As Tony says, smoking was no big deal. You’ll see lots of cigarettes and ashtrays in the photos of coast radio stations, but it wasn’t always that way.
In January 1890 (not a typo) the New Zealand Post and Telegraphs Department banned smoking in all its premises for staff and the general public. This ban was relaxed in 1936 in non-public areas, but then gradually reimposed in most areas from the late 1980s.1
1980 – The technicians moved from the station to Radio Depot in Invercargill 3rd May. Leigh Hattan, (ex Navy) our first female operator began 14 May. Awarua Radio had its first direct teleprinter contact with a ship at sea via satellite to Forum New Zealand/ZFEV, 18 May.
1981 – George R Edlin retired 2nd April. Technics headphones replaced Telex type in September. JT Dudley retired 30th September. LJ Price (Supervisor) appointed Manager ZLC in October, and in November PJ Collett appointed Manager Awarua Radio, and CR (Dick) Bennett Senior Supervisor.
1982 – VDU installed as our terminal to the AFTN network 19th May. HF telex introduced at Wellington Radio on 1st November. Scan units introduced to HF on 29th December.
Transmitting Frequencies for Awarua Radio ZLB
The following information was supplied to Alan Gilchrist by Paul Cotter. It is undated. Further information would be most welcome.
Radiotelegraph: 500, 515 kHz
Radiotelephone: 2045, 2068, 2162, 2182, 2206 (which eventually became 2207), 2638, 4125, 4187 kHz
HF working frequencies: 8504, 12740, 17170.4, 22533 kHz
1983 – In January CR (Dick) Bennett transferred to Instructor, Radio Training School. PD Burke (Radio Operator) appointed Senior Supervisor 31st March. New wooden tables installed on HF watches and 500 in July. Creed teleprinters replaced by Olivetti JE 300’s in August.
1984 – Flooding closed Invercargill Aiport, but air service between Invercargill and Stewart Island operated from the Awarua Farm Settlement’s airstrip. Cyril W Burke completed 29 years at ZLB, retiring 29 March. WO Eales’ long awaited retirement happened 12 July. Philip Twyman of ZLD (ZLB 27-10-1981 ~ 5-1982) died 15 September.
- PJ Collett retired 4th May.
- LJ Price appointed Manager 16th July.
- Sagem teleprinters introduced 18th September.
- PD Burke appointed Manager, Chatham Islands Radio (ZLC), 16th October.
- Electronic Air Cleaner installed in main office, December.
- Brick front entrance to Station built by Peter King, bricklayer, during December 1985 and January 1986.
- Lights erected on pillar June 1986.
- Brass sign plate scheduled for July 1986.
- Front entrance cleaned up by MOWD subcontracted November 1985 and to be replanted in shrubs 1986.
- Old shelter belt from station to hostel (about 500 metres) delimbed by contractor in September 1985, and a new fence line to the rear of this was erected in February 1986. A new Pinus Radiata shelter belt is planned to be planted in July 1986.
- All three 30,000 gals fire ponds were cleaned out for first time by ditching contractor Bill McEwan of Invercargill during July 1986. Approx 1.5km of discharge drain also cleaned out at the same time.
- New fences to be erected around these in August 1986 by fencing contractor Malcolm Wright of Kennington.
- Station Master clock retired on 9th April 1986 and new solid state quartz master clock installed by PO Electricians to drive the existing slave clocks.
- Old retiring room partitioned off by BMB during May 1986, and made into office for Senior Supervisor and as a meeting and interview room for management and staff.
- New carpet laid in manager’s office and new office next door June 1986.
- New Senior Supervisor: NW Chesney, appointed 11th Feb 1986.
- New Supervisor BJ Simpson appointed 1st March 1986.
- Individual lines to station houses put in about April 1986 to provide individual telephone service, although some residents opted to remain on the station PABX. STD cutover for Invercargill area was at 9.30pm, Friday 14th March 1986.
- The Mason/Morris report on PO services was released on poor unsuspecting PO employees on 1st May 1986. This review proposes many changes to the PO business: Postal, Banking, and Telecommunications.
- Proposal to substantially renovate the Receiving Office store/kitchen and male toilet area plus provide lean-to garage for the PO work van (Mitsubishi L300) released to Property division June 1986 for financial authorisation to proceed with the work 1988/89.
1991 – Awarua Radio ZLB closed on 30 August, and operations became remote-controlled from Wellington.
1 Wilson, A.C. (1994). Wire and wireless: A history of telecommunications in New Zealand 1890-1987, (pp 84, 205), Palmerston North, New Zealand: Dunmore Press.