Australian Coastal & Marine Wireless 1920 - 1941

David Crotty

Keywords: Coastal Radio

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The twenty years between the two world wars encompassed a period of rapid technical advance in wireless communication equipment and its application to maritime safety.  Amalgamated Wireless of Australasia Ltd (AWA) was the powerhouse behind the research, development, production and installation of this equipment. A number of world firsts in marine wireless communications were initiated in Australia. The influence of AWA and its Managing Director and later Chairman Sir Ernest Fisk was decisive during this period to the point where AWA became in effect an arm of the Commonwealth in extending Australian influence in New Guinea and the Pacific islands.

The first real test of this communication network came early in the Second World War with the activities of a number of German auxiliary merchant cruisers in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. These revealed the limitations of marine wireless as a reporting and communications tool in the early years of the war.

REFERENCE: Crotty, D. 2007 Australian Coastal & Marine Wireless 1920 - 1941. Fourteenth National Engineering Heritage Conference 2007. Perth, Australia, 18 September – 21 September 2007. The Institution of Engineers Australia: Conference Papers.