History of wireless telegraphy and broadcasting in Australia/Topical/Clubs/Booval Radio Society

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Booval and District Radio Society[edit | edit source]

Overview[edit | edit source]

The Booval and District Radio Society has the rather dubious distinction of potentially being Australia's most short-lived radio club. It burst on Queensland's booming radio scene in September 1925, held 4 or 5 weekly meetings and a well attended social dance / fund-raiser / membership drive. After October 1925, nothing more is heard of this club which is presumed closed due to lack of support or internal conflict.

Bert. V. Cole[edit | edit source]

The leading force behind the Booval and District Radio Society is clearly Bert. V. Cole. There was a Cole who was a committee member of the Amateur Wireless Society of Victoria in 1911[1] and in 1914 was President.[2] It is not yet clear whether this is Bert V. Cole but the latter certainly fits with his claimed 11 years experience in wireless in 1925.[3] Bert is first heard of in Queensland in June 1925 when he is appointed as technical adviser to the South Brisbane Radio Club, following the resignation of Mr. S. Beard.[4]

WIRELESS INTERFERENCE.: (To the Editor.) Sir,— I have just left my operating room, where I have been attempting to carry out some radio research work on behalf of my firm. This I have been forced to leave owing to a violent oscillation causing a heterodyne between 350 and 380 metres. This has happened repeatedly. This is a very serious offence, and is likely to lead to a fine of £20 being imposed. I might add that I have used a direction finder to trace the oscillation. Yours. &c., BERT V. COLE, Radio Engineer. Booval, July 26.[5]

BERT V. COLE, WIRELESS ENGINEER, SINCLAIR-STREET, BOOVAL. CONSULTATIONS AND ADVICE FREE. GET the utmost out of your Receiver. I will show you how to do it free of all charge and obligation. Technical Adviser to The S.B.R.C. 11 YEARS EXPERIENCE.[6]

William ("Bill") Jehn[edit | edit source]

1925 09 - Initial Meeting[edit | edit source]

On 1 September 1925 the first meeting of the Booval and District Radio Society was held at the residence of Bert Cole, Sinclair-street, Booval. The formation of the society was at the suggestion of William Jehn. The primary object of the society was to assist those interested in radio, and to foster wireless research generally; also to bring radio enthusiasts together so that social events may be arranged. In the course of the meeting discussions included club rules, socials, badges and lectures. Committees were formed to look into these. Appointed officials included: President (Bert. V. Cole), the Vice-president (William Jehn), Mr. C. Stafford, and the hon. secretary (Mr. C. Payne).[7] All of the club officials were also active members of the Booval Cricket Club.[8]

1925 09 - Later Meetings[edit | edit source]

After the initial meeting, there were regular meetings conducted on a weekly basis and at least three were held. But there is no record of further meetings after September 1925.[9][10]

1925 09 - Social Dance[edit | edit source]

The society held a well-attended social dance on the evening of Thursday, 24 September 1925. It was reported that there were over 140 persons present. The venue was the residence of Mr. and Mrs. W. S. Hart at Brisbane Rd, Booval. The occasion was opened by Mr. D. Gledson who occupied the chair for the evening and welcomed the guests with a talk about the aims and objects of the society. Entertainment was provided not only by wireless, but also by various local musicians and entertainers. Bert Cole delivered an address on wireless and an appeal for new members.[11]

1925 10 - Conclusion[edit | edit source]

After October 1925, nothing more is heard of this club which is presumed closed due to lack of support or internal conflict. During this era, the clubs were typically held together by licensed transmitting amateur radio operators. All of the members appear to have been listeners only.

Legacy[edit | edit source]

Bert Cole continued in his radio business for some years after the club's demise. But the business too seems to have been a victim of both Federal Government inaction in developing B Class radio stations for Australia and the economic decline which became the Great Depression. William Jehn is reported as a member of the Queensland DX Club (Ipswich Booval Branch) until at least 1933. Also as a silent key member of the Ipswich and District Radio Club which commenced in 1962.

List of Society Members and Management[edit | edit source]


  • Bert V. Cole, Sinclair St., Booval - President - 1925
  • William ("Bill") Jehn, Brisbane Rd., Booval - Vice-President - 1925
  • Mr. C. Payne - Hon. Secretary


  • W. S. Hart, Brisbane Rd., Booval - 1925
  • Mrs. G. Steele, McQuarie St., Booval - 1925
  • Mr. C. Stafford - 1925

Transcriptions and Notes[edit | edit source]

Over 30 key articles relevant to the Booval and District Radio Society, mainly from the NLA's Trove Digitised Newspapers have been transcribed for ease of reference here: Booval and District Radio Society - Transcriptions and Notes

Searches in Trove for Public Tag:"Bert V. Cole", Public Tag:"William Jehn", and Public Tag:"C. Stafford" will also provide more peripheral material.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "WIRELESS TELEGRAPHY SOCIETY.". The Argus (Melbourne) (Victoria, Australia) (20,393): p. 11. 1 December 1911. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11636216. Retrieved 23 April 2019. 
  2. "WIRELESS TELEGRAPHY.". The Argus (Melbourne) (Victoria, Australia) (21,100): p. 12. 11 March 1914. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article7282664. Retrieved 23 April 2019. 
  3. "Advertising". Queensland Times (Queensland, Australia) LXVI, (12,212): p. 1 (DAILY.). 2 September 1925. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article118597444. Retrieved 22 April 2019. 
  4. "WIRELESS". Daily Standard (Queensland, Australia) (3877): p. 7. 13 June 1925. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article185190517. Retrieved 23 April 2019. 
  5. "WIRELESS INTERFERENCE.". Queensland Times (Queensland, Australia) LXVII, (12,182): p. 8 (DAILY.). 29 July 1925. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article122061471. Retrieved 22 April 2019. 
  6. "Advertising". Queensland Times (Queensland, Australia) LXVI, (12,212): p. 1 (DAILY.). 2 September 1925. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article118597444. Retrieved 22 April 2019. 
  7. "BOOVAL AND DISTRICT RADIO SOCIETY.". Queensland Times (Queensland, Australia) LXVI, (12,214): p. 4 (DAILY.). 4 September 1925. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article118599353. Retrieved 22 April 2019. 
  8. "CRICKET.". Queensland Times (Queensland, Australia) LXVII, (12,562): p. 8 (DAILY.). 21 October 1926. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article115646093. Retrieved 25 April 2019. 
  9. "CURRENT TOPICS.". Queensland Times (Queensland, Australia) LXVI, (12,217): p. 4 (DAILY.). 8 September 1925. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article118608439. Retrieved 25 April 2019. 
  10. "CURRENT TOPICS.". Queensland Times (Queensland, Australia) LXVI, (12,229): p. 6 (DAILY.). 22 September 1925. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article118598461. Retrieved 22 April 2019. 
  11. "SOCIAL NEWS.". Queensland Times (Queensland, Australia) LXVI, (12,238): p. 10 (DAILY.). 3 October 1925. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article118599518. Retrieved 22 April 2019.