1945: Awarua Radio steps up when lines go down

Auckland Star, 14 July 1945, p 6



All telegraph and toll circuits in the Canterbury district were seriously interrupted just before noon today as the result of a very severe northwest gale. All the main south lines were disrupted between Christchurch and Ashburton and as a result telegraph and telephone communication was totally interrupted from the north to Ashburton and all places further south. Emergency radio channels were opened from Wellington to Dunedin, Timaru, and the Awarua radio, and as much telegraph traffic as possible was disposed of by wireless.

All available line gangs in the area were diverted to repair the breaks and assistance was also obtained from the Army authorities.

Emergency repairs were effected to some circuits and communication was restored shortly after 5 p.m. Additional circuits were restored later and by 8 p.m. the accumulation of telegraph traffic was being quickly overcome.

All circuits between Christchurch and the West Coast were also interrupted by the gale, but telegraph and toll traffic to the West Coast was handled on alternative circuits via Blenheim.

One month later, Awarua Radio was again called on to handle telegraph messages when lines were brought down in a snowstorm.

Operators at Awarua Radio ZLB in August 1945
August 1945: ZLB Awarua Radio operators at work when ZLB had to handle extra traffic due to a major snowfall in Canterbury which took out landlines. Photo courtesy Alex Glennie. Click to see staff names.