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 100 years of wireless telegraphy between London and Sydney
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 Return to top of page · Post #: 1 · Written at 8:01:21 AM on 23 September 2018.
Brad's avatar
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 Location: Greenwich, NSW
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Today marks the 100th anniversary of the first message sent from London to Sydney via a wireless telegraph. Prime Minister, William Morris Hughes, Minister for the Navy, Sir Joseph Cook and AWA Chairman, Ernest Fisk (later Sir) were all involved with the sending of the first message from London to Sydney, followed by the first reply from Sydney back to London.

Read more here: https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australia/100-years-on-first-wireless-message-sent-by-pm-billy-hughes...


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A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 2 · Written at 8:52:21 PM on 23 September 2018.
Relayautomatic's avatar
 Location: Canberra, ACT
 Member since 24 April 2012
 Member #: 1136
 Postcount: 122

First official message but I bet there had been a few test transmissions well beforehand. Old Fisk was very canny and would not have wanted any embarrassing failures on the big day. He was also great mates with PM Billy Hughes and would ask for favours on behalf of AWA when he had problems with the PMG.

Last year I looked for the monument shown in the picture but could not find it; does anybody know if it still exists?

The first radio message from the mainland to Tasmania was in 1906 from Queenscliff VIC. See
http://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/technology/industry/display/33092-first-overseas-wireless-message-/

(Trivia: the oval in the background was once part of Queenscliff High School which I attended in 1965.)


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 3 · Written at 9:18:42 PM on 23 September 2018.
Brad's avatar
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I reckon they would have been testing for the big event well prior and I can't say I blame them. It's amazing what we take for granted these days. I bet the thought of pulling a phone out of one's pocket and calling London without operator assistance or any delays or waiting for a line, etc would have been the last thing on the minds of these people.

In fact, when one thinks about it, our PMs were well travelled, even then and that was a feat in itself.


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A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 4 · Written at 10:22:04 AM on 24 September 2018.
Kakadumh's Gravatar
 Location: Darlington, WA
 Member since 30 March 2016
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With an event such as that I am sure that a LOT of testing was done well before the big day. One would have to be a total goose NOT to have proven things up well before.

When I think back to telephone exchange cutovers and the like (often from Magneto to Auto) MUCH testing and checking all went on well prior and you could be sure that the very aspect the crews did NOT check out created issues on the days.

Often there would be radio links involved and they were all well tested and proven up prior with the occasional propagation issues rearing up & causing some red faces.

That sort of approach may well have been the typical "engineering" approach but it makes a lot of sense & I guess that way of doing things has remained with me to this day.

Almost on "auto pilot" there is NO Way that I will release a new bit of gear into a studio at the community radio station I volunteer at unless we have tested it thoroughly on another studio which is rarely used to ensure that there are NO unforeseen issues lurking that may trip up presenters.

There is nothing worse than a frantic presenter !!


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 5 · Written at 9:06:19 PM on 24 September 2018.
Gandhn's Gravatar
 Location: Windella, NSW
 Member since 5 November 2010
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The monument is certainly there, at the roundabout corner of Stuart Street and Cleveland Street, Wahroonga.

In a previous life, with an office in Wahroonga and living in Turramurra, I passed by every day.


Harold

Sir Ernest Fisk Memorial


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 6 · Written at 9:18:14 PM on 24 September 2018.
Brad's avatar
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G'day Harold,

Is that Sir Ernest's former residence behind? I should go there at the weekend and snap up some closer photos of the memorial and its plaque.


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A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 7 · Written at 10:45:49 PM on 24 September 2018.
GTC's avatar
 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 28 January 2011
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Is that Sir Ernest's former residence behind?

Yes, it is, but the backyard was a tad different back then:

http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/collection-items/radio-mast-and-sir-ernest-fisks-home-Wahroonga


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 8 · Written at 7:38:13 AM on 25 September 2018.
Brad's avatar
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It'd be interesting to know if the current occupier is a radio collector...


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A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 9 · Written at 11:59:58 AM on 25 September 2018.
GTC's avatar
 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW
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It'd be interesting to know if the current occupier is a radio collector..

According to local historian Jo Harris (who recently gave a presentation to the HRSA in Sydney on this subject), the current occupant is a lady who is only too well aware of the house's history. Jo did not mention any interest by the occupant in collecting radios.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 10 · Written at 1:41:02 PM on 25 September 2018.
Kakadumh's Gravatar
 Location: Darlington, WA
 Member since 30 March 2016
 Member #: 1897
 Postcount: 151

Interesting looking monument. The plaque inscription would be great to see.

Lindsay


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 11 · Written at 6:32:18 PM on 26 September 2018.
Relayautomatic's avatar
 Location: Canberra, ACT
 Member since 24 April 2012
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Thanks for the photo Gandhn; I will have to look harder.

Yes GTC Sir Ernest was very patriotic but I reckon the neighbours were rather pleased when he retired and the mast was removed.

For those that may not know Ernest Fisk started his career as a wireless operator on ships equipped with Marconi spark transmitters and magnetic detector receivers. In those days the operators worked for Marconi, the company, and were allocated to whatever ship was sailing. Fisk came to Australia many times on various ships before AWA was set up in 1913.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 12 · Written at 7:25:09 PM on 26 September 2018.
GTC's avatar
 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW
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 Return to top of page · Post #: 13 · Written at 9:46:14 PM on 27 September 2018.
Relayautomatic's avatar
 Location: Canberra, ACT
 Member since 24 April 2012
 Member #: 1136
 Postcount: 122

Thanks GTC. Interesting that it reads "received". I wonder if it was just a one way transmission.

Does anybody have any info on Fisk's "experimental wireless station"? Valves were in use by 1918 but I don't know if there were any high power transmitting types available in Sydney at the time.

I know from research in Aust Archives that Fisk made several trips between England and Australia in the period 1918 to 1920 and secured the rights for AWA to market a lot of Marconi designed/made comms gear including telephone equipment. Fisk pushed hard to have AWA make a range of radio and other electronics in Australia when the Government at the time wanted only equipment imported from Britain.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 14 · Written at 10:25:00 PM on 27 September 2018.
Brad's avatar
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I reckon Neville Williams would have written something about it in one of his "When I think back..." columns.


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A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 15 · Written at 9:44:19 PM on 30 September 2018.
Robert69's avatar
 Location: Western Victoria, VIC
 Member since 14 November 2009
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RE: "...Sir Ernest was very patriotic but I reckon the neighbours were rather pleased when he retired and the mast was removed". I remember reading that this was a 'doctored' photo taken for publicity and the mast was never that size. You can see the wires trailing away to nowhere!
I think it was mentioned in one of Neville Williams' articles?

Robert


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Robert

 
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