History of wireless telegraphy and broadcasting in Australia/Topical/Publications/Australian Radio History/Radio Pioneers

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Ernest Fisk: Founder/Chairman of A.W.A. Conducted their first experiments of broadcasting music in Sydney and Melbourne. Director of all A.W.A. stations. President of the W.I.A. Established the first radio communications to Britain in 1918 (using 21 KHz.). Founded the W.I.A. Journal Sea, Land, and Air. Awarded a Knighthood.

Charles MacLurcan: Known as “Australia’s Leading Amateur”. Only Australian amateur licensed to operate during WW1. Owner of Australia’s first broadcasting licence (2CM – licence number one in 1922), which was signed by Prime Minister Billy Hughes. Broke several long distance radio records. President of the W.I.A. after Ernest Fisk. Earned several Olympic medals. Manufactured and sold his MacLurcan receivers. (Callsign 2CM is listed by the Federal Government as “Never to be reissued” in recognition of the pioneering achievements of Charles MacLurcan).

Otto Sandell: Owner of experimental broadcast licence 2UW, which was later granted a commercial licence. He produced 200 Sandell radio sets each week from his United Wireless factory at Kings Cross.

Joe Reed: Owner of experimental broadcast licence 2JR. Conducted joint experiments with 2CM. Employed as an A.W.A. Engineer, P.M.G. Engineer, and first 2SB Chief Engineer. Supervised the installation of commercial (later A.B.C.) station 2FC. Designed, built, and installed A.W.A. 5,000 watt transmitters for several “A” class stations.

Cecil Stevenson: Owner of experimental broadcast licence 2IY. Chief Engineer and Director of 2SB. He built their first transmitter. Owner of 2UE and the Radio House electrical shop. Known as the “Father of Commercial Radio”. Cecil’s son, Murray, was the first Chief Engineer of television station ATN-7.

Ray Allsop: Owner of experimental broadcast licence 2YG. Held a Morse code transmitter licence when 13 years old in 1911. Later appointed Chief Engineer of 2BL after Cecil Stevenson. First person in Australia to push for F.M. First to demonstrate stereo with one transmitter (1938). Developed submarine detection radar for the navy in WWII. Invented a sound system for films which was installed in 375 theatres. Member of the A.B.C.B. Awarded an O.B.E.

Will MacLardy: Owner of experimental broadcast licence 2HP which became commercial station 2SB/2BL with Will as first Managing Director. Founder of the Wireless Weekly magazine. (See page 2, 1922 entry).

Emil Voigt: Built a station in Los Angeles, then financed and built 2KY as their first Chairman and manager. Instigated the inquiry into “B” class stations, and won the A.W.A. patent battle. Founding Chairman of the Federation of Commercial Broadcasting Stations and President of the Radio Manufacturers Association.

Oswald Mingay: Owner of experimental broadcast licence 2XX. First manager of Sydney commercial station 2BE. He designed, built, and sold his own Mingay radios, and wrote a regular radio column for the Telegraph. Oswald also established the Australian Radio College, and published numerous radio periodicals.

Jack Davis: 15 year old owner of experimental broadcast licence 2DS. Conducted joint experiments with 2CM for A.W.A. transmitter development research.

Oswald Anderson: Owner of experimental broadcast licence 2ZH. Oswald was later the first manager of commercial station 2FC, then first manager of the Australian Broadcasting Company, then first manager of 2UW.


Henry Sutton: “Australia’s Forgotten Radio Pioneer”. In 1885 he invented the theory of sending moving pictures by wire (later used by John Logie Baird). Designed our first telephones. Designed a wireless system for our navy in 1912.

Sidney Neuman: Owner of experimental broadcast licence 3ME (forerunner of VK3ME on shortwave, which became Radio Australia). All programs started and ended with a kookaburra laugh. Victorian manager of A.W.A. Installed a 5,000 watt transmitter for 3LO in 1925. Sidney also installed the original transmitters for 3SR, 4QG, and 7LA.

Ross Hull: Owner of experimental broadcast licence 3JU. President of the W.I.A. in 1924. Editor of the Wireless Weekly magazine in 1929, and then editor of the Radio and Hobbies magazine. He built an experimental television transmitter and receiver. His television receiver killed him in by electrocution in 1938.

Holst Brothers: Owners of experimental broadcast licence 3BY. Redesigned and rebuilt 3DB in 1929. Designed, manufactured, marketed, and installed their own brand of renowned high quality transmitters and studio equipment.

Oliver Nilsen: Owner of experimental broadcast licence 3UZ. Later granted a commercial licence. Mayor of Melbourne. Known as “The Father of Radio” in Melbourne. Oliver managed his radio shop which included a standby studio for 3UZ. He built the equipment for the start of 3WR Wangaratta (first Australian regional commercial station).

Donald McDonald: Chief Engineer of 3AR. He used the higher powered 3UZ and 3DB transmitters late each night in 1929 for television experiments (previously called ‘radiovision’). One transmitter was for sound and one for vision.

Harry Fuller: Owner of experimental broadcast licence 3HF. Chief Engineer of commercial station 3SR Shepparton. Later manager and Chief Engineer of 3YB Warrnambool. Designed and built the first wire recorder in Australia. Also designed and built the first radio controlled gate in Australia at his house.

Morris Israel: Morse code operator prior to WW1. During WW1 he monitored secret German military transmissions for our military. Owner of experimental broadcast licence 3ZN. Installed all the original equipment for commercial stations 3GL Geelong (1930) and 3AW Melbourne (1932). He was the first Chief Engineer at both stations. His son, Rex, installed the equipment at GTV-9 TV and was their first Chief Engineer.

Ronald Hipwell: Owner of experimental broadcast licence 3KU in Swan Hill, which was relicensed as commercial station 3SH. Also established commercial station 2BH in Broken Hill and experimented with X-Rays.


Val McDowell: Owner of the first experimental broadcast licence in Queensland (4CM). Experimented with X-Rays.

Thomas Elliott: Installed the 4CM equipment. Australia’s television pioneer (previously called ‘radiovision’). Started in 1929, with daily transmissions from 1935 being received regularly in Melbourne. First television licence in Australia (issued in 1935). Thomas was also the first Chief Engineer of commercial station 4BC.

Charles Stevens: Assisted Val McDowell and Thomas Elliott with the development and operation of 4CM. Owner of experimental broadcast licence 4RG. First Chief Engineer of commercial station 4QG.

Edward Gold: Owner of experimental broadcast licence 4EG, which later became commercial station 4GR. Second owner of commercial station 4VL. Designed and built commercial station 4ZR. With his brother Cliff, he established experimental broadcast licence 4CG. Edward’s son, Geoff, was appointed Manager of commercial station 4MB.

John Chandler: Owner of commercial stations 4BC and 4RO. Second owner of commercial station 4BH. Assisted with the establishment of commercial stations 4MB, 4AY, 4AT, 4GY, and 4SB. Owned a radio store assembling and selling his ‘Gloria’ radios. Awarded a Knighthood. Mayor of Brisbane and Member of Parliament.

Steve Fittell: Owner of experimental broadcasting licence 4JO. Owner, manager, and Chief Engineer of commercial station 4GY. Established the Australian branch of the Far East Broadcasting Company.

Dahl Brothers (Norman and Syd): Owners of experimental broadcast licences 4VT Townsville and 4KA Ayr. 4KA was later licensed as commercial station 4AY.


Harry Kauper: Held a Morse code licence from 1919. Owner of the first experimental broadcast licence in South Australia (5BG). Designed, built, and sold crystal radio sets and kits from his radio shop. Part owner of commercial station 5DN. Chief Engineer of commercial stations 5CL and 5AD, and a consultant to 3DB and 2AD. Designed and built the original 500 watt 5AD transmitter. Co-designer of the pedal two-way radio for emergency outback use.

Lance Jones: Owner of experimental broadcast licence 5BQ. Part owner of commercial station 5DN, and their joint Chief Engineer. He built their first transmitter which was water cooled with 35 watts. Lance assisted the Wireless Institute of Australia with propagation tests using various antennas, transmitters and receivers.

Hume Family (Hume Pipe Co.): Part owners of 5DN (situated in the Hume family house). Unsuccessfully applied for the first Australian television licence (previously called ‘radiovision’) in 1929. Stella Hume was reportedly the first female announcer in the world, and their Program Director and technical operator. Erne Hume was the joint Chief Engineer. Jack Hume designed, built, and installed all the equipment for commercial station 5RM, then became an announcer with 5KA. They designed the ‘Accord Four’ receiver.

Frank Miller: Owner of experimental broadcast licence 5BF. Previously a signaller in WW1. Developed the teletype machine. He owned a radio shop, selling his own radios, and established the local Railways Radio Club. First Chief Engineer of 5MU after designing, building, and installing all their equipment.


Walter Coxon: Conducted the first demonstration of speech and music broadcasts in Australia, at the Perth Royal show in 1918. Broke long distance Morse code records with Charles MacLurcan from 2CM. Owner of the first experimental broadcast licence in W.A. (6AG). Described as “The Father of Radio” in Western Australia. First Manager and Chief Engineer of commercial station 6WF. Designed, built, and managed commercial station 6AM. Established commercial stations 6ML and 6BY. Pioneered the technical work for the Royal Flying Doctor Radio Service in W.A. President of the Wireless Institute of Australia (Western Australian branch). Designed the Mulgaphone radio receiver with 1,200 being built and sold by 6WF, and conducted the first Australian stereo broadcast.

Blake Horrocks: (VK6GS). Developed a 30 line TV system which he could record on a 78 R.P.M. Phonovision disc in 1936. Later worked for the P.M.G. at the 6WF transmitter, and developed the videophone system for the P.M.G.

Harry Atkinson (VK6WZ): Established and managed 6VA. Managed 6WB, 6KG, and 6GE. Editor of Wireless News in 1932, then Wireless Weekly in 1933. He was also a regular contributor to the Broadcaster magazine. Produced numerous programs for the A.B.C. Owned a record and radio shop. Harry was also Vice President of the Wireless Institute of Australia (Western Australian branch). He was legally blind with only 10% vision.


Norman Cave: Owner of experimental broadcast licence 7BC in Launceston. He was previously a radio operator for the R.A.F. in WW1. He designed and built the Willsonia receivers for Tas Radio P/L.

Norman Findlay: Owner of experimental broadcast licence 7BN in Launceston. Second owner of commercial stations 7HO and 7AD. Owner of commercial stations 7LA, 7BU, 7QT, 7DY, and 7SD. Established commercial station 7UV. Owned several record and radio shops, specialising in A.W.A. radios.

Ron Hope: Owner of experimental broadcast licence 7RS. Owner and Chief Engineer of commercial station 7HO. Engineering consultant to the Findlay group of radio stations. Ron’s bother, Lyndsay, owned experimental broadcast licence 7LA in Launceston (no connection with the later commercial station of the same callsign).

Arthur Smith: Owner of experimental broadcast licence 7AB in Hobart, and later, 7BN in Launceston. Owner of Tas Radio P/L which launched the popular Willsonia receivers. Both stations advertised the Willsonia. 7BN was eventually relicensed as commercial station 7LA.