1902 - Wireless Telegraphy in Australia

Project Overview
1800s - Land Telegraphy
1874 - Guglielmo Marconi - a Tribute
1895 - Wireless Telegraphy
1901 - Wireless Telegraphy
1902 - Wireless Telegraphy in Australia
1904 - Australian Coastal Radio
1906 - Wireless Telephony
1912 - Melbourne Radio - VIM
1914 - Shortwave Wireless Telephony
1920s - Commercial Shortwave Telephony Development
1920s - Receivers
1920 - The huge RCA Longwave Station in New York
1920 - Wireless broadcasting in Australia
1920s - First shortwave stations in Victoria
1921 - Discovery of Shortwave Propagation
1921 - Koo Wee Rup (Victoria) Experimental Wireless Receiving Station
1923- Longwave Broadcasting in Australia
1923 - Evolution of Australian Domestic Radio
1924 - 3LO - Melbourne's Second Broadcaster
1924 - 3AR - Melbourne's first broadcaster
1924 - The Braybrook (Melbourne) Transmitting Site
1925 - First Shortwave Stations in Western Australia
1926 - First Shortwave Stations in New South Wales
1926 - RAAF Communications - Laverton (Vic)
1927 - Beam Wireless Worldwide
1927 - Beam Wireless from Australia
1928 - ABC Lyndhurst (Victoria)
1930 - AWA Receiving Station at La Perouse (Sydney)
1930 - AWA Radio Centre at Pennant Hills
1933 (to 1969) - Shortwave Radio Clubs in Australia
1936 - Ship Broadcaster - the MS Kanimbla
1939 - Belconnen Communications Station (Canberra)
1940 - RAAF Receiving Station at Werribee (Victoria)
1941 - RAAF Frognall (Melbourne)
1941 - ABC Brisbane
1942 - Army Wireless Chain - west of Melbourne
1942 - Dutch Stations in Australia
1943 - ABC Radio Australia - Shepparton (Victoria)
1943 - Army Shortwave HF Stations in Melbourne
1944 - ABC - Radio Australia - Looking Back
1945 - PMG Receiving Station - Highpark (Victoria)
1945 - Radio Australia - DXers Calling
1946 - Radio Australia - Communications Programs
1946 - VNG Time Signal Station
1948 - Radio Australia QSL Cards
1948 - ABC Sydney
1966 - ABC Cox Peninsula (Darwin)
1970 (to 2012) - Shortwave Radio Clubs in Australia
1975 - ABC Gnangara (Western Australia)
1975 - ABC Carnarvon (Western Australia)
1978 - Omega Navigation Station - Woodside (Victoria)
1985 - ABC Northern Territory
1989 - ABC Brandon (Queensland)
2003 - Private Shortwave Broadcasters
Timeline - Part One - 1839 to 1927
Timeline - Part Two - 1928 to 2012
SPECIAL - Licencing of Shortwave Broadcasters
SPECIAL - Radio Receivers for Shortwave
SPECIAL - Radio Monitoring as a Hobby
Bibliography, References and Resources
Links to the author's personal websites

Plaque at Pt Lonsdale (Vic) where messages from Marconi were sent across Bass Strait in 1906

Spark gap transmitter preserved in Adelaide Old Observatory

Early Experiments
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
In 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
In 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 systems.

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 medium.

1918 - aircraft spark transmitter (Museum of Victoria)

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