth, spanned the continent, and the other regional stations were
intended for more local coverage.
The two stations in Sydney and Perth were designed and installed
by the German company Telefunken using a 25 kW quenched spark transmitter that delivered 8 kW into the antenna system. The
other stations at this stage were installed by the Maritime Wireless Company using locally made equipment rated at either
2.5 kW or 5 kW.
February 8 1912
The very first of
these new wireless stations was officially inaugurated in Melbourne under the callsign POM. This station was located on Kings
Domain, adjoining the main surveyed area of Melbourne city, and it gradually replaced the earlier temporary station AAM.
April 30 1912
The second station in
this new network of coastal wireless stations was inaugurated, with 5 kW, in Hobart, and it was in use for communication
with continental Australia, the Antarctic territories, and shipping in coastal waters.
August 19 1912
The third station was
inaugurated with the callsign POS, indicating Post Office Sydney. This was the first of the two larger stations and it
was officially opened on August 19, at Pennant Hills, and the antenna tower stood
at 150 metres. The projected callsign for this large new station was actually POP, standing for Post Office Pennant Hills.
New wireless stations were installed
at three more state capitals, and these were:
Pinkenba, 8 miles from Brisbane, Queensland
Applecross, near Perth, Western Australia, projected as POF
Rosewater, near Adelaide, South Australia
In addition to communication with shipping in local waters, the
Brisbane station was also in use for communication with New Guinea. Thusly, the large station near Perth in Western Australia
was also in use for communication with wireless stations in Asia; and interestingly, the smaller station located near Adelaide
at the southern edge of the continent was often the first station that was able to communicate with shipping that was nearing
the Australian mainland from the north.
A whole slew of these early coastal wireless stations were subsequently
installed in additional localities on the Australian mainland as well as throughout the islands of the South Pacific.
Each of these wireless stations was inaugurated under a three letter
callsign beginning with the two letters, PO, which stood for Post Office, and this was the government entity that had the
oversight of all of these stations. The third letter in each of these callsigns was the first letter of the city, nearby to
each station. In this way, POA was near Adelaide, POB was near Brisbane, POP was near Perth, etc.
However, due to an international radio conference a while before
these events, the initial letter V was allocated to all wireless stations located in the countries of the British Empire,
and this was in honour of the illustrious Queen Victoria, who had died a few years earlier.
Right at the end of the
year 1912, the V series of callsigns was implemented in Australia by government action. In this way, station POA in Adelaide
was re-designated as VIA, POB became VIB, POH became VIH, right down through the list to the Sydney station POS, which became
However, all of the subsequent stations, erected from the beginning
of the year 1913 onwards, began their existence under the new regulations, and they were all allocated callsigns beginning
with the two letters VI, until, in actual reality, the entire alphabetic list was used up, from VIA (Adelaide) to VIZ (Roebourne
in coastal Western Australia).