the mid 1900s, the Dutch government operated two radio stations in Australia.
Back in the
year 1932, the Dutch authorities in what is now Indonesia set up a monitoring station in their
embassy in Batavia (now Jakarta). This station was established by the Royal Netherlands Navy and its main purpose was to monitor
various Japanese radio transmissions.
In March 1942, when Japanese forces extended their empire
into Indonesia, the Dutch navy transferred their headquarters to the island of Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and the radio monitoring
facilities were transferred to Australia. The monitoring station, together with at least one transmitter, was established
in very temporary accommodations at Batchelor in the Northern Territory, some 100 km south of Darwin. This radio station,
hurriedly installed in tents and huts, communicated with the Dutch navy headquarters in Ceylon, with small behind-the-lines
parties in Indonesia, and later with their main radio station 3000 km further south in Victoria.
Some four months after the Batchelor station was established, a radio transmitter
station was built for the Dutch authorities by the PMG Department in Australia at an isolated country location out from Melbourne
in Victoria. The actual location of this station was at 420 Craigieburn Road, Craigieburn, near Yuroke, an outer suburb on
the northern edge of Melbourne.
radio station consisted of a large open asbestos-concrete and masonite shed with a concrete floor, with a separate shed for
sleeping quarters at one end. Over recent decades this was converted to the present house on the property. The present (2012) owners
have lived in the house since the 1960s.
A local resident whose farm house was quite
close, and had a good view of the emplacement and remembers Dutch Indonesian
men, mostly in a foreign uniform, manning the installation. He thought that the intelligence headquarters for the operation
was in St Kilda, whence the men were driven out to work their shifts.
The station was manned day and night. Although a Sergeant sometimes came to buy eggs from his family's farm, they did not get to know the men well.
In addition to the Dutch there were also two men with very little English, probably Malay Indonesians, who also purchased
eggs from his family.
These men were engaged in manual outdoor tasks, such as breaking the stones to lay the driveway
(probably the present one) and thinks that the State Electricity Commission built the electricity substation.
block walls of the substation were there during the war, as he remembers the two workers using the wall to shelter from the
This station was remotely operated by teleprinter from Dutch offices at South Yarra
in suburban Melbourne.
The purpose for this Dutch operated radio station in Australia was to provide communication
with their naval headquarters in Ceylon and with the small temporary station at Batchelor. The station was staffed by Dutch
and Indonesian personnel who had been evacuated from Indonesia.
The two Dutch radio stations in
Australia, near Darwin and near Melbourne, were established for wartime telegraphy communications. They were never in use
for program broadcasting, though the evidence would suggest that at times they carried teleprinter news information for publication
in newspapers and for inclusion in radio news bulletins.
WW2, it was then taken over by the Department of
Civil Aviation, and since about the late 1960s it has been used for residential purposes ever since. On the land were three
or four sets of radio aerials, each a diamond pattern of very high timber poles, about 25 metres tall, situated on the back
paddocks, and connected by shorter poles to a radio station. Later a huge 30 metre steel radio mast was erected on the property,
closer to the building.