Awanui Radio 1920-1930

Operating building at Awanui wireless station in the 1920s

Operating building (centre) and engine house (right) at Awanui wireless station in the 1920s. Possibly Bill Walker’s 1927 Chevrolet? Photo: Awanui Scrapbook, Te Ahu Museum

1925: Awanui Radio started a daily broadcast of New Zealand news, free of charge for ships and coastal stations.

1927: Awanui’s callsign changed from VLA to ZLA on 25 November, due to a new international agreement on callsigns. The daily news broadcast begun in 1925 was taken over by Wellington Radio ZLW at the end of the year.1

Back L-R: Stone Fredericks, Bill Marsh, Bill Walker, John McBride, Les Elliston. Front L-R: Norman Rawlings, Dave Craig, Alf Pellow, Tom Ansles

Back L-R: Stone Fredericks, Bill Marsh, Bill Walker, John McBride, Les Elliston. Front L-R: Norman Rawlings, Dave Craig, Alf Pellow, Tom Ansles. Source: Mrs Lesley Goodall: “My mother Isabel Ansles (nee Hansen) wrote ‘Last of the VLA staff Awanui Radio North’ on the photo.” Kaitaia Library collection.

1928: Alf Pellow, Officer in Charge, leaves to become Postmaster at Paeroa.

Les Elliston was the final superintendent.

1930:

Awanui Radio closed on 10 February 1930 – after barely 16 years in operation.

In 1930 the station was closed and there remained the huge task of hauling and coiling 60 counterpoise wires 900 feet long. Bill Walker was a man of initiative. He brought his 1927 Chevrolet car to the base of the tower, jacked up one wheel, attached a home-made wooden pulley to it, secured one end of the wire and set the car engine going in low gear with Les Elliston at the controls and in came the wire neatly coiled!
– Author unknown, from notes at Te Ahu Museum

The 400′ steel mast was felled in December.

Heavy ropes were taken from the lower links of one pair of supporting stays to the anchor block. The strain was taken on the ropes which were [then] cut. After what seemed an interminable time, the weight of the two opposite pairs of stays began to pull the mast away from the perpendicular, slowly at first and then with increasing acceleration, then crash and the end of Radio Awanui.
– Les Elliston, quoted in notes at Te Ahu Museum

Notes:

  1. From notes at Te Ahu Museum

» 1931-Now