Applecross 1912 to 2012

Wireless Hill Museum

On 30th September 2012 former OTC staff & family attended the Centenary celebrations. They were Brian Woods, Des Kinnersley & his wife Betty, Ronni Keane, Ron Crocker & daughter Julie, Kevan Bourke & Doreen Hanson (wife of Tony). It was a bright sunny day & all enjoyed the celebrations & meeting up together again. Brian traveled across from Woy Woy near Sydney to also see his old station & staff house. The only problem they had was hearing the speeches clearly from the temporary PA system.

Applecross by 1912 had 2 main buildings standing at the top of the hill and they still stand today. They were originally named the Operators House & Engine House. The transmitter & receiver were located inside the Operator House. The Store House was built by 1915 & it is still standing. In later years the Operators House became the Managers Office & Store, The Engine House became the Transmitter Hall & the Store House became the Diesel/Emergency Power House. Also constructed was a 396 foot mast with 3 massive guy anchor blocks.

Overlooking Radio Drive from Hickey Street were built 3 residences and single men’s quarters (2 flats by the 1950’s). Brian Woods lived in Cottage 4 from 1951 to 1959 before being transferred back East to the newly opened Doonside.

Equipment was supplied by Telefunken. This included a 25kw quenched spark gap transmitter coupled to the 396 foot vertical mast. This mast was a prominent landmark on the Swan River used by boats & featured on an early stamp. The receiver was a crystal type using local galena ore. Power came from a 50 hertz alternator driven by a 60 hp Gardiner engine.

The station was first run by the PMG except during WW1 & WW2 when the Navy took control. When AWA took over in 1922 they installed valve transmitters. OTC operated the station from 1947 to 1967 when they moved to Gnangara. Full Timeline at this link

Brian said “There were quite a few open (no covers) circuit breakers those days. One needed be careful. Water was used for cooling the high power transmitting valves while kerosene was used in earlier days. Dunno why something didn’t catch on fire!”

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