1921 - Koo Wee Rup (Victoria) Experimental Wireless Receiving Station

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

2012 - The Plaque

1921 - original building








Early Experiments
In 1921, Amalgamated Wireless (Australia) Ltd. (A.W.A), selected Koo Wee Rup as a site for a Wireless Experimentation Station.

Koo Wee Rup is about 60 km south west of Melbourne, on flat swampy land – it is now a thriving rural community.

The site of the Station was in Rossiter Road, near the intersection of Denhams Road, on land owned by John Mickle and operated from early 1921 to 1922. It was at this Station that it was confirmed that direct and efficient communication between Great Britain and Australia was feasible.

Radio communications, at this time, were sent and received by a series of relays.

Wireless Telegraphy signals sent from Britain had already been received directly in Australia as early as 1918, as European stations could be heard at certain times in Australia. These transmissions are affected by weather and especially sun activity (as anyone with a modern day HF radio would know).

Great Britain had proposed the establishment of an Imperial Radio Scheme, based on a series of relays, at the Imperial Conference of 1921 (the fore-runner of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting). Australia would have been at a disadvantage under this Scheme as we were at the end of the line and many relays were situated in politically unstable countries. The Prime Minister, Billy Hughes, rejected this Scheme at the Conference.

The Koo Wee Rup Station was staffed by Thomas Bearup, E.A Burbury and E.G Bailey. Bearup later became Victorian Manager of the ABC. Their experiments used a heterodyne type receiver, with six stages of radio frequency amplification and two stages of audio frequency amplification. Their research showed that wireless signals could be received over long periods each day from New York, Rome, England, Paris and Germany and were consistent enough to prove that direct wireless telegraphy communication was both practical and reliable between Australia and Britain.

Experiments were continued and eventually an experimental station was established at Koo-wee-rup near Melbourne. A directional aerial having a heart‑shaped polar diagram was employed, and the old receiver was replaced by a new one of the heterodyne type, comprising six stages of radio frequency amplification and two stages of audio frequency amplification.

For over a year, the signal strengths of many stations were carefully measured and the results showed that wireless signals could be received over long periods each day from New York, Rome, England, Paris and Germany, and were sufficiently consistent to assure regular wireless communication between England and Australia.

Tests between Koo-Wee-Rup and England proved that direct radio links were possible across the globe.

A.W.A (which worked in conjunction with the Marconi Company), subsequently won the Contract from the Australian Government to construct and maintain Shortwave Beam Wireless Stations capable of direct commercial services to Britain and Canada, which commenced in 1927.

The site continued to be used for radio experiments into the early 1930s, but was washed away in the huge floods of 1934.

1921 - the original shack

2010 - WIA re-enactment

Re-enactment of the First Transmissions

During 2010 the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) celebrated the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the WIA, and the very start of organised amateur radio in Australia during 1910.

As a part of that celebration, in the spirit of celebrating early radio in Australia, on June 16 to 18, 201,0 the Gippsland Gate Radio and Electronics Club Inc. (GGREC) re-enacted the historically important reception of the very first direct press message sent from the UK to Australia, which was received at 5am on the December 5 1921 by a Mr. T. W. Bearup at the Koo Wee Rup station.

With the highly appreciated cooperation of the Dragon Radio Club in Wales, using the special event call sign GB2VK, the re-enacted message was transmitted from the original Marconi MUU station buildings at the original Waunfawr location in Caernarfon, Wales, UK, to the original location at Koo Wee Rup.

This first message in 1921 and the many that followed it over the next six months proved that direct radio communication between the UK and Australia could be reliable and therefore commercially viable.

The reception of this message, and the hundreds of messages that followed it over the next two years, also led to the crucial discovery of long path transmissions, and then the effect of ionospheric propagation that varied between day and night. These fundamental principles that were discovered in Koo Wee Rup are still used by radio amateurs and professional broadcasters to this day to predict the best signal paths for radio transmissions around the planet.

The GGREC used the special event call sign VK100WIA for the duration of the re-enactment to properly align the activity as part of the WIA celebrations.

Contacts and QSL were made by the station at Koo Wee Rup to all callers, with a concentration on UK stations. The station listened and called on several HF bands, and 145.45 MHz FM, and coordinating activities were through the 70 cm repeater VK3RLP using IRLP Node 6794.

GGREC partnered with the local Koo Wee Rup Swamp Historical Society, the local Council, the Regional Library Service, and the Community in general, in the even

A commemorative plaque was erected near the original receiving site to mark the site and the commemorative event. The plaque was officially unveiled in a ceremony at the KWRHS rooms on June 18 2010.

The Plaque is adjacent to the KWRHS Museum at 325 Rossiter Rd, which is open on Sundays

Visit to the Station
The author
visited the original site in Denham’s Rd on April 13, 2012 - no trace remains of the original infrastructure – the land is now being developed for residential purposes.

2012 - Museum Building

2010 - WIA 100th anniversary QSL

Early 1900s - Koo Wee Rup Swamp

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