History of wireless telegraphy and broadcasting in Australia/Topical/Stations/VIE Esperance

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Overview[edit]

The wireless telegraphy station at Geraldon with callsign VIE commenced operation on 21 July 1913. It was the third such station in Western Australia and was constructed by the Commonwealth using the Commonwealth system of wireless telegraphy invented by John Graeme Balsillie and manufactured by Shaw and Kirkby at their Randwick Radio Works. VIP Perth / Fremantle / Applecross and VIN Geraldton had commenced previously. The station provided a vital link between VIP and VIA Adelaide during the daytime (VIP & VIA could communicate direct at night) and particularly when land telegraph systems failed. Originally it had been planned to erect a station at Albany to the west to bridge the gap between VIE and VIP. Also a further station at Eucla to the east, to bridge the gap between VIE and VIA. But following initial station deployments within the coastal network, it became clear that operational ranges were greater than at first thought and plans for both Albany and Eucla were abandoned.

Operationally the station's duties remained relatively constant for several decades, being essentially a communications link between the huge numbers of ships that hugged the southern Western Australian coastline between Perth and the eastern States, as well as the huge mail steamers that connected Australia to Europe and ports between. Organisational control however was constantly changing:

  • initially a possibly unwanted part of the Postmaster-General's Department, but with officers professionally classified
  • following the commencement of WW1, increasingly, if informally within the gamut of Defence
  • then, late in WW1, a reluctant transferee to the Department of the Navy as the Royal Australian Naval Radio Service (RANRS)
  • well after the conclusion of WW1, finally transferred back to the Postmaster-General's Department in 1920
  • in 1922 bought under the control of Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Ltd after the Commonwealth acquired majority ownership
  • in 1928 the hard assets of the coastal radio network formally sold by the Commonwealth to AWA
  • Upon commencement of WW2, again the coastal radio network control vested in Defence
  • in 1946 briefly under the control of the PMG again
  • in 1948 transferred to the newly created Overseas Telecommunications

Precursors[edit]

The town of Esperance is situated on Esperance Bay and in 1897, Esperance Harbour was greatly admired by Commander Coombes, of H.M.S. Waterwitch when surveying the port from a naval perspective for the Admiralty:

Commander Coombes on the Esperance Harbor. Concerning Esperance Bay the opinion of Commander Coombes, of H.M.S. Waterwitch, who surveyed the harbor in 1897, may not be without interest at the present time. When asked what his real opinion of the harbor was, the officer said:— "I regard Esperance as one of the safest and best harbors I have visited in Australia. It is splendidly sheltered, and the whole of the Channel Squadron could anchor in the bay with the utmost safety in the roughest weather. All that is necessary is the provision of a few leading lights and a lightship, which would not entail a very large amount of expenditure." Continuing, the commander said there was absolutely no necessity for expensive harbor works, and it was his intention to report to the Admiralty in these terms.[1]

Balsillie, the newly appointed Commonwealth Wireless Expert, arrived from England at Fremantle in September 1912 principally to inspect VIP for contract acceptance purposes, before proceeding to Melbourne. However he also announced details of the Commonwealth's decision to proceed with his technology to establish a network of stations around the Australian coastline:

LINKING UP. THE WIRELESS WORD. ETHERGRAMS FROM AUSTRALIA TO LONDON. MR. BALSILLIE ARRIVES BY ORONTES. Within comparatively short time we will be ringing up London and asking in the bored tone of the habitual telephonist — "Gimme 2478065 Cen-tral, please, Miss." This sounds like a tall order, and yet the scheme of linking up the Empire per wireless is gradually nearing fruition. On board the R.M.S. Orontes, which arrived at Fremantle this morning from the Eastern States, was Mr. J. G. Balsillie, the Federal wireless expert. His mission is to test the wireless station at Applecross before the Government takes it over finally from the contractors. It is understood that this station must demonstrate its fitness to "send" 1,250 miles by day before being taken over by the Commonwealth. Mr. Balsillie says that stations will be erected at Wyndham, Roebourne, and Esperance, and Fremantle before the end of the next financial year, and that stations are to be erected at Eucla and Esperance thereafter. Wireless communication with London will follow on the establishment of the station at Darwin. The station at Singapore — portion of the Empire wireless scheme — will be the connecting link, between Darwin and Colombo. The apparatus at Aden and Cyprus will do the rest. The cable companies now controlling the means of communication between the United Kingdom and the Antipodes will, when the chain is established, be faced with keen competition, and at the outset the wireless charges will probably mean reduced transmission rates from 3s. a word to 2s. Under the scheme outlined by Mr. Balsillie, and on his system, the Darwin station, which will be of high power, will cost, together with the other nine stations included in the P.M.G.'s scheme, less than the amount that would have been involved in the erection of the Darwin station alone, had the P.M.G. accepted the compromise offered him jointly by the Marconi Co. and the Australasian Wireless, Ltd. They had asked that the Government should pay £40,000 for the rights of the two companies in Australia, and further, that they should be given a contract of £60,000 (exclusive of the site and foundations), for machinery, building, and cost of buildings, for the erection of a high-power station at Darwin. In addition, they asked for 10 per cent, of the gross takings of the station for 28 years. This scheme was turned down, and, as stated, the Commonwealth Government intends to proceed on the lines announced by Mr. Frazer. A low-powered commercial station is also to be erected at Darwin.[2]

Balsillie's September 1912 statement concerning the expeditious establishment of the coastal radio network created much interest by a public now accustomed to interminable delay. Upon further questioning he simply explained that expenditure of funds had been approved, that suitable staff had been engaged for the task and that priority was now being given to the Western Australian stations, since the primary links in the Eastern Australia chain were now complete:

BY WIRELESS. COMPLETING THE CHAIN OF STATIONS. STATEMENT BY MR. BALSILLIE. According to Mr. J. G. Balsillie, the Commonwealth wireless expert, who is now on a week's visit to this State, matters in connection with wireless telegraphy in the western portion of the Commonwealth are to progress with rapidity. Brief reference was made in yesterday's issue to Mr. Balsillie's visit, wherein it was stated that that gentleman had arrived from the Eastern States to carry out tests at the Applecross station which should not extend over a week and which before the contract would be deemed to have been completed would have to demonstrate that ethergrams could be sent from the station 1,250 miles by day. A statement by Mr. Balsillie to the effect that wireless stations were to be established at Fremantle, Esperance, Roebourne, Geraldton, and Wyndham before the end of the financial year and subsequently at Broome and Eucla, occasioned some comment, and in order to gain further information on the point inquiries were prosecuted yesterday by a representative of this journal. In answer to questions, Mr. Balsillie stated that the information attributed to him was perfectly correct. That will necessitate work proceeding at a greater rate than heretofore, will it not? "Well, we shall not lose any time, in fact, I might say that we have already made a start. One engineer will leave to-morrow (Friday) night to make arrangements at Geraldton, Roebourne, and Wyndham, while another will go south shortly to deal with the Albany and Esperance stations. The material for the stations has already left Melbourne, the apparatus being despatched from Sydney and the rest of the gear from Melbourne. It is hoped that the Geraldton station will be started some three weeks hence, when the gangs of men employed by the Commonwealth at this work in the Eastern States will be available. All these stations mentioned have been approved by the Postmaster-General, of course, and will be proceeded with expeditiously." How long will it be before the stations are completed? "We average from six to eight weeks per station. That is to say, from the time the gangs reach the site till the station is completed we average from six to eight weeks. The Commonwealth is doing its own erection work now, of course. In the past some stations, like Applecross, for instance, were erected by contract. The crux of the matter is that the Commonwealth Government is concentrating its efforts in Western Australia now. We have got the primary chain of stations completed in the Eastern States, and now it is necessary to proceed with the work apace in Western Australia." Australia, Mr. Balsillie stated, would soon be linked up with Great Britain by means of wireless communication between London and Port Darwin upon the establishment of the station at the northern Australian port. The stations which would pick up the world-travelling messages would be those at Singapore, Aden, and Cyprus.[3]

GROPERDOM GOSSIP. Balsillie, the wireless expert, the one who has got Charlie Frazer by the wool, is over on a brief visit. He threatens to have wireless stations established at Fremantle, Geraldton, Albany, Roebourne, Wyndham and Esperance (yes, Esperance) before the financial year is out, but Perth is sceptical. When the unconscionably delayed Applecross station is open for business (it was completed months ago) we shall endeavor to believe him.— Speaking of Frazer reminds me that his health is improving. He underwent an operation for stone in the bladder awhile back, and is now wading into work with all his old enthusiasm. Charley's political foes may be legion, but he hasn't a personal enemy in the world.[4]

A few days later, the Sunday Times also interviewed Balsillie who reiterated the short timetable proposed for the Geraldton station. The interview demonstrated Balsillie's straightforward and matter-of-fact manner which is precisely how he proceeded with the establishment of the stations:

A Wireless Wizard — Five Stations for Western Australia. Under middle-age, clean shaven, pleasant-faced, pleasant-spoken, neither fat nor lordly but keen and business-like — that would fairly sum up a flashlight description of Mr. J. G. Balsillie, the man who bosses the Commonwealth wireless system, or the projected system. He doesn't waste time or words. Make an appointment, suggested the interviewer, if you are busy now. "Go right ahead here," he said, as he was ambushed in the corridor upstairs at the P.O. "You've had it all, I think, in 'The Sunday Times,' but ask me any questions, and take a note." With a subject of that sort, you have got to be primed full of interrogations. Well, we should like to know something as to the whole Commonwealth scheme of wireless stations. "That is very simple. We shall encircle the whole continent, and Papua and Tasmania, with a chain of stations that will be in continuous communication." Have you fixed the site of each station? "We have fixed the places. Say we begin at Port Moresby in Papua, the next station will be Thursday Island, then Cooktown, Rockhampton, Brisbane, Sydney, Gabo Island, Hobart, Melbourne, Mt. Gambier, Adelaide, Esperance or Albany, Fremantle, Geraldton, Roebourne, Wyndham and Port Darwin — eighteen stations altogether." All these stations will be for commercial purposes? "Certainly. They will have a complete day and night service throughout the Commonwealth, and within 1000 miles of the Australian coast in all directions." The latter will be for the benefit of shipping? "Yes, and meteorology. We shall be able to receive weather reports from at least 1000 miles out at sea, and probably 1500 miles." When will the other Westralian stations be begun? "The apparatus and gear for three of these have already been shipped from Melbourne. Geraldton will be the first station erected. hen the southern at Albany or Esperance; we haven't decided which yet; and next will be Roebourne. "Of course you know Port Darwin will connect with the Empire scheme either by way of Singapore or Colombo. At Port Darwin there will be two stations — a small one for commercial purposes only and a high-power station for communication with the world." The Fremantle station is one of the most powerful? "Yes, it is exactly the same as the Sydney station, and will have a radius of 1250 miles by day, and 1500 to 2000 by night." When do you take it over? "As soon as we are satisfied that the technical conditions of the contract have been complied with. It must have a day radius of 1250 miles." Will the tests be completed this week? "Ah! we cannot say. They may take three months — even 12 months." Then we may be without benefit of wireless? "No, we shall make arrangements to start commercial operating at once. The station will be opened for public business without delay." What are the rates? "Fourpence per word for shipping and sixpence per word overland, plus the ordinary inland telegraph charges." By the way, Mr. Balsillie, is the whole Commonwealth scheme to be on your own principle? "Fremantle and Pennant Hills are both on the Telefunken principle; all the rest will be on mine." Wireless ought to cheapen communication to the world. "The rates from Port Darwin have not yet been fixed. The Postmaster-General will decide the matter."[5]

Construction[edit]

By December 1912 materials for the construction of the mast and station were already arriving at Esperance in preparation for commencement of construction

Wireless Station At Esperance. Our Esperance correspondent writes:— "A wireless telegraph station will shortly be established in Esperance. Some of the plant is already here, and more material is on the way. This should help to make the port of Esperance an important one."[6]

ESPERANCE. Preparations for the erection of a wireless station at Esperance are in progress, and as all coasting and mail steamers pass within 70 or 80 miles of Esperance it is antictpated that the station will be extensively used.[7]

Balsillie was the oversighting engineer for the coastal network programme and personally oversaw several of the eastern Australian stations. But Walter Sweeney was the engineer project manager for Western Australian. He designated R. C. Cox initially to oversight the Esperance project and but then had to redirect him on the Wyndham project after some political pressure was applied:

Wyndham Wireless Station. In consequence of the representations made to the Federal authorities by the residents of Wyndham with regard to the necessity for establishing a wireless station there with as little delay as possible, it has been arranged that as Mr. Sweeney, the official in charge of the construction work of the State, cannot get away from Geraldton at present, that Mr. Cox, who is starting the station at Esperance, shall be relieved by a man from Melbourne, in order that he may proceed to Wyndham to select a site. Some difficulty is being experienced in obtaining the necessary timber for the construction of the masts, but Mr. Sweeney hopes that the stations at Roebourne, Wyndham, and Broome will be put in hand at no very distant date.[8]

By mid-January 1913, the site for the station had been chosen as Dempster's Head, West Beach, Esperance, a magnificent site with largely uninterrupted views of the Southern Ocean. As well as Cox, the nominated operator was Mr. Mason:

ESPERANCE. 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.[9]

The Albany Chamber of Commerce had continued to press for the establishment of its own coastal wireless station, but was finally informed in mid-January 1913 that the mooted station would not be established due to the expected range of the Esperance station:

ALBANY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. MEETING OF THE COUNCIL. The usual monthly meeting of the council of the Albany Chamber of Commerce was held on Wednesday night at the Town Hall. The president (Mr. J. S. Deykin) occupied the chair and there were also present:— Messrs. T. H. Barnett, J. H. Downer, J. F. Cowen, W. Orr and W. St. C. White and the secretary (Mr. P. H. Meeks). A number of letters, received from Government departments, which have already appeared in the press, were read and received. . . Wireless Telegraph Station. The secretary of the Postmaster-General's Department wrote, under date of January 11:— "With reference to your letter of the 12th ultimo, relative to the desire of the Albany Chamber of Commerce to be informed as to when a wireless telegraph station will be installed at Albany, Western Australia, I am directed to inform you that it has been decided to erect a radio-telegraph station at Esperance, with an average sea range of 350 miles, and in consequence it will not be necessary to erect another station at Albany."— Received. This concluded the business.[10]

By early February 1913 the timber for the construction of the mast had arrived (by the SS Eucla) and the construction of the concrete buildings for the battery and receiving station was well underway:

Esperance. The work in connection with the erection of the tower and houses of the Esperance Radio Station are now in full swing. The timber for the mast arrived by the Government steamer Eucla on Friday last, and the houses for the battery and receiving station are being constructed of concrete, and will be substantial structures. The works are being carried out under day labour, and should be completed in a few months, and we hope one of the first messages received will be one informing the people that the Esperance Railway Bill has passed both Houses.[11]

By early March 1913 the mast had been erected and the transmitter system had been installed by Cox prior to departing for Roebourne:

WIRELESS STATION. BEGINNING AT ROEBOURNE. ON WORK OF ERECTION. Mr. R. Cox, assistant erectional engineer of wireless telegraph stations, arrived at Roebourne by the Western Australia from Esperance, where he superintended the erection of the mast and the installation of the instruments. Previously he was at Geraldton, on the erection of the mast there. Mr. Cox anticipates that, providing the Public Works Department makes no delay in erecting the necessary buildings, the station will be ready for the receipt and transmission of messages in three months time. The mast will be 160 feet high, which is now the standard height. It might be said that the mast at Geraldton exceeds the standard by 20 ft. It is probable that Mr. Cox will go to Broome after he finishes his installation work at Roebourne, and an operator from Melbourne, after spending a brief time at Roebourne, will proceed to Wyndham to superintend the erection and installation of a station there. Mr Cox is of opinion that while the present decision is against including Carnarvon in the scheme it will have ultimately to be included, as the distance between Geraldton and Roebourne will be found to be too great. Mr. Cox has worked up to his present position from that of operator on one of the Huddart Parker's New Zealand liners. A further note on this topic will be published later.[12]

The construction of state-of-the-art technology in more remote areas was not without problems and for the Esperance station, delays with supply of materials created problems with efficient co-ordination with day labourers. Allegations of Federal waste were aligned with the WA independence movement:

Federal Extravagance. THE WAY THE MONEY GOES. When it is the Public's. A wireless station is being erected at Esperance. It is one in the chain around the Commonwealth. If it is an example of how all the others from the Leeuwin to Thursday Island are being carried out, then we may say without fear of contradiction that the wireless ring around Australia will cost three or four times as much as it ought to do. First let us say that these works are bossed from Melbourne by the "bald-headed rooster" O'Malley, or his myrmidons. Well, they started off by sending five carpenters from Bunbury to Esperance, paying them 14s. 6d. a day and all expenses. Three carpenters and a couple of laborers would have done — but never mind, the poor old public has to pay. When the five carpenters had journeyed down to Albany and taken steamer to Esperance, they found on arrival that there was no material, so they occupied themselves in strenuously killing time at 14s. 6d. per day. Eventually the stuff began to come to hand in dribs and drabs, and then these ardent toilers demanded 17s. 6d. per day. Of course they got it — but never mind, the poor old public has to pay. The work proceeded slowly (but surely) for a time, until, it was found that no iron washers had been sent down, and the job had to be hung up until these essential articles were forthcoming. The washers were railed from Perth to Norseman (460 miles), and taken from there by coach, a distance of about 120 miles, the parcel weighing 100cwt. But what odds — the poor old public, etc. As if all this costly tired feeling was not enough, it was necessary to send a specialist to Esperance to erect the mast He arrived on February 1, but was not wanted until March 1. Thus he, too, had to go fishing or bathing, or looking for Billy Burton's imaginary wheat teams — at about five quid a week. All of which shows the great blessing of being governed from Russell street, Melbourne, and enhances the prospect when we are ruled from the banks of the Cotter Creek. But why squeal — the poor old public, etc.[13]

The Commonwealth Gazette of 8 March 1913 recorded the expenditure of funds for the purchase of Bullivant's Patent Flexible Steel Wire Rope and Bullivant's Galvanized Wire Rigging Rope to Lloyds' requirements for the guying of several wireless station masts, including that for VIE Esperance:

Commonwealth of Australia. Postmaster-General's Department, Ex. Min. No. 55. 21st February, 1913. HIS Excellency the Governor-General, by and with the advice of the Federal Executive Council, has approved, in accordance with the provisions of No. 61 of the Treasury Regulations under section 71 of the Audit Acts 1901-1906, of the expenditure of £169 11s. in the purchase from N. Guthridge Limited, 525 Collins-street, Melbourne, Victoria, of a quantity of Bullivant's Patent Flexible Steel Wire Rope and Bullivant's Galvanized Wire Rigging Rope to Lloyds' requirements, for use in connexion with the Radiotelegraph Stations at Gabo Island, Victoria; Townsville, Rockhampton, and Cooktown, Queensland; Mount Gambier, South Australia; and Geraldton, Broome, Esperance, Roebourne, and Wyndham, Western Australia. C. E. FRAZER, Postmaster-General.[14]

The mast was actually raised on 13 March 1913 in the record time of only 5½ hours, the previous record being 6½ for VIN Geraldton (though the mast at that station was 20 ft Higher). The tackle used for the task of erection was promptly despatched for use at Roebourne:

Progress of Wireless Station. Owing to the delay experienced in getting machinery and material, it is not expected that the wireless station, at Geraldton will be completed for another three weeks or a month. The mast at the Esperance station was safely raised on Thursday, the time occupied in the operation being five and a half hours, this beating the previous record at Geraldton by an hour. The Esperance mast is, however, only 160 feet high as compared with 180 feet at Geraldton. The mast at Roebourne has been constructed, and is waiting the arrival of the tackle from Esperance for its erection, whilst it is expected that the mast for the Broome station will be ready for erection in about three weeks' time. There will be some delay in starting with the work at Wyndham, as a month will elapse before there is a convenient boat going there.[15]

Despite an earlier definitive rejection by the Postmaster-General's Department as to an Albany coastal wireless station, the Albany Chamber of Commerce again pressed the matter when delays in establishment of Esperance resulted in return of some materials to Albany:

ALBANY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. QUARTERLY MEETING. The quarterly meeting of members of the Albany Chamber of Commerce was held at the Town Hall on Wednesday night. The president (Mr. J. S. Deykin) occupied the chair and there were also present:— Messrs. T. H. Barnett, G. Waters, W. Mawson, E. G. Everett, W. St. Clair White, J. Wiley, J. Allwood, H. P. Griffin, J. L. S. Price, C. H. Neumann, A. H. Dickson, A. Gerdes, D. Thomas, and the secretary (Mr. P. H. Meeks). Correspondence. The following letter was read from Mr. H. Robinson:— "With reference to wireless telegraphy, Esperance or Breaksea (Island off coast from Albany - Ed.), I may say I have written to the Federal Minister in Melbourne to get a definite reply, as I understand that some fresh trouble has arisen at Esperance and that some of the apparatus sent down there has gone back to Albany. I hope, if your Chamber can find out anything authentic, they will use their best endeavors with reference to establishing the station at Breaksea. I would also draw your Chamber's special attention to the November report of the Commonwealth Department on Trade and Customs, re establishing a light at Eclipse Island. Pages 14 and 15 deal with this particular matter, and I am sure I need only draw your attention to the matter to have it brought before the proper authorities.[16]

WIRELESS STATION AT ESPERANCE. 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.[17]

In April 1913 the Commonwealth Gazette recorded the purchase of further of further rigging wire for guying of the masts of several coastal radio stations including VIE:

Commonwealth of Australia. Postmaster-General's Department. Ex. Min. No. 103. 28th March, 1913. HIS Excellency the Governor-General, by and with the advice of the Federal Executive Council, has approved, in accordance with the provisions of No. 61 of the Treasury Regulations under section 71 of the Audit Acts 1901-1906, of the expenditure of £109 4s. 10d. in the purchase from W. Waugh, 19 Weston-street, Balmain East, New South Wales, of 4 coils (about 11,900 feet) of Rigging Wire required for the use of the Postmaster General's Department in connexion with the erection of Radio-telegraph Stations at Rockhampton and Cooktown, Queensland; Mount Gambier, South Australia; Darwin, Northern Territory; Roebourne, Esperance, and Geraldton, Western Australia; and Flinders Island, Tasmania. C. E. FRAZER, Postmaster-General.[18]

By mid-April 1913 the oil engine and dynamo to power the new station had arrived and were awaiting installation:

Esperance News. The wireless telegraph station is now approaching completion. The mast is 160 ft high, and will have a communicating range of 450 miles. A powerful engine and dynamos have arrived. The buildings, mast erection, and wire laying are all being done by departmental day labour.[19]

The PMG Department released a statement in early May 1913 providing a status for each of the coastal wireless stations, noting that it was expected that Esperance would formally commence operations that month:

Our Wireless. A statement in regard to wireless telegraphy in Australia was made available yesterday. This shows that at present stations are open for the despatch of public messages at Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Hobart, Sydney, Brisbane, Port Moresby, Thursday Island, and Mt. Gambier. The installation at Rockhampton and Geraldton, which have been completed, are at present being used intermittently, but the official openings will not take place until May 7. It is expected that during the present month the Cooktown, Townsvllle, Esperance, and Flinders Island stations will be completed, while those at present under construction at Port Darwin, Wyndham, Roebourne, and Broome should be ready for work in June.[20]

New Wireless Stations. The Geraldton (W.A.) wireless station was opened officially yesterday. Rockhampton (Q.) will be ready for business on Friday, and the stations at Cooktown (Q.) and Esperance (W.A.) will be opened next week.[21]

Personal Items. Mr. Sweeney, who has been superintending the erection of the wireless station at Geraldton, will probably return to Perth this week. His next job, he expects, will be the supervision of the erection or the new station at Esperance.[22]

THE WIRELESS TELEGRAPHY STATION AT ESPERANCE. M. F. Dwyer. (Photo)[23]

In mid-July 1913 it emerged that the station still was not operational and was awaiting the arrival of the oil engine and dynamo on the next steamer:

Wireless Station at Esperance. Our correspondent states that the Esperance radio station is almost completed. The motive power for this station is expected to arrive by the next steamer, and then the station will be in full working order.[24]

Also in mid-July 1913 applications were invited for Officers in Charge positions of all the coastal wireless stations, including that at Esperance. It was significant that the positions were classified in the Professional Division whereas land telegraphists were at a lower classification. This was due to Balsillie's interventention, with a view to attracting the best quality staff and recognition of the important role they were to play:

Commonwealth Public Service Act 1902. NOTIFICATION OF VACANCIES. APPLICATIONS will be received by the Public Service Commissioner from persons qualified for appointment to the positions specified below. Applicants outside the Public Service are eligible for appointment to the Administrative and Professional Divisions, but are not eligible for appointment to Clerical or General Division vacancies, unless they were in the service of a State on 1st January, 1901, or have retired from the service of the Commonwealth or of a State. Applicants who are officers of the Public Service of a State should state the date of their appointment to the Service, present position, and salary. Applicants from outside the Service should state their qualifications for the office they seek. Copies only of diplomas, references, testimonials, or certificates should be forwarded. If the originals are required they will be asked for. Full names and date and year of birth should be stated, and applications must be in applicant's handwriting. Applications should be addressed to the "Commonwealth Public Service Inspector" of the State in which the vacancy exists, and, in the case of officers of the Commonwealth Service, be forwarded through the Chief Officer of the Department to which the applicant belongs. Minimum and maximum salaries where shown indicate the limits of the class or grade in which the position is classified. Subject to the provisions of the Public Service Act appointments may be made at any salary within those limits. Successful appointees must comply with the life assurance provisions of the Public Service Act and Regulations. Officers of the Public Service should note that in any case where the minimum salary of a position in the Clerical Division is not the minimum salary of a Class, and the successful applicant is not eligible for the former by reason of not having received the salary of the next lower subdivision for twelve months, he will be granted an allowance equal to the difference between the salary for which he is eligible and the minimum salary of the position until he can be advanced by annual subdivisional increment to the latter salary. Officers who may be transferred without promotion or increase of salary as the result of an application for an advertised vacancy will be required to pay their own expenses of removal unless the transfer comes within the conditions prescribed in Public Service Regulation No. 54. . . .

Postmaster-General's Department. RADIO-TELEGRAPH BRANCH. State: Western Australia; Position: Officer in Charge, Class E; Locality: Esperance; Division and Salary per Annum: Professional, £216 to £240,(#) District Allowance Scale I. Application Returnable: 2nd August. (#) Less £3 for rent if the one room which is provided is occupied. There are no quarters at Thursday Island. Applicants for the above positions in the Radio telegraph branch must—

  • (1) be capable of working at 25 words per minute, sent and received, on telephone;
  • (2) possess an elementary knowledge of electricity and magnetism, as also basic principles of Radio-telegraphy;
  • (3) possess a general knowledge of precedents of working in Radio-telegraphy as contained in "Handbook for Wireless Telegraphists," issued by the British postal authorities;
  • (4) be experienced in working of internal combustion engines;

and applications should be forwarded to The Secretary, Commonwealth Public Service Commissioner, Customs House, Melbourne.[25]

On 26 July 1913 it was announced, as part of a further status report on the network, that the station had commenced in the past week:

RANGE OF WIRELESS TELEGRAPHY. MR J. G. BALSILLIE'S SCHEME. SECOND STAGE COMPLETED. The above map shows the range of the Australian wireless telegraph stations on the completion of the second stage of the scheme recommended by and carried out under the supervision of Mr J. Graeme Balsillie, the Federal engineer for radio-telegraphy. The dotted line nearest the coast indicates the day range of what are termed the low power stations, while the outer line, indicated by dashes, is the day range of the high power stations. At night the radius of the low power stations is increased three times the distance, but there is not much material difference in the range of the high power stations at night time. At present the high power stations completed are at Pennant Hills (Sydney) and Fremantle (W.A.). The third is at Darwin (Northern Territory), and will be in working order in about a month. All the low power stations, excepting four, are now in full operation. The stations at work are: Melbourne (V.), Brisbane (Q.), Adelaide (S.A.), Hobart (Tas.), Rockhampton (Q.), Cooktown (Q.), Thursday Island (N.Q.), Port Moresby (Papua), Roe-burne (W.A.), Geraldton (W.A.), Mount Gambler (S.A.), and Esperance (W.A.). The last-named station was opened this week. Townsville (Q.) and Broome (W.A.) installations will be in operation next week, and Flinders Island (Bass Strait) station will follow a few weeks later, and the last to complete the second series will be Wyndham (W.A.). Up to then the cost of the scheme can be put down at about £109,000, the sixteen low power stations having cost on an average £4000 each, and three high power stations about £15,000 each. The third year's work embraces stations at Woodlark Island and Samarai (Papua), Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island (east of New South Wales), King Island (Bass Strait), and Albany and Carnarvon (W.A.). The attitude of the present Ministry on radio-telegraphy has not yet been disclosed, and it cannot be said at present whether the third stage of the scheme will be gone on with. AUSTRALIA'S AIRLINE RADIUS. (Map of region identifying coverage areas of the established stations - Ed.)[26]

Initial operation[edit]

(J. J. Dwyer, photo.) ESPERANCE WIRELESS STATION. (photo - Ed.)[27]

Belatedly in August 1913, the approval of the expenditure of an amount of £128 6s. 1d. for the timber for the VIE mast was announced in the Commonwealth Gazette:

Commonwealth of Australia. Postmaster-General's Department. Ex. Min. No. 390. 6th August, 1913. HIS Excellency the Governor-General, by and with the advice of the Federal Executive Council, has approved, in accordance with the provisions of No. 61 of the Treasury Regulations under section 71 of the Audit Acts 1901-1906, of the expenditure of £128 6s. 1d. in payment to Millars' Timber and Trading Company Limited, Perth, for the supply and delivery of timber, required for the use of the Postmaster-General's Department in connexion with the Radiotelegraph Station at Esperance, Western Australia. AGAR WYNNE, Postmaster-General.[28]

Tenders for Public Works. The following were the lowest of the public tenders which closed yesterday:— Albany Drill HalI, renovations, Wiley and Alwood (Albany); Esperance Radio Station, fencing, no tenders received; Redmond School, Wallace and Jones (Perth); Kalgooriie Hospital, alterations, Gowans and Walker (Kalgoorlie).[29]

POSTMASTER-GENERAL'S DEPARTMENT. Ex. Mins. Nos. 539/13, 562/13, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, 26, 27, 28, T.744/13, T.760/13. General. Allowance. E. S. A. Gratwick, Acting Officer in Charge, Radiotelegraph station, Esperance, Western Australia, to be paid a special allowance of £1 5s. per week whilst acting in the capacity indicated, in lieu of Scale I., District Allowance, but in addition to 5 per cent. allowance on salary paid to him as a Perth Officer.[30]

THE WIRELESS STATION AT ESPERANCE. (photo - Ed.)[31]

World War I[edit]

The nation's defence was an important driver for the establishment of the coastal wireless network and immediately following the declaration of WW1, a squad of 20 men under Lieut. Morris was despatched to Esperance to guard the station:

PROTECTION FOR ESPERANCE. September 9. A squad of 20 men from the 88th Regiment under Lieut. Morris, arrived (at Albany - Ed.) from Perth by this morning's train for the purpose of proceeding to Esperance to guard the wireless station there. Upon arrival they were formed up outside the station, and after being inspected by Major Meeks, marched down the jetty to the Eucla, on which boat they embarked.[32]

The War Precautions Act stemmed the flow of news about the station's vital activities, but the station staff themselves contributed greatly to the social and patriotic life of the small town of Esperance. In April 1915 the staff of the station hosted an invitation ball at the Bijou Hall which was well attended:

A LADY'S LETTER. My dear Mary,— Of course you are expecting news from me, and all the week since I wrote you last Friday I have been endeavouring to realise your expectations. From various sources I have gathered much that will no doubt interest you. . . The Radio operators of the wireless station, Esperance Bay, gave a delightful invitation ball in the Bijou Theatre on Easter Monday night. The hall was elaborately decorated with red, white, and blue muslin, of which some hundreds of yards were used in the scheme. The muslin was caught up in the centre of the hall, and then brought to the sides marquee fashion, thence to the floor in a V shape. The lights were shaded by the different colours and lent a lovely effect to the whole scene, especially to the ladies' dresses, which were very pretty. The music was supplied by the Radio operators orchestra, assisted by Miss Evie Douglas, and was delightful both to dancers and non-dancer's. The supper, which was excellent, was served on the brilliantly lighted stage, decorated with a profusion of variegated cosmos. The catering was in the hands of Mr. J. Campbell, Mr. and Mrs. Fletcher, Mr. C. Sandles, and Mr. W. Duneen, and much praise is due to them. Mrs. Fletcher, who received the guests at the hall door, wore a beautiful grown of pale blue satin; Miss Evie Douglas, cream and Tango ribbon; Miss Douglas, blue silk and cream lace trimmings; Miss. A. Daw, pale blue silk and ninon; Miss J. Gibson, pale blue with shadow lace overdress; Miss M. Gibson, cream silk, with lace tunic; Mrs. Wiesse, black silk; Mrs. A. Brodie, cream silk; Mrs. Ward, wine coloured silk; Mrs. McLean, white silk with black ninon overdress; Mrs. T. Stewart, grey striped silk; Mrs. E. H. Woods, white silk; Mrs. Beckwith, white silk; Miss C. Hannett, white silk, fur trimmings; Miss G. Davey, pale blue and cream lace; Mrs. W. Stow, brown satin; Miss Lightbody, cream charmeuse and cerise; Mrs. Logan, black silk; Mrs. Harold Woods, cream lace. Amongst those who were fancy dresses were:— Miss L. Fox, Indian Squaw; Miss B. Logan, Flower Girl; Miss E. Brodie, England and France United; Miss H. White, Fairy; Miss A. Ward, Folly; Miss M. Douglas, English Dress of 1832; Miss F. Orr, Gipsy; Miss H. Brodie, Spanish Dancer; Miss O. Stow, Snow; Miss N. McCarthy, Spanish Dancer; Mrs. J. Campbell, France; Mr. B. Synott, Chinaman; Mr. J. Stow, Pierrot; Mr. W. Duenen, Pierrot; Mr. Fletcher, Pierrot; Mr. C. Sandles, Lady in Evening Dress; Mr. R. Douglas, English Dress of 1832.[33]

Harry Bick was a Kojonup lad who spent five months in the early stages of the war guarding the Esperance wireless station. He participated in the Dardanelles campaign and in September 1915 made the ultimate sacrifice for his country:

Kojonup. Great regret has been expressed at the death at the Dardanelles of two young fellows who were well and favorably known in Kojonup, which they both left a short while ago for Blackboy Hill, viz., George Stent and Harry Bick. The former was assistant in the local post office, were he made many friends. He was esteemed by everyone, kind, generous, and attentive to his duties. Harry Bick was teller at the National Bank, previous to which at the outbreak of war he was sent by the military authorities with others to do duty at Esperance, where he was stationed five months guarding the wireless station. He took great interest in military affairs, and before being sent to the front was promoted to sergeant. He was well respected in Kojonup. All Kojonup join in sympathy with their parents in their sad bereavement.[34]

Only five years earlier the SS Waratah the had been lost with all hands in the Indian Ocean and found by the Australasian Antarctic Expedition ice bound and snow covered in the Antarctic, having drifted there helplessly. A potentially similar incident occurred in September 1915 when the SS Yeddo broke her tailshaft and was drifting in the Australian Bight. But a wireless message to the Esperance station resulted in prompt despatch of the SS Eucla to render assistance:

ESPERANCE NOTES. News was received in Esperance per Radio station that the screw steamer Yeddo, of 4500 tons burden, had broken her tail shaft and was helpless in the Australian Bight. The Government steamer Eucla was despatched from Albany to render what assistance she can to the disabled steamer. The Eucla called at Esperance about 1 a.m. this morning, and, after getting all the information concerning the steamer in distress, the captain departed on his journey.[35]

The majority of participants in the new technology of wireless telegraphy were younger men and inevitably, away from family in the relatively remote outposts of the coastal wireless stations, close ties were formed with local communities. Charles Albert Sandell was previously a participant as wireless officer in Douglas Mawson's Australasian Antarctic Expedition. He had been stationed at Esperance for some time and a transfer to VID Darwin in September 1916 triggered a wedding to Amy Daw, immediately prior to departure:

Wedding at Esperance. A very pretty wedding was celebrated at the Methodist Church, Esperance, on the evening of 30th October, the contracting parties being Miss Amy Daw, youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. F. J. Daw, and Mr. Charles A. Sandell, of the wireless station. The ceremony was performed by the Rev. F. G. Smith, of Norseman, and Miss J. Gibson Officiated at the organ. The hymn, "The Voice that Breathed o'er Eden," was sung as the bride entered the church on the arm of her father, looking very pretty in her graceful gown of white brocade, with an overdress of palest pink ninon, the bodice being V-shaped back and front and prettily trimmed with pearls. The handsome fish train which hung from the waist was of white brocade and lined with palest pink ninon. The usual wreath and veil was worn, through which the bride's diamond engagement ring was threaded. She also carried a lovely shower bouquet of white roses and fern (made by her sister, Mrs. Synnot) and wore a diamond and ruby bracelet (the gift of the bridegroom). The bridesmaid, Miss Dorothy Wood, was prettily dressed in pale plue silk. She carried a basket of ferns and carnations, and wore a gold lucky bell, the gift of the bridegroom. The bride's nephew, Master Paul Freeman, acted as page, wearing a pale blue suit, in which he looked very pretty, and carrying a shepherd's crook. Mr. Fred Day acted as best man. The bride's present to the bridegroom was a morocco wallet. After the ceremony a reception was held at the Bijou Hall, which was nicely decorated for the occasion. The guests were received at the entrance by Mr. and Mrs. Daw, Mrs. Daw wearing a black silk dress, with hat to match. A very pleasant evening was spent, dancing being indulged in till midnight. Mr. and Mrs. Sandell left by motor tor Norseman, en route .for Port Darwin, their future home, the bride travelling in an Assam silk coat and skirt, with an Assam silk hat with blue silk crown and veil to match. Many beautiful and useful presents were received by the young couple.[36]

Mainly About People. Mr. E. C. Miller, of the Nor'-West, has been transferred to the Esperance Radio Station.[37]

Again in November 1917 Mr. F. C. Miller of the Esperance wireless station organised an entertainment at the Bijou Hall to assist with funds for the trench coffee stalls for West Australian soldiers. The event raised £5 for the fund:

Esperance. An entertainment, organised by Mr. F. C. Miller, of the Esperance Radio Station, for the purpose of assisting in the raising of £2000 in this State for the trench coffee stalls for West Australian soldiers, was given in the Bijou Hall on Friday night by the Esperance Bay Variety Company, and was a great success. The conjuring and illusions by Mr. B. Bradbury were cleverly done. Mr. F. C. Miller assisted Mr. Bradbury, and imparted a good deal of humour into the items. The following helped with the evening's programme:— Overtures, Miss Gibson and Miss M. Douglas; songs, Mrs. W. Gilders; quartettes, Messrs. G. Hearne, R. Jones, W. Gilders, F. Douglas and F. C. Miller; comicalities, Messrs. F. C. Miller, W. Gilders and G. Hearne; recitation, Mr. Phil McCarthy. The pianists for the concert were Miss M. Douglas, Miss E. Douglas, and Mr. J. Leeder. Mr. W. E. Hughes donated 15/, Mr. F. J. Daw kerosene to light the hall, Mr. E. J. McCarthy 7/6, Mrs. F. Douglas flags, Mrs. B. W. Peek patriotic decorations, Mrs. Weise flowers, and Mr. and Mrs. Dickinson vegetables. Mr. Miller has telegraphed £5 to the secretary of the fund. On the motion of Mr. E. J. McCarthy a vote of thanks was accorded to Mr. Miller and those who assisted. The picture painted and donated by Miss Orr to the Esperance Returned Soldiers and Sailors' Fund was won by Miss G. Eggeling, with No. 88, the picture realising £2 12/6.[38]

After being at VIE for 5 years, including the last 9 months as officer-in-charge, in April 1918, Mr. H. R. Denneen was transferred to VIM Melbourne. The new officer-in-charge, Mr. F. C. Miller held a smoke social as farewell to Denneen at the Esperance Hotel:

Esperance. At the Esperance Hotel on Thursday night the staff of the Esperance Radio Station tendered a smoke social to Warrant Officer Telegraphist R. H. Denneen, who has been at the Esperance Radio Station for the past five years, being officer in charge for the past nine months. He is now under transfer to Melbourne. Mr. F. C. Miller, the officer in charge of the wireless station, occupied the chair. During the evening Mr. J. Bradbury, on behalf of the staff, presented the guest with a travelling case. Warrant Officer Denneen thanked the staff for the compliment paid to him that evening and for their handsome present, which he would always associate with the happy days spent in Esperance. Gunner Taylor, a returned invalid soldier, was also a guest. Mrs. Backland is to be complimented for the efficient manner in which she carried out all the arrangements for the evening. A very pleasant evening was spent on Friday evening last at the residence of Mr. B. W. Peek, the occasion being a welcome home to Gunner Sidney Taylor and to bid farewell to Mr. H. R. Denneen, who has been a resident of Esperance for the past five years. Most of the young people present had been at school with Gunner Taylor, and they were pleased to welcome their old school mate back to Esperance. A very pleasant evening was spent.[39]

Royal Australian Naval Radio Service[edit]

ESPERANCE NOTES. The Methodists of Esperance are to be congratulated on obtaining the services of C.P.O. Chambers, of the wireless staff, to take the services on Sunday evenings. Mr Chambers is a good speaker, his sermons, impromptu, being listened to with interest. There is no doubt he has made a study of the Scriptures, and has them at his finger's ends.[40]

Post World War I[edit]

LOCAL AND GENERAL. Mr. F. C. Miller, who was a well known resident of Roebourne whilst in charge of the wireless station at that town, was a passenger with his wife, by the Minderoo which arrived here on Thursday. Mr. Miller, after leaving Roebourne, was stationed at Esperance wireless station, and subsequently at Applecross. He has now taken to pastures new, and has accepted a position, we understand, on Mr. Dempster's Marron Station.[41]

Mr. W. A. Chambers of the station staff was crushed in an incident with a loaded dray in September 1919 and seriously injured. The seriousness was compounded by the unrelated passing of the attending doctor in the immediate aftermath:

ESPERANCE. Esperance. Sept 8. An accident happened to Mr. W. A. Chambers, of the wireless staff, on Friday last. He went to the assistance of Mr. J. B. Orr, a returned soldier, who was tipping a dray load of stone and gravel, and whilst holding the shaft, it came down very suddenly, pinning him to the ground. Mr. F. W. Bow, who was passing with his trap, took the sufferer to the Residency, where he was attended to by Dr. Ryan. After dressing the wounds, Dr. and Mrs. Ryan kept the patient in the Residency till Saturday afternoon, when he was removed to the residence of Mr. and Mrs. T. R. Orr, and is now under their care. He is improving, but it may be a week or two before he will be able to go about again. Whilst Mr. Gilders and Mr. Orr were removing Mr. Chambers from the Residency, about 4 o'clock in the afternoon, Dr. Ryan suddenly became ill. Towards evening he took a serious turn, and expired about 11.30 p.m. Dr. Ryan had been about six months in Esperance, and his sudden death will be a great loss to the residents. The sad news cast quite a gloom over the place, for the kindness and attention of Dr. Ryan and his wife were very much appreciated in Esperance and district. He came to Esperance from Kalamunda, and had been stationed at Carnarvon and other centres of Western Australia. The funeral took place on Monday afternoon, all business places being closed. All attended the funeral, which left the Residency at 3.30. The pall-bearers were Acting Commissioner Warrant, Telegraphist Bridges, Chief Petty Engineer Bradbury, Chief Petty Telegraphist Grant, Constable J. J. Ryan. The service at the cemetery was conducted by Mr. E. J. McCarthy. The floral tributes were numerous. The funeral arrangements were in the hands of Mr. W. G. Hearne. The death of Dr. Ryan places the residents of Esperance and district in a very serious position should pneumonic influenza make its appearance, and with the other serious cases that were under his care, we are hoping that another doctor will be sent to take charge very soon. Three cases of influenza (not pneumonic) were reported for the week, but they are all improving, and able to go about again.[42]

The marriage at Esperance in October 1919 of John Archibald Grant (wireless station staff) to Ethel May Wood was a joyous occasion for the local community an attended by most of the wireless station officers:

A LADY'S LETTER. My dear Mary,— Just all the little bits of news and gossip that I have gathered since last week. . . A wedding took place in Esperance on Wednesday, October 1, when Miss Ethel May Wood, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Wood, of Esperance, was married to Mr. John Archibald Grant, of the wireless station staff, son of Mr. and Mrs. Grant, of Williamstown, Victoria. The marriage ceremony took place at the residence of the bride's parents at the Rectory, and the large room was very prettily decorated with an arch of flowers from which a wedding bell, artistically arranged, was suspended. The bride was given away by her father. The Rev. Thomas Cook performed the ceremony. The bridesmaid was Miss Nellie Wood, sister of the bride, and Mr. Bridges, the officer in charge of the station, was best man. The bride looked well in a frock of white voile, relieved with medallions, inset with trimmings, mob cap, with wreath and veil. At the wedding breakfast the Rev. Thomas Cook proposed the health of the bride and bridegroom, in which he was supported by Messrs. Bridges, Riley, Peek and Chambers. Mr. Grant responded. The company was a large one, and a pleasant evening was spent with instrumental and vocal music, recitations and dancing. At a late hour supper was served. The presents were numerous and useful. That from the bridegroom to the bride was a very useful household requisite, and the present to the bridemaid was a gold bangle. Ever yours, CARRIE.[43]

A visitor to Esperance in January 1920 interviewed Mr. Bridges, officer-in-charge of the wireless station who advised that he supervised six staff and also noted that the equipment of the station had recently been upgraded:

A MOTOR TRIP TO ESPERANCE. To the Editor. Sir,— On Sunday, 18th January, I left Kalgoorlie per motor car on a visit to the Norseman and Esperance districts. The roads, which are in perfect order, allowed me to make a very successful trip. . . Mr. Bridges, of the wireless station at Esperance, is another gentleman with whom I had an interesting interview. He has six men under him, and they and their families comprise quite a population in one section of the town. I might also mention that this station is in touch with practically all the stations of the world, owing to the very latest and powerful machines which they have recently installed. . .[44]

At Albany in June 1920, another member of the wireless station staff was married. Chief Petty Officer Chambers wed Miss M. A. Williams of Cairns in a quiet ceremony:

WEDDINGS, CHAMBERS-WILLIAMS. A quiet wedding was celebrated at St. John's Church on Saturday last, the contracting parties being Chief Petty Officer Chambers, of the Wireless Staff, Esperance, and Miss M. A. Williams, of Cairns, Queensland. The officiating clergyman was Archdeacon Louch. C.P.O. Chambers, well-known in the radio service, having served at stations in Queensland, New Guinea, Northern Territory, Perth, Wyndham, and Esperance. As a Queenslander, he was previously well-known in the mechanic and telegraph departments there. The bride was given away by Mr. G. Thomas, of the local telegraphs, and was attended by Miss D. Pritchard, of Albany, as bridesmaid. The bride-groom was attended by Mr. A. Murdoch, in charge of the local telegraph installation, as best man. The bride's gift to the bridegroom was a pair of engraved gold sleeve links, initialled. The bridegroom's gift to the bride was a gold necklace, set with Queensland rubies, and that to the bridegroom a gold hoop bangle. The bride was gracefully dressed in ivory crepe-de-chene, daintily trimmed with filet insertion, prettily hemstitched. The bridesmaid's dress consisted of cream fugi silk in the form of a naval costume. Both carried bouquets. After the ceremony, amid a shower of confetti, the party drove off, proceeding per cars via Middleton Beach, to the Weld Hotel, where their immediate friends assembled and partook of afternoon tea, and the usual good wishes were expressed. The happy couple departed for Esperance on Wednesday by the s.s. Eucla, the bride's travelling costume being grey heathed garbadine with hat to match.[45]

In the estimates for 1921-1922, an amount of £400 was provided for further upgrading the station:

THE FEDERAL BUDGET. A CHEERING UTTERANCE. Melbourne, Friday. The Federal Treasurer (Sir Joseph Cook) delivered his Budget Speech yesterday afternoon. The Commonwealth Budget records a most successful year. It also anticipates another good one, excellent results from the great staple industries being in sight. A survey of Australia's activities, says the Treasurer, shows that while care, caution and a resolute economic adjustment are essential, there is nothing oppressive or appalling in the prospects. The Treasurer said the estimated revenue for 1921-22 was £61,787,350, and the expenditure £64,605,658. As anticipated, there is nothing of a sensational nature in the Budget statement made by the Commonwealth Treasurer. Included in the works estimates is an amount from loan of £100,000 for the Kalgoorlie-Port Augusta railway. Out of loans £51,945 is on the estimates for post offices in Western Australia, the Perth General Post Office representing £45,000. Other items are: Bruce Rock, £2,400; Fremantle, £850; Hamelin Pool, £570; Kalamunda, £890; York, alterations, £512; Esperance wireless station, £400; Perth wireless station, £155.[46]

Freak long distance reception during conditions of enhanced radio propagation was always of interest to the general public and in July 1922 it was announced that the VIE station had communicated with the SS Sophocles at a distance of some 4,000 miles:

WIRELESS MESSAGES. Perth, July 17. The Applecross wireless station picked up messages the other day from the steamer Sophocles when she was about 3800 miles away. The Esperance wireless station also picked up these messages. The Applecross station also exchanged signals with the Moreton Bay when that vessel was 400 miles out of Colombo on her way to Aden. The distance from Perth would be about 3500 miles.[47]

PMG control resumes[edit]

AWA control[edit]

The ongoing role of the Esperance station as a backup when the land telegraph failed was well illustrated during May 1924 in the midst of the election where the station became the source of Esperance voting data:

LABOR CANDIDATES SUCCEED. LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL ELECTIONS MR. CORNELL ELECTED RE-COUNT GRANTED. The anticipation that the elections for the Legislative Council would not be marked by any unusual degree of public interest was fulfilled in most of the districts in which the contests were staged. . . The count of a record poll was completed today, when Mr. Cornell scraped home by the small margin of 18 votes. The Chief Electoral Officer (Mr. Cooke) intimated that the returning officer for the province (Mr. M. A. Sanders), having been asked for a recount, the application had been granted. The operation of recounting the votes will, it is understood, occupy in the vicinity of a fortnight. For some of the figures relating to this Province, the department is indebted to the radio authorities, the wireless stations at Esperance and Applecross having supplied them when it was learned that the land telegraph had been interrupted.[48]

In early 1927 there was program to more closely establish latitude and longitude of many Australian locations to provide a framework for Australian mapping. One of the locations chosen was Esperance. Measurement precision was enhanced by reference to time signals transmitted by a number of coastal radio stations, including the Esperance station:

Latitude and Longitude of Esperance. At the request of Mr. Camm (the Surveyor-General) the Government Astronomer (Mr. H. B. Curlewis) will leave Perth today for Esperance, to determine the latitude and longitude of that town. Time signals will be transmitted by the courtesy of the superintendent of Amalgamated Wireless from the radio stations at Adelaide, Esperance, and Applecross. Mr. Dodwell, the Government Astronomer of South Australia, will co-operate by personally taking the necessary time observation in Adelaide.[49]

VIE had a role, not only to provide inter-communications in the course of marine incidents, but also to warn local shipping of potential dangers. In July 1928 when the SS Dimboola struck an unknown submerged object, VIE broadcast a message to alert shipping in the vicinity of potential danger:

DIMBOOLA STRIKES OBJECT AT SEA. UNPLEASANT EXPERIENCE. On Tuesday Captain A. H. Grans-bury (Deputy Director of Navigation for South Australia) received the following wireless telegraphic information from the master of the Melbourne Steamship Company's interstate passenger steamer Dimboola, then on her way from Fremantle to Port Adelaide and the eastern States:— "At 7.55 p.m. on July 23, in latitude 35 degrees 32 minutes south and longitude 122 degrees 9 minutes east, the Dimboola struck a submerged object and bumped heavily. There was no apparent damage to the vessel. There was a light north wind and the seas were smooth." Perth and Esperance radio stations were instructed by the Deputy Director of Navigation for Western Australia, who was also informed, to broadcast the information to all ships. Captain Gransbury took steps to warn western bound vessels. WHAT WAS THE OBSTACLE STRUCK? What the floating obstacle was the Melbourne Steamship Co.'s passenger steamer Dimboola struck about 8 p.m. on Monday will probably be left to conjecture. Being night time when the bump was felt there was no means of finding out what it was that was floating in the water. The officers of the vessel inspected the ship's sides when daylight came, but could see no marks to show she had struck anything. They made a further inspection when the vessel was berthed at No. 2 Quay, Port Adelaide, about 12.30 p.m. on Thursday, but no marks could be seen. It was decided to engage a diver to inspect the vessel's hull below water in the hope of arriving at a solution, although there was no evidence she had suffered any damage through the incident. Most of the passengers were in the saloon when the bump was felt, one of their number being engaged at the time in showing miniature moving pictures for their entertainment. They did not evince any alarm, and the picture show went on to a conclusion. It could not be said that it was the bow or any other part of the ship that took the impact, and there was no appearance of the ship dragging over something. Capt. C. M. Roy, master of the vessel, at once made enquiries, but he was not helped much to a solution of the mystery, for the effect of the bump was that whoever he questioned, whether it was fore, aft, or amidships, was confident it took place directly below his feet, and it was there the impact took place. The suggestion that it might have been a whale is discounted as there would have been ample evidence left if that had been the trouble, more-over it is stated it was quite evidently a hard substance that was struck. Some of the passengers stated they saw whales on the trip, but an officer said it was only the variety little larger than a porpoise often referred to as "black fish." When Capt. Roy was asked if he thought it might have been the result of an earthquake shock he said the effect on the ship was very similar to that he experienced years ago on a sailing vessel from such a disturbance, but that could not explain it as no earth tremors had been reported. He thought it might possibly have been deck cargo washed off some vessel, particularly as vessels going west recently had experienced a rough time. A big heavy piece of timber partly submerged might have been able to cause the bump if the ship struck it, but the cause of the impact would probably never be known. He felt it his duty to give warning to other vessels promptly in case it was of such a character as to do injury to any ship striking it. An examination was made, but no damage could be seen, and although frequent tests were made there was not the slightest sign of water coming in. There was no fear as to the propellers, as the ship made splendid progress after the incident, arriving at Port Adelaide well ahead of her expected time. The ship's chief engineer stated the engines were under close observation at the time of the impact, and its effect was to slow the engines for a few seconds. NO DAMAGE WHATEVER. The diver, after making a thorough examination of the outside of the vessel's hull below water throughout the afternoon reported there was no sign of any damage to the ship of any description.[50]

Sale of Station to AWA[edit]

On 2 November 1928 the prospect of agreement by the Commonwealth government to the sale of the coastal radio network to Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Ltd. was cause for the firm to postpone its annual general meeting by one month:

AMALGAMATED WIRELESS. A circular letter has been issued by Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Ltd. to its shareholders informing them that, in view of very important negotiations being conducted on behalf of the company, it is desirable to postpone the holding of the general meeting and the issuing of the directors' report for approximately a month. It is expected that the negotiations will be advanced sufficiently to enable the directors to convey the results to the shareholders at the annual general meeting.[51]

The Commonwealth Gazette of 8 November 1928 formally detailed the sale of the coastal radio network to Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) and listed 17 Australian and 9 Pacific stations:

SALE OF WIRELESS STATIONS TO AMALGAMATED WIRELESS (AUSTRALASIA) LIMITED. HIS Excellency the Governor-General in Council, pursuant to section 63 of the Lands Acquisition Act 1906-1916, has approved that authority be granted for the disposal of all the estate, right, title and interest of the Commonwealth of Australia in and to the wireless stations enumerated in the schedule hereunder (reserving where required the reservations set out in the Crown grants) by sale to Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited, for the sum of £39,574, such stations being no longer required by the Commonwealth for any public purpose. W. C. HILL, Minister of State for Works and Railways. (L. & S. 26/2619.) Schedule. The Wireless Stations at — Thursday Island, Cooktown, Townsville, Rockhampton, Pinkenba, Pennant Hills, Melbourne, Flinders Island, King Island, Hobart, Adelaide, Esperance, and Fremantle (Applecross), Geraldton, Broome, Darwin, Port Moresby, Samarai, Morobe, Madang, Aitape, Manus, Kavieng, Bita Paka, Kieta and Willis Island.[52]

The following week it was formally announced that all of the Australian and Pacific Island stations of the coastal radio network including the cornerstone Applecross station had been sold to AWA for an amount of £39,574. It was confirmed that this was in accordance with the original 1922 agreement between the Commonwealth and AWA:

VALUATION COMPLETED. Sale of Wireless Station. SIR G. PEARCE EXPLAINS. It is officially reported from Canberra that the sale of the Government wireless stations in Australia and the Pacific Islands, including Applecross (W.A.), has taken place to the Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia), Ltd., for £39,574. Asked to comment on the report today, Sir George Pearce, the Federal Government's representative in this State at the present time, said that the sale was the outcome of the original agreement. "Some years ago," he stated, "in the time of the Hughes Government, when we entered into the agreement with the wireless company, it was agreed that the company should take over the stations at a valuation to be arrived at. "Since then we have been trying to reach a satisfactory valuation, and it looks as If this has been done at last," added the Minister.[53]

A further statement detailed the specific list of stations with 17 services in Australia (including the Geraldton station) and a further 9 in the Pacific Islands:

WIRELESS STATIONS. COMMONWEALTH'S INTEREST. Sold to Amalgamated Wireless. (FROM OUR SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE) CANBERRA, Thursday.— Authority has been given by the Federal Executive to sell to the Amalgamated Wireless Co. the right, title and interest of the Commonwealth in the following wireless stations:— Thursday Island, Cooktown, Townsville, Rockhampton, Pinkenba, Pennant Hills, Melbourne, Flinders Island, King Island, Hobart, Adelaide, Esperance, Fremantle (Applecross), Geraldton, Broome, Darwin, Port Moresby, Samarai, Morobe, Madang, Aitape, Manus, Kavieng, Bita Paka, Kieta and Willis Island. The amount to be paid by Amalgamated Wireless is £39,574. The official reason given for the sale is that the stations are no longer required by the Federal Government for any public purpose. Where it in considered necessary, army reservations set out in the Crown grants are withheld.[54]

Again in September 1929, VIE was able to provide communication between the SS Knockfierna and authorities when her cargo of coal caught fire:

THE KNOCKFIERNA. Coal Cargo on Fire. ALBANY, Thursday. The Irish steamer Knockfierna (5285 tons), bound from Immingham to Melbourne, via the Cape of Good Hope with a cargo of coal, is making for Albany, a fire having broken out in the coal in No. 1 hold. At 2.15 a.m. today the Esperance radio station intercepted a message from Captain Rowden stating that the coal in No 1 hold was very hot and giving off heavy gas continuously. There was, he stated, no immediate danger, and the fire was being kept under control with water. At 1.25 p.m. the State motorship Kybra, which had been sheltering at Flinders Bay advised the Knockfierna that she was about 200 miles north of the burning vessel and was also bound for Albany. The Knockfierna was 230 miles south-south-west of Albany at 10 o'clock this morning.[55]

ESPERANCE FROM WIRELESS HILL. Where many holiday-makers from the goldfields and other districts will be spending their Christmas and New Year vacations.(Photo - Ed.)[56]

In February 1930, Mr. J. A. Grant was reported holidaying in Kalgoorlie, having been a wireless operator at the Esperance station for several years:

PERSONAL ITEMS. Mr. J. A. Grant, who is spending a few days in Kalgoorlie, will leave by tomorrow morning's train for Esperance, where he has been one of the operators at the wireless station for the past several years.[57]

Station modernised[edit]

Sydney Trim oversighted the demolition of the old timber mast at Geraldton in November 1930 as part of an overall moderisation program conducted by AWA:

GERALDTON RADIO STATION. NEW MAST ERECTED STEEL REPLACES WOOD. The lofty wooden wireless mast, which has been a familiar landmark at the Geraldton Wireless Station in Francis Street for many years, was taken down recently, and has now been replaced by a tubular steel mast of a telescopic design. The reason for substituting a steel mast, for the wooden one was to obviate any danger of the destruction of the wooden mast through fire. Such an occurrence has been experienced in the tropics, where masts have been known to catch fire and come down. Consequently it has been decided to have steel masts erected throughout the Commonwealth. The project in Geraldton was the last, it is understood, with the exception of Esperance, to be undertaken. The new mast, although by no means as impressive as the old one and perhaps in consequence not so impressive look-ing, has the one important feature which justifies its replacing the wooden one and that is its durability. Its span of life by reason of the fact that it is of steel is expected to far exceed that of its predecessor. Although it weighs about three tons and is 162 feet in height, about three feet less than the old one, the method adopted in hoisting it was comparatively easy when explained by those engaged in the undertaking. The steel mast, prior to being raised from the ground, was attached to a jury mast, the latter being in a perpendicular position to the main mast. At the base of the jury mast and connected with the main mast was what is called a heel rope and this served to keep the main mast in position when being hoisted. On the side of the jury mast, opposite the main mast, was a five ton winch, and from the main mast to the jury mast and then on to the winch, were five sets of wire stays by means of which the winch gradually hoisted the new mast to its upright position, simultaneous with the lowering of the jury mast. The main mast is comprised of six sections, while the stays also are divided into sections by non-conductive insulators which are fastened at equal distances on the mast and then ex-tended to heavy anchorages, which are sunk in the ground to a depth of eight feet. In all there are eight anchorages, and on the outer set there are two guys and on the inner set three sets of guys. A departure from the old squirrel type of aerial has also been made and in its place is the single wire aerial. In all there are four aerials, consisting each of three seven-sixteenths strand-ed copper wire to a length of 95 feet. The new mast was successfully hoist-ed into position on Tuesday afternoon. The work was undertaken under the superintendence of Engineer S. Trim of Amalgamated Wireless, while he was efficiently assisted in the work by Mr. S. Broomehall, mechanic, and others. Mr. Trim is supervising the work of erecting the steel masts throughout the Commonwealth, and prior to coming to Geraldton he had carried out similar tasks at Broome, Cockatoo Island and at Applecross, where he installed a new wireless set for the police. After leaving Gerald-ton he will proceed to Esperance, where he will complete the last of the undertakings of this nature.[58]

Trim and Broomhall left Geraldton in early December 1930 with the intention of spending a few days in Perth and then proceeding to Esperance to replace the old mast:

PERSONAL. Engineer Trim, who has been in charge of the operations for the demolition of the old wooden mast at the Wireless Station in Francis Street, and the erection of the new steel mast, and Mechanic Broomhall left for Perth yesterday. After a few days there they will proceed to Esperance to carry out certain work at the Wireless Station in the southern port.[59]

Sydney Trim finally returned to home base of Sydney and it was revealed that he had now completed an overall refurbishment plan for the entire network of coastal stations. Esperance, as well as having its timber mast replaced by a tubular steel design, had been outfitted with a new design 2kW valve transmitter replacing the previous spark unit:

COASTAL RADIO SERVICE. Stations Modernised. Mr. S. Trim, installing and inspecting engineer of Amalgamated Wireless, has returned to Sydney, after having circumnavigated Australia, inspecting and modernising the coastal radio stations which maintain wireless telegraph communication between ships' passengers at sea and their friends on shore. When the coastal stations were handed over to Amalgamated Wireless from the Postal Department in 1922 the company agreed that at the end of a certain period the stations would be completley renovated and equipped with the most efficient of modern wireless appliances. This work has been going on over a period of eight years, and Mr. Trim has been absent from his headquarters in Sydney for two years, placing the finishing touches on the stations. Australia can now claim to have a chain of radio stations around the coast numbering 19 in all, of greater or at least as great efficiency as any similar chain of stations in the world. At Broome the white ants had started at the base of the old wooden mast and worked their way 180 feet to the top. Mr. Trim replaced the mast with one of tubular steel 160 feet high. He also installed a new five-kilowatt standard coastal transmitter with modulator and an emergency transmitter known as type "R." These little emergency transmitters use power of only 25 watts — Less than an ordinary electric light; yet when required they give an effective range of communication to ships of one thousand miles or more. From Broome Mr. Trim journeyed 200 miles to Cockatoo Island, a speck in the Indian Ocean, leased from the West Australian Government by the Australian Iron and Steel Co. The island is almost a solid mass of rich ore, but the company was inconvenienced by the absence of means of communication with the mainland. Mr. Trim bridged the gap by establishing a wireless telephone transmitter similar to that used on the trawlers on the coasts of New South Wales and Victoria. At Geraldton he dismantled the old wireless equipment provided in former days by the Postal Department, and installed a standard two-kilowatt transmitter and the type 'R' emergency set; a new tubular steel mast 160 feet in height was also erected. The old spark apparatus formerly in use at Esperance was dismantled and replaced with a two-kilowatt transmitter; here also a new mast was erected. The Darwin radio station was provided with a modern five-kilowatt transmitter and emergency plant. A new tubular steel mast has been provided for Darwin, but so far it has not been placed in commission, the present galvanised iron mast being still in use. At Adelaide a general overhaul was given the station, and two 160 feet steel masts were set up in place of the original wooden masts, which, after 18 years, were showing signs of decay at the base. On this trip, Mr.Trim installed the police wireless equipment at Perth. This transmitter, as is well known, is operated from police headquarters, and it communicates with the crews of the police patrol cars, which are fitted with both transmitters and receivers. Mr. Trim brought back some excellent stories of the efficiency of the Perth wireless patrol. He has told his principals that on several occasions the patrol cars have received timely notification of acts of burglary in progress, and have arrived on the scene before the thieves have had time to escape with their booty.[60]

The Esperance wireless station mast was a prominent landmark for the town and was visible for many miles around. It entered into the culture of the town and was evidenced by one local's comment about land sharks selling local property with names like "Sea View" when one would need to climb to the top of the wireless mast to see the sea:

Land Sharks, and Others. 'Land sharks' and commercial travellers were roundly condemned by several country delegates at the annual conference of the Road Board Association of Western Australia yesterday. A delegate representing the Esperance Road Board said that his district had been "rocked and ravaged" by the land sharks of Perth, who had gone up and sold what were called "garden areas." The Government at the time never gave a tinker's dam to whom they sold the land so long as they got the money. Townsite blocks had been sold at prices up to £300 an acre, and tracts of sand and sheer granite had been palmed off as garden areas. Sandhills had been purchased for £1 an acre and sold to people outside the district and in the Eastern States at £15 to £50 a block. Something should be done to check the land sharks who went out and watched development in the country areas. "Why, they even call some of these townsite blocks names like 'Sea View,' when the only view of the sea you can get is from the top of a wireless mast," the delegate added, amid a roar of laughter. During a subsequent discussion on a proposal to reduce motor car licence fees, a delegate evoked a chorus of "hear, hears" when he suggested that all motor car licence fees should be reduced, except those of commercial travellers who, he declared, took more out of the roads than the farmers, and went about the country making them buy things they never needed.[61]

Again, in March 1933, the Esperance station showed its worth when two crew members (Charles Maven and J. T. Collins) on the "Ovington Court' were injured in an engine room accident. A launch was promptly despatched with Dr. Home on board and the men returned to Albany for medical treatment:

Accident on Steamer. TWO MEN INJURED. Dr. A. R. Home made a hurried trip to the steamer "Ovington Court" at anchor in Frenchman's Bay last night, to attend to two members of the crew who had sustained injuries in an accident in the engine room. The men, Charles Maven and J. T. Collins, were working on a plank scaffold in the engine room, when the plank broke, and they fell 20 feet on to a steel floor. Maven sustained an injured shoulder and a nasty scalp wound, while Collins sustained an injury to his left leg. Both men were given preliminary attention and were brought ashore this morning and admitted to Hospital for X-Ray examination and further treatment. The condition of both is fair. The Captain of the "Ovington Court" wirelessed for assistance, the message having to come to Albany through Esperance. The accident occurred at about 4.30 p.m., and the message reached the Doctor at 5.10. Dr Home made the trip to the "Ovington Court" in McIlwraith's launch. Fortunately the sea was fairly smooth, but, returning in the darkness, the launch had to stand well out in the Sound, to clear the Sisters, off Rabbit Island, and the return trip was rather uncomfortable.[62]

When the famous cricketer Heidke fell ill in the Great Australian Bight onboard the Jervis Bay enroute to England in July 1933, it was VIE that was the conduit for the press story to the sporting public:

WILL NOT SEE ENGLAND. Heidke to be Put Ashore at First Port of Call. Queenslander's Sensational Collapse. From HARRY SUNDERLAND. (On the Jervis Bay through Esperance radio station.) The story of the Heidke case from start to finish is most puzzling to his friends, especially as so much mystery surrounds the old break which is the underlying cause of the present leg trouble. How Heidke played as he did in the big tests and then collapsed sensationally after hearing the doctors' final verdict is a problem to many. Since leaving Sydney the leg steadily worsened, while the Kangaroos were ashore sight-seeing in Adelaide. I considered sending Heidke back from there, but avoiding a callous decision, decided to persevere, but the rough Bight crossing further worsened Heidke's condition. Heidke is cabinmate with the visitors Corbett and Haron. Each night Corbett called on me at a late hour informing me of Heidke's extreme pain. Heidke has not been off his cabin bunk since departing from Adelaide. The ship's medico, Dr. Gordon, called and examined the groin and immediately decided to use morphia to induce sleep. This morning Heidke was no better. It is certain that his hopes of seeing England as a result of the generous subscription initiated by his team-mates must be jettisoned. It is certain, too that he must be put ashore at the first available hospital and, after recuperation, start the long trek back to Queensland alone.[63]

FUNERAL NOTICES HARDY. The friends of Mr. Joseph James Hardy, and Peter, of Esperance Radio Station, are respectfully notified that the remains of their late dearly beloved wife and mother respectively, Dorothy Mary, will be removed from W. Strother's Private Mortuary, 18 Hannan-street, Kalgoorlie, THIS (Saturday) MORNING, at 11 o'clock for interment in the Anglican portion of the Kalgoorlie Cemetery.— W. Strother, Undertaker.[64]

The duties of the wireless officers were not confined to business and in February 1935 a group of scouts from Kalgoorlie in holiday camp at Esperance were treated to a comprhensive tour of the wireless station and explanation of the technical workings of the equipment:

PICTON SCOUT TROOP. ESPERANCE HOLIDAY CAMP, 1935 Eleven scouts (six Pictons, three Lamingtons and two O'Connors) under the care of the S.M. and A.S.M. of the Picton troop, left Kalgoorlie on January 5. Two scouts returned on January 19 and nine, under the A.S.M., on January 26. Activities.— The main activities were, of course, fishing and swimming. Two outings were had at West and other beaches. A motor launch was chartered and took the scouts on a fishing trip across Esperance Bay to the old jetty near Newtown. Mr. Frank Sullivan arranged for a visit to a bee farm to see hives robbed, Mr. Sullivan snr., kindly taking the boys by motor. A mulberry picnic was successful. They are indebted to Mr. White, of near Pink Lake, for permission to raid his trees. A visit of inspection was made to the wireless station, where the officer in charge, Mr. Bridges, went to great pains in explaining everything. One evening was spent in watching local fishermen haul their nets on to the beach, and most of the scouts went over the m.v. Kybra. which came in twice during their stay. Morton Young and Ken Black tied for honours in the sand-modelling competition held at Lover's Beach. The scouts were entertained at two parties. On each occasion the boys called for and gave three lusty cheers for their host and hostess. Evening services at the Anglican church were attended on the two Sundays in the camp period and a "scout's own" was held. The camp was open for inspection on Sunday, January 20, and many visitors were received. Health.— There was no serious illness or accident during the camp. Discipline.— Many of the boys attended their first scout camp and the average age was about 12½ years. Despite this the conduct and the spirit were good and the officers' task of looking after their charges comparatively easy. Badge.— Second Jack Young, of Pictons, passed his second class cooking test in camp. Finance.— A balance sheet will be forwarded to the district commissioner in due course. Thanks.— As on a previous occasion they found everyone willing to help them. In particular, it is desired to thank the W.A.G.R. officials in Kalgoorlie and Esperance, for their courtesy, Messrs. C. Christians and W. Dixon for transporting luggage and gear, the Esperance Roads Board for free use of tent poles, Messrs. Sullivan (2), Bridges and White for arranging outings, etc., Mesdames Cope and Martin and Messrs. Peters and Gilks, for donations of fruit, sweets and pies, and Mr. H. P. Smithers and Mr. and Mrs. W. Orr, who entertained the scouts at parties. Mr. and Mrs. Smithers and their son, Cran, were tireless in their efforts and, as last year, added to the pleasure of the holiday, besides helping in numerous other ways. Scouter Tom Hosking did good service in preparing things for the arrival. It is also desired to thank A.S.M. Luke Anderson, whose presence was largely responsible for the smooth running of the camp.[65]

The coastal radio stations provided generally excellent alternative communication lines during outages of the land telegraph system. But Murphy's law could come to bear and during the an outage near Coolgardie in April 1935, when Geraldton wireless was called to assist, it was found that that station itself was unavailable due to a battery recharge being underway:

TELEGRAPHIC INTERRUPTION. A break occurred in the telegraph line 20 miles south of Coolgardie at 9.30 a.m. yesterday, cutting off telegraphic communication with Norseman and Esperance. It is believed that several poles were levelled. Portion of the business was handled by the railway telephone system, and an endeavour was made to secure the help of the Geraldton wireless station in transmitting other messages to the Esperance wireless station. Unfortunately, however, contact could not be made until 5 p.m. yesterday because the battery of the Esperance wireless station received its periodical recharge during the day.[66]

The Esperance wireless station was fully integrated into the post office telegraphy network which in September 1935 included some 160 stations and 800 substations linked by over 13,000 miles of landlines. The ability to communicate directly with VIP Perth, 24 hours a day, provided invaluable redundancy with the landline network and this capacity was only matched by one other coastal radio station being VIN Geraldton:

PERTH'S NERVE CENTRE. A Visit to the Telegraph Office. A visit to the telegraph operating room of the G.P.O. in Perth, and the contemplation of the services performed by the heterogeneous collection of machines there, is sufficient to convince the observer that here is the nerve centre of Perth. The average number of messages dealt with daily is over 10,000, and the speed at which these messages can be sent and received may be gauged from the fact that the staff of the department numbers only 156. The first impression a visitor receives on entering the operating room is upon the eardrum, for the din of the 41 telegraph sets used there is terrific. Those 41 sets include composite, duplex, quadruplex duplex, repeater, simplex and polarised machines. The room is connected directly with 160 stations in this State, giving access to 800 substations and direct communication to the Applecross, Esperance and Geraldton wireless stations. The connexions in Western Australia alone involve about 13,000 miles of telegraph lines which cover the State in a huge network. A conversation with some of the older men in the operating room makes it clear that telegraphists are born, not made, for a person not adapted to the work might still be anything but an expert after many years of training. Some men "break down" after a few years of the work, and have to resort to other means of making morse signals, such as the pendograph, an instrument which is fitted to the telegraph key and manipulated sideways with the fingers instead of by vertical movement of the wrist. The telegraphists in Perth are expert men, and on hand-lines can transmit and receive up to 50 messages per hour for the whole shift of six hours. The average sending rate is 25 words per minute, the average number of signals for each letter is three, and the average number of letters to the word is five, so that 375 movements of the wrist per minute mean 135,000 movements in each shift. Modern Methods. These details refer to hand telegraphy; but for handling business between busy points there are modern machines which can handle at least twice the business that can be dealt with by hand. Murray multiplex machines operate between Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney, working on electrical impulses through one pair of wires that cross the continent along the trans-Australian railway. This one pair of wires may be called upon to carry, simultaneously, all the telegraphic business between Perth and Melbourne, a telephonic conversation, and perhaps a wireless relay as well. In addition, extra channels for telegraphic work can be invoked on these wires at peak periods. The Murray multiplex machine has a keyboard similar to that of a type writer. As a letter is pressed down on the keyboard, a combination of signals is punched out on a strip of rice paper tape. This tape runs through the transmitter at any speed up to 50 words per minute, and the signals come out at their destination, typed upon the telegraph form that is delivered to the addressee. A similar machine, except that the use of tape is eliminated, is the teletype, which is used between Fremantle and Perth and Perth and Kalgoorlie. This machine types the letters at the destination of the message at the instant they are typed on the transmitter, and can handle up to 100 messages per hour.[67]

In December of 1936 the deployment of Douglas aircraft in the civilian airline fleet meant shorter air travel times between Perth and Adelaide, as well as more flexible delivery of air mails. While eventually the Department of Civil Aviation would deploy its own communications network to service the aircraft in flight, initially the coastal radio network provided essential communications and on this route VIN Esperance's role was vital:

BUNGANA DEPARTS. New Service Opens. Until yesterday the arrival of the overseas mail steamer later than about 2 p.m. on Tuesdays meant a delay of a day on the Perth-Adelaide mail service. Yesterday, although mails from abroad were not delivered to Maylands until nearly 6 p.m., the Bungana left to refuel at Kalgoorlie before dark and to reach Forrest in time for a late dinner. The plane is scheduled to arrive in Adelaide this morning on time, despite a start 8½ hours later than usual. The present flight inaugurates the new twice-weekly service between Perth and Adelaide and, with the Douglas type of aircraft, the travelling time will be reduced from about 11½ hours of flying to eight. The general manager of Australian National Airways (Mr. E. C. Buttfield), who is a passenger on the plane, said yesterday that the Bungana was demonstrated to a representative gathering at Maylands on Monday afternoon and the company was highly gratified at its reception. The machine was the most suitable aircraft available for the service in both performance and the quality of the accommodation it afforded. In view of the heavy demand for accommodation on the service in the past, when smaller machines had almost invariably carried full loads and applications for seats had been regularly refused, it was anticipated that accommodation would be fully booked in the future despite the increased frequency of the service. From almost every point of view the air service offered cheaper travel than was available any where else in Australia. The maximum accommodation available in the past at the Forrest hostel had been for 14 persons, so the hostel and rest houses at Kalgoorlie and Ceduna had been improved and extra staff provided to cater for the increased number of travellers expected on the new service. On Monday's flight tests had been made with wireless equipment and the plane had maintained communication with the ground commercial stations at Adelaide, Esperance and Applecross. Another sta-tion was required at Forrest to fill a gap, however, and the necessary equipment was now being installed. The Bungana carried full direction-finding equipment, but the necessary ground stations had not yet been installed by the Civil Aviation Department, although these were expected to be available shortly. In addition arrangements had been made for full lighting equipment at Maylands for night landings, and when that had been installed the service would be fully provided to meet almost all operating conditions. A Modern Air Liner. Yesterday was a scene of unusual activity at the company's big hangar at Maylands. Built originally to accommodate the three-engined Hercules machines first used on the Perth-Adelaide service, the hangar was only just big enough for the Bungana, whose 93ft. wing cleared the side walls by inches only, while the big nose, 17ft. in the air, was almost as close to the roof. Under the guidance of Mr. G. Langville, an engineer of the Wright Engine Corporation of America, ground engineers studied maintenance work on the big radial engines, and the progress of the work revealed new details of the modern air liner. In one engine nacelle a water boiler surrounded an engine exhaust, the hot water being required to maintain cabin temperatures. The crew can control the temperature at any degree. Unsuspected hinged panels in the metal hull opened to disclose mazes of electric wires and control cables which could be inspected in a moment, others disgorged electric batteries for recharging. Inside the cabin a vacuum cleaner removed all traces of Monday's demonstration flights, and an air hostess restocked the pantry in readiness for yesterday's flight. Beneath a cowling small lockers held canvas covers for engine and airscrew. The tail compartment held spare wheels, tyres, wireless aerials and other equipment. Beneath the wing big vents provided an outlet for the 630 gallons of petrol in the main tanks should it be necessary to dump the load in the event of a forced landing. Inspections and polishing of the metal hull and wings over, the big engine cowlings were bolted on, secured by steel cables inside and out, and, spick and span, the plane emerged for a test of the engines. Luggage was weighed, mail stowed and the crew — Captains L. M. Diprose and F. W. Collopy — went aboard. Engines started, a bell clanged above sign: "All Seats Please," and in a few moments passengers were ushered to seats, doors closed, boarding gangways removed, and the air mail liner departed.[68]

Within a matter of weeks of initiation of the upgraded Perth-Adelaide air-route, in January 1937, operational issues were being identified and it was resolved to extend the aircraft crew with the inclusion of a dedicated wireless officer. AWA was quick to seize a vertical marketing opportunity from its coastal radio network and provided both the wireless officers and suitable aircraft wireless equipment:

ADELAIDE AIR ROUTE. Preparation of Radio Services. In preparation for the operation of continuous radio services over the Perth Adelaide air route, the crew of the mail plane Bungana has been increased to four by the addition of a wireless operator. Normally the plane's wireless equipment is operated from the control room by the captain and first-officer, but as certain technical difficulties have arisen the crew has been increased temporarily to carry out a research programme, including the testing of a new station now being installed at Forrest. Wireless equipment on the Bungana is located in a special compartment in the control behind the first-officer's seat. Both the captain and first-officer have phones for receiving messages and keys for telegraphy and mouthpieces for telephony transmission. The machine carries a fixed aerial between a mast above the control room and the rudder, and a trailing aerial which can be lowered when the machine is in flight. The fixed aerial is used for shortwave transmission, and the trailing aerial for longwave transmission and receiving. Mr. W. E. Launder-Cridge, of Amalgamated Wireless, who is acting as wireless operator on the Bungana at present, is investigating fading at various points on the route, and testing communication at present available. In flight the Bungana can communicate with stations at Adelaide, Esperance and Applecross, and calls are made at regular intervals to terminal and intermediate stations as the route is traversed. Actually the machine is in touch with one station or another every 15 minutes. Traffic up to the present has been confined to procedure signals and the transmission of reports and instructions. Landing points can be informed of the machine's progress and instructions issued to the pilots when necessary. Included among the messages sent out regularly are weather observations made from the plane, which are sent direct to weather bureaus. The latter provide valuable data. Because at its operating height of 12,000ft. the Bungana gives a wide field of view, covering immense cloud formations, knowledge of which, together with information obtained by instruments, is expected to prove of considerable value in weather forecasting.[69]

January 1938 saw the departure of Mr. F. Ouvrier from the wireless station:

VALEDICTORY FUNCTIONS FOR MR. AND MRS. OUVRIER. In anticipation of their early departure for Perth, Mr. and Mrs. F. Ouvrier have received a round of farewells. Mr. Ouvrier has been transfenred to the Perth radio station at Applecross. On Sunday, January 16, the members of the Catholic congregation presented Mr. and Mrs. Ouvrier with a handsomely designed reading lamp. On Thursday, January 20, the Rifle Club made a presentation to Mr. Ouvrier of a set of military brushes, comb and mirror, in a neatly designed case. On Friday, January 21, signed case. On Friday, January 21, at the Parish Hall, at a public farewell, Mr. E. Heenan, in the absence of Dr. Hungerford, who was indisposed, presented Mrs. Ouvrier with a crystal clock and Mr. Ouvrier with a travelling case. Father Grennan was present and in a happy speech expressed his admiration of the guests of the evening and wished them success in their new sphere. The Misses Nielsen gave an exhibition of dancing, Mrs. Stearn a vocal item, Mrs. Dixon and Mrs. Bayley monologues, encores being demanded of all performers. A dance programme, interspersed the items and presentation.[70]

World War II[edit]

Esperance Notes. Mr. and Mrs. Hartley, of Sydney, have arrived in Esperance, Mr. Hartley having been transferred to the local wireless station, in place of Mr. Louder. They were accompanied by their daughter.[71]

ESPERANCE NOTES. Mr G. Hart, of the local wireless station has been transferred to Darwin and leaves immediately for that centre.[72]

An Electric Fence Problem. DEAR "Martingale," — I rigged up a Ford coil for an electric fence; it gives plenty of shocks but runs the battery down too quickly. I have been told by an expert that it has been erected or made wrongly. Mine works the blade with the nut on the top all the time. Should this do so? I think the current should only come on when anything touches it and is standing on earth. I've had a wire from the battery to earth but think now that it should be connected to somewhere else. Can you tell me how this can be done? It seems to me that it must run down if the current is on all the while. On a car if the ignition switch is left on the battery soon runs down. The coil was fixed by an expert who is the head of the wireless station in Esperance and he sure knows about all there is to know about electricity; he made the coil up by the instructions in "The Western Mail" which I had cut out about two years ago. There was quite a lot in the papers about that time concerning electric fencing but nothing seems to have been printed about how these have been working. I know several who have a high opinion of it but still there are very few using it in the mallee. There are two sets I know of but both are idle though the owners claim they are a great success. I will be much obliged if you will print the particulars in "The Western Mail." G.D. Woolaway. (I showed your letter, together with the published instructions upon which I understand your electric fence was constructed, to my electrical adviser (Mr M. Taylor) of Hay-street, Perth. He says that the rapid running down of the battery shows that you have your circuit-breaker pendulum adjusted to operate much too fast, so that the current is on too much of the time. Manipulate the knob "A" in the published diagram to make the pendulum beat very much more slowly, so that the circuit is broken for a much greater proportion of the time.— "M.")[73]

The black out of information about VIE Esperance during World War 2 was almost complete due to the imposition of war censorship. Only a very few items of personal news appeared in the newspapers of the day, even the names of individuals performing duties at the wireless station being a potential breach. But finally in mid-1945, with the immediate threat to Western Australia greatly eased, the Prime Minister made a statement as to the actions taken in defence of the State. The massive expansion of wireless facilities and activities of coastal network stations generally was detailed and mention made of the valuable work of VIE ESperance in communicating with coastal ships and keeping continuous watch on medium frequencies:

DEFENCE OF W.A. From Singapore On OFFICIAL RECORDS Statement By Mr. Chifley. A preview of what history will record of the defence of Western Australia against Japanese aggression was given in Perth yesterday by the Prime Minister (Mr Chifley). It is a factual account affording glimpses of the strategic and tactical issues that had to be faced by the defence and Government authorities. Having in mind the comparison since made by the late Prime Minister (Mr Curtin) that Australia is a country as big as Europe with the population of Belgium, the revelation of the measures taken for the protection of the western third of the Commonwealth is an enthralling story. "It is now possible," said the Prime Minister (Mr Chifley) yesterday "to give, in detail, the picture of the grave threat to Western Australia for a long period after Japan came into the war, of the steps taken to ensure the State's security in accordance with the overall strategic plan for Australia and the South-West Pacific Area, and of the manner in which that security was eventually secured. . . . . "Wireless facilities in Western Australia had to be expanded tremendously. In December, 1941, Royal Australian Naval communications at Fremantle consisted of a signal centre at the Naval Office, a port war signal station at Rottnest Island and port visual and wireless facilities near Fremantle Harbour. The Amalgamated Wireless (A/sia), Ltd station at Applecross was used for communications to and from merchant ships. Certain items of naval equipment were installed at Applecross. When the US naval forces arrived in Fremantle in the early part of 1942 the American authorities decided to establish a naval wireless station in the Perth-Fremantle area. This station was equipped with US naval transmitters and receivers, and buildings were obtained at Perth University and Queen's Park in which to install this equipment. Shortly after this station was in operation it was merged into the Allied Naval Wireless Organisation of the South-West Pacific Area and carried out important naval communication duties on behalf of all Allied warships. Towards the middle of 1942, it was decided to establish a naval office with its own communication centre in Perth. This was necessary to effect close co-operation with Army and Air Force headquarters. The naval office at Perth was connected by teleprinter with the Navy Office, Melbourne, and to various outlying naval areas in the Fremantle area. In June, 1945, this office was discontinued. Wireless Installations. In 1943, the new AWA receiving station at Bassendean was completed. This station then took over all the receiving duties previously carried out at Applecross. The latter station is now used to accommodate the transmitting equipment which is remote-controlled from the receiving station at Bassendean. Naval duties had, for some time, been carried out from the Harbour Board Signal Station at Canton-ment Hill. However, on completion of the Australian Wheat Board's wheat silo at North Fremantle it was decided to erect a naval signal station on the roof of the silo. This station commands an excellent view over Fremantle Harbour and the Gage Roads and south to Cockburn Sound. Besides visual watch, certain naval services are now operated from the silo signal station. Employment of the harbour signal station at Cantonment Hill was given up on the transfer of naval signalling activities to the silo. Consequent on the decision to establish naval facilities at Cockburn Sound, the necessary communications of this base were planned, and cable for telephone and teleprinted circuits was laid by the Post-master-General's Department between Fremantle and Cockburn Sound. Additional telephone and telegraph circuits have been provided at most of the Fremantle wharves to give adequate communication facilities for visiting warships and important merchant ships. The AWA coastal radio stations at Esperance, Geraldton, Broome and Wyndham carry out certain wireless duties on behalf of the navy. These duties consist primarily of communication with coastal vessels which maintain watch on medium frequencies.[74]

Post World War II[edit]

OTC[edit]

AMBLER (Lillian Maude), widow of the late J. E. Ambler, passed away March 22, 1948, at Royal Perth Hospital, loved mother of Sydney (Esperance Radio Station), mother-in-law of Eva, grandmother of Ron, Eric and Betty, Victoria Park. AMBLER (Lillian Maude): Passed away March 22 1948, at Royal Perth Hospital, loved sister of the late Edith Aldis, and sister-in-law of A. E. Aldis, aunty of Mabel (Mrs. Evans) and Clifton (Rev. F. C. Aldis, South Australia), and great-aunt of Joy (Mrs. C. Braddon). [75]

In May 1948, fresh tenders were called for general repairs and painting of the buildings at the Esperance radio station:

TENDERS. COMMONWEALTH of Australia. Department of Works and Housing. Tenders, closing with the Director of Works (Commonwealth), Department of Works and Housing, G.P.O., Perth, are invited for the following services, returnable at noon, 18/5/48: (1) Balingup Post Office, painting and repairs and sound proofing of telephone cabinets (Job No. 1784); (2) Boyup Brook Post Office, general repairs and renovations (Job No. 1783); (3) Broome Customs House and Quarters, alterations, repairs and renovations (Job No 1777); (4) Geraldton O.T.C. Wireless station repairs and painting (Job No. 1782); (5) Swanbourne Fort, install fire mains and hydrants (Job No. 1781). Returnable at noon, 25/5/48; (6) Carnarvon Post Office installation of septic tank and erection of lav. block (Job No. 1760); (7) Cottesloe Telephone Exchange, installation of 6-ton air conditioning system (Job No. 1759); (8) Esperance Radio Station, repairs and painting (Job No. 1762) (fresh tenders) (amended specifications); (9) Maylands Aerodrome, road construction and tarmac maintenance (Job No. 1785); (10) Tranby Buildings, Wellington-st., Perth, external painting (Job No. 1789). Returnable at noon, 1/6/48; (11) Pinjarra and Bunbury P.M.G., erection of line depot bldgs., ex Spencers Brook (Job No. 1787); (12) Wagin Post Office, painting and repairs to post office and quarters (Job No. 1772); (13) Yalgoo Post Office, repairs, painting and minor alterations (Job No. 1788). Plans and specifications are obtainable at Room 26, sixth floor, G.P.O., Perth, and (1) postmasters, Balingup and Bunbury post offices, and (3) postmaster, Broome Post Office and (4) postmaster, Geraldton Post Office, and (6) postmasters Carnarvon and Geraldton post offices, and (8) postmasters, Norseman and Kalgoorlie post offices and O.I.C./O.T.C. Radio Sta-ion, Esperance, and (11) post-masters, Pinjarra and Bunbury post offices, and (13) postmasters, Geraldton, Mulewa and Yalgoo. No tenders necessarily accepted. Nelson Lemmon, Minister for Works and Housing. [76]

WILSON. On May 15, 1948, at his residence, 29 Cook-street, Nedlands, William John, dearly beloved husband of Clara Maud Wilson, loving father of George (deceased), Carol (Mrs. Clinch), Freda (Mrs. Armstrong), Mostyn (deceased) and Laurence (Esperance radio station); aged 89 years. WILSON (William John): On May 15, at 29 Cook-street Nedlands, late of Geraldton, Peak Hill and Murchison Goldfields, beloved husband of Maud, loving father of George (deceased), Carol (Mrs. Clinch). Freda (Mrs. Armstrong), Mostyn (deceased) and Laurie, Esperance. WILSON (William John): At Nedlands on May 15, loved grandfather of Joan and Reg Tatam.[77]

High masts at wireless stations have always been an attractant for static electricity and lightning strike a common risk. In November 1948 VIE took a direct lightning hit and sustained considerable damage with the duty wireless operator narrowly escaping serious injury:

Wireless Station Struck. ESPERANCE, Nov. 16: Further heavy rain fell at Esperance last night. Following yesterday's electric storm telegraphic and telephonic communications are now almost normal. It was learnt today that the Esperance wireless station was struck by lightning and considerable damage was done. The operator on duty narrowly escaped serious injury. A post-office employee who was on the office verandah at the time said that a long streak of light appeared to hit the middle of the main street. It ran directly west along Andrew-street and finished in a northerly direction between Kent's garage and the post office. During its passage the lightning missed several persons on the footpaths and swerved around a big Norfolk Island pine on the post-office corner.[78]

In mid-March 1949, better access to the Esperance wireless station was provided by the construction of a road from West Beach to the station:

Esperance. March 11.— During the recent visit of the Commissioner, Mr. G. Lindsay, much interesting business was dealt with. . . . To the Commonwealth Government a quotation was forwarded for the construction of a proposed road from the West Beach road to the Esperance wireless station.[79]

Concurrent with the provision of the new access road to the station, an additional dwelling was constructed at a cost of £1,960 as a residence for the officer in charge:

NEW ESPERANCE HOUSES. ESPERANCE, March 13: Building permits for four houses of a total value of £3,680 have been approved at Esperance including a house to be erected by the Commonwealth Government for the officer in charge of the Esperance wireless station. This is expected to cost £1,960.[80]

ESPERANCE NEWS. ROAD BOARD. Esperance. April 5.— A tender submitted by the board for the construction of 500 ft. of new road into the Esperance wireless station was accepted by the Commonwealth Government. This road will run from the West Beach road along the new wireless station fence.[81]

ESPERANCE NEWS. The Commissioner expressed satisfaction with the work carried out since his last visit. Several tenders are called, including one for 30 chains of gravelling on Pink Lake road, 30 chains on West Beach road, commencing at William street and 550 feet from West Beach road to the Esperance Wireless Station. The necessary culverts will not be included in the tender but will be constructed by the board.[82]

ESPERANCE NEWS. The following contracts were dealt with : Pink Lake road — Tenders received were those of Bow Bros., £5 2/6 per chain; W. C. Stewart and Son, £4 2/6; and C. V. Anderson, £3 13/9. The latter was accepted. West Beach road — Bow Bros., £5 2/6 per chain; W. C. Stewart and Son, £4 2/6; C. V. Anderson, £3 13/9. The latter was accepted. Wireless Station road — Bow Bros. £11 5/ per chain; W. C. Stewart and Son, £10. The latter was accepted.[83]

Frank John Claude Bridges retired as Officer in Charge Esperance wireless station in September 1950 after more than 30 years in the position:

Kalgoorlie Personals. Mr. F. J. C. Bridges, who has been OIC of Esperance radio station since 1918, has retired but plans to remain in Esperance. His place for the time being is to be filled by Mr. Sid Ambler.[84]

PERSONAL. Friends of Mr. F. J. C. Bridges, who recently retired after more than 30 years' service at Esperance Radio Station, presented him with an ebony inkstand and read a letter of appreciation at an informal social afternoon arranged by his workmates, Mr. Syd Ambler and Mr. Laurie Wilson.[85]

'Fields Social And Other Interesting Local Topics. Home from a holiday in Kalgoorlie and Perth is Mr. Laurie Wilson, of Esperance Radio Station.[86]

They Are Engaged AMBLER — McKEAN: The engagement is announced of Martha Betty Ambler, only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. S. Ambler, Esperance Radio Station, to Ronald Frederick McKean, only son of Mr. and Mrs. R. McKean, of Kalgoorlie.[87]

Civil Aviation Officers Visit Esperance. On July 20 a Douglas plane piloted by Captain McGillvray, with Mr. McDonald, Superintendent Air Navigation, and party of Department of Civil Aviation officials, flew over Esperance about 3.30 p.m and landed at the aerodrome. Shortly after, Mr. W. S. Joyner, supervising airways engineer; Mr. C. Fennel, airways engineer; and Mr. I. Hodder, airways surveyor, (all of Melbourne), paid a short visit to the local wireless station on communications business. After returning to the 'drome the plane left immediately for Kalgoorlie.[88]

GOLDFIELDS NEWS. On annual leave in Perth are Mr. and Mrs. Ted Kemp, of Esperance radio station staff.[89]

Closure[edit]

Participants and staff[edit]

Design, construction, maintenance[edit]

  • John Graeme Balsillie, 1913, Commonwealth Wireless Expert who designed the wireless system deployed and oversighted the network establishment
  • Walter Moss Sweeney, 1913, construction project supervising engineer for the Postmaster-General's Department
  • R. C. Cox, 1913, assistant project engineer for the Postmaster-General's Department
  • R. D. Munson, 1913, project foreman-rigger for the Public Works Department's portion of the construction project
  • Sydney Trim, 1930, mast replacement project supervising engineer for Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Ltd.
  • S. Broomehall, 1930, mast replacement project mechanic for Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Ltd.

Station staff[edit]

  • James Joseph Wiseman Lamb, senior wireless officer, March? 1913 to May 1914
  • Mark Mortimer, senior wireless officer, May 1914 to ??
  • Arthur McDonald, wireless officer, circa January 1915
  • A. E. Pell, wireless officer, ?? to July 1915 (leave for war service)
  • B. Hooker, wireless officer, ?? to August 1915 (leave for war service)
  • Broomhill, wireless officer, July 1915 to ??
  • H. Selfe, wireless officer, circa May 1920
  • Louis Alfred Fontaine, wireless officer, circa Jun 1923
  • E. W. Tymms, wireless officer, circa April 1925
  • Reginald Charles Goodland, wireless officer, January 1924 to December 1925
  • George Franklin Cook, wireless officer, circa 1928
  • Harold E. Cox, senior wireless officer, circa 1929 to March 1931
  • Newman Dobson Pusey, ??, 1926 to August 1933
  • E. H. Smellie, wireless operator, 1930 to March 1931; senior wireless operator, March 1931 to November 1933
  • H. B. Wolfe, wireless operator, March 1931 to ??
  • F. H. Chrismas, senior wireless officer, circa November 1935 to May 1949+
  • R. C. Anderson, wireless officer, circa September 1936 to September 1940; relief January 1949 to May 1949
  • C. Lemmon, ??, December 1940 to ??

Station guard WW1[edit]

  • Second Lieut Gibbings, guard commander August 1914 to ??
  • Second Lieut E. S. Everett, guard commander ?? to February 1915
  • Second Lieut Hutton, guard commander February 1915 to ??
  • Corporal W. Pass, guard troop, died France February 1917 "no greater love"
  • Private George Compton, guard troop August 1914 to January 1915, died France July 1918 "no greater love"
  • H. H. Opie, guard commander ?? to ??

Further reading[edit]

  • Bastock, John. Ships on the Australia Station, (Child & Associates Publishing Pty Ltd, Frenchs Forest, 1988) ISBN 0-86777-348-0
  • Burger, David. Callsign History Australia - Australian Amateur Radio Callsigns, (IEEE, 2014) online
  • Carty, Bruce. Australian Radio History (4th ed. Sydney, 2013) [1]
  • Curnow, Geoffrey Ross. "The history of the development of wireless telegraphy and broadcasting in Australia to 1942, with especial reference to the Australian Broadcasting Commission: a political and administrative study". online
  • Durrant, Lawrence. The seawatchers : the story of Australia's Coast Radio Service (angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1986) Trove NLA
  • Geeves, P. "The Dawn of Australia's Radio Broadcasting". online
  • Given, Donald Jock. "Transit of Empires: Ernest Fisk and the World Wide Wireless". (Melbourne, 2007) [2]
  • Griffen-Foley, Bridget. Changing Stations the story of Australian commercial radio [3]
  • Hadlow, Martin Lindsay. "Wireless and Empire ambition: wireless telegraphy/telephony and radio broadcasting in the British Solomon Islands Protectorate, South-West Pacific (1914-1947): political, social and developmental perspectives". (Martin Hadlow, Brisbane, 2016) [4] [5]
  • Harte, Bernard. When Radio Was The Cat's Whiskers (Rosenberg Publishing, 2002) [6]
  • Hewitson, Peter. Australian MCS; A brief history of the Australian Coastal Radio Service (Website) [7]
  • Johnstone, James. Coastal Radio Stations (Webpages) [8]
  • Jolly, Rhonda. Media ownership and regulation: a chronology (Canberra, 2016) [9]
  • Jones, Colin. Something in the air : a history of radio in Australia (Kenthurst, 1995) [10]
  • Jose, Arthur W. The Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-1918; Volume IX, The Royal Australian Navy (Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 9th Ed, 1941) Online (especially Chapter XIV: Sundry services: Radio-Telegraphy, Censorship, Coaling, etc.)
  • MacKinnon, Colin. Australian Radio Publications and Magazines (Ian O'Toole, 2004) online
  • Martin, Fiona (2002). "Beyond public service broadcasting? ABC online and the user/citizen". Southern Review: Communication, Politics & Culture 35 (1): 42. 
  • Muscio, Winston T. Australian Radio, The Technical Story 1923–1983 (Kangaroo Press, 1984) [11]
  • Ross, John F. A History of Radio in South Australia 1897–1977 (J. F. Ross, 1978) [12]
  • Ross, John F. Handbook for Radio Engineering Managers (Butterworths, 1980) [13]
  • Ross, John F. Radio Broadcasting Technology, 75 Years of Development in Australia 1923–1998 (J. F. Ross, 1998) [14]
  • Shawsmith, Alan. Halcyon Days, The Story of Amateur Radio in VK4, Queensland (Boolarong Publications, 1987) [15]
  • Umback, Rick. Constituting Australia's International Wireless Service: 1901-1922 (Rick Umback, 1916, Canberra) Online (PhD. thesis, focus on Beam Wireless and its origins with emphasis on wireless telegraphy era, detailed analysis)
  • United States, Navy Department, Bureau of Steam Engineering. List of wireless telegraph stations of the world, 1912 (Government Printing Office, 1912) Online
  • Walker, R. R. The Magic Spark: 50 Years of Radio in Australia (Hawthorn Press, 1973) [16]
  • White, Thomas H. Early Radio Station Lists Issued by the U.S. Government (Website) Online (includes HTMLs of all known copies of Wireless Telegraph Stations of the World 1906 to 1912 with, inter alia, lists of merchant ship and shore station callsigns)
  • Wireless Institute of Australia (editor Wolfenden, Peter). Wireless Men & Women at War (Wireless Institute of Australia, Melbourne, 2017) [17]

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