May 1 1944
lendlease transmitter from the United States was installed at Shepparton and it was inaugurated, with programming co-ordinated
in the ABC studios in Melbourne and fed by landline to the shortwave transmitter at Shepparton, a distance of 180 km.
Two additional transmitters at 100 kW were manufactured
in Sydney as a joint effort between AWA and STC and these were installed at Shepparton under the callsigns VLA and VLB. A
total of 19 antennas were erected at Shepparton, mostly curtains with passive reflectors.
Transmitter VLA was inaugurated, and just four days later, VLB was inaugurated.
All three of these transmitters incorporated two channels
of programming access.
In preparation for the 1956 Olympic Games in Melboune,
two new transmitters were installed at Shepparton. Another American made RCA unit at 50 kW was designated as VLD, and an Australian
made STC unit at 10 kW was designated as VLY.
Soon afterwards, during a modernisation
program, one of the channels in each of the three transmitters at Shepparton was split off and incorporated into a new transmitter.
The newly derived transmitters were activated with the callsigns VLC, VLE, and VLF. However, the callsigns in use at Shepparton
became so complicated that they were abandoned at the end of October 1961.
In the 1960s, the Australian Government made a major policy decision that it would progressively
abandon its services for areas outside of the Asia/Pacific region. This was a consequence
of a decision that RA would provide a ring of shortwave services into neighbouring countries, a policy which survives to the
For many years, I provided part-time engineering support
and consultancy to Radio Australia, when it was part of the Post Office, as well as preparing scripts and tapes for the various
Communications programs, including DXers Calling.
In those years, I was privy
to many proposals and plans, which at the time were classified confidential, and were neither divulged nor released to the
That included Policy Papers concerning RA’s refusal
to permit any foreign broadcasting service to use the Shepparton facilities, in the “national interest”
A related policy concerned the Govt's decision not
to allow the construction of any international broadcasting facility on Australian soil, except in very special circumstances.
The decision to allow HCJB to set up its station at
Kununurra, Western Australia, in 1975, came as a complete surprise to many of us in the industry, which was a complete about-face of an established policy.
was well known that it took several years for approval to be
handed by the Govt to set up the new station.
The establishment of RA’s new facility at the Cox Peninsula, near
Darwin in 1969 also came as a surprise, as the policies of the time did not support the building of such a facility so close
to our northern neighbours. There was already a large military communications facility
at North West Cape, at Exmouth, Western Australia, and concerns had been raised at the reasons for setting up a RA station
so close to a facility which had been believed to be a prime target for airborne terrorist attacks
Just as surprisingly,
the Government’s decision to abandon the Cox Peninsula station in 1996 came unexpectedly, which had been triggered by
growing political unrest and turmoil across Southern Asia.
Facilities in 2012
There are seven transmitters
of 100 kW carrying exclusively the international programming of Radio Australia. There are 13 antennas, supported by masts
70 metres tall. The site is owned and operated by Broadcast Australia, employing seven full time staff.