History of wireless telegraphy and broadcasting in Australia
This history of wireless telegraphy and broadcasting in Australia will focus upon the individual persons, businesses and government agencies that gave effect to the two technologies. Similar focus will be placed on the specific regulations and policies which enabled (or hindered) particular implementations.
It can at times be difficult to appreciate that the warmth and humanity of broadcasting has its historical roots entirely within the cold and harsh technology of wireless telegraphy. But the path to broadcasting in Australia could not have been found without the efforts of our earliest wireless experimenters and then the various wireless businesses and Government agencies seeking to gain a foothold in Australia.
In the earliest years, adoption of broadcasting in Australia using AM radio spectrum was a few years behind most other nations in the developed world. Certainly the technology needed to be adapted and developed a little for Australian conditions. But more importantly, Australia looked for regulatory policy settings that balanced and supported the often competing needs for quality content and quality carriage (which at the time could only be provided by a well-funded Government entity) against the needs for diverse and agile content and carriage (at which private enterprise invariably excelled). In what came to be known in Australia as national and commercial broadcasting, the nation established a broadcasting system distinct from those of the two nations one would have expected Australia to blindly follow: Great Britain (solely Government funded services) or the United States (solely private enterprise services). By the early 1930s, Australian content and carriage was arguably on par with anything worldwide and the system proved effective in meeting the broadcasting needs of the Australian people for the next half century. Eventually demand from numerous niche interests could not be met within the existing policy settings. But after much Sturm und Drang, a new category of broadcasting delivering community radio was forged from the 1980s aided by the fresh spectrum opportunities delivered by our late adoption of FM radio. Again in the lead up to a new broadcasting act of 1992, new players emerged which eventually became categorised a narrowcasters and they too were eventually formally accommodated in the broadcast mix.
On 1 January 1901, when the Australian colonies and the province of South Australia joined together to form a new nation, the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia gave federal governments power to make laws with respect to specifically defined areas (section 51). In particular, paragraph 51(v) explicitly identified "postal, telegraphic, telephonic, and other like services". While there was no stated specific power in respect of the press, it was considered that such power fell within the scope of paragraph 51(i) "trade and commerce with other countries and among the states", among others.
Post and Telegraph Act 1901
The generic powers under section 51(v) were enunciated in detail in the Post and Telegraph Act 1901, but the act only received royal assent 16 November 1901 and commenced 1 December 1901. The act delegated those powers to the newly established Postmaster-General's Department ("PMG"). This Act included two key definitions: (1) "Telegraphic" includes telephonic and (2) "Telegraph" or "telegraph line" means a wire or cable used for telegraphic or telephonic communication including any casing coating tube tunnel or pipe enclosing the same and any posts masts or piers supporting the same and any apparatus connected therewith or any apparatus for transmitting messages or other communications by means of electricity.
The Act was silent in respect of the relatively new science of wireless telegraphy, which had not yet assumed commercial proportions but likely fell within the scope of "telegraphic". As wireless telegraphy began to display not only commercial but also defence promise, any possible uncertainty of interpretation was removed by a specific act the Wireless Telegraph Act 1905, which placed these powers under PMG. The possible uncertainty had in no way limited the PMG's interest and participation in the new technology before 1905.
Fessenden's tentative initial experiments with wireless telephony would only commence in the following year, but it too clearly fell within scope of the both the Post and Telegraph Act 1901 and the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1905. Nevertheless, once wireless telephony began to shine bright on the commercial and defence horizons, this technology too was deemed to warrant explicit provision and some 14 years later, the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1919 simply amended the definition of wireless telegraphy to include wireless telephony.
Continuing wireless experiments
Australian radio hams can be traced to the early 1900s. The 1905 Wireless Telegraphy Act while acknowledging the existence of wireless telegraphy, brought all broadcasting matters in Australia under the control of the Federal Government. In 1906, the first official Morse code transmission in Australia was conducted by the Marconi Company between Queenscliff, Victoria and Devonport, Tasmania. However, it must be noted that some sources claim that there were transmissions in Australia as early as 1897 – these were either conducted solely by Professor William Henry Bragg of Adelaide University or by Prof. Bragg in conjunction with G.W. Selby of Melbourne.
New South Wales
Joseph Patrick Slattery of St Stanilaus' College, Bathurst had a keen interest in wireless telegraphy and was conducting experiments at the college as early as 1900 and these experiments continued for more than a decade. He was ably supported in these experiments by several of the staff at the college, with at least the President, Maurice Joseph O'Reilly being especially skilled in the field.
John P. King of the New South Wales Postmaster-General's Department in 1904 is reported assisting Slattery at St. Stanislaus' College in his experiments as well as conducting his own private experiments.
w:Horace Greeley Robinson also known as Hyman Rabinowitz in his purported ongoing role as Marconi representative in Australia conducted a series of talks and demonstrations at the Centenary Hall, York St, Sydney during September 1906. Refer mainly to Victoria 1900.
George Augustine Taylor was a prolific experimenter. In October 1909, he was the driving force behind the Great Exhibition of Building and Engineering, conducted at Prince Alfred Park, Sydney. The exhibition included displays and demonstrations of wireless telegraphy.
Charles Dansie Maclurcan and Cyril Lane of the Sydney electrical engineering firm Maclurcan and Lane were granted an experimental licence in 1909 and soon commenced wireless telegraphy transmissions from the rooftop of the Wentworth Hotel (owned by Maclurcan's mother). Maclurcan was to become famous in the broadcasting world in the 1920s when he tranmitted broadcasting programmes from his experimental station with callsign 2CM.
E. J. C. Wraith is reported at an early age in November 1896, for displays of electrical appliances at the Bendigo Juvenile Industrial Exhibition, where he was awarded a gold and a silver medal. From 1898 to 1903 he was a student at the Bendigo School of Mines and employed by the Victorian Railways Department as an engine driver. He displayed interest in electrical science and was encouraged in this by school staff and eventually he was constructing his own wireless telegraphy equipment, being the first to do so in the Bendigo district. In January 1902 he is reported as conducting successful experiments with his self-made equipment of the Marconi type, set up in the Bendigo town hall. Messages were sent from one end of the hall to the other, in the presence of G. V. Allen, the secretary of the Bendigo jubilee exhibition. A public demonstration of wireless was subsequently given at the exhibition in March 1902, with the Registrar of the school Captain G. Alec. Thomson assisting. In June 1902, the roles were reversed with Thomson lecturing and Wraith demonstrating both wireless and X-rays technology. Little of Wraith is heard subsequently, he does not appear in early lists of licensed wireless experimenters. In 1916 he filed an application for a patent for Improvements relating to apparatus for inducing air drifts or blasts.
Horace Greeley Robinson also known as Hyman Rabinowitz conducted a lecture and exhibition of wireless telegraphy at Glen's Concert Hall, Collins St., Melbourne in August and September 1906. in his stated role as Marconi representative in Australia was providing, upon request, demonstrations of Marconi wireless telegraphy equipment at the premises of the company Munroe and Munroe, 318 Collins St., Melbourne during August & September 1906. Similar lectures and demonstrations were also offered at Centenary Hall, York St., Sydney. But in an interesting twist, it emerged that the demonstrations had been made to lure investors into purchase of shares in the Marconi company. Large sums were paid but few investors ever saw their shares. Robinson / Rabinowitz was arrested in New York and charged with larceny under false pretences in relation the shares.  While it was little publicised at the time, Robinson / Rabinowitz was the recipient of the first experimental licence issued by the Department and was no doubt utilised by him to give an air of legitimacy to his scam.
Telefunken proposals to link Victoria, Sydney, New Zealand, Lord Howe island, Norfolk Island - May 1905
Marconi temporary facility Queenscliff and Devonport across the Bass Strait - 1905-1906
Henry Sutton was an inventor potentially responsible for the telephone, the lightbulb, and front wheel drive automobiles. From 1906 he extended his investigations into the field of wireless telegraphy and even wireless telephony. When the Postmaster-General's Department pointed out the need for a licence for these activities, he circumvented the problem by involving the Defence Department.
"Charles Hughes" is reported as having given a lecture with demonstrations on the subject of wireless telegraphy to the Geelong Lodge of the Manchester Unity Oddfellows in August 1909. He was assisted by T. G. Madden. Hughes is assumed to be the same as C. S. C. Hughes of East Melbourne who appears in the 1914 Wireless Institute of Victoria list of current experimental licences, with callsign XJDU.
Victor Charles John Nightingall was a scientist and prolific inventor. He was an early pioneer of X-rays Victoria, undertook experiments with radioactive irradiation of seeds and soils and invented powerful electromagnets. In a letter to the editor of The Age 12 August 1909 in response to the likely loss of the Waratah, states that he has been experimenting with a new system of wireless telegraphy, nearing completion, with input by typewriter rather than morse key. He states that the system will eliminate the need for a skilled wireless operator with very substantial savings. That announcement was silently received, but subsequently a report in February 1910 from Adelaide that Carnotite, a radioactive ore from the Radium Hill mine was being used by Nightingall with great effect (presumed a new form of contact detector) became national news. These experiments led to detailed scrutiny of the obstacles placed in the way of licensing of wireless experimenters, and eventually to the opening of the flood gates for private experimentation. Nightingall's wireless telegraphy system is fully described and beautifully illustrated in The Leader of 12 March 1910. Nightingall is recorded as licensed with callsign XKK in the 1914 WIV list of experimenters. His stature in the wireless industry was reflected in his election as first president of the reformed Wireless Institute of Victoria in 1919.
Hesketh / PMG tests between South Brisbane (Naval Stores) and Moreton Island (Tangalooma) 1903
In November 1903, John Hesketh was both Queensland Government Electrical Engineer and President of the Queensland Electrical Association (both positions having been previously held by Edward Barton. As part of the University Extension Lecture program, Hesketh gave a lecture on the subjects of "Wireless Telegraphy" and "Telephony". At the conclusion of the lecture a demonstration of Marconi wireless apparatus was provided using the equipment of the Naval Defence Force, kindly lent by Captain Creswell.
Marconi proposals for Torres Strait islands - April 1904
Edward Hope Kirkby is reported in August 1907 as demonstrating a complete wireless telegraphy apparatus to a journalist of the Adelaide Advertiser, at the U.S.A. depot, Gawler Place, Adelaide. The set was said to be of the kind used by the large Liverpool-America mailboats. Kirkby was also active his wireless experiments in Victoria in the 1890s and New South Wales 1900s
Lloyd's proposal for Rottnest Island 1903
Frederick Soddy's services were announced in April 1904 as having been secured by the University Extension committee (of the University of Adelaide) for a series of popular lectures on the subject of radioactivity, X-rays and wireless telegraphy. Soddy had already won fame in his co-discovery (with Rutherford) of the transmutation of elements, though his many other discoveries and award of Nobel Prize lay in the future. The committee was aware that they were fortunate in having such a notable scientist in their midst and arranged a comprehensive program both for Perth and several surrounding country centres. Soddy had concluded his tenure at the University College, London and was about to take up his newly created position as lecturer in physical chemistry and radioactivity at Glasgow University. Soddy arrived at Fremantle 14 June 1904 on board RMS Australia. In an interesting twist, this vessel was wrecked at Point Nepean less than a week later (fortunately with no loss of life). The lectures were entitled "Radium and Modern Views on Electricity and Matter". The planned schedule of lectures was varied in number and timing through the course of the tour, but in the end included 7 in Perth (one of which was a repeat), 3 in Fremantle, 2 in Kalgoorlie and 1 each in Coolgardie, Northam, York, Albany and Bunbury.
His first Perth lecture was on 20 June 1904 at St. George's Hall, Perth resulted in an attendance of 800, with some 300 having to be turned away. That first lecture included demonstration of a large induction coil for the production of "high frequency currents", but there was no reference to either a Herzian coil detector or a Branly coherer, so it can not be conclusively said that wireless was covered. The lecture was repeated on 23 June at Queen's Hall, Perth (then the largest capacity hall in the State) to try to accommodate the many who had not been able to be granted entry previously. This venue was also used for all the remaining Perth lectures. The "second" lecture was given on 25 June and mainly addressed fundamentals of physical chemistry and electricity, but concluded with a brief treatment of wireless: "Mr. Soddy concluded with an analogous treatment of wireless telegraphy. He gave several examples of electrical resonance, and also an interesting experiment with miniature wireless telegraphy apparatus." It was his third lecture which was of greatest interest in the history of wireless, being entirely devoted to "Wireless Telegraphy". A comprehensive survey was provided of the theoretical studies of Maxwell, the practical experiments of Herz and the realisation of the technology by Marconi. The demonstrations were properly detailed by solely one journalist versed in the technology: "The radiator which he had on the platform gave a wave a hundred feet long, the hall was about a wave length ... An experiment was then shown in which a wave from the radiator on the platform rang a bell in the back gallery of the hall ... He had on the table a receiving set of instruments as utilised in the Lodge-Muirhead system of wireless telegraphy, and with these he had seen messages sent over a distance of 45 miles. Ordinary telegraph instruments could be adapted to this system. The coherer was of a special type. A steel disc revolved in a pool of mercury covered with a film of oil. In ordinary circumstances the oil insulated the disc from the mercury. A wave coming along broke down the insulation, the two metals cohered and a signal passed through the apparatus into the recorder".  The fourth lecture was held on 19 July and addressed the discharge of electricity through rarified gases (a repeat of a Fremantle lecture). The fifth lecture was delivered 22 July and was characterised by the theft of one of the spinthariscopes being circulated amongst the audience. The sixth and final lecture on 23 July addressed primarily geophysical and astronomical matters.
The first lecture at Fremantle was given on 21 June at Victoria Hall, which venue was also utilised for subsequent lectures. A second lecture was delivered 27 June. The third lecture on 30 June concluded the series at Fremantle. Further lectures were conducted in each of Kalgoorlie (Her Majesty's Theatre, 5 July, 8 July), Coolgardie (Technical School, 7 July), Northam (Town Hall, 12 July), York (Mechanics' Institute, 13 July), Albany (Town Hall, 15 July) and Bunbury (Masonic Hall, 20 July). It is not clear whether the shorter lectures in the country areas addressed wireless telegraphy other than in passing, the focus being upon Radium and radio-activity and it may be that only the instruments were displayed. Soddy's visit to Western Australia caused a significant burst of interest in scientific education in the state and perhaps a trigger for the establishment of its first university The University of Western Australia in 1911. He is recorded as strongly advocating the establishment of a university at the conclusion of his tour. Soddy departed on 27 July aboard the RMS Moldavia for Sydney and thence to North America and Great Britain.
Perth Technical School at its annual demonstration 9 December 1904 included a note: "A very popular resort with visitors was the electrical classrooms, in which interesting demonstrations were given. The apparatus includes some of the instruments used by Mr. Soddy in his recent "Radium" lectures, notably an apparatus for showing high frequency currents." The school's annual report for 1904 reveals incidentally further detail of the Soddy instruments: "Mathematical and Physical Department. During this year the work of this department has largely increased with the influx of students, but Mr. Allen and his assistant, Mr. Clucas, have proved equal to the demands made upon them. The appointment of a second assistant will enable important developments to be made. Indents have just been despatched for further valuable apparatus, and soon this school will be fully equipped for the training of electrical and other engineers. One very important gain to this department last year was the acquisition by purchase of most of the apparatus used by Mr. Soddy in his university extension course on radium." It seems unlikely that the Lodge-Muirhead equipment was included in the acquisition, given that that group also fiercely protected its patents, but equally the core equipment would have been easily leveraged into wireless equipment by the lecturers and students of the school.
Lloyd's proposal for Bass Strait 1901
AWA proposal for Bass Strait 1901-1903
Visit of Japanese training squadron 1903 to Hobart was a matter of great public anticipation. The Mercury of 29 May 1903 announced that William Philpot Hallam would be conducting further wireless telegraphy experiments, attempting to communicate with the warships off Cape Pillar with equipment set up at the Shot tower. The warships however arrived a little earlier than expected and messages were only briefly intercepted before the progress of the vessels up the river resulted in hills along the propagation path and consequent signal attenuation.
Hobart Conversazione 1904 A Scientific Conversazione was held in Hobart in September 1904. Displays included wireless telegraphy equipment under the charge of W. P. Hallam. The Mercury of 19 September reported: "The committee room will be in charge of Messrs. Robert Henry, W. P. Hallam, and Mr. Todd. This room will be fitted up with electrical appliances, including the wireless telegraphy, which will be explained and at work during each evening." A later report makes it clear that the wireless telegraphy equipment was operated by W. P. Hallam, Frederick William Medhurst and C. Hamilton. It was also later revealed that the equipment displayed was the same as that utilised for the Royal Vistit to Hobart in 1901. W. P. Hallam was subsequently granted a wireless experimenter's licence and appears in the 1914 WIV list with callsign XZH. Medhurst also appears in that list with callsign XZD, after WW2 he was licensed as 7AH. Medhurst was never required to pass an AOCP examination, no doubt due to his employment and involvement in the field.
Mt Nelson to Tasman Island 1906. 3/4 February 1906, the prodigious William Philpot Hallam conducted a number of successful experiments using home-made equipment and assisted by his team of co-workers at the Telegraph Office of the Hobart GPO. The report was as follows: "On Saturday and Sunday Mr. W. P. Hallam, of the Telegraph Department at Hobart Post-office, conducted some interesting experiments in wireless telegraphy, between Mt. Nelson signal station and Tasman Island, also between that station and a steamer proceeding down the river. The s.s. Moonah left Hobart in the afternoon on Saturday equipped with a wireless receiving apparatus, and signals were sent from Mt. Nelson, and received on board up to the time the steamer passed out of the river. The next day Mr. Hallam's assistant landed from the s.s. Moonah at Tasman Island, fixed up a receiving circuit there, and he received signals sent by Mr. Hallam from Mt. Nelson, from 9 a.m. till 11.50 p.m.; but not having a transmitting instrument the assistant could not reply. The receiving indicator was one of Mr. Hallam's own design. He states that the trial was very satisfactory as far as it went, and it was only a matter of detail to put wireless telegraphy into regular use between those two places. The main object of the test was in connection with the desire of the Marine Board to establish wireless telegraphy between Mt. Nelson and the lighthouses, and it is evident that this may be done without difficulty, being simply a question of cost."
While Australia's deployment of a network of coastal wireless stations was lost for a decade in a regulatory policy impasse, individual ships in international service were often already equipped for wireless communication. Facilities were used for reception of weather information by the high power long wave transmitters elsewhere in the world. When more than one such ship was in or close to an Australian port, the "sparkies" communicated amongst themselves.
Many developed countries were contemplating compulsory installation of wireless telegraphy on larger vessels for safety of life reasons. Even Australia which was unable to reach a landing on coastal stations on her own shores, in awarding the England-Australia mail contract for 1909 to Peninsular and Orient Co. made it a requirement that all vessels deployed in the mail service be equipped with wireless.
P & O Line
RMS Mantua (Callsign: MME) was custom built for the mail contract and was launched in April 1909. She was the 8th of the Caird & Co "M" class vessels and initial fitout included Marconi wireless. Her first Australian port of call was Fremantle, arriving 6 July 1909 and a local reporter of the Perth Daily News gave comprehensive background on the wireless equipment: "Messages through space; M+aphy installed on RMS Mantua a great success; The P. and O. RMS Mantua, the first English mail boat travelling to Australia carrying the Marconi wireless telegraph, arrived at Fremantle this morning, and great public interest was taken in the skeleton looking apparatus placed on both mast heads. The particular instrument carried on the Mantua has a range of 250 miles, and in this respect differs greatly from the huge liners which cross the Atlantic, but it is considered that this range will more than suffice should emergencies arise during the vessel's progress through the Pacific and Indian Oceans. On the Atlantic liners again two operators are carried, but so far the Mantua has hardly found enough employment for one telegraphist. During the voyage out the Mantua's operator, who is one of Marconi's skilled young men, flashed out messages each day in the hope of gaining connection with some other instrument over the vast expanse of water. When the Mantua emerged from the Red Sea, the first vessels she greeted a la Marconi were two Japanese merchant vessels, which, though scores of miles out of sight, returned the felicitous greetings of the Britisher. Then a prowling English man-o'-war skirting round the shallows of the Seychelles Islands, snapped back a hearty business-like message. During the whole of the journey from Tilbury to Port Said people were sending messages ashore to their friends. It was a novelty, and although costing about 1s. a word to dispatch, with a minimum charge of 6s. 6d., the luxury was largely availed of. The Morea and Malwa, sister ships to the Mantua, are also fitted up with wireless telegraph apparatus." She arrived at Hobson's Bay, Melbourne on 12 July 1909 and it was reported that "The steamer is fitted with the Marconi system of wireless telegraphy, and during the passage out other vessels and people on shore were freely communicated with. Captain F. W. Vibert, who is a well-known visitor to Hobson's Bay, has command of the Mantua." Upon arrival in Sydney, the wireless officer A. F. Goodliffe was interviewed and reported on the problems with obtaining acknowlegement of transmissions with many naval vessels due to protocols in place. But noted that approaching Sydney, communication had been established with the HMS Pyramus.
RMS Morea (Callsign: MMF) though having been launched without wireless telegraphy, was subsequently retrofitted with the necessary equipment. Upon her arrival in Fremantle 18 August 1909, was reported now to be carrying wireless, further that she had been communicating near Cocos Island with the RMS Mantua.
RMS China (Callsign: MMU) On 27 April 1910 it was reported: "The P. and O. Company's R.M.S. China, from London, arrived at Fremantle yesterday morning. The China has recently undergone extensive alterations, and is fitted with a wireless plant.
Orient Line shared the Australian Government contract for the Great Britain-Australia mail with the P&O Line. Each company had a vessel sailing from England to Australia every two weeks, resulting in a weekly service of fast mail ships. Five ships were launched in early 1909 and maiden voyages commenced mid 1909. The ships were the RMS Orsova, RMS Osterley, RMS Otway, RMS O, RMS O.
RMS Orsova (Callsign: MOF) was an ocean liner owned by the Orient Steam Navigation Company. She was built by John Brown & Company at Clydebank, Scotland in 1909 to operate a passenger and mail service between London and Australia (via Suez Canal). The Orient Line and P&O Line shared the mail contract for Britain-Australia. Her maiden voyage was 25 June 1909. It was reported in January 1909 that the ship would be "fitted with wireless telegraphy, and with all modern appliances for securing the safety and comfort of passengers." Immediately prior to her first arrival at Fremantle on 29 July 1909, the wireless facilities were described: "On top of the charthouse is the standard compass and observation platform. Aft of the forward funnel casing, is situated the Marconi house, in which the wireless telegraph apparatus is fitted, and accommodation is provided in same for the operators.
RMS Osterley (Callsign: MOY) was an ocean liner owned by the Orient Steam Navigation Company. She was built by the London and Glasgow Shipbuilding Company and launched 27 January 1909. Despite reports that she was fitted initially with wireless telegraphy, this was not the case, the owners stating that they were waiting for Australian coastal stations to be erected. Finally, upon arrival at Fremantle 6 September 1910 it was reported: "Since the last visit of the Orient liner Osterley to Australia, she has been installed with the Marconi system of wireless telegraphy. On the present voyage out from England the ship was in touch with Poldhu (Cornwall) up to within 24 hours of arrival at Port Said, the world's latest telegrams being received daily, and a copy posted in all classes for the passengers' information."
RMS Otway (Callsign: MOH) At the time of launch, the Otway was stated to be being fitted for wireless telegraphy equipment. Her sister ship the RMS Otranto had actually been so fitted at time of commissioning and there was an expectation that the Otway would likewise. But when the Otway arrived in Melbourne 1 August 1909, it was reported: "Apparently the Orient S.N. Co. is in no hurry to equip all its liners with "wireless" until the establishment of Australian shore stations admits of practical use being made of the system between sea and land. In view, however, of the fact that the Otranto was installed with "wireless" before she left London on her present visit to the Commonwealth, it was generally anticipated that the other liners of the fleet would be similarly fitted in turn before their departure for Australia. This expectation, however, is not being fulfilled, as the Otway, which arrived at Port Melbourne yesterday morning, having left London a fortnight later than the Otranto, is still without a "wireless" apparatus. So far, therefore, the Otranto is the only vessel of the "Orient" line with this invaluable system installed. The Otway berthed alongside the Port Melbourne Railway Pier early yesterday morning, having experienced a quiet and enjoyable trip from London via the usual stages. The passengers comprised about 90 in the saloon and 480 in the third class, all of whom were apparently well pleased with their sojourn on board the fine liner. She leaves for Sydney to-day."
RMS Otranto (Callsign: MOD) Unlike other ships of the Orient line, the RMS Otranto was actually fitted with wireless telegraphy equipment at the time of its commissioning, following its launch 27 March 1909. The Otranto made free use of wireless on her voyage to Australia, establishing communication with shore stations and liners en route. During the maiden voyage of the Otranto, wireless exchanges passed between the liner and the Poldhu station, at Cornwall, England until at a distance of 1,500 miles further contact became impossible. It was noted that items of news received from the land by wireless were greatly appreciated by the Otranto's passengers.
RMS Makura (Callsign: MKU) was a ship of the Union Steam Ship Co of NZ which had the mail contract between Australia and Canada. Being fitted with wireless telegraphy equipment was a major marketing advantage. In December 1909 upon arrival in Sydney it was reported: "Since her last visit to Sydney the R.M.S. Makura, of the Canadian-Australian mail line, has been fitted with a powerful wireless telegraphic apparatus, and on the voyage from Vancouver to Sydney, completed yesterday, many experiments of a highly successful character were carried out. The installation was made at Vancouver, and the apparatus extends from the mainmast to the foremast. The best record established in the daytime was 800 miles, while at night-time communication was carried on at much greater distances — up to nearly 2000 miles. It is claimed that under exceptionally favourable conditions it will be possible for the Makura to despatch messages over a distance of nearly 3000 miles. The wireless system of the Makura is said to be the most complete yet installed in any merchant vessel employed in the Pacific Ocean. The Makura was never out of communication with land during the whole of the passage from Vancouver to Honolulu, and the "wireless" station at Nome in Alaska was spoken from a distance of 1100 miles. On an average about 20 messages were despatched for passengers nightly on the run from Vancouver to Honolulu, and "press" messages were received when 1500 miles from Honolulu containing the news of the world. When two days out from Vancouver the Makura picked up the Lurline, then lying to the westward of Honolulu, 1900 miles away, and five days later the two vessels met at the entrance to Honolulu. The Makura after leaving Honolulu remained in communication with that port for five days, and then the mail steamer was out of touch with land until Tuesday night last. All the way from Suva in Fiji the Makura made repeated attempts every night to pick up vessels on the Australian coast, but it was not until Tuesday evening, when steaming down this coast, that she received a reply, and that came from the P. and O. Company's R.M.S. Morea in Neutral Bay."
RMS Marama (Callsign: MKM)was a ship of the Union Steam Ship Co of NZ. In August 1910, in Sydney it was reported: "The Canadian-Australian RMS Marama arrived from Vancouver, via Victoria, Honolulu, Fanning Island, Suva and Brisbane, at 3.40 yesterday afternoon (9 August). She left Vancouver at noon on July 15, and Victoria the following morning. Fine weather and smooth sea were experienced to Honolulu which port was reached on the morning of July 23. Leaving again in the afternoon of the same day, she called at Fanning Island on 26th, and reached Suva at midday on 2nd inst. Between Honolulu and Fanning strong winds and squalls were experienced; thence fine weather to Suva. She departed from Suva at 2.30 a.m. on the 3rd, and experienced fine weather to Brisbane, which port was reached at 3.30 p.m. on 7th. She left again at 4 a.m. on 8th, and experienced moderate sea with occasional rain squalls on passage to Sydney. While at Vancouver the Marama was installed with wireless telegraphy by the United Wireless Telegraph Company and some very satisfactory results were obtained on the passage."
SS Bremen (Callsign: DBR) later renamed Constantinople and then King Alexander, was a German Barbarossa class ocean liner commissioned in 1897 by Norddeutscher Lloyd. The SS Bremen was built by F. Schichau of Danzig for the Norddeutscher-Lloyd line. She started her maiden voyage on 5 June 1897 and was sadly most notable for passing through the debris field on 20 April 1912 left by the sinking of the RMS Titanic. On 21 November 1907 it was reported: "The advantage of wireless telegraphy was again demonstrated yesterday, when the N.D.L. steamer Bremen, coming up the coast, communicated with H.M.S. Encounter at Garden Island by means of the "wireless," requesting the commander to convey to the agents of the Norddeutscher Lloyd, Messrs. Lohmann and Co., the fact that the German mail steamer would reach Sydney Harbor at about 5 o'clock. The message was promptly delivered, thus facilitating in a marked degree the arrangements for landing the passengers. The present instance is the first on record of the use of wireless telegraphy by a mail steamer on this coast."
SS Königin Luise (Callsign: DKL) was a Template:Sclass- built in 1896 by Vulcan Shipbuilding Corp. of Stettin, Germany, for the North German Lloyd line of Bremen. She is mentioned in a report of November 1909 "After the absence of a few years from the Australian service, the N.D.L. liner Konigin Luise is due at Fremantle on Sunday next from Bremerhaven. Since she was here last she had had wireless telegraphy apparatus installed, and Mr. W. Katsenbuy has charge of it.
Australian naval warships (more precisely ships of the British navy on Australia station) were increasingly equipped with Marconi apparatus, with communication range often in hundreds of miles.
Garden Island naval station A naval coastal station was established at Garden Island with little fanfare prior to November 1907. In November 1907 the volume of messages being transacted through the station to and from naval ships was so high that there was informal discussion between relevant authorities whether the ships meteorological reports could be regularised and publicly distributed. In July 1909 it was stated that communication was established with the RMS Mantua while more than 200 miles from the Heads prior to her arrival on her maiden voyage.
HMS Euryalus was a Cressy-class armoured cruiser built for the Royal Navy around 1900. Badly damaged by multiple accidents while fitting out, she was not completed until 1904. She became flagship of the Australia Station that year and was reduced to reserve upon her return in 1905. Having been fitted with wireless telegraphy, she is recorded as attempting to contact HMS Powerful while in Fremantle harbour, immediately prior to her return to Great Britain.
HMS Powerful was a ship of the Template:Sclass- of protected cruisers in the Royal Navy. She was built by Vickers Limited, Barrow-in-Furness and launched on 24 July 1895. The Powerful was fitted with wireless telegraphy equipment and in Australian waters from December 1905. It does appear that the wireless equipment was being continuously refined and updated, as distance being achieved steadily increased. In September 1906 it was reported that "The Powerful left Melbourne for Sydney direct on Wednesday last, and was followed by H.M.S. Cambrian, H.M.S. Psyche, and H.M.S. Encounter. A series of experiments in wireless telegraphy was made on the trip along the coast with great success. Communications were held between the four warships at distances ranging up to 50 miles, and the Powerful, when to the south-ward of Jervis Bay, 90 miles from Sydney, yesterday morning, sent a message to Garden Island, which was received without mutilation." In March 1907, "The following message was received this afternoon at Garden Island Naval Depot by wireless telegraphy from H.M.S. Powerful — 150 miles south. Will arrive 6.30 a.m. tomorrow. Sea moderate. Strong southerly breeze," a new distance record. By September 1909 the equipment had been upgraded and / or refined to the extent that distances almost ten times that were being achieved: "Return of the Admiral, Island Cruise of the Powerful; HMS Powerful, with his Excellency Vice-Admiral Sir Richard Poore and staff on board, reached Sydney at midnight on Saturday from her cruise in the islands. At Port Vila, in the New Hebrides, the Admiral temporarily transferred his flag to the Prometheus, and proceeded, on a voyage of inspection, to all the principal islands of the group. Subsequently the Powerful visited Suva. On the way from Fiji to Sydney heavy weather was encountered, which delayed the Powerful for some hours. Communication was carried on with Sydney by means of wireless telegraphy, over a distance of 1100 miles."
HMS Challenger was a second-class protected cruiser of the Template:Sclass- of the [[[w:Royal Navy|Royal Navy]]. A February 1907 report states "reached Fremantle yesterday morning from Singapore. Commander Tilbits reported that Singapore was left on January 22, the day before the departure of the flagship and Encounter. Connection was made at Java Heads by wireless telegraphy with HMS Pegasus, which had been receiving a new crew at Colombo from H.M.S. Vindictive. The Pegasus was proceeding to Sydney via the east coast of Australia and Batavia. After passing the Straits of Sunda communication was established by wireless telegraphy with the flagship, and continued until Wednesday, when the ships parted company. The Challenger will sail this morning for Albany."  In May 1909, focus was on fully bridging the Tasman Sea by wireless between the naval ports at Sydney and Wellington, but the propagation path shielding in the Cook Strait and Wellington Harbour was proving challenging. In a newspaper report it was stated: "Wireless across the Tasman; Another demonstration of wireless communication between ships of the Australian squadron was given during the voyage of HMS Challenger from Sydney to Wellington. The Challenger was able to communicate with the flagship Powerful, lying in Sydney Harbor, over 1200 miles away, right from the time of her departure from Sydney till when she turned in Cook Strait. Only one period of difficulty was experienced, when the high wind flapping the stays against the wires somewhat interfered with the messages. One night the Challenger spoke the Prometheus on her way to Norfolk Island. One of the officers of the cruiser interviewed at Wellington said:— "The Challenger had only two wires aloft previously, now she has eight. And the rigging has all been insulated, cutting off indirect communication with the earth, and doing away with what the wireless men call the 'screening' of messages. These alterations were made while in Sydney, so that these messages were really a test. Other means of improvement have been discovered, and the system will be made more perfect." Official communications to the Commander-in-Chief at Sydney comprised a large part of the messages sent. News of the fever cases on board was also communicated, and news from beyond Australia — of the two-Power standard, the American Fleet, racing topics, etc. — was received."
HMS Pyramus was a Template:Sclass- protected cruiser of the Royal Navy. She was laid down at Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company, Jarrow in May 1896, and launched on 15 May 1897. She served in various colonial posts, including the Royal Navy on Australian station from 1905. In the voyage to Australia in late 1905, she encountered numerous boiler failures and these continued throughout the earliest period of her Australian deployment. She was equipped with Marconi wireless telegraphy and in March 1906 is reported as calling the HMS Encounter from Garden Island to advise of the problems. She was also the first warship to communicate with the RMS Mantua as she ran up the Australia coast towards Sydney on her maiden voyage to Australia.
HMS Pegasus was one of 11 Template:Sclass- protected cruisers ordered for the Royal Navy in 1893 under the Spencer Program and based on the earlier Template:Sclass-. Like all of the Pelorus class cruisers, she had numerous boiler issues, but was briefly on Australian service around 1905. She was fitted with wireless telegraphy equipment.
HMS Psyche was a Template:Sclass- light cruiser built for the Royal Navy at the end of the 19th century. Initially operating on the North America and West Indies Station, the cruiser was transferred to the Australian Squadron in 1903, and remained there until the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) took over responsibility in 1913.
HMS Encounter was a second-class protected cruiser of the Template:Sclass- operated by the Royal Navy and later the Royal Australian Navy. She was built by HM Dockyard Devonport and completed at the end of 1905.
HMS Cambrian was a second-class protected cruiser, of the Royal Navy, built at the Pembroke Dockyard and launched on 30 January 1893. She was the last flagship of the Australia Station. In May 1910 she was a participant in a message which set the Fleet's wireless record. "During the voyage of H.M. flagship Powerful to Fremantle the fleet record for wireless telegraphy in Australian waters was established by the ship. When nearing Fremantle she was able to receive a message form H.M.S. Cambrian in port, at Hobart, a distance of over 1,500 miles away. The Cambrian requested to know if the Powerful had any instructions for her, to which query the Powerful sent a negative reply.
HMS Pioneer was a Template:Sclass- light cruiser built for the Royal Navy at the end of the 19th century. A brief report in November 1909 stated: "Wireless signals from HMS Powerful in Sydney Harbor have been picked up by the Pioneer, lying at Lyttelton. This is the first time such signals have been projected across the Tasman Sea without retransmission."
Japanese naval training squadron, Australian visit 1903. In March 1903 it was announced that the Japanese naval training squadron, consisting of the Matsushima, Itsukushima and Hashidate, would be visiting Australia. Rear Admiral Kamimura was in command of the squadron. Note that it was the practice of the squadron for the commander to regularly rotate ship to maximise training effectiveness for all crew, hence the flagship also would regularly rotate. All three cruisers were fitted with Marconi wireless telegraphy equipment. The squadron had left Yokosuka, Japan on 15 February and the tour included Hong Kong, Singapore, Batavia, Perth (Itsukushima, awaiting news of other two cruisers, 4 April to X April), Onslow (Matsushima & Hakidate, unscheduled due to damage to Matsushima during cyclone, X April to X April), Carnarvon (unscheduled due to cyclone dame & resultant need for recoaling, 19 April to 21 April), Perth (22 April to 30 April), Adelaide (7 May to 13 May), Melbourne (16 May to 30 May), Hobart (1 June to 2 June), Sydney (5 June to 14 June), Townsville (????), Thursday Island (1 July), Manila, Amoy, Fusan, Formosa, returning to Yokosuka.
Japanese naval training squadron, Australian visit 1906. In March 1906 it was announced that the Japanese naval training squadron, consisting again of the Matsushima, Itsukushima and Hashidate, would again be visiting Australia. Rear Admiral Shimamura was in command of the squadron. All three cruisers were fitted with Marconi wireless telegraphy equipment. The squadron had left Yokosuka, Japan on 15 February and the tour schedule included Korean ports, Chinese ports, Manila, Thursday Island (18 April to 20 April), Townsville, Melbourne (9 May to 17 May), Sydney (21 May to 28 May), Goode Island (Thursday Island) (10 June), Batavia, Singapore, Formosa, returning to Yokosuka.
Japanese naval training squadron, Australian visit 1907. In March 1907 it was announced that the Japanese naval training squadron, consisting again of the Matsushima, Itsukushima and Hashidate, would again be visiting Australia, albeit briefly. Rear Admiral Tomioka was in command of the squadron. All three cruisers were fitted with Marconi wireless telegraphy equipment. The squadron had left Yokosuka, Japan on X February and the tour schedule included Honolulu (Hawaii), Suva (Fiji) (19 March to 25 March), Wellington (New Zealand) (31 March to 7 April), Brisbane (13 April), Thursday Island, Batavia, Singapore, returning to Yokosuka.
Japanese naval training squadron, Australian visit 1910. In February 1910 it was announced that the Japanese naval training squadron, consisting of the Aso and the Soya would be visiting Australia. Rear Admiral Hikojirō was in command of the squadron. Both cruisers were fitted with Telefunken wireless telegraphy equipment. The tour included Thursday Island (March 3), Townsville (March 7 to March 13), Brisbane (13 March to 17 March), Sydney (March 19 to March 27), Hobart (March 30 to April 4), Melbourne (April 7 to April 16), Adelaide (April 19 to April 23), Albany (April 29 to May 2), Fremantle (May 4 to May 11), Batavia, Suraybaya, Singapore, Hong Kong, Formosa, Shanghai, returning to Yokosuka.
Template:Nihongo (Callsign ?) was a Template:Sclass- protected cruiser of the Imperial Japanese Navy. She was part of the Japanese squadron of three cruisers (initially the flagship) which visited Australia in 1903, all of which were equipped with Marconi wireless telegraphy. In perhaps the first recorded instance of wireless telegraphy being put to practical effect (rather than simple communication) near Australian waters, when the three cruisers of the squadron became separated during a cyclone and the Matsushima damaged her boilers, she announced her plight by wireless telegraphy and the Hashidate came to her aid. The two cruisers then travelled in company to the calmer waters of Exmouth Gulf, where repairs were effected. At this stage the Rear-Admiral transferred to the Hashidate, which then became the flagship for the remainder of the tour. The Matsushima was sunk in 1908 in a terrible accident with the loss of more than 200 lives.
Template:Nihongo (Callsign JUN) was the lead ship in the Template:Sclass- of protected cruisers of the Imperial Japanese Navy. The Japanese cruiser became separated from its squadron in the course of cyclonic weather in April 1903 and was the first to arrive at the port of Fremantle, thereby becoming the first vessel of the squadron to make port in Australia. The ship was equipped with wireless telegraphy equipment.
Template:Nihongo (Callsign JUO) was the third (and final vessel) in the Template:Sclass- of protected cruisers in the Imperial Japanese Navy. She was part of the Japanese squadron which visited Australia in 1903, all of which were equipped with Marconi wireless telegraphy. An enterprising reporter has provided a comprehensive account of the Hashidate while in Sydney Harbour.
Aso (Callsign JRL) was originally the cruiser Bayan, the name ship of the four Template:Sclass- armoured cruisers built for the Imperial Russian Navy in the first decade of the 20th century. She struck a mine and sunk during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05. She was salvaged and extensively repaired by the Imperial Japanese Navy, then renamed the Aso. She served initially as a ]training ship]. She was equipped with [w:Telefunken|Telefunken wireless telegraphy apparatus and visited Australia in 1910 as part of the visit of the training squadron. On 6 May 1910, the Encounter and HMS Challenger were also at Fremantle port, and the Encounter wirelessed an invitation to Admiral Ijichi to attend a dinner with Vice-Admiral Poore on board the HMS Powerful on 7 May 1910, the latter ship being about to enter the port also.
Soya (Callsign JLD) was originally the Russian cruiser Varyag. The ship was badly damaged during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05 and scuttled. After the war, she was salvaged by the Imperial Japanese Navy and extensively repaired. She was renamed the Soya and served initially as a training ship. She was equipped with Telefunken wireless telegraphy apparatus and visited Australia in 1910 as part of the visit of the training squadron.
The "Great White Fleet" of the USA visited Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Albany) in August & September 1908. The depth of fond sentiment towards the United States displayed at the time of the announcement that the Great White Fleet would be visiting can be gauged by the following:
The Fleet that is Coming to Sydney; An official despatch from Washington states that Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans, in charge of the major portion of the battle fleet of the United States, will leave San Francisco on July 6. The fleet will visit Hawaii, Samoa, Melbourne, and Sydney. It will then proceed to the Philippines for the autumn gunnery practice, and return to the Atlantic, via the Suez Canal. The Right Hon. James Bryce, British Ambassador at Washington, supported the Commonwealth's invitation to the fleet to visit Australia. On Saturday evening, at the Centenary Hall, Sydney, when the Prime Minister concluded his address on national defence, he intimated that he had just received a cable message to the effect that the American fleet would visit Melbourne and Sydney. In an instant the hall rang with tumultuous cheering. Mr. Deakin, waiting with uplifted hand, for a lull in the storm, presently shouted: 'The least we can do is to give three cheers for the United States.' The great audience rose en masse, and cheer after cheer was given to the waving of hats and canes and handkerchiefs. The Prime Minister: I venture to say that a welcome such as that fleet has never known, outside its own country at all events, will be given it in Australia. (Great cheering.)
The fleet entered Sydney Harbour on 20 August 1908 with a vast and tumultuous welcome in a "spectacle of unparalleled majesty" viewed by more than half a million people. After a week of celebrations, the fleet departed for Melbourne 28 August 1908. It was less than two days steaming before the fleet arrived at Port Phillip, Melbourne to a welcome on 29 August 1908 only slightly more subdued than that at Sydney. After the scheduled week in Melbourne, the fleet departed on 5 September 1908 with the newspapers of the day publishing patriotic poems about the visit. The fleet's arrival a few hours early on 11 September 1908 at Albany, Western Australia (the then small town with the large harbour), caught the residents and many country visitors literally napping. When the word spread there was a rush of people to the vantage points on the heads and elsewhere. A further week in Albany allowed both coaling operations and celebrations, with the majority of the fleet departing 18 September 1908. While the fleet did not visit any other Australian ports, it closely hugged the Western Australian coastline on its way to Manila and local shipping companies did good business taking tourist out to view the fleet under steam.
For Australia, with wireless telegraphy equipment only deployed to a handful of British naval vessels on Australia Station at the time, the temporary presence of the Great White Fleet meant a 200+ per cent increase in its wireless systems. The vast majority of vessels in the USA fleet were equipped with wireless telegraphy. It is curious that a wide variety of different wireless systems were being utilised by the USA fleet, with no known inter-operability issues. Yet a few years later, Australia remained concerned about the ability of each system to work with the others. The vessels and their wireless equipments were as follows:
- USS Ajax (relief, callsign BD)
- USS Connecticut (flagship, callsign DC, Shoemaker system, wavelength 425 metres, power 3kW)
- USS Culgoa (auxiliary, callsign DG, Composite system, wavelength 425 metres, power 3kW)
- USS Georgia (callsign EM, Stone system, wavelength 425 metres, power 2kW)
- USS Glacier (auxiliary, callsign EN, Composite system, wavelength 425 metres, power 2kW)
- USS Illinois (callsign FL, Fessenden system, wavelength 425 metres, power 1kW)
- USS Kansas (callsign GF, Stone system, wavelength 425 metres, power 5kW)
- USS Kearsarge (callsign GI, Composite system, wavelength 425 metres, power 2kW)
- USS Kentucky (callsign GK, Composite system, wavelength 425 metres, power 2kW)
- USS Louisiana (callsign GT, Shoemaker system, wavelength 425 metres, power 3kW)
- USS Minnesota (callsign HO, Stone system, wavelength 425 metres, power 3kW)
- USS Missouri (callsign HQ, Composite system, wavelength 425 metres, power 2kW)
- USS Nebraska (callsign IE, Telefunken system, wavelength 425 metres, power 3kW)
- USS New Jersey (callsign IK, Shoemaker system, wavelength 425 metres, power 3kW)
- USS Ohio (callsign IW, Shoemaker system, wavelength 425 metres, power 2kW)
- USS Panther (auxiliary, (callsign JG, Composite system, wavelength 425 metres, power 2½kW))
- USS Rhode Island (callsign KA, Shoemaker system, wavelength 425 metres, power 1½kW)
- USS Vermont (callsign LO, Telefunken system, wavelength 425 metres, power 3kW)
- USS Virginia (callsign LQ, Shoemaker system, wavelength 425 metres, power 3kW)
- USS Wisconsin (callsign MB, Shoemaker system, wavelength 425 metres, power 3kW)
- USS Yankton (relief, callsign MK, Telefunken system, wavelength 425 metres, power 1kW)
As the fleet steamed west from Pearl Harbour, its movements were widely reported in the media as "wireless messages" and "Marconigrams". But the implied directness was not representative and the messages had to almost circumnavigate the globe due to the lack of receiving facilities in Australasia, coupled together with the British Admiralty's refusal to communicate with non-Marconi systems:
How Wireless Messages were Obtained. Mr. Henry M. Collins (general manager for Australasia of Reuter's Telegraph Company, Limited) wrote to us under date Melbourne, August 6:— "As a good deal of curiosity has been aroused by the wireless telegrams received by this company from the American Fleet during the past few days, it may be of interest to the public to know how the information has been obtained. For some time past endeavours have been in progress to get into touch with the battleships before their arrival at Auckland for which port they steamed direct from Honolulu. It was at first attempted to establish communication through the good offices of the British Admiral; but it was found on enquiry that H.M.S. Powerful could not exchange wireless messages with the American vessels, presumably because different systems are employed. During last week the United States storeship Glacier arrived at Suva, and on Friday we learned from our correspondent there that efforts would be made to speak with our representative on board one of the battleships on Tuesday, the 4th instant, at a distance of 1,200 miles. Meanwhile it would be sought to establish a chain of communications on our behalf through the United States vessel Yankton, then lying at Tonga, and the Panther, at the coaling station Pago Pago, in the Samoan group. In this success was achieved, with the result that we have been able to place the information so obtained at the disposal of your readers on five days in succession. As the Glacier left Suva today the aerial "chain" has been broken — for the time being, at least."
Prior to the fleet's arrival in Australia, there was only a brief report that Lee de Forest's wireless telephony equipment had been installed in the vessels of the Great White Fleet. However, while the Great White Fleet was in Australian ports, there was surprisingly little reference to the ships' wireless telegraphy equipment. But a month after the fleets' departure, a detailed report was provided stating that all the warships were not only equipped with wireless telegraphy equipment, but also for wireless telephony. This is among the earliest recorded use of the latter technology in the Commonwealth:
All the ships in the American fleet which recently left Australian waters are fitted with a wireless telephone, besides the usual wireless telegraph gear. The success of the installation of this system — invented by Dr. De Forest — has been so thoroughly established that it has been possible to establish communication thereby to distances up to 25 miles. The average working range, however, is about five or 10 miles. The system is a comparatively new one, a successful demonstration of it not having been given until the middle of last year. Seeing the value of such a useful addition to the wireless telegraph, the United States Navy authorities at once ordered trial sets of the instruments to be installed in the battleships Connecticut and Virginia, in conjunction with a shore station. It proved of such value during the grounding of the Kentucky, in Hampton Roads, that it was decided to fit all the ships of Admiral Evans's fleet with it before they left for their voyage round the world. This was done with the utmost despatch, and a month or two later everything was complete.
The article goes on to fully describe the aerial, the transmitting gear and the receiving gear. The lack of detailed reporting on such an important development can be explained by the fact that the US Navy had found the equipment to be too unreliable to meet their needs at all sets were removed upon the fleet's return to Hampton Roads, Virginia.
In August 1909 Major Cox-Taylor gave a lecture describing a portable wireless station, and advocated wide deployment in war time. On the 28th March 1910 at the easter camp conducted at Heathcote NSW, George Taylor organised for the attendance of 3 civilians to bring their own equipment and conduct experiments to show his superiors the practical application of wireless telegraphy in the field. The civilians were Edward Hope Kirkby Walter Hannam and Reginald Wilkinson who were credited by Taylor in his own written account. 
Wireless Telegraphy Act 1905
The United Kingdom enacted it Wireless Telegraphy Act in 1904 and it was considered within Australia that a similar approach should be taken.
While it appeared clear that the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia placed responsibility for wireless telegraphy with the Commonwealth rather than the individual States and Territories, to remove any possible doubt, the Wireless Telegraphy Act of 1905 made this explicit. The Wireless Telegraphy Act, No. 8 of 1905 may be cited as the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1905 and was assented to 18 October 1905. The initial Act was brief and to the point, being only a single page and even after almost 80 years of amendments, remained equally concise when finally repealed in 1983. The Act:
- Defined Australia (in the context of the Act) to include the territorial waters of the Commonwealth and any territory of the Commonwealth
- Defined "Wireless telegraphy" to include all systems of transmitting and receiving telegraphic messages by means of electricity without a continuous metallic connexion between the transmitter and the receiver
- Was defined not to apply to ships belonging to the King's Navy
- Gave the Postmaster-General the exclusive privilege of establishing, erecting, maintaining, and using stations and appliances for the purpose of
- transmitting messages by wireless telegraphy within Australia, and receiving messages so transmitted
- transmitting messages by wireless telegraphy from Australia to any place or ship outside Australia
- receiving in Australia messages transmitted by wireless telegraphy from any place or ship outside Australia
- Provided penalty for breach of Act
- Provided for forfeiture of appliances unlawfully erected
- Search warrants for appliances unlawfully erected
- Gave the Postmaster-General the right to institute proceeding
- Gave the Governor-General the right to make regulations, prescribing all matters for carrying out or giving effect to this Act
Coastal network proposals
In the 1900s there were several unsolicited proposals from major wireless companies seeking to gain a footing in the Australasian market. The proposals were often heavily discounted and strongly guaranteed in the knowledge that initial acceptance would likely lead to further contracts.
Intra-Imperial Wireless Conference
In late 1909 a conference was held in Melbourne of all parties interested in the establishment of a chain of wireless stations link Australia, New Zealand and the islands of the southwest Pacific.
The Taylor phenomenon
George Augustine Taylor is remembered today mostly for his advocacy for commencement of high power wireless broadcasting in Australia during the mid-1920s through the efforts of his Association for the Development of Wireless in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. But arguably his work in the late 1900s and early 1910s was even more valuable. Within a civilian/military context he was responsible for demonstrations of the practical military applications for wireless. He then went on to demonstrate that wireless could be used in moving railway trains (and associated signalling applications) and transmission of pictures by wireless. Taylor solely driven by patriotic intent and without any commercial motivation. His inventions were claimed by others, sometimes decade or more subsequent. Taylor, although an advocate never invented anything. At his demonstrations and lectures he always used Edward Hope Kirkby and wireless equipment manufactured by him. Taylor's own publication recognises this fact
The public at large was fascinated by wireless generally, and individuals with a practical bent were wanting to explore the technology for themselves. While the WT Act 1905 made specific provision for licensing of wireless experimenters, the PMG's Department employed its absolute discretion in the matter to great effect with only a handful of private licences issued before 1910. Robert Scott made much of the secrecy provisions and penalties for interfering with Government communications. George Augustine Taylor was a prominent patriot advocating for the need for more support for aviation and wireless in Australia with a view to its future defence. As early as October 1909 he was publicly stating the need for an institute to represent the interests of private experimenters and particularly to press for relaxation of policy in respect of licensing of wireless experimenters. It was clearly implied that many wireless experimenters were being forced to operate without licences. Hannam was becoming incredibly frustrated, having waited 18 months for his application to be processed and he embarked upon a publicity campaign to try to change the system. His efforts were eventually assisted by solicitor F. Leverrier another experimenter desiring a licence. The timing of the campaign seemed rather more than fortuitous. On 11 March 1910 a preliminary meeting was held with a view to formally constituting an institute. The Daily Telegraph reported the event under the catchcry headline Three Guineas for the use of the Air: Wireless telegraphy experimenters and enthusiasts are beginning to co-operate, and a number met last afternoon in the Hotel Australia in order to take the preliminary steps towards forming an institution. Vigorous comment was made upon the Government's action in regard to experimental licenses, and it was plain that besides a feeling for mutual help and interest, the restrictions alleged had had a large share in hurrying on the movement. Two ladies were among those present. Mr. G. A. Taylor, who was elected chairman, explained the object of the meeting, and touched on the wonderful future ahead of the movement. "It is wise," he said, "to put our heads together and profit by each other's discoveries. Experimenters did not think the authorities were giving them fair encouragement. Every experimenter was at the beck and call of the military, naval, and postal authorities, and was allowed no legal redress if departmental officers thought he was breaking the rules. Mr. Taylor proposed the formation of an institution amongst experimenters and enthusiasts in wireless, for their mutual benefit. The object of founding the institution was to obtain justice, he explained; it would not be founded in opposition to any Government institution or department. Walter Henry Hannam, seconding the motion, repeated the account of his attempts to obtain a Government license. I have had a great deal of trouble with three Postmaster-Generals," said he, "and haven't got my license yet. They're still quibbling. We have all been treated in the same way, but no one has said or done anything until lately. Seventeen months of my time have been wasted since I was ready to erect my plant. Why should we have to pay three guineas for the use of the air, so far as experiments are concerned? The aerial navigation experimenters are charged nothing." One regulation, he complained, penalised an experimenter if the chief electrical engineer of the Postmaster-General's Department should certify telegraphic communication had been interfered with by his wireless appliance used "or intended to be used"! J. H. A. Pike also supported the motion, which was carried, and a provisional committee was appointed to arrange for the next meeting. Later, a general meeting of those interested will be called, and officers elected. It is proposed to assist in the formation of, and perhaps affiliate with, similar organisations in other States. The provisional committee is as follows:— Messrs. J. H. A. Pike, Walter Henry Hannam, F. Bartholomew, W. H. Gosche, F. and H. Leverrier, F. A. Cleary, and A. Garnsey, Major Rosenthal, Captain Cox-Taylor, Dr. Brissenden, and the chairman. Mr. Hannam will act as hon. secretary pro tem. Besides these gentlemen, the Misses Perratt Hill, and Messrs. R. B. Armstrong and J. A. Henderson attended, and gave in their names as prospective members. On 22 April 1910 the first formal meeting was held at the Employers' Federation rooms. There were 36 in attendance and it was announced that membership already stood at 70 persons. The name "Institute of Wireless Telegraphy" was adopted.
J. H. A. Pike
Australasian Antarctic Expedition 1911-1914
Coastal network Tranche 0
Floating coastal stations
The delay of more than a decade by Australia in commencing to establish a network of coastal stations, meant that Australia had failed to keep pace with the deployment of wireless fitouts on shipping. Many shipping lines insisted that the capital and ongoing expense of wireless equipment would not be incurred until at least the high-powered stations in the coastal radio network had been established. But since these ships were often also operating in other regions where coastal stations existed, many ships proceeded with wireless regardless. As a result the large numbers of wireless equipped ships plying the Australian coast at any given time in the early 1910s, meant that ships remote from ports could often relay messages through other ships closer to port, to give effect to communication upon its arrival.
Coastal network Tranche 1
The Australasian Wireless Co. had established a low power experimental station at Hotel Australia, Castlereagh St, Sydney. Hotel Australia was at the time, Australia's most luxurious hotel and the destination of choice for the wealthy and famous. The hotel was the venue for the first meeting for the establishment of the Wireless Institute of Australia in March 1910. This station itself, was useful to the company, primarily for testing equipment at its main station at Underwood St, Sydney (the head office for the Bulletin, part owner of the company). It is first reported in the press in November 1910, but this appears to be a major upgrade rather than initial usage. Medium power equipment was transferred at this time from Underwood Street and a large antenna installed on the rooftop of the hotel, at its highest 80ft. above the roof (170 ft. AGL). The wireless apparatus was installed in a room immediately below the roof. The apparatus was of the Telefunken system, the company having the rights to that system in Australia. The PMG allocated the callsign AAA. Despite its brief existence, the station made its mark in history. On 5 December 1910, a journalist of the Sydney Sun conducted an "interview" with world champion sculler Dick Arnst, by means of the Hotel Australia station and the fitted-for-wireless RMS Ulimaroa. This was claimed as an Australian first. In a sideline story, the journalist provides an eloquent description of the wireless room. In another triumph, the Hotel Australia station played a major part in establishing that the training ship Mersey was fine when fears were held for her safety at sea.
Due to delays in the establishment of the high power Pennant Hills coastal station, Australasian Wireless Co. (the contractors for the construction of the Pennant Hills station), sought and received a commercial licence to establish at their own cost a temporary facility at Hotel Australia. This new licence was given effect without material change to the technical equipment already installed there. But now the company could advertise its formal approval to solicit communications with nearby merchant shipping, and to charge for the service. The station formally commenced service on 3 June 1911. The service appears to have been an immediate commercial success and daily advertisements offering communication appeared in the local newspapers, together with a list of ships expected to be within wireless range on the day. It is telling that the Postmaster-General's Department intervened with the Australasian Wireless Co. to increase the rates for transmission of messages. This was to ensure parity with future charges for the Pennant Hills station.
A controversy enveloped the station 1 January 1912 when Farmer, the operator of the station reported brief wireless contact with the Macquarie Island station of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition immediately after the Island being in communication with HMS Encounter. Subsequently the Encounter asserted that no such communication had occurred and the PMG made definitive statements to that effect. It was considered in the press that Farmer had been the victim of a hoax. But Farmer held to his statements. Hotel Australia was using Telefunken equipment identical to that at Macquarie Island which was distinctive in note. Also the two Macquarie Island wireless operators were Charles Albert Sandell and Arthur John Sawyer. Sandell was formerly a Sydney experimenter while Sawyer was, immediately prior to the expedition, was the chief operator at the Hotel Australia station. Farmer would have been familiar with the "fist" (the distinctive operating style) of either operator, and on balance of evidence it does appear that the contact occurred, despite it being the height of summer in the southern hemisphere. Farmer nevertheless promptly responded to Macquarie Island when a message was relayed from the RMS Ulimaroa to Hotel Australia, being a message from Sawyer to his mother. P. Farmer quickly established direct communication with Macquarie Island, which stated that they had been hearing Hotel Australia for some time. Farmer provided a vast amount of Australian news for the Island's crew and indertook to provide daily updates henceforth.
This was an era of rapid repositioning in wireless regulation. Balsillie had been engaged as Commonwealth wireless expert and offered his "Australian Wireless" system gratis to the Commonwealth. The Australian Wireless system was evaluated by an independent expert and found to be more efficient than either the Marconi system or the Telefunken system. The Commonwealth promptly swung its support behind the Australian Wireless system. The first two coastal stations had been contracted to Australasian Wireless Co. but the Commonwealth now swiftly proceeded with new stations commencing with Melbourne (callsign VIM) and Hobart (VIH). Pennant Hills (callsign VIS) was essentially complete, but the Commonwealth would not sign off on "practical completion". Australasian Wireless Co. did not seem entirely unhappy with this system, as it permitted the commercial operations at Hotel Australia to continue for a longer period than envisaged. Finally, on 3 June 1912, the Department gave three months notice of cancellation of the commercial licence, stating that if Pennant Hills was not complete at that time, they would make alternative arrangements. Circa 3 September 1912 the AAA equipment was relocated back to Underwood St (becoming callsign ATY). The "alternative arrangements" alluded to by the PMG were made clear on 10 September 1912 when equipment at Pennant Hills failed, only a few days after cancellation of the licence and the outage was covered by wireless apparatus at Father Shaw's wireless factory at Randwick, the facility at Hotel Australia being dismantled.
AAM Hotel Menzies
The Postmaster-General approved the establishment of another commercial licence for AWCL at the Menzies Hotel in Melbourne. The callsign AAM was allocated by the PMG's Department, however there appear to be no reports of actual operation by the station, so it is probable that the proposal did not proceed.
Coastal network Tranche 2
The high power government coastal station at Sydney had originally been specified in the contract with Australasian Wireless Co., Ltd. to be at a coastal location. This was with a view to taking full advantage of superior radiofrequency propagation across sea water. But Defence had not been properly consulted and when they became fully aware of the circumstances, they insisted on an inland location to provide immunity from enemy shelling. Eventually the Pennant Hills location was selected and acquired, but in order to be confident of meeting contractual performance requirements, Australasian Wireless insisted that the transmission facility be of greater power. A substantial increase in contracted price resulted.
- VIS Sydney (commenced xxxx, callsign during testing by Australasian Wireless unknown, then POS for Post Office Sydney, after 1912 convention VIS)
- VIP Perth (commenced xxxx, callsign during testing by Australasian Wireless MNS, initially proposed though never implemented POF for Post Office Fremantle, then POS for Post Office Sydney, after 1912 convention VIS)
From 1912, the government progressively established a wide network of low and high power coastal stations to facilitate communications with shipping throughout the Commonwealth. The earlier temporary stations were replaced and the network expanded, eventually consuming the entire series of callsigns VIA to VIZ.
Experimental licensing (a trickle)
Experimental licensing (a stream)
Experimental licensing (a flood)
Coastal network Tranche 3
Following the Government's decision to utilise Balsillie's system for all further deployments in the Coastal network, developments proceeded apace and all capital cities were quickly provided with wireless telegraph stations:
- VIM Melbourne (commenced 8 February 1912, callsign initially POM for Post Office Melbourne)
- VIH Hobart (commenced 30 April 1912, callsign initially POH for Post Office Hobart)
- VIB Brisbane (commenced 2 September 1912, callsign initially POB for Post Office Brisbane)
- VIA Adelaide (commenced 1 October 1912, callsign initially POA for Post Office Adelaide)
(commenced 8 February 1912)
(commenced 30 April 1912)
(commenced 2 September 1912)
(commenced 1 October 1912) Balsillie arrived in Adelaide 3 July to undertake preliminaries for the construction of the station. Previously in Hobart, he had undertaken tests of various types earth systems, but stated that the Adelaide system would be conventional. The transmitter site was stated to be Rosewater near Port Adelaide. On 5 July 1912 he proceeded to Brisbane and was to return to Adelaide subsequently with the raising tackle.
International Radiotelegraph Convention 1912
Most countries with existing or proposed coastal radio services participated in a conference in London. The primary work of the conference was to prepare a Convention to govern overall principles of operation of their services as well as a set of Regulations to details specifics of operation and protocols to be adhered to.
Coastal network Tranche 4
From 1912, the government progressively established a wide network of low and high power coastal stations to facilitate communications with shipping throughout the Commonwealth. The earlier temporary stations were replaced and the network expanded, eventually consuming the entire series of callsigns VIA to VIZ. Upon the completion of the capital city stations, work commenced on further stations at commercially and defence-strategic locations and Australia finally had a network capable of servicing all vessels plying their trade in passengers and cargo along its vast coastline:
- VII Thursday Island, Qld. (commenced 26 February 1913)
- VIG Port Moresby, Papua (commenced 26 February 1913, callsign later changed to VJZ)
- VIY Mt Gambier, S.A. (commenced 1 March 1913)
- VIN Geraldton, W.A. (commenced 12 May 1913)
- VIR Rockhampton, Qld. (commenced 24 May 1913)
- VIC Cooktown, Qld. (commenced 12 June 1913, closed circa 1948, callsign later allocated 1960s Carnarvon, W.A.)
- VIE Esperance, W.A. (commenced 21 July 1913)
- VIT Townsville, Qld. (commenced 7 August 1913)
- VIO Broome, W.A. (commenced 18 August 1913)
- VID Darwin, N.T. (commenced 25 September 1913)
- VIL Flinders Island, Tas. (commenced 8 October 1913)
- VIZ Roebourne, W.A. (commenced 26 January 1914)
- VIW Wyndham, W.A. (commenced 18 May 1914)
- King Island, Tas. (commenced January 1916)
VII Thursday Island, Qld.
(commenced 26 February 1913)
The seriously ageing transmission plant at the Thursday Island coastal radio station was finally replaced in February 1926:
ILLUSTRATIONS. THURSDAY ISLAND WIRELESS. The new coastal radio transmitting plant for Thursday Island comprises a 7-10 K.W. set, capable of C.W., I.C.W., and (with attachment) telephony. It was manufactured at the radio-electric works of Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia), Limited. The panel on the left hand accommodates the oscillator and rectifier valves, with their associated power transformers, and smoothing circuits. By means of the high tension switching panel, located immediately in front of the valves, it is possible to change the power circuit arrangements to allow for signalling by continuous waves or radio telephony, and tonic train transmission at a frequency of 300 cycles per second. The latter method of signalling is accomplished by connecting the 300-cycle alternating cur-rent supply direct to the plates of the oscillator valves. Below the valves is situated the high tension power trans-former with two 12,500-volt secondary windings, and behind it are the filter condensers, filter reactor, and filament lighting transformer. The power control of this oscillator is taken care by the control panel to the right, which is located in the operating room. The four meters on the top enable the operator to see at a glance the condition of the various power supplies, filament voltages, and plate current; while the other controls and switches are for the regulation of various supplies to the desired valve. To the right of the panel are the transmitting inductances, wound with heavy copper tubing, and insulated to withstand the very heavy frequency potentials to which they are subjected in operation. The engine alternator unit employs a Fordom four-cylinder water-cooled high speed engine, directly coupled to a rotary field 300-cycle, 7.5 KVA alternator which is excited by means of the D.C. generator on its left. This generator, in addition to supplying direct current, has slip-rings for the supply of alternating current at 50 cycles to operate the filament lighting transformers. On the four-cylinder engine a sensitive governor keeps the speed within exceptionally close limits, which is essential on account of the rapidly fluctuating load caused by telegraph signal-ling. Electric starting is also employed, to obviate the necessity of the operator leaving the operating room to attend to this detail.
Technology for power generating plant was rapidly progressing in the late 1920s. AWA embarked upon a program of network wide upgrades as reported in February 1929:
NEW POWER-GENERATING PLANT FOR A.W.A. COASTAL RADIO STATIONS. An interesting power plant has recently been assembled to the order of Amalgamated Wireless (A/asia) Ltd., consisting of a 4-cylinder Fordson tractor engine, direct coupled to a 250-volt 500-cycle alternator and a double current 240-volt D.C., 160 volt 60-cycle generator, the whole being mount-ed on a heavy girder bedplate. Special features comprise the fitting of impulsator ignition and a governor, the first-mentioned for easy starting and the latter for consistent speed under varying loads. A starting motor is fitted in order that the engine may be started at a distance by means of a switch from the operating table at the wireless station, another switch being provided to stop the engine when required. The object of the plant is to generate power for operating the wireless transmitters at A.W.A. coastal radio stations. Power units of this description have already been fitted at the coastal radio stations at Thursday Island, Brisbane and Suva. At the latter station duplicate power equipment is installed. Those power units are shortly to be installed at the coastal radio stations at Broome (W.A.) and at Darwin (N.T.).
VIG Port Moresby, Papua
(commenced 26 February 1913)
VIY Mt Gambier, S.A.
(commenced 1 March 1913)
VIN Geraldton, W.A.
(commenced 12 May 1913)
VIR Rockhampton, Qld.
(commenced 24 May 1913)
VIC Cooktown, Qld.
(commenced 12 June 1913) VIC was originally intended for construction after the VIT Townsville station, but there were difficulties with site acquisition at Townsville and VIC was brought forward. When, in November 1912, supervising engineer A. S. MacDonald arrived at Townsville to arrange onforwarding of the wireless apparatus to Cooktown, there was concern in the town that Townsville would be removed from the deployment programme. Formal protest by the local Chamber of Commerce was made. In late November 1912 it was reported that: "During last week over 20 men were employed in making a passable road to Bald Hill, the site of the wireless station (says the Cooktown "Independent" of 26th November), and on Friday a start was made by Mr. T. E. Thomas , with a team of five horses, in carting the material. On Sunday afternoon quite a large number of people were to be seen climbing the hill out of curiosity to see the site on which the station is to be erected." The wooden mast was hauled into position 8 January 1913. The station commenced 12 June 1913 without florish. In early July 1913 is was reported: "The local wireless station has been sending and receiving messages for the past three weeks. The longest station so far communicated with was New Zealand, a distance of about 2,800 miles.
VIE Esperance, W.A.
In September 1912, John Graeme Balsillie was at the Perth coastal station to confirm performance of VIP and stated that Esperance was to be included in the coastal network and would be commissioned before June 1913. The Albany Chamber of Commerce had been seeking the installation of a coastal station at Albany, but in January 1913 the PMG Department advised that Esperance was the chosen location and as the range of that station would be 350 miles, an Albany station would not be required. The oversight of construction of the station was to have been entirely by Mr. Cox. The Western Mail of 24 January 1913 reported: "Work has commenced on the wireless station. Mr. Cox is the officer in charge and Mr. Mason the operator. The site chosen is on Dempster's Head, and has an elevation of about 300ft. with an uninterrupted view of the Southern Ocean, except for a few islands." However at the end of January 1913, Cox was relieved in order to proceed to Wyndham and select a site there and to overcome other difficulties with that station. A detailed progress report on the installation at the end of March 1913 also sheds light on the process of erecting a typical mast of the medium power stations:
The work is progressing (says a correspondent) at the Wireless on Radio Telegraph Station at Esperance, and the mast, one of the principal items of a station, is erected to enable the aerial wires to be suspended at a suitable height, so that intervening obstacles will not obstruct the message. The mast has been built on the site where the station is erected, and is 160 feet in length, having about 5880 superficial feet of oregon, bolted and coach screwed together, and is 21 in. square, its approximate weight being 25 tons. Three thousand bolts have been used in the putting of the mast together. The planning and construction of the mast has been carried out under the supervision of Mr. Mason, of Melbourne, and the work compares favourably with any of the similar masts that have been erected on the Australian coast. The raising of this lengthy and weighty mast is a work requiring skill and experience. Mr. J. Johnson of Melbourne, had this part of the work entrusted to him, of which he is an expert. A derrick, 40 feet in height, was erected first and by means of this derrick the jury mast, which was built on top of the mast as it lay on the ground, was raised to an upright position. This jury mast, 75 feet in height, was built up of oregon planks, to a width of 21 in. square and it weighs about 10 tons. The heel of the jury mast was fixed with stout iron plates and bolted on top at the heels of the mast, and five banjo stays from the top of the jury mast were fixed to the main mast at 25 feet apart. These stays hold the mast all along its length and prevents its buckling. An 8-inch Manila rope, through purchase blocks, was fixed to the top of the jury mast, and to a powerful winch. The winch is geared at 32 to 1, and with this eight men were able to raise the mast from the ground, a lift which is estimated to have a pull equal to a 90-ton load, and in pulling down the jury mast the mast slowly but surely ascended to its height of 160 feet. The time taken in raising the mast occupied five and a half hours, and the mast now stands in the proper position and is quite a landmark, and can be seen for miles around. The mast is erected on an ebbwater position. The surface is of concrete. The foundation on which the mast stands is about 250 feet above sea level. The mast is guyed by 12 wire stays at the four corners of the compass. On top of the mast is a 20 ft. gaff, from which the aerial wires are suspended, and that on which the messages are received and conveyed. The electrical parts of the wireless station are entrusted to Mr. M. L. Lloyd, who has had experience in wireless telegraphy. The buildings in which the engines and receiving stations are to be are in course of construction. The walls are of concrete, and this part of the work is carried out under the supervision of Mr. G. Riley, and with the gang of men under him he will soon, have the buildings completed. The station, when in working order, will be lit up by electric light, generated on the station. The Esperance Radio Telegraph station will undoubtedly be one of the sights of Esperance.
VIE formally commenced operation 21 July 1913. After the commencement of WW1, a brigade of 20 men was despatched to Esperance for the purpose of guarding the wireless station. The Albany Advertiser reported: "On Wednesday morning 20 men of the 88th Infantry Brigade arrived at Albany by train, en route for Esperance. Upon arrival Lieut. Morris, who is in charge, formed the men up outside the station. After being inspected by Major Meeks they were marched to the steamer Eucla, lying at the Town Jetty. The squad are going to Esperance for the purpose of guarding the wireless station." In early 1916, Charles Albert Sandell one of the wireless operators at the Macquarie Island station of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition was stationed at Esperance and gave a lecture there about his Antarctic experiences.
VIT Townsville, Qld.
(commenced 7 August 1913)
VIO Broome, W.A.
(commenced 18 August 1913)
VID Darwin, N.T.
(commenced 25 September 1913)
VIL Flinders Island, Tas.
(commenced 8 October 1913)
VIZ Roebourne, W.A.
(commenced 26 January 1914)
VIW Wyndham, W.A.
(commenced 18 May 1914)
King Island, Tas.
(commenced January 1916)
Ernest Fisk (1886–1965) was the dominant figure among numerous pioneers in early wireless developments. Fisk headed Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) (AWA) during 1917–44, when it was a leader in electronics manufacturing and broadcasting.
World War 1 commences
Hostilities were declared in 1914 and out of this immense tragedy, the sole victor was technology.
War Precautions Act 1914
The War Precautions Act , No 10 of 1914 was an Act to enable the Governor-General to make Regulations and Orders for the safety of the Commonwealth during the present state of war. It was assented to 29th October, 1914. The Act was brief and incorporated into the Defence Act 1903-1912. It was designed:
- to prevent persons communicating with the enemy, or obtaining information for that purpose or for any purpose calculated to jeopardize the success of the operations of any of His Majesty's forces, in Australia or elsewhere, or to assist the enemy; or
- to secure, the safety of any means of communication or of any railways, docks, harbors, or public works; or
- to prevent the spread of reports likely to cause disaffection or alarm.
The Act was extensively amended through the course of WW1, twice in 1915, again in 1916, and finally in 1918, before being repealed in 1920 by the War Precautions Act Repeal Act 1920.
The War Precautions Act itself was silent in respect of specific provisions addressing wireless telegraphy, however the War Precautions Regulations (Statutory Rules, 1915, No 77) of 19 May 1915 rectified this. Section 23 was as follows:
- No person shall without the written permission of the Postmaster-General, make, buy, sell, or have in his possession or under his control, any apparatus for the sending or receiving of messages by wireless telegraphy, or any apparatus intended to be used as a component part of such apparatus; and no person shall sell any such apparatus to any person who has not obtained such permission as aforesaid; and if any person contravenes the provisions of this Regulation, he shall be guilty of an offence against the Act.
- If the competent naval or military authority has reason to suspect that any person having in his possession any apparatus for sending or receiving messages by telegraphy, telephony, or other electrical or mechanical means, is using or about to use the same for any purpose prejudicial to the public safety or the defence of the Commonwealth, he may by order, prohibit that person from having, any such apparatus in his possession, and may take such steps as are necessary for enforcing the order; and if that person subsequently has in his possession any apparatus in contravention of the order, he shall be guilty of an offence against the Act.
- For the purposes of this Regulation, any apparatus ordinarily used as a distinctive component part of apparatus for the sending or receiving of messages by wireless telegraph, shall be deemed to be intended to be so used unless the contrary is proved.
Again the regulations were amended several times throughout the course of the war and subsequently.
A typical prosecution under the act and regulations was reported as follows: "Toy Wireless Apparatus; Hapless Owner Pilloried with Penalty of £15/15/-; Henry Albert Livermore, engineer, of 239 Nicholson street, was fined £10, with £5 5s costs, at Footscray Court on Thursday for having in his possession, contrary to the War Precautions Act, certain parts of a wireless telegraph apparatus. Wm. T. S. Crawford, Radio Inspector for the Mail Department, found in a shed at Livermore's place certain wireless apparatus customarily used by an amateur for demonstration purposes. It would be possible with the parts there to transmit messages for a distance of 100 yards, but not to receive them. The P.M. in imposing the fine, said the times were too serious to have wireless plant left lying round, and the penalty was just to emphasise the point that possession of wireless plant must be reported and a licence obtained. The P.M. excused defendant of any illicit dealing. Livermore had, further, to enter into a recognisance of £25 to comply with the regulations. No record has yet been identified of Livermore ever having held a wireless experimenter's licence.
Amateur experiments cease
AWA enemy part ownership
The AWA company was part-owned by Telefunken and upon declaration of war, shareholdings of all German-based firms were effectively quarantined. The degree of control over the company exercised by Fisk was greatly increased by this action. More than a decade would pass (long after cessation of hostilities) before ownership of these shares would be resolved.
The Australian Navy was already well advanced in its use of wireless telegraphy at the time of commencement of WW1. Additional ships were acquired and constructed and deployed in the war effort in unison with the British Navy, with principal deployments in the southwest Pacific. All vessels of any size or war capacity were fitted with wireless which now became indispensable. Australian wireless experimenters were welcome recruits as wireless officers and men, and served with particular distinction.
Military Wireless WW1
The Australian military was not so well advanced in wireless as the Australian Navy, but quickly came up to speed in expanding the numbers of officers and men, as well as acquiring the necessary materials to equip several signals divisions. There were several campaigns, mostly in the Middle East, but the deployment to Mesopotamia was both prominent and noteworthy. As in the case of the Navy, Australian wireless experimenters were welcome recruits as wireless officers and men, and served with particular distinction.
Wireless Telegraphy Act 1915
With the commencement of WW1, the government of the day desired to place all matters relating to wireless telegraphy under defence control while necessary. To this end the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1905 was amended to provide greater flexibility by replacing the delegation of powers specifically to the "Postmaster-General" to "the Minister for the time being administering the Act." https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C1915A00033
Upon the amendment of the Wireless Regulations to transfer control of wireless from the Postmaster-General's Department to Department of Defence, the entire staff of the PMG's wireless section was transferred to Department of Navy.
World War 1 concludes
Wireless Telegraphy Act 1919
Again, while it appeared clear that the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia placed responsibility for wireless telephony with the Commonwealth, to remove any possible doubt, the Wireless Regulations of 1919 made explicit provision for this form of communication, recognising the increasing importance of the technology.
First taste of wireless telephony
Wireless regulation in Australia remained under the control of the Department of Navy after the close of World War I and licensing was very largely limited to shipping and coastal stations. Wireless telegraphy was almost universally employed for communication due to its efficiency and capacity for long distance transmission. However, there are several reports of telephony transmissions, both music and speech, from international ships visiting Australian ports in the years immediately following World War I. Similarly, enterprising individuals at the coastal stations from time to time provided brief periods of music transmissions. While the equipment was designed for wireless telegraphy, modification to permit telephony was possible. The wireless operators on these ships and coastal stations were often also keen wireless experimenters in private life. The ships were visited by the land-based hams while in port and their equipment viewed in awe. The U.S.A. in particular was years ahead of Australia in use of telephony and their wireless-equipped ships offered rare glimpses of the state of the art for Australian experimenters. At first the listening audience was restricted to other ships and coastal stations, but from 1920, private experimenters were licensed (for reception only).
Initial demonstrations of broadcasting
Much was made then (and still is) of the 13 August 1919 demonstration of wireless telephony by Ernest Fisk (later Sir Ernest) of AWA – Amalgamated Wireless. "At a lecture on wireless communication before the industrial section of the Royal Society on Wednesday night, Mr. E. T. Fisk gave a remarkable demonstration of wireless telephony with the aid of an apparatus designed and manufactured in Sydney by the Amalgamated Wireless Company. A gramophone was played into a wireless telephone transmitter at the company's works in Clarence street, and the music was received on a few wires strung along the wall in the Royal Society's lecture-room in Elizabeth Street. The music was clearly audible in all parts of the hall. The lecture was suitably closed with the audience standing while the National Anthem was played by wireless telephone."</ref>
Early concerts and amateur broadcasting
Following the successful public demonstrations of broadcasting by the AWA and others, the AWA commenced in 1921 a regular series of concerts that were widely heard all over Australia and laid a framework for the introduction of broadcasting in Australia. The handful of wireless experimenters licensed to transmit at the time also commenced regular and intermittent transmissions of speech and music. A number of amateurs commenced broadcasting music in 1920 and 1921. These included 2CM, Sydney; 2YG, Sydney; 2XY, Newcastle; 3ME, Melbourne; 3DP, Melbourne; 4CM, Brisbane; 4AE, Brisbane; 4CH, Brisbane; 5AC, Adelaide; 5AD, Adelaide (not associated with 5AD which commenced in 1930); 5BG, Adelaide; 7AA, Hobart; 7AB, Hobart. Many other amateurs soon followed. 2CM was run by Charles MacLuran who started the station in 1921 with regular Sunday evening broadcasts from the Wentworth Hotel, Sydney. 2CM is often regarded as Australia's first, regular, non-official station.
Australian Antarctic Territory
Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Willis Island in the Willis Islets was utilised as a meteorological observation station even prior to wireless telegraphy development. Coastal shipping deposited and retrieved observers for annual stints at this lonely outpost off the northern Queensland coastline.
Wireless equipment was first deployed in the 1910s around the time of the establishment of the coastal station network. An already valuable station, it became invaluable with the ability to communicate weather observations of approaching cyclones which would subsequently directly impact the northern Queensland coast.
In later years, many of the observer / operators were licensed radio amateurs and there is at least once instance recorded of one of the hams conducting broadcasts.
Wireless telegraphy was first established at Macquarie Island in 1912 as part of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition. The callsign allocated by the PMG Department was MQI, which was a duplicate with that for the SS Saxon of the Union-Castle Line (such duplication was common prior to implementation of the 1912 London agreement).
Following implementation of the agreement, the callsign was changed to VIQ.
Practical equipment of the day was not capable of a direct link between the main base at Cape Denison on the Antarctic mainland and their Hobart main base. Mawson decided to establish an intermediate station at Macquarie Island primarily to relay messages between Cape Denison and Hobart (VIH), but also to originate its own messages. Walter Henry Hannam oversighted the construction and commissioning of the Macquarie Island station, then left the facility in charge of Charles Albert Sandell, in accordance with Expedition plans. Much to his chagrin, the Macquarie station proved effective from the start and continued so, while the Cape Denison station in its first year was problematic at best. The meteorological data from Macquarie was considered so important that upon the relief of the two expedition wireless operators in 1914, the Department of Meteorology provided two further operators to continue the data gathering a further year.
During the wireless era, the island country of Nauru saw a variety of colonial rulers. It was annexed by Germany in 1888 and incorporated into her Marshall Islands protectorate. Following the outbreak of World War I, the island was captured by Australian troops in 1914. The Nauru Island Agreement made in 1919 between the governments of the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand provided for the administration of the island and for working of the phosphate deposits by an intergovernmental British Phosphate Commission (BPC). The terms of the League of Nations Mandate were drawn up in 1920, but it was not till 1923, the League of Nations gave Australia a trustee mandate over Nauru, with the United Kingdom and New Zealand as co-trustees. Japanese troops occupied Nauru in mid-1942. The Japanese garrison surrendered to Australian troops in September 1945. In 1947, a trusteeship was established by the United Nations, with Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom as trustees. Nauru became self-governing in January 1966, and following a two-year constitutional convention it became independent in 1968.
The earliest reference to the possibility of a wireless station at Nauru is September 1908, when an English syndicate by the name of Pacific Islands Radio Telegraph Company proposed the establishment of a wide chain of stations across the South Pacific:
LINKING THE PACIFIC. COMPLETE WIRELESS SERVICE. A VALUABLE SCHEME. BENEFIT TO SHIPPING. In the cable news yesterday was an item to the effect that the "New 'York Herald" announced that a plan was taking shape to link the important islands of the Pacific by wireless telegraphy. This referred, no doubt, to the scheme proposed by the Pacific Islands Radio Telegraph Company, an English syndicate, whereby not only would the wireless system be installed on the various islands, but connection would also be made between Australia and New Zealand. The company has been working on the scheme for some months, and it is understood that their suggestions are meeting with the favourable consideration of the various Governments concerned. It is intended to thoroughly cover Oceania. Every island or group of importance will be provided with a radio-telegraphic station. The exact location of all these stations has not yet been disclosed, but it is known definitely that among the points selected are Fiji, Samoa, New Hebrides, Solomon, Marshall, Caroline, Gilbert, Fanning, Sandwich, Tahiti, Tonga, and New Guinea. It is also on the cards that the Pacific Phosphates Company will have the installation carried out on their possessions. Ocean and Pleasant Islands. The promoters of the scheme are meeting with every encouragement, and by the end of the year it is anticipated that a start will be made with active preparations for installing the service. The company is to maintain communication, and for so doing is asking the various Governments controlling the places to be benefited, to support the service. It is understood that the Fijian authorities have proposed to pay a large sum for the installation of the service on the principal islands under their jurisdiction. Other islands have agreed to co-operate with the company, but nothing has yet been decided with regard to the two most important centres, Australia and New Zealand, without which the scheme would be incomplete. The matter has been considered by the Governments of the Commonwealth and the Dominion, and it is an open secret that the proposal has been favourably received. The question will be placed before the Federal Parliament when it meets, and should the scheme be approved of, and New Zealand be willing, no time will be lost in getting on with the work of linking up the scattered groups. It has been decided to make Suva the head-quarters in the Pacific, and from there the messages will be flashed on to Australia and New Zealand. In the Pacific the scheme is being strongly suported, as it is well known that there is little chance of a cable service between the scattered islands being installed. Traders recognise the necessity of a faster means of communication than they now possess, and once the system is started it will not be long before every island of importance is connected. In addition to the scheme proving most valuable from a commercial point of view, it will be of considerable assistance to meteorologists in forecasting the weather, as daily reports can be sent from the outlying parts giving warning of sudden changes, which will enable traders and others to prepare for the hurricanes which prove so disastrous in the islands. Then, again, it is claimed that the system will prove of valuable assistance in the matter of defence, as with stations scattered all over the Pacific, a hostile fleet will have little chance of getting close to Australia without being seen. Apart from the increased convenience to be derived from a radio service through the islands, such an installation will be of financial benefit to the Commonwealth. It is intended to transmit all messages received at Fiji from the other islands to Sydney and New Zealand by means of the Pacific Company's cable. This will materially increase the earnings of that body and the Federal Government will not be called upon to make up such a large deficiency as it does at present. It is not intended to utilise the radio service between Fiji and Australia except as an emergency, as once a cable is installed the wireless system cannot profitably compete with it. However, a wireless station will be put in close proximity to the cable station, and should the latter service be interrupted by any means, communication can be maintained with the new system. Another important feature of the scheme is its value to the shipping industry. With radio stations scattered about the Pacific Ocean and on the Australian and New Zealand coasts, the shipping companies will be able to install apparatus on their boats, and thus be able to maintain communication con-stantly with the shore. In fact, negotiations have been carried on between the Union Steamship Company and the Pacific Islands Radio Telegraphic Company with regard to the installation of the service on their liners, and it is understood that directly the island scheme is settled, all the New Zealand and island boats will be fitted with apparatus. This would prove of considerable convenience to shipping people, besides being a safeguard against such accidents as might easily befall a vessel drifting about disabled, as the Hawea did last month. The system of wireless telegraphy to be used in linking up the islands is the Poulson. This is the latest invention, being an arc system instead of a spark. The company originally used the De Forest idea, but as it found the Poulson to be much more reliable and less expensive, it altered all its stations, and installed the Danish invention. The system has been found to be thoroughly efficient. Several lines of steamers are fitted with it, and messages have been received from a distance of 2500 miles. A thoroughly competent operator can send as many as a hundred words a minute through the air, but the average sending speed is 30 words a minute.
The loss of the Aeon was just one of many shipping losses in the maritime history of the Pacific, but the extraordinarily long time before the loss could be confirmed was used as leverage to progress the proposal of the Pacific Islands Radio Telegraph Company:
The London "Shipping World," in referring to the recent shipping disaster at Christmas Island, says:— "The long delay in advising the loss of the Aeon is likely to have a good effect in hastening the proposal to link up the Islands in the Pacific by wireless telegraphy. The scheme at present is to connect Ocean Island and Pleasant Island, of the Gilbert Group, from which large quantities of phosphate are now shipped to Australia and Europe, with the mainland of Australia, and gradually to bring the various groups of islands in the Pacific into connection. The suggested system will probably include ten or twelve circles, the largest having a radius of 1250 miles. Each station will require an engine of 60 horse power." 
Further support to the Pacific Islands Radio Telegraph Company proposal was offered in October 1908:
WIRELESS TELEGRAPHY FOR AUSTRALIA. According to a statement made by the Bureau of Manufacturers of the United States, a project is on foot to establish wireless telegraphy among the scattered islands of the Pacific Ocean. Capitalists who are interested in the extensive phosphate operations on Ocean and Pleasant Islands of the Gilbert Group, and in the new works about to be established on the island of Makatea of the Tuamotu Archipelago, are pushing the scheme, and propose to connect nearly all the groups of islands in the South Pacific by the service. It is desired to include in this system the Commonwealth of Australia, the Dominion of New Zealand, the Fijis, the New Hebrides, the Solomon, Samoan, Cook, Society, and Marquesa Islands, and the phosphate Islands of Ocean, Pleasant, and Makatea. It is expected that the various Governments having possessions in the South Pacific will aid in the establishment of the proposed system. Negotiations have already proceeded so far that the success of the efforts seems to be almost assured. The nearest available ocean cable office to Tahiti is at Auckland, 2250 miles away, from which a steamshlp of the Union line of New Zealand arrives at Papeete once every 28 days, and a direct communication by a steamship of the Oceanic Company with San Francisco, 3658 miles distant, is had once in every 36 days. The name of the proposed concern is the Pacific Islands Radio-Telegraph Company. Of the proposed capital of £70,000 the owners of the phosphate deposits on Ocean and Pleasant Islands have subscribed £10,000. In this radial system there will probably be 10 or 12 circles, the largest having a radius of 1250 miles, and requiring for each station an engine of 60-h.p. It has not yet been decided where the main office of the proposed company will be.
Despite a clear disposition by the Australian Government for a Postmaster-General's Department controlled and operated network of coastal stations, the Government came out, at least in principle, in favour of the Pacific Islands Radio Telegraph Company scheme:
LINKING THE PACIFIC. WIRELESS TELEGRAPHY SCHEME. COMMONWEALTH GOVERNMENT APPROVES. An important scheme for linking Australia and New Zealand with many of the principal islands of the Pacific has received the preliminary approval of the Commonwealth Prime Minister, and negotiations are now proceeding between Mr. Deakin and Sir Joseph Ward with the object of defining formally the relations of the two Governments and the business men who are backing the project. The scheme is the child of an English syndicate, the Pacific Islands Radio Telegraph Company, whose representative, Mr. Hamilton, had several interviews with Mr. Deakin when he was in Melbourne a few months ago. The plans of the syndicate are comprehensive, and are said to be viewed with favor by the imperial authorities, as well as by the two Australasian Governments. Every importaunt island or group in Oceania is to be linked with Australia and New Zealand, and the location of radio-telegraphic stations at the principal strategic and commercial centres is already under discussion. It is definitely known that among the islands selected are Fiji, the New Hebrides, the Marshalls, Samoa, the Solomons, the Carolines, the Gilberts, Sandwich, Tonga, Fanning Island, Tahiti, Papua. It is also said to be probable that the Pacific Phosphates Company will have an installation of plant at their depots on Ocean and Pleasant islands. It is further stated that the Government of Fiji has promised to pay a large sum for sub-installations at the small islands under its jurisdiction. The British authorities in other islands have promised similar co-operation. So sanguine are the promoters of success that when certain negotiations in London are complete they propose to make arrangements for the installations to be made early in January, 1909. It has been decided to make Suva the head quarters in the Pacific, and to join the Oceanic wireless services with the cable service of the Pacific Cable Board. Communications have passed between the Union Steamship Company and the syndicate, and it was announced last week in New Zealand that directly the islands scheme is settled all the company's boats will be fitted with wireless apparatus. The New Zealand Government is pressing for an extension of the scheme, so as to embrace the establishment of stations on the Auckland and Chatham Islands. The Australian Prime Minister, when seen on Thursday, said that he was generally favorable to the scheme, but the details had yet to be fully discussed. He had written to Sir Joseph Ward on the matter and expected an answer by any mail.
The formation of the Pacific-Radio Telegraph Company was announced in February 1909:
AUSTRALIA AND THE ISLANDS. WIRELESS COMMUNICATION. A COMPANY FORMED. LONDON, Wednesday Afternoon.— The Pacific-Radio Telegraph Company has been formed, with a registered capital of £60,000, to provide inter-communication between the islands in the Pacific and Australia and New Zealand. The "Western Electrician," of Chicago, recently said, with reference to the movement to connect groups of islands in the Pacific by a system of radiotelegraphy:— "It is proposed to include in this system Australia, New Zealand, and the Fiji group, as well as the New Hebrides, the Solomon, Samoan, Cook, Society, and Mar-quesas Islands, and the phosphate islands of Ocean, Pleasant, and Makatea. "It is expected that the various Governments having possessions in the South Pacific will aid in the establishment of the proposed system. Negotiations have already proceeded so far that the success of the efforts seems to be almost assured, says Mr. J. D. Dreher, the United States Consul in Tahiti. As the nearest available ocean-cable office to Tahiti is at Auckland, 2250 miles away, from which a steamship arrives at Papeete once every 28 days, and a direct communication by steamship with San Francisco, 3658 miles distant, is had once in every 36 days, it will be understood how deeply interested the French colony of Tahiti and its dependencies are in the complete success of these negotiations. "The name of the proposed company is the Pacific Islands Radio-Telegraph Company. Of the proposed capital, of 340,000 dollars, the owners of the phosphate deposits on Ocean and Pleasant Islands have subscribed about one-seventh. In this radial system there will probably be 10 or 12 circles, the largest having a radius of 1250 miles, and requiring for each station an engine of 60 horse-power. It has not yet been decided where the main office of the proposed company, will be."
Further detail of the proposal emerged in March 1909:
LINKING THE ISLANDS. The "Wireless" Scheme, STATIONS TO BE FITTED UP. It transpires that the scheme for linking up the islands of the Pacific by wireless telegraph is that of an English syndicate — the Pacific Islands Radio Telegraph Co. Every important island in the South Pacific is to be linked with Australia and New Zealand, and the location of the radio telegraph station at the principal strategic and commercial centres is already under discussion. Among the islands selected are Fiji, the New Hebrides, Marshalls, Samoa, the Solomons, Carolines, Gilberts, Sandwich, Tonga, Fanning Island, Tahiti, and Papua. It is also said to be probable that the Pacific Phosphates Co. will have an installation of plant at their depots on Ocean and Pleasant Islands. It is further stated that the Government of Fiji has promised to pay a large sum for subinstallation at the small islands under its jurisdiction, and that the British authorities in the other islands have promised similar co-operation. When certain negotiations in London are complete, the promoters propose to make arrangements for the installation to be made early in January, 1903 [sic, 1913?]. It has been decided to make Suva the headquarters in the Pacific, and to join the Oceanic wireless service with the cable service of the Pacific Cable Board.
The details of the proposal and its backers were more fully fleshed out in a report of August 1909:
LINKING UP THE PACIFIC. THE WIRELESS TELEGRAPHY SCHEME. Brief reference was made in "The Age" yesterday to a scheme for linking up the South Pacific Islands by wireless telegraphy, Mr. J. T. Hamilton, the representative of the Anglo-Australian syndicate, which, by the way, is backed by Earl Crawford, Sir James Mills, Sir Sidney Hutchison, Colonel James Burns and Mr. J. T. Rundle, is now in Melbourne, and called on several Federal Ministers with the object of placing his plans before them. Ministers are, on general principles, sympathetic, but until the budget statement is delivered on Thursday it is impossible to say how far sympathy is to be supported by action. In its earlier stages the scheme as a whole was watched with interest by the Federal Government, though of course no promises of aid were given. The syndicate has behind it a capital of about £60,000, but it is understood that unless the Australian, New Zealand, German and French Governments interested in the South Pacific Islands extend to its pioneer work some form of assistance its operations will be severely restricted, if not rendered altogether impossible. The scheme put forward for linking up the islands include groups of wireless telegraph stations arranged as follows:— GROUP I.— Proposed Long Distance Stations: Ocean Island, Levuka (Fiji). GROUP II.— Goverment Stations: Pleasant Island, Tahiti, Raratonga, Tonga, Vila (New Hebrides). GROUP III.— (Other Government stations, not essential to present scheme, but desirable from the point of view of certain Governments): Port Moresby, Samarai, Southport (Queensland), Doubtless Bay (New Zealand). GROUP IV.— (Supplementary Stations: Norfolk Island, Lord Howe Island, Vaya, Pago Pago, Jaluit (Marshall Islands), Tarawa (Gilbert Islands), Herbertshohe (German New Guinea), Ponape, Gavutu (Solomon Islands). Although in due course the project is expected to pay its way on commercial lines, it commends itself to many members of the Federal Parliament on grounds which are far removed from considerations of cash profit and loss. Under present conditions a hostile fleet could hide amongst the South Pacific Islands for months waiting for a chance to descend upon Australia, and the Commonwealth would have no means of learning of the fleet's existence. To link the islands by cable will be impracticable for a generation. To do so by wireless telegraph installations is a matter of a few months.
There was apparent progress with the proposal of the Pacific-Radio Telegraph Company in September 1909:
WIRELESS IN POLYNESIA. Steps are being taken to install the wireless system in Polynesia. News was received by the Canadian mail steamer Marama that Mr. Arundel, one of the directors of the Pacific Radio and Electric Company, recently visited Honolulu in connection with the scheme, and extended an offer to Mr. S. A. Phelps, at present wireless operator, on board the mail steamer Alameda, to go to Ocean Island, Pleasant Island, and the Fijis, and install wireless outfits. Mr. Phelps will probably go to Vancouver and take the Canadian Pacific line to Fiji, where he will establish his headquarters, and within a few months the dots on the map which are now geographical mysteries to the junior class in geography will become as much within the ken of civilised countries as Sydney. Mr. Phelps is one of the most prominent among the wireless operators of the United Wireless Company. Several months ago he broke the long distance record for ship's wireless communication, talking with the Mariposa over several thousand miles of ocean. He will have complete charge of the proposed island wireless system, and will superintend the installation of the various instruments in the various stations.
In late July 1912, there were preliminary reports of plans for a chain of high power coastal stations in the German Pacific territories:
GERMAN PACIFIC ISLANDS. WIRELESS COMMUNICATION. Sydney, July 29. The German Government has granted a concession to the Telefunken Company and the German and Netherlands Telegraph Company for the installation and working of four large coastal wireless stations on the Telefunken system for the purpose of linking up the German possessions in the Pacific. There will be two stations in New Guinea and one each at Samoa and Island of Nauru. A company is being formed to work the stations.
More details of the new chain of coastal stations were revealed in September 1912:
LINKING UP THE ISLANDS. BIG WIRELESS SCHEME. The German Government has just granted a concession to the Telefunken Company and to the German and Netherlands Telegraph Company for the installation and working of four large coastal wireless stations, on the Telefunken system, for the purpose of linking up the German possessions in the Pacific. It has been decided that each of these stations shall be fitted with a heavy iron tower 394ft. in height. They will each have a power installation of at least 120 h.p. The object of the new stations is to link together the German South Sea possessions, which so far have no connection by telegraph, of Yap and Rabaul (New Guinea), Apia (Samoa), and the island of Nauru. The new wireless stations will be connected at Yap with the German and Netherlands cable station. A company is to be formed to work the stations, and several engineers of the Telefunken Company will visit Rabaul and Yap at an early date. They will take with them all necessary machines and appliances. It is anticipated that the first two stations will be ready by April 1, 1913. The distances to be covered by the installations are:— Yap to New Guinea, 1367 miles; from Yap to Nauru, 2113 miles; from New Guinea to Samoa, 2486 miles; from New Guinea to Nauru, 1056 miles; and from Nauru to Samoa, 1678 miles.
Again in September 1912, When further details of the German proposal were revealed in the British Press, unfavourable comparisons were drawn with the costs and conditions pf Marconi's Imperial Wireless Telegraph Scheme:
Various questions asked in the House of Commons indicate a belief that the British Government is probably paying the [[w:Guglielmo Marconi|Marconi} company too well, both in respect of capital outlay, and royalty, for its services in connection with the Imperial wireless telegraph scheme. An alternative course is shown by the arrangements which Ger-many has just completed for the establishment of similar communication between its island possessions in the Pacific. The undertaking is to be financed, not by the Government, but by a company, which has just been formed with a capital of £650,000. A concession for 20 years — 8 years shorter than the term fixed in the case of the British scheme — has been granted to the company, on which the Imperial post office will be represented by a commissary. The construction work is to be entrusted to the Telefunken company. Four large stations will be built — at Rabaul, in New Guinea; Apia, in Samoa; Nauru, in one of the Marshall Islands; and on Yap, which is one of the Caroline Islands. The latter contains the cable station of the German-Dutch Telegraph Society. A Berlin report in the "Times" states that the inadequacy of communication between the German possessions in the Pacific, which has necessitated the use of cable lines in foreign hands, has long been a subject of complaint in the German press, both on commercial and on strategic grounds. The provision in other German possessions has been rather more satisfactory. There is a wireless station at Swakopmund, in German South-west Africa, and another at Luderitz Bay. Both have a range of 625 miles. There has also been a proposal for the establishment of wireless communication between the Cameroons and Togo.
In October 1912, the foreshadowed shipment of equipment for Nauru was reported:
LINKING UP THE GERMAN ISLANDS. The scheme for linking up the islands of the Bismarck Archipelago by wireless is being pushed on rapidly. A quantity of apparatus has already been landed at New Britain, where the wireless station is now being erected. Nauru Island, the well-known phosphates depot attached to the Caroline Group, will be another station. The appliances, together with a quantity of gear for the station at Nauru, has been shipped by the steamer Australian Transport, which sails from Sydney today direct for the islands.
A December 1912 report in The Sun (Sydney) provided detail of the operating company for the venture:
GERMANY IN THE PACIFIC. BIG WIRELESS SCHEME. A company called the German South Sea Company for Wireless Telegraphy has been formed with a capital of 3,250,000 dollars for the purpose of wirelessly linking up Germany's possessions in the Pacific. The company has obtained a concession for twenty years from the Imperial Post Office, which will be represented in the company by a commissary. The work will be entrusted to a German wireless society. Four large stations will be built at Rabaul in New Guinea, Apia in Samoa, Nauru in one of the Marshall Islands, and Yap, which is one of the Caroline Islands. On Yap is a cable station of the German-Dutch Telegraph Society. The inadequacy of communication between the German possessions in the Pacific, which have been obliged to use cable lines in foreign hands, has long been a subject of complaint in the German press, both on commercial and strategic grounds.
In the 1924 report to the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League of Nations, detail as to acquisition of land for the wireless station is given:
The Nauru report for 1924, which the Mandates Commission examined in the presence of Sir Joseph Cook (High Commissioner for Australia), says that the only lands belonging to the State are the Government station and an area required for the wireless station, amounting approximately to 100 acres. The German Government acquired this area by purchase from native owners, and transferred its mandatory power under the Peace Treaty. The area had since been dealt with as the property of the Administration.
In October 1913, the completion of the Nauru station was briefly reported:
WIRELESS IN THE PACIFIC. INSTALLED AT NAURU ISLAND. Nauru Island, a well-known phosphate depot in the Pacific, has been brought into wireless touch with several islands in the Pacific. News was brought to Sydney yesterday by the steamer Ellerlie that the installation on the island was completed at the end of last month, and a wireless expert had taken up his residence on the island.
The official commencement of service (1 December 1913) of the Nauru station was advised as follows:
The new wireless stations at Yap (Carolines) and Nauru (Marshall Islands), which have been erected by the German South Seas Company for Wireless Telegraphy, were opened for service on December 1 of last year. As a result, Nauru is by way of Yap, where there is already a German cable station, now connected with the international telegraph system.
The immediate value of the Nauru wireless station can be seen by the following report of December 1913:
THE FRITHJOF. A wireless message has been received from Nauru stating that the Norwegian steamer Frithjof was to leave there yesterday for Sydney with a full cargo of phosphates.
The following report of March 1914 clearly demonstrates that the Nauru wireless station was operating efficiently, also of the strategic value of the facility:
In November last the German cruiser Nuernberg, when in far eastern waters, succeeded in achieving some remarkable results as regards long instance [sic, distance] communication by wireless. The cruiser obtained perfectly clear messages from the German wireless station at Nauru on the Bismarck Archipelago, that is to say, over a distance of 5000 nautical miles, and similar results were obtained in communicating with the German station at Yap in the Caroline Islands, the distance in the latter case being even considerably larger, namely 6600 nautical miles. Excellent results were also obtained by the German wireless station at Tsingtau when communicating with the German warships stationed in Eastern waters, the distances covered varying between 2800 and rather more than 4000 nautical miles.
The ongoing value of the Nauru wireless station was again evidenced by the following report in May 1914:
THE CAIRNHILL ADRIFT. The German steamer Prinz Sigismund, which arrived at Sydney last Saturday from Kobe, via Hongkong and Rabaul, brought particulars of a serious mishap to the British steamer Cairnhill, 4981 tons register. It appears that the Cairnhill left Nauru on the 27th March for Stettin with 7100 tons of phosphates, and all went well until the evening of the 31st March, when the tail-shaft snapped and the propeller dropped off and sank, leaving the vessel helpless. Thirty four members of the crew left the steamer on the 9th April to obtain assistance. Only the captain and four men were left aboard. When one of the Cairnhill's boats arrived at Rabaul, the breakdown of the Cairnhill was reported, and the steamers Meklong, belonging to the N.D.L. Co., and the Siar, belonging to the New Guinea Trading Company, were despatched to look for her. After searching for some days without success, the vessel returned, as their coal was running short. The chief officer of the Cairnhill, D. M. Culloden, left Rabaul on May 6 in the steamer Sumatra, which is making a 23 days' search. The steamer Germania was in Rabaul at the time, and a wireless message was sent by her to Nauru regarding the Cairnhill. The latest news from Rabaul reports that a large steamer was sighted from Nissan Island, which may be the Cairnhill.
The Postmaster-General's Department announced acceptance of telegraphic traffic for Nauru on 21 May 1914 as follows:
TELEGRAPHIC BUSINESS. The Deputy Postmaster-General advises that approval has been given for the introduction from today (21st May, 1914) of weekend cable service between the Commonwealth, India, Burmah, and Ceylon. Tariff 7½d. per word with a minimum of 20 words. Messages are subject to the same rules as those applying to deferred cablegrams, and will be dealt with telegraphically throughout. Delivery to be made on the Tuesday following date of lodgment. Also that wireless traffic may now be accepted for Nauru., Marshall Islands, at the sender's risk, for disposal via Thursday Island, at the rate, of 1s. 1d. per word; porterage charges to be collected from the addressee. Also that a radio station is now open for business at Wyndham, West Australia, between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m.
In a press report of 6 June 1914, the arrival of Telefunken's Herman Kaspar in Sydney was announced, stating that he would depart shortly to inspect the Nauru station:
WIRELESS IN THE PACIFIC. It was mentioned some days ago that Great Britain is perfecting a chain of wireless stations in the Polynesian Islands, which will give a complete wireless circle. A similar system is being inaugurated by Germany amongst her Pacific dependencies. One of the Principal German stations is at Nauru, in the Marshall Islands, and Mr. Herman Kaspar, a representative of the Telefunken Company of Berlin, has just arrived from Windhuk, in German West Africa (where there is claimed to be the largest wireless station in the world) to inspect the plant which has been constructed at Nauru. Mr. Kaspar expects to leave for the Marshall islands in about three weeks time.
The strategic potential of the wireless station was demonstrated at the outbreak of WW1, as evidenced by this report:
GERMANS IN THE PACIFIC. SMALL BRITISH STEAMER SEIZED. SYDNEY, September 24. The steamer Moresby, which arrived today from the Pacific Islands, brought news of the capture by the Germans of Burns, Philp, and Co.'s small steamer Induna, 699 tons, at Juluit, in the Marshall Islands. The high power wireless station Nauru, since reported to have been captured by the British, enabled the Germans to take precautionary measures long before the British in the Pacific Islands knew of the true position. As soon as the first news of the war was received by wireless at Nauru, the German authorities immediately took steps to warn German traders in the outlying islands. Small German steamers were despatched from Nauru, and these carried news of the war to the Germans in the Marshall Islands and the outlying Caroline Islands. The news also drifted through to Ocean Islands, where the British Government Resident for the Gilbert and Ellice Island is located. The Germans, however, appear to have received the news first at the various groups. It was learned by the Moresby that five vessels were lying at Juluit, namely, the Induna, a Japanese steamer, a German warship, and a couple of small vessels. As far as is known, the Induna was going her usual round in the Marshall Islands, the captain and crew evidently being unaware that war had been declared. She went to Juluit, and was anchored there with other vessels. On September 3 her white crew was all on board, but the native crew had been sent back to their homes in various islands of the Marshall group. What happened at the time of the seizure, and the name of the German warship which probably figured in the taking of the Induna and the Japanese steamer was apparently not learned by those on the Moresby, but no doubt was left, it seems, of the fact that the Induna had been seized. So far as is known here the detained officers of the Induna are:— Captain Webster; A. Pry, chief officer; B. Walford, chief engineer; A. C. Horlock, second officer; S. Carrick, second engineer; W. Howle, third engineer; A. Mumford, chief purser; J. H. M'Murchie; M. Smith, T. O'Connell, A. M'Bride, J. Stanton, E. Scott, E. Elliott, R. Underwood, P. R. Jones, and J. Leonard. It is probable, however, that there were several changes after the Induna left Sydney, men having been transferred to other steamers of the Burns, Philp line.
On 22 September 1914, The Age (Melbourne) reported the destruction of the Nauru wireless station by Australian troops as follows:
LANDING ON NAURU. At dawn on 11th September, contemporaneously with the capture of Rabaul, a landing party of 21 sailors from one of the Australian war ships, under the command of Lieutenant-Commander Bloomfield, Lieutenant Cooper and Engineer-Lieutenant Creswell, and Staff-Surgeon Brennand, who acted as interpreter, effected a landing on the island of Nauru without any opposition. In fact, none was expected, as the island is neither fortified nor garrisoned. The only trouble experienced was in getting a boat through the heavy surf. However, this was safely accomplished, and the Governor was called upon to surrender. Possession was then taken, and two wireless operators were arrested. The wireless station, one of the most powerful in the German Pacific chain, and erected at a cost of £25,000, was destroyed. After the station had been destroyed a cruiser cleared out with the two operators as prisoners. The whole wireless chain in the Pacific has now been destroyed or captured.
An interesting, if unverified, addition to the story was reported after the conclusion of WW1:
The Missing Radio-Plant Shortly after the outbreak of war the Australian navy "rushed" Nauru in order to silence the wireless station. On the approach of our warships the Huns in charge, believing that they would soon be in possession of the island again after their raiders had swept our ships off the Pacific, tried to render the station useless to the British by hiding all the essential parts of their wireless plant in a big cave. The entrance to this cave was afterwards closed and hidden with rubbish. Unfortunately for the Germans, a dog watched their work, and when the Australians landed on the island this animal led them to the concealed cave, where it commenced to dig vigorously. The excited animal was soon assisted by a band of helpers, who uncovered the opening and located the missing parts.— "Reef-comber."
On 16 January 1915, The Herald (Melbourne) reported on the re-opening of the Nauru wireless station:
WIRELESS STATION AT NAURU; A wireless telegraph station has been opened at Nauru, Marshall Islands, and is now available for the transaction of public business. The rates will be threepence a word radio charges, plus ordinary land line rates, and delivery charges, if any, at Nauru, the latter to be collected from the addressee.
A few days later, 18 January 1915, The Sun (Sydney) provided further detail:
VIA WIRELESS TO NAURU. The postal authorities notify that the wireless station at Nauru, Marshall Islands, is now open for the transaction of public business. The charges are 3d a word radio charges, in addition to ordinary land line charges and delivery charges, if any, at Nauru, the latter charge to be collected from the addressee. The service is limited at present, and is subject to delays, but every endeavor will be made by the department to dispose of traffic as early as possible. Traffic will be confined at present to messages to and from the Commonwealth, no messages being exchanged with ship stations. For the present traffic will be sent via radio, Brisbane.
Again, on 18 January 1915, The Sydney Morning Herald provided additional detail and background:
NAURU. WIRELESS STATION. Communication has been established between Australia and the island of Nauru, formerly owned by Germany, but now occupied by Australian troops. The postal authorities notify that the wireless station at Nauru is now open for the transaction of public business. The charges are 3d per word radio charges, plus ordinary land line charges, and plus delivery charges, if any, at Nauru, the latter charge to be collected from the addressee. The service is limited at present, and is subject to delays, but every endeavour will be made by the department to dispose of traffic as early as possible. Traffic will be confined at present to messages to and from the Commonwealth, no messages being exchanged with ship stations. For the present traffic will be sent via radio Brisbane. Nauru, formerly called Pleasant Island, which lies a few miles south of the Equator, and about 150 miles north-west of Ocean Island, was attached for administrative purposes to the Marshall Islands, although it is not properly one of them. It is an upraised atoll of circular form, about three and a half miles in diameter, the highest elevation being about 150 feet. There are large deposits of phosphates, similar to those on Ocean Island. The right to work the deposits is held by the Phosphates Company, an English concern. Cocoanuts grow well on the Island, and a considerable quantity of copra is annually manufactured. There are about a thousand natives, a number of them having been recruited from other islands. The island formed one of the links in the wireless chain which Germany had nearly completed when the war broke out, and which enabled the residents of this secluded spot to get news as speedily as ourselves. Nauru was wirelessly linked up by Germany with Yap, in the Caroline Islands, which, besides being a central wireless station, was in communication with the outside world by means of submarine cable, and from Nauru messages were transmitted by the Germans to Apia, in Samoa.
Despite WW1 continuing to rage in Europe, the situation in the Pacific had stabilised to the point where Australia sought tenders for a regular merchant shipping service including Nauru in February 1915. It was specified that all ships must be equipped with wireless telegraphy:
Department of External Affairs, Melbourne, 26th February, 1915. STEAM SERVICE TO PACIFIC ISLANDS. TENDERS are invited, and will be received at the Department of External Affairs, Melbourne, until Noon on Friday, the 30th April, 1915, from persons or companies desirous of contracting for the provision of the following steam services between Australia and the Pacific Islands. . . . 3. Gilbert, Ellice, and Marshall Islands:— (а) Three-monthly service from Sydney to these groups. Vessels to call at Ocean Island, Nauru, and all usual stopping places. (b) As in 3 (a), including calls each way at Brisbane. (c) Trunk line service, Sydney to Ocean Island, and limited number of other central ports to be named by tenderers. (d) Inter-island service connecting with (c). (e) Service as in 3 (a), (b), or (c), with Melbourne as terminal port. Tenderers should state the size and speed of the vessels proposed to be employed, the extent of accommodation for passengers, the time to be occupied on the service, and the time of stoppage in each port of call and in the terminal ports. Tenderers may submit offers for all or any of the services required, or may submit alternative proposals combining services to different groups of islands. Tenderers may submit offers stipulating that they will not engage in any trading operations whatsoever in connexion with the service or services. Alternative proposals may be submitted reserving the right to carry on certain trading operations, the nature of which should be stated. . . . 2. The usual conditions as to the conveyance of mails in contracts with the Postmaster-General of the Commonwealth will be adopted, and will form part of the contract to be made with the successful tenderers. 3. Tenderers to furnish full description of the vessels proposed to be employed in each of the services, including information as to cold storage capacity, if any. . . 7. The vessel or vessels to be employed shall be fitted with wireless telegraphy apparatus. . . . 11. In considering tenders, regard will be had to the fact that the services are not only for the conveyance of mails, but also intended to assist in the development of the various islands. 
In a publication dated May 1915, "List of Radio Stations of the World" by Frank A. Hart (Chief Inspector, Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America) and H. M. Short (Resident Inspector (U.S.A.), Marconi International Marine Communication Co., Ltd.), the coastal wireless station at Nauru is listed under Marshall Islands with Callsign KBN but no technical details. Control is stated as "Operated and controlled by the Deutsche Sudsee-gesellschaft fur drahtlose Telegraphic, A. G., Berlin, Germany." The authors would have been aware that the station was now in possession of Australia, however the USA at that stage was still neutral and protocol would likely require pre-War status to be reflected. Australia would not have made use of the German callsign series and it is likely that use of the VKT callsign was implemented soon after the capture.
In November 1915, a report in the Papuan Times was reproduced in The Telegraph (Brisbane) which summarised the history of the German coastal radio network and how the Commonwealth had reinstated the facilities and further extended the network, with Nauru as a vital link:
WIRELESS IN THE PACIFIC. Had this great world war not have occurred, Germany by this time would have had a splendid system of communication linking up her various Pacific colonies (says the "Papuan Times" of 27th October). High power wireless stations of a uniform design had been erected for this purpose, and were established at Yap, Nauru, Anguar, Apia, and another in the last stages of completion at Rabaul. The power of these stations made daylight communication possible, and as Yap was lined up with the Eastern Extension Company's cable system, it was possible for any of Germany's Pacific colonies to be in telegraphic communication with the fatherland at any hour of the day or night, a matter of no small importance. The war, however, put a stop to German activity in this direction. It was a well known fact that wireless would play an important part in the war, and on the outbreak of hostilities steps were immediately taken to put out of action the enemy's Pacific wireless stations. The principal station at Yap was the first to go, then Apia and Nauru. At Rabaul the huge mast and plant was destroyed by the Germans themselves. After our occu-pation of these places no time was lost in re-establishing communication, and new stations erected at Freiderich Willhelmshafen (Madang), and Kieta, in the Solomons. A telegraph service has been established between these places and the Commonwealth, the tariff and service comparing favourably to any in the world.
In a long report describing life and conditions at Nauru in April 1921, brief reference is made to the ongoing wireless facilities:
Away up on a hill about a mile and a quarter distant from the Phosphate Co.'s settlement, is the famous Telefunken high-power wireless station, which keeps in daily touch with the world in general. Daily bulletins of war news used to be issued by the officer in charge to residents, free of charge. The chief engineer of the station is another West Australian named Caisley, who worked his way up from a private to the position he now occupies. The wireless mast at Nauru is much about the same height as the one at Applecross, and can be seen by ships at sea for hours before the island itself comes into view.
A single set of test transmissions using wireless telephony between Nauru and Ocean Island was undertaken in January 1923:
RADIO TELEPHONY. IN USE AT NAURU PROSPHATES FOR 200 YEARS. Talking by wireless telephone, Mr. H. B. Pope, Australian Commissioner on the British Phosphate Commission, was distinctly heard at Nauru Island from Ocean Island, and vice versa, and through receiving sets 1600 miles away. Mr. Pope and Mr. A. F. Ellis, New Zealand's member of the commission, are in Sydney conferring as to development of the phosphate industry. During his last visit to the islands, Mr. Pope was accompanied by Mr. Hoskines, a special officer sent by courtesy of Amalgamated Wireless, Ltd. They took a wireless telephony set on the Nauru Chief, and found it so successful that the establishment of wireless telephone stations on the two islands is contemplated, radio telephony having proved so much in advance of radio telegraphy.
The News (Hobart) reported in May 1925 upon what is believed to be the first installation of wireless telephony facilities at Nauru:
A half K.W. wireless telephony set recently supplied by Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited to the British Phosphate Commission at Nauru, is giving exceptionally good results. Reports to hand state that tests between the set at Nauru and the radio station at Bita Paka (Rabaul). a distance of nearly 900 miles, resulted in good speech both ways during daylight.
It should be noted that this facility was not administratively part of the existing Coastal Radio station VKT (a public traffic facility), but rather a private operation, solely for the use of the British Phosphate Commission with the licence being held by the Administrator of Nauru. It is not known whether the two facilities were co-located with VKT.
There were few english language stations to listen to at night on Nauru and the wireless officers would have appreciated the strong new signals from 4QG Brisbane when it increased power from 500 watts to 5kW in March 1926:
For Wireless Fans. 4QG. MORE EXCELLENT REPORTS. ON NEW POWER RESULTS. During the weekend further reports of reception from the new station (4QG) came to hand from many parts of Australia. So heavy was the mail received that it was found necessary to employ the full clerical staff on Saturday and Sunday, acknowledging by card the various telegrams and letters. Sunday's full programme was transmitted on high power, and was the first daylight test from the new station. Yesterday telegrams from the north and western portions of Queensland reported excellent results, and from Sydney and Melbourne clear reception was also reported. As reported in yesterday's "Standard," the wireless officer of steamer Makambo, which at the time was off the New Hebrides, radiogramed station 4QG on Sunday night, to the effect that he was receiving the band concert very clearly, and at great volume, on a single valve set. The radio station at Nauru also wirelessed a report yesterday stating that 4QG was being received at maximum strength.
In October 1926, the RAAF was anticipating major growth in aerial traffic in the Australian territories of the SW Pacific. A full survey of all facilities was undertaken by Group-captain Williams and his staff with a view to assisting with aeronautical navigation:
AID TO AVIATION. The survey of the mandated territory now being made by Group-captain Williams and staff of the Royal Australian Air Force, directs attention to the advantage of wireless to aviation, and the important part it is bound to play in the development of aerial services in the immediate future. As a matter of fact, wireless forms the only means of communication between many of the islands of the Pacific now under the suzerainty of Australia and the outside world. There are in all seventeen commercial and four private wireless stations in the islands adjacent to the Australian coast. In the Australian mandated territory of New Guinea there are seven radio stations controlled and operated by Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia), Limited. These are situated at Rabaul, Morobe, Madang, Aitape, Manus, Kavieng, and Kieta. There are two stations in the British Solomon islands, one at Tulagi and the other at Ocean Island, both of which are operated under the control of the British High Commissioner at Suva. The station in the mandated island of Nauru is controlled by the Administrator of Nauru, who also controls a private station on that island. The Japanese Government controls radio stations at the following points in the Japanese mandated territory of the Caroline Islands:— Truk, Ponape, Jaluit, Saipan, Yap, Paloa, and Angaur Island. A private radio station at Roviana is operated by Rev. Mr. Goldie, of the Solomon Islands Methodist Mission. A private station at Tarawa is operated by Burns, Philp, and Co., Ltd.; and one at Vanikoro is operated by the San Cristobal Estates, Tulagi. The station at Rabaul ranks as a high power station, and it receives and transmits all the traffic between Australia and the north and west Pacific Islands, including those of the British Solomons and the mandated territory of Japan in the Caroline Islands. This station was originally erected by Germany, and was captured by the Australians in 1914 under romantic and exciting circumstances. It has been remodelled on the lines of the stations controlled by Amalgamated Wireless, Limited, and is capable of handling almost continuous news and commercial traffic. It will thus be seen that Captain Williams will not be out of touch with headquarters at Melbourne during the period of his survey unless there should be a mishap to his wireless apparatus. His trip will do much to emphasise the commercial importance of radio in the development of the resources of the Pacific islands, as well as the more remote portions of the Australian continent.
This report makes clear the two distinct lines of control for the public traffic coastal station VKT and the BPC's private traffic station.
Wireless telephony was utilised in smaller vessels due to its lesser requirements for operating skill, illustrated by the March 1935 report in the Labor Daily (Sydney):
The British Phosphate Commissioners' new motor vessel Triaster, which has started on her maiden voyage to Australia, was in touch, by short wave radio, with the Sydney station of Amalgamated Wireless yesterday from the Bay of Biscay. In view of the circumstances of the phosphate trade, the Triaster has been fitted with facilities for wireless telephony which enables the captain to communicate with his offices at Nauru and Ocean Island.
In May 1935, following the "King's Speech," the Nauruan branch of the Royal Empire Society participated in an empire-wide expression of loyalty, whereby all Society branches despatched messages gathered together by the Sydney coastal station VIS which were then forwarded in facsimile form by the Beam Wireless station and delivered in the United Kingdom:
LOYALTY. JUBILEE ADDRESS. EMPIRE CIRCLE. WONDER OF RADIO. BEFORE its transmission to London by Beam Wireless in facsimile early this morning, the Royal Empire Society's Jubilee address to the King had already circled the Empire — a snowball of goodwill gathering loyal greetings as it travelled. It was a message from an Empire, linked not only by the common bonds of kinship, but by the wonders of modern communication — a message that united East and West, the old world and the new, in a tribute of loyalty to the British Throne. From Sydney to Rabaul, to Hongkong and the East, to Alexandria via India, to Durban and London, and back to Sydney via New Zealand, the message had flashed, returning by picturegram transmission to London this morning. From the New South Wales branch of the Royal Empire Society the idea of the "Around the Empire" message — a striking commentary on the advance made in Empire communication during the King's reign — originated. A message was prepared, with the signature of the president (Sir Hugh Denison) attached, and by means of radio, cable and other means of communication was started out on its long journey round the world. Endorsed By Empire At each Empire centre where the message was received it was endorsed by the following representatives of the Royal Empire Society:— Dr. W. N. Robertson (Brisbane), Sir James W. Barrett (Melbourne), Sir Henry S. Newland (Adelaide), Gordon Thomas (Rabaul), Hon. Sir H. E. Pollock (Hongkong), G. A. Bambridge (Madras), J. A. Tarbat (Colombo), Lieutenant-Colonel J. B. Barron (Alexandria), J. R. T. Cramp-ton (Durban), Professor Sir Augustus Bartolo (Malta), Arthur O. Carrara (Gibraltar), Sir Archibald Weigall, K.C.M.G. (Chairman of the council, London), W. Tees Curren (Montreal), G. Kingsley-Roth (Suva), Professor F. P. Worley (Auckland) , A. E. Flower (Christchurch), Rupert C. Garsia (Nauru). On reaching Sydney again, the messages were assembled and transmitted by Beam Wireless in facsimile to Buckingham Palace. The message reads as follows:— May it please Your Majesty, the fellows of the Royal Empire Society, assembled in their respective domiciles throughout Your Majesty's Empire, pray Your Majesty to accept this expression of their deep affection and unswerving loyalty. They rejoice with all your subjects on the occasion of Your Majesty's Sliver Jubilee, and pray that you may long reign over us. The invisible bonds of kinship which bind the people of the Empire as one family in common allegiance to the Crown have been knit closer by the development of wireless, which has progressed during Your Majesty's reign to the extent of enabling your subjects, wherever they may be, to hear Your Majesty's voice. When this telegram, originating in the southern seas on the sixth day of May, 1935, will have reached Your Majesty it will have been transmitted around the Empire and will have been endorsed on behalf of the fellows by a representative of the society in each of the places named hereunder, the messages having been assembled and transmitted from Australia to England by Beam Wireless facsimile. Ever Your Majesty's faithful subjects nineteen thirty-five. The success of the experiment was made possible by the cooperation with the society with the deputy-general manager of A.W.A. (Mr. L. A. Hooke), who supervised the technical arrangements. The telegrams and facsimile transmission were sent by courtesy of Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia), Ltd., and Cable and Wireless, Ltd.
On 2 July 1937, the Nauru coastal radio station VKT was the second last station to hear aviatrix Amelia Earhart and aviation navigator Fred Noonan on their final attempt to cross the Pacific, before the plane disappeared in the vicinity of Howland Island:
Their one year old plane was a modified version of the new Lockheed Electra 10E. The shiny body was formed from a new aluminum alloy, the two wings were painted a strong red, and the identification number NR16020 was screened in bold black lettering under the left wing, on top of the right wing, and also upon the tail. This trustworthy plane had been almost completely readied for the long haul flight on Thursday, and now on Friday morning the two aviators attended to the final last minute preparations. The two major items of radio equipment aboard the Electra were a standard 12 volt aircraft transmitter and a separate receiver, both manufactured by Western Electric. The three channel transmitter, model number WE13C, was rated at 50 watts, and it was factory adjusted for use on 500 kHz, 3105 kHz and 6210 kHz, for communication in both voice and Morse Code. The official American callsign was KHAQQ. The aircraft receiver, model WE20B, was a regular 4 band aircraft receiver, for reception on longwave, mediumwave, tropical shortwave and international shortwave. The main antenna was a V doublet on top of the plane, with stubby masts above the fuselage and on top of the twin tails. Another main antenna was a long trailing wire underneath the plane that needed to be unrolled and deployed when in use. However, it appears that this antenna had been removed before their departure from Lae, either accidentally or intentionally. . . . At 10:30 GMT during the dark hours of the Pacific night, that is 10-1/2 hours out from Lae, Amelia radioed that she saw the lights of a ship, which happened to be the Myrtlebank, en route from Auckland New Zealand to the isolated island of Nauru. Communication station VKT on Nauru heard the call and responded, but apparently Amelia never heard this confirmation call.
The Daily Commercial News and Shipping List (Sydney) in a prophetic call for development of a Nauru emergency evacuation plan, made disparaging reference to the current state of the wireless station (noting that the plan sought only to address the European community on the island):
NAURU. Nauru Island is a mandated territory, the mandate of which is divided between Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand. Since the mandate went into effect it has practically been controlled by the Australian Government, neither of the other mandatory parties interfering. Replying to a question in the House of Representatives yesterday, a question placed by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Forde, the Prime Minister stated that plans were being formulated to protect the inhabitants of the island of Nauru, in the event of an emergency. It can well be understood that this small community would be in serious danger of being cut off, captured, bombarded, bombed or other incidents of war, with little hope of relief at that distance and with only a very imperfect wireless station on the island, kept going only by the careful nursing of the wireless operator attached to it. Plans, therefore, for the evacuation, any how of the women and children, from the island should be a matter of some consideration to the higher authorities responsible for the mandate.
On 8 December 1940, the Nauruan wireless station kept Australian authorities informed of the shelling of a merchant ship with visual reports from the island:
SHELLING SEEN FROM SHORE. Mr. Hughes summarised the reports as follows:— "On Sunday morning last a vessel was sighted on fire shortly after daylight. She was a few miles off shore, awaiting favourable weather to proceed into port to load. Visibility was bad at the time, and shortly after she was seen the vessel was obscured from the shore. In spite of a careful watch being kept, nothing further was seen until the afternoon, when the weather cleared, and a ship was seen to be on fire some distance from the land. Another vessel was in her vicinity, and was apparently firing on her. Both vessels disappeared from view shortly afterwards. A number of other vessels was known to be in the vicinity of the island the unfavourable weather having caused an unusual concentration of shipping awaiting an opportunity to proceed to loading berths. On receipt of the reports from Nauru, all shipping in the area was instructed to disperse and make for other ports." NO REPORTS FROM OTHER SHIPS "Since the incidents seen from Nauru on Sunday, no further ships have been sighted from the island, which has been in continuous wireless communication with the mainland. This, however, was to be expected in view of the instructions to shipping to give the island a wide berth. The fact that nothing has been heard from the ships concerned is not necessarily of significance, as they would not use their wireless for fear of giving their positions away to any possible enemy. Information is likely to be received from them when they reach another port. Such information is now awaited."
Within a week of the reported shelling it was confirmed that all 5 merchant vessels that had been in the immediate vicinity of the island of Nauru at the time of the shelling, were lost, either sunk or captured.
The wireless station played a role (if passive one) in the first German attack on Nauru:
HOW RAIDER ATTACKED NAURU. Made Signal, "Do Not Use Wireless" SYDNEY, December 28.— In a statement this afternoon Mr. Hughes said, "Later reports from Nauru describing the attack on the island on the morning of December 27 state that an enemy raider bearing a Japanese name arrived off the island shortly before daybreak and signalled the island by name with a Morse lamp. "The enemy then signalled Nauru, 'Do not use your wireless or I shall shoot the mast down. I am going to shoot at the phosphate loading jetties in order to save the destruction of human life and property.' "The instruction not to use the wireless was complied with and at 6.40 a.m., Nauru local time, the raider opened fire on the essential potash store and loading gear, the cantilever loading jetty, all the oil storage tanks and cantilever shore storage. "The mooring gear, store and other phosphate buildings were shelled at close range but the mooring buoys were destroyed by pompom fire. The oil fuel tanks were still burning last night. The wireless station, however, remains intact as also does the power station. Private houses were not fired on. "It is now stated by Nauru that the raider hoisted the Nazi flag before opening fire." Mr. Hughes added that this confirmed the suspicion that the raider got within safe range and ascertained that no war ships were in the vicinity before revealing its identity.
In April 1941, following the release of a New Zealand report into merchant shipping losses made allegations against the Nauran wireless officers, but shortly thereafter greatly moderated the charges:
HUGHES' SPY CHARGE. From Our Special Representative. CANBERRA, Wednesday. "The suggestion that spies are not at Nauru is one which, in view of all that has come and gone, I cannot entertain," said the Minister for the Navy (Mr. W. M. Hughes) to-day. The Minister's statement was inspired by the report of the Royal Commission which inquired in New Zealand into the sinking of the Holmwood, Rangitane, Komata and the Vinni, and the Commission's criticism of the "inexplicable failure of the Nauru Island authorities to issue a warning." Earlier today Mr. Hughes had said that when the wholesale sinkings of merchant ships occurred off Nauru last December, there were on the island some spies, traitors, or paid agents of Germany or of whatever Power was responsible for the sinkings. This, he said, was the only explanation for the failure of the Nauru Island authorities to give warning of the approach of a ship using the Japanese flag as a disguise. "We have made inquiries, and that is the only explanation," he declared. Later this afternoon Mr. Hughes made the following statement:— "Sound And Loyal" "The inquiry which I mentioned this morning was made by an officer of the Navy Department who was sent to Nauru for the purpose. He interrogated various people concerned. "The result was that he could discover nothing to suggest that anything was wrong with the wireless people at Nauru. "But it was conceivable, according to the report, that a leakage of information arose out of messages sent by Bentley's code on behalf of the Phosphate Commission. This would be enough to indicate what shipping movements were going on. "Then, again, the issue of meteorological reports to the effect that westerly winds were blowing would indicate that ships were lying off the island. "Our inquiries go to show that the personnel of the wireless station was competent, sound and loyal. "Message Delayed" "Further, as to whether the people were negligent in not keeping watch for signals, the report of the Triadic's distress signal was actually heard at Ocean island. The operator on watch at the time seems to have been incompetent, since he took no steps to broadcast this message immediately. "It was not until an hour later that he attempted to pass on a garbled version of the message to Suva radio. This is confirmed by the New Zealand officer who investigated the matter." Mr. Hughes said he thought it right to supplement this report by repeating what the captain of the Rangitane had said to him during his recent visit to Australia. When the captain on the raider intimated to the captain of the Rangitane that he was going to Nauru again, the captain of the Rangitane expressed the opinion that the cruisers would have been warned, and that the raider would be running into trouble. The captain of the raider said, "Oh, that is all right. Everything has been fixed." "The captain of the Rangitane took that to mean that effective warnings of the former visit of the raider had not been broadcast," Mr. Hughes said. "Greatly Impressed" "I know nothing of the thing myself, but I was greatly impressed with what the captain of the Rangitane said. "He was a man of excellent reputation in command of a ship of 17,000 tons, and I could not but believe that he was repeating what he had heard the captain of the raider say." Asked how this information affected his statement made earlier today in which he referred to spies, traitors and paid agents at Nauru, Mr. Hughes said: "I expressed my opinion. It would appear that the suspicions I entertained in regard to the negligence or incompetence of the wireless operators at Nauru are not confirmed. I spoke at the time as I felt, but that there has been negligence — although in another quarter, at Ocean Island — has been abundantly proved." "But what about the spies you mentioned?" he was asked. "If you ask me that," said Mr. Hughes, "I will ask you, 'Where is there a country where spies are not to be found working tirelessly in the interests of our great enemy?' " "The suggestion that spies are not at Nauru is one which, in view of all that has come and gone, I cannot entertain."
A few days later the professional Radio Employees' Institute expressed clear support for the reputation of the radio officer of the Nauru coastal radio station:
RADIO MEN FIRM IN LOYALTY Mr. L. A. McPherson, general secretary of the Professional Radio Employees' Institute, writes:— "The governing council of the Professional Radio Employee' Institute of Australasia has considered a Press report of a statement made by the Minister for the Navy (Mr. Hughes) in regard to the sinkings of merchant vessels which occurred off Nauru in December last. It was felt that the reference to the radio staff at Nauru constituted a most unjust attack on a member of this institute, and might well lead the public to suspect the loyalty of professional men engaged in providing services, which in the present emergency are of special importance and involve the strictest confidence and discretion." "At this meeting," Mr. McPherson said, "the following resolution was carried unanimously:— "That this Council views with deep concern and resentment the reported statement of the Minister for the Navy (Mr. W. M. Hughes) that 'spies, traitors or paid agents were either in charge of the Nauru wireless or in a position to influence personnel.' This statement places a member of the Institute under suspicion of treachery, and we consider that, in justice to this man whose loyalty has been impugned, and in justice to other members of the Institute who, on land, sea and in the air, are performing services of great national importance, Mr. Hughes should either withdraw his statement or announce that he has been misquoted, and that no stigma attaches to the officer in charge of Nauru radio station." STAFF EXONERATED "Mr. Hughes has since indicated that the report of the naval officer who conducted an investigation at Nauru completely exonerated the radio station staff. He did little, however, to make amends for the injury to the reputation of a thoroughly trustworthy officer. "I shall be pleased if you will publish this letter for the information of those members of the public who have been misled by the earlier report."
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour and Hawaii of 8 December 1941, that immediately brought the United States into WW2, is well known. But in the hours immediately following there were numerous other attacks across the Pacific and south-east Asia. Nauru itself was bombed at this time. On 9 December 1941, the New Zealand Government reported that Nauru had been bombed for a second time. On 10 December 1941, Nauru was bombed for a third time by a single aircraft, according to a BBC report. A fourth bombing raid was reported summarily with a prophetic reference to possibility of Japanese occupation:
FOUR AIR ATTACKS ON NAURU. Four separate raids have been made on Nauru Island by Japanese aeroplanes, according to official advices received in Melbourne. These may be based in the mandated Caroline Islands about 300 miles distant. First raid was made on Monday when one of the attackers was reported to be a 4-engined bomber. The second was made by one plane, the third by 2, and the fourth on Thursday by 3 planes. Extent of the damage has not been disclosed and no loss of life has been reported. Because of the repeated attacks it is feared that an effort may be made by Japanese to take possession of the island although no information has been received of any attempt to make a landing.
All the newspaper reports of the day were silent as to the target of the bombing raids, but it later became clear that the focus had been on the wireless station itself and that the station had been destroyed:
Japanese forces launched simultaneous attacks against US, Australian, British and Dutch forces, on 8 December 1941 (7 December in the w:western hemisphere). That same day, a Japanese surveillance aircraft was sighted above Nauru. The first attack took place on 9 December; three planes flying from the w:Marshall Islands bombed the wireless station at Nauru, but failed to cause any damage. The Nauruans, warned by observers on Ocean Island 350 kilometers (Template:Convert/nmi mi) to the east, managed to seek shelter before the attack. The following day, another plane made a second attempt on the radio station. The third day, four planes made a low-altitude strike and finally destroyed it. During these three days, 51 bombs were dropped on or close to the station. The governor of the island, Lieutenant-Colonel Frederick Chalmers, sent a message to w:Canberra stating that he thought the Japanese had not destroyed phosphate production facilities because they intended to occupy the island for its resources. All maritime contact with the rest of the world was interrupted.
It is interesting to note that there do not appear to have been any contemporaneous Australian newspaper reports of the occupation on Nauru by Japanese forces:
Operation RY was the name given by the Japanese to their plan to invade and occupy Nauru and Ocean Island. The operation was originally set to be executed in May 1942, immediately following Operation MO (the invasion of New Guinea and the Solomon Islands), and before Operation MI (the attack on Midway).
The first attempt to occupy Nauru began on 11 May, when an Imperial Japanese invasion force consisting of a cruiser, two mine-layers and two destroyers, with Special Naval Landing Force units, under the command of Rear Admiral Shima Kiyohide, departed Rabaul. The task force was attacked by the United States Navy submarine Template:USS, leading to the loss of the minelayer Template:Ship. Attempts by the rest of the task force to continue with the operation were called off after Japanese reconnaissance aircraft sighted the American aircraft carriers Template:USS and Template:USS heading towards Nauru.A second invasion force departed Truk on 26 August, and three days later, a company of the 43rd Guard Force (Palau) conducted an unopposed landing on Nauru and assumed occupation duties. They were joined by the 5th Special Base Force company, which departed Makin on September 15 and arrived at Nauru two days later. By October 1942, there were 11 officers and 249 enlisted Japanese soldiers on Nauru. On 7 March 1943, Captain Takenao Takenouchi arrived to take command of the garrison (known as 67 Naval Guard Force); he, however, was ill and bed-ridden throughout his tenure, and command was effectively held by Lt. Hiromi Nakayama, who had led the initial landing force. On 13 July, Captain Hisayuki Soeda arrived to replace Takenouchi as commander of 67 Naval Guard Force, a position he held until the end of the war.
The re-establishment of wireless communication facilities would have been a major focus of the occupying force, particularly in view of the ultimate size of the contingent.
Immediately following the surrender of the Japanese forces on Nauru, Australia re-established civil administration and a radio station (likely a temporary facility) was placed into service:
Civil Administration on Nauru Island. SYDNEY. Sunday.— Civil administration has been re-established on the mandated territory of Nauru, rich phosphate island in the Central Pacific, which the Japanese occupied in August, 1942, and who surrendered to Australian naval and military forces on September 15, said the Minister for External Territories (Mr. Ward). Mr. M. Ridgway, formerly Accountant and Collector of Customs of the Nauru Administration, has been appointed Administrator. Very considerable damage had been caused to all buildings and equipment on the island, and it would be some time before all facilities of the former civil administration had been restored. A commercial radio station had been re-established for service between Nauru and Australia.
In a brief statement, in The Argus (Melbourne) of 23 November 1945, the essential resumption of a wireless telegraphy service to Nauru was announced:
RADIO SERVICE TO NAURU The wireless telegraph service between Australia and Nauru, suspended during the war, is again available for public communications. Messages will be accepted at the Beam Wireless office or at any telegraph office.
In August 1946, communication between Australia and Nauru was again extended with the provision of a radio-telephone service:
RADIO-TELEPHONE. SERVICE TO NAURU. CANBERRA, Tuesday.— The Postmaster-General, Senator Cameron, announced today that a radio-telephone service between Australia and Nauru was opened yesterday. The service was being run in conjunction with Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia), Limited. Calls would cost 10/ a minute, with a minimum fee of 30/.
In April 2007, a new FM radio service "Radio Pasifik Nauru, Triple 9 FM" was established at Nauru, it was funded by a grant from the Fiji-based University of the South Pacific:
Radio Pasifik Nauru begins on a wave of success. The Pacific’s newest radio station promises to assist USP Nauru students and their community with a blend of modern technology and traditional broadcast media. Radio Pasifik Nauru, Triple 9 FM, began broadcasting on 2 April. It is a sister station to USP’s main student and community radio station, Radio Pasifik, Triple 8 FM, located at the Laucala Campus in Suva, Fiji. The Nauru project was initiated by Linda Austin, Media Resource Coordinator in the USP Media Centre, and Alamanda Lauti, USP campus director in Nauru. The pair envisioned a solar-powered educational radio station as a way to both assist USP students in Nauru and foster the development of a community-based radio service. For many reasons, students in Nauru face unusual problems that impact their study success. Frequent power cuts, scarcity of transportation and fuel, and some social disruption caused by Nauru’s unstable economy all hamper student performance and motivation. The proposed radio station is designed to initially broadcast recorded lectures and tutorials in course with high enrolment, such as foundation English, Maths and sciences. Technically, the equipment used includes a 30-watt FM "radio in a suitcase" designed by the Commonwealth of Learning and Wantok Enterprises of Canada. To overcome unreliable electrical power supplies, the radio station is supported by a solar power system capable of operating the station for at least six hours a day. Funding for the project includes a research grant from the Pan Asia ICT R&D Grants Program (AUD$35,000) and from the USP Campus development fund (FJ$21,000). The project’s research component will investigate the useful of such blended technology to regional distance students. The radio station’s inaugural broadcast was to include speeches from government and civil dignitaries as well as programs on piggery operation, coconut recipes, love stories and other traditional tales, and local music. However, about 90 minutes into the festivities, Nauruans received a tsunami warning as a result of the 2 April earthquake and tsunami in Solomon Islands. Scheduled programming was curtailed and the Radio Pasifik Nauru team focused instead on broadcasting emergency evacuation information, weather updates, and helpful tips for families before they themselves headed to higher ground and safety.
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- "Wireless Telegraphy for War Time". The Daily Telegraph (New South Wales, Australia) (9426): p. 11. 14 August 1909. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article238335378. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
- "By Wireless" How we got the signals through Lieutenant George A Taylor Army Intelligence Corps
- Radio Waves No 122 October 2012
- Construction:Weekly Supplement to Building 25th July 1910
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- History - Australia
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- "Bridging the Gulf – Wireless to the South Pole – Message from MacQuarie Island – Operator's Lonely Life". The Sun (New South Wales, Australia) (509): p. 1 (Final Extra). 15 February 1912. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article222004674. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
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- "Australian Princess". The Sydney Morning Herald (New South Wales, Australia) (23,212): p. 8. 4 June 1912. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15339086. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
- History - Australia
- "Mishap at Pennant Hills Station". The Age (Victoria, Australia) (17,936): p. 9. 11 September 1912. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196254339. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
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- "WIRELESS STATION". Daily Herald (South Australia) 3, (727): p. 3. 4 July 1912. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article124828728. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
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- "Wireless Station at Cooktown.". The Brisbane Courier (Queensland, Australia) (17,159): p. 4. 10 January 1913. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article19867236. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
- "THE NORTHERN MINER.". The Northern Miner (Queensland, Australia): p. 4. 5 July 1913. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article79121511. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
- "LINKING UP". The Daily News (Western Australia) XXXI, (11,627): p. 5 (THIRD EDITION). 24 September 1912. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article79935802. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
- "ALBANY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE.". Albany Advertiser (Western Australia) XXIV, (3122): p. 3. 25 January 1913. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70106790. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
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- "GERALDTON.". Western Mail (Western Australia) XXVIII, (1,414): p. 16. 31 January 1913. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article37957610. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
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- Given, Jock (2007). "Not Being Ernest: Uncovering Competitors in the Foundation of Australian Wireless". Historical Records of Australian Science 18 (2): 159–176. doi:10.1071/hr07012.
- "Toy Wireless Apparatus". Independent (Victoria, Australia) (1538): p. 2. 3 June 1916. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74254612. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
- Bruce Carty, Australian Radio History (4th ed. Sydney, 2013)
- see Short wave
- Jose, Arthur W. (1941). The Royal Australian Navy 1914-1918 (9th ed.). Sydney: Angus and Robertson. pp. 438-439. https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1416831. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
- "LINKING THE PACIFIC.". The Sydney Morning Herald (New South Wales, Australia) (22,042): p. 4. 8 September 1908. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15017163. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
- "SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE.". The Age (Victoria, Australia) (16,734): p. 4. 30 October 1908. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article202184978. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
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- "MANDATORY POWERS". News (South Australia) IV, (601): p. 7 (SPORTING EDITION). 27 June 1925. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article129729991. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
- "WIRELESS IN THE PACIFIC.". The Daily Telegraph (New South Wales, Australia) (10731): p. 13. 15 October 1913. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article238898971. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
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- "WIRELESS.". The Sydney Morning Herald (New South Wales, Australia) (27,690): p. 4. 4 October 1926. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16332447. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
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- "NAURU.". Daily Commercial News And Shipping List (New South Wales, Australia) (15,420): p. 4. 16 June 1938. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article161963775. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
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- "OVERSEA NEWS.". The Sydney Morning Herald (New South Wales, Australia) (32,434): p. 1. 10 December 1941. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17777949. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
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- "FOUR AIR ATTACKS ON NAURU". The Argus (Melbourne) (Victoria, Australia) (29,737): p. 5. 13 December 1941. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8222371. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
- Gill 1957, p. 486
- Gordon L. Rottman (2002). World War II Pacific Island Guide. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 477. ISBN 0-313-31395-4. https://books.google.com/books?id=ChyilRml0hcC.
<ref>tag; no text was provided for refs named
- w:Japanese occupation of Nauru#Declaration of war by Japan
- Bullard, p. 57.
<ref>tag; no text was provided for refs named
- Yuki Tanaka. "Japanese Atrocities on Nauru during the Pacific War: The murder of Australians, the massacre of lepers and the ethnocide of Nauruans 太平洋戦争中のナウル島における日本軍の残虐行為−−オーストラリア人殺害、癩病患者大量殺戮、ナウル人文化根絶 :: JapanFocus". http://www.japanfocus.org/site/view/3441. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
- Japanese occupation of Nauru
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- Australia, Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy. "Annual Reports 2008–2013" NLA
- Australia, Department of Communications (3). "Annual Reports 2014–2015" NLA
- Australia, Department of Communications and the Arts (2). "Annual Reports 1999–2007" NLA
- Australian Broadcasting Control Board. "Annual Reports 1949–1976" NLA online
- Overseas Telecommunications Commission (Australia). "Annual Reports". 1965–1973 NLA 1974–1981 NLA 1982–1984 NLA 1985–1991 NLA
- Australian Telecommunications Commission T/as Telecom Australia. "Annual Reports". 1976–1991 NLA 1993-Present NLA
- Australian Broadcasting Tribunal. "Annual Reports 1977–1992" NLA online
- Australian Telecommunications Authority T/as AusTel. "Annual Reports 1990–1997". NLA
- Australian and Overseas Telecommunications Corporation. "Annual Reports" 1992 NLA
- Australian Broadcasting Authority. "Annual Reports 1993–2005" NLA
- Australia, National Transmission Agency. "Annual Reports 1993–1996" NLA
- Australia, Spectrum Management Agency. "Annual Reports 1994–1997" NLA
- Australia, National Transmission Authority. "Annual Reports 1997–1999"
- Australian Communications Authority. "Annual Reports 1998–2005" NLA
- Australian Communications and Media Authority. "Annual Reports 2006–present" NLA
- Australian Broadcasting Commission. "Annual Reports 1933–1983" NLA
- Australian Broadcasting Corporation. "Annual Reports 1984–present" NLA
- Special Broadcasting Service. "Annual Reports 1979–1991" NLA
- Special Broadcasting Service Corporation. "Annual Reports 1992–present" NLA
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. "Year Book Australia 1908-2012" online 1908 has material back to Federation, refer Transport & Communications