History of wireless telegraphy and broadcasting in Australia/Topical/Biographies/William Tamillas Stephen Crawford

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William Tamillas Stephen Crawford[edit | edit source]

William Tamillas Stephen Crawford was a wireless industry professional who steadily rose through the ranks as a commercial telegraphist, concluding his career with 20 years as the senior radio inspector in New South Wales. He commenced his professional career in 1896 with the Eastern and Australian Extension Telegraph Company, as a telegraphist at their George Town submarine cable station. In 1901 he resigned that position and commenced as a telegraphist with the Postmaster-General's Department at their Queenstown post office. In 1903 he transferred to Launceston and remained there till 1910, when he was promoted to postmaster at Georgetown with key responsibility for testing the unreliable submarine cable. With the impending commencement of Tasmania's first coastal wireless station POH/VIH, Crawford was appointed officer-in-charge and worked with John Graeme Balsillie on the final commissioning of the station in 1912. The commissioning of the Hobart coastal station had been brought forward particularly to establish wireless communication with the Australasian Antarctic Expedition's intermediate relay station at Macquarie Island (callsign MQI). Daily reports confirmed that they were successful in achieving this. After two years in charge of VIH, Crawford was promoted to officer-in-charge of the Melbourne wireless station (POM/VIM). While VIM had greater prominence due to the Melbourne location, operationally it was less importance due to the extensive network of lighthouses and telegraph stations along the Victorian coastline. In 1915, the entire coastal wireless arm of the Postmaster-General's Department was transferred into the newly formed Royal Australian Naval Radio Service. As part of this exercise, Crawford was additionally appointed Radio Inspector for Victoria and had responsibility for prosecuting wireless breaches of the War Precautions Act in the State of Victoria. His initial appointment in the RANRS was as a Commissioned Telegraphist. In 1918 he was promoted to Radio Lieutenant and transferred to the naval wireless station at Garden Island. The Navy was not keen to relinquish control of wireless in Australia following the conclusion of WW2, and the PMGD did not particularly wish to take responsibility for a loss-making unit, but finally the RANRS was disbanded in late 1920 and most wireless officers were absorbed back into the PMGD. Crawford was appointed Inspector 3rd Class at this time.

A detailed biography has not yet been prepared however the following resources have been assembled in preparation:

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Timeline[edit | edit source]

1880 12 - Crawford born at Sandhurst (renamed Bendigo in 1891), Vic to George Hunter Crawford and Selina Mary Crawford nee Mappin

1885 09 - Crawford's father successfully applies for transfer of publican's licence for Montague Hotel in South Melbourne

1896 XX - Crawford at George Town, Tas as telegraphist at the Eastern and Australian Extension Telegraph Company's cable station at George Town

1900 10 - Crawford elected to several positions with the George Town Cricket Club

1901 06 - Crawford resigns position with E&AETC George Town and accepts probationary appointment with PMGD as operator (= telegraphist) at Queenstown

1901 11 - Crawford's probationary appointment with PMGD as operator (= telegraphist) Queenstown is confirmed permanent

1903 08 - Crawford transfers at level (operator = telegraphist) within PMGD from Queenstown to Launceston

1904 06 - Full review of Commonwealth public service results in position at Launceston being renamed from Operator to Telegraphist and salary increased

1910 07 - Crawford appointed postmaster at George Town, Tas with responsibility for testing the Bass Strait submarine cable

1912 03 - Crawford promoted to OIC, POH/VIH the Hobart Coastal Wireless Station

1914 06 - Crawford promoted to OIC, VIM the Melbourne Coastal Wireless Station

1915 06 - Crawford resigns from the federal public service to take up appointment with Royal Australian Naval Radio Service & appointed Radio Inspector for Victoria

1916 07 - Crawford appointed to permanent Royal Australian Naval Radio Service as Commissioned Telegraphist

1918 01 - Crawford promoted within the RANRS as Radio Lieutenant

1918 XX - Crawford transfers from Melbourne to Sydney with RANRS, based at Garden Island

1920 10 - RANRS disbanded and Crawford terminated

1920 10 - Crawford appointed PMGD as Inspector 3rd Class

1945 11 - Crawford retires as Senior Radio Inspector, NSW, PMGD

1948 XX - Crawford visits England