Sunday, December 30, 2018

A.W. A . Wireless Experimentation Station at Koo Wee Rup

Koo Wee Rup has been at the centre of International Wireless communications. In 1921, Amalgamated Wireless (Australia) Ltd. (A.W.A), selected Koo Wee Rup as a site for a Wireless Experimentation Station. The site of the Station was in Rossiter Road, near the intersection of Denhams Road, on land owned by John Mickle and operated from early 1921 to 1922. It was at this Station that it was confirmed that direct and efficient communication between Great Britain and Australia was feasible. Radio communications, at this time, were sent and received by a series of relays.

Wireless signals sent from Britain had already been received directly in Australia as early as 1918, as European Stations could be heard at certain times in Australia. These transmissions are effected by weather and especially sun activity (as anyone with a modern day HF radio would know).

Interior of the building showing the receiving apparatus.
Photo is taken from the Koo Wee Rup Sun of November 6, 1974

Great Britain had proposed the establishment of an Imperial Radio Scheme, based on a series of relays, at the Imperial Conference of 1921 (the fore-runner of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting). Australia would have been at a disadvantage under this Scheme as we were at the end of the line and many relays were situated in politically unstable countries. The Prime Minister, Billy Hughes, rejected this Scheme at the Conference.

The Koo Wee Rup Station was staffed by Thomas Bearup, E.A Burbury and E.G Bailey. Bearup later became Victorian Manager of the ABC. Their experiments used a heterodyne type receiver, with six stages of radio frequency amplication and two stages of audio frequency amplication. Their research showed that wireless signals could be received over long periods each day from New York, Rome, England, Paris and Germany and were consistent enough to prove that direct wireless communication was both practical and reliable between Australia and Britain.


The apparatus building and engine house at the 
Koo Wee Rup Wireless Experimentation Station. 
Photo is taken from the Koo Wee Rup Sun of November 6, 1974.
A.W.A (who worked in conjunction with the Marconi Company) won the Contract from the Australian Government to construct and maintain Wireless Stations capable of direct commercial services to Britain and Canada.

There were two articles on the A.W.A Wireless Experimentation Station at Koo Wee Rup published in the Koo Wee Rup Sun in 1974. To see the original article from November 6, 1974, click here. To see the  follow up article in the Koo Wee Rup Sun of December 11, 1974, click here.

This blog post also appears on my work blog - Casey Cardinia Links to Our Past and had appeared first in the Koo Wee Rup Township newsletter, The Blackfish.

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