1911: Pennant Hills official testing

Sydney Morning Herald, 20 November 1911, p 7



On Saturday Mr GG Balsillie, the Federal wireless expert, commenced a series of experiments with the new wireless telegraphy station at Pennant Hills, New South Wales, prior to taking it over on behalf of the Commonwealth from the contractors.

The station is to have a guaranteed range under all conditions of 1250 miles and Mr Balsillie will make tests under all possible circumstances in the next few days.

For long-distance purposes he intends to try to open up communication with HMS Pegasus, which is on her way to the China Station.

The Advertiser (Adelaide), 25 November 1911, p 21


Sydney, November 24.

When asked today for a statement regarding the allegations made by the Postmaster-General (Mr Frazer) that the tests made at the Pennant Hills wireless station had not been sufficiently satisfactory to justify the acceptance of the contract, Mr JH Forrest, secretary and general manager of the Australasian Wireless Company, said his company had not yet notified the Postmaster-General that the station was ready for official tests, or that it was ready for delivery under the terms of their agreement.

The preliminary tests now being made by the company’s engineer were only for the purpose of enabling any necessary adjustments to be made, and were hot in any way intended as official tests. When his company was ready the department would be officially notified. The time of completion allowed under the agreement had not yet elapsed.

With regard to a statement, also made by Mr Frazer, that the company would not proceed with the work on the Fremantle station until the Pennant Hills station had been completed and accepted, Mr Forrest said the Minister was most inaccurate, as mechanics had been employed on the works at Fremantle for some time, and work was proceeding rapidly. The steel mast being erected was now over 300 ft. high, and as soon as the company’s engineer at Pennant Hills had notified the company that he was satisfied with the running of the plant the Postmaster-General would be notified that the plant was ready for the official tests.

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The Register (Adelaide), 28 May 1912, p 7



The Postmaster-General (Mr Frazer) was not in a position today to say when the wireless station at Pennant Hills would be landed over by the contractors, the Australasian Wireless Limited, to the Commonwealth.

After the completion of that station it was arranged that there should be a duration test, lasting three months, with the plant running 10 hours a day and also a test of distance sending. Mr Frazer said today that on May 6 he had been informed that the company was not ready for the duration tests owing to an accident to the machinery. According to a report which he had received the station was working only for two days from April 23 to May 15.

Mr Frazer is earnestly considering the matter, as he is anxious that the wireless policy of the Commonwealth should not be further delayed.

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Sydney Morning Herald, 4 June 1912, p 8



Strained relations appear to exist between the Postmaster-General (Mr Frazer) and the Australasian Wireless Company, the contractor for the erection of the Pennant Hills station. The contract time is overdue and tests have not yet been made to the satisfaction of the Federal Government.

Discussing the matter, Mr Frazer said that the work of the Commonwealth expert, Mr Balsillie, had been criticised in Sydney, and statements had been made that the Australian Wireless Company could erect a station similar to that in Melbourne in a week.

“My answer,” said the Minister, “is to ask will the Australian Wireless Company, in the interests of the development of the great science of radio telegraphs, finish the station at Pennant Hills? With regard to the company’s station at the Hotel Australia in Sydney, I admit that freak ranges of about three thousand miles have been achieved, but anyone with a knowledge of wireless will be aware that such are obtainable. It is said that the Pennant Hills station works accurately with Wellington and Fremantle every night, but this statement is not corroborated by the observations made at the Melbourne and Hobart stations.”

It has already been announced that the Postmaster General has given three months’ notice to the Australasian Wireless Company of his intention to cancel its license to send messages from the Hotel Australia station in Sydney.

If the Pennant Hills station be not available to tho Government at the expiration of the three months the Minister declares that he will erect in Sydney a station similar to that in Melbourne.

The Argus (Melbourne), 21 August 1912, p 13


The wireless station at Pennant Hills, near Sydney, which has been erected for the Commonwealth Government by the Australasian Wireless Company Ltd. was yesterday handed over to the control of the Postmaster General. The company will be required to keep the station in order for three months, but as the plant has passed tests imposed by the Commonwealth expert Mr Balsillie it is anticipated that no alterations will be required.

Much delay was caused in the construction of the station, the contract price for which was £4,150. A site was selected in Sydney but as it was found unsuitable, the location at Pennant Hills was chosen and the contract price increased by £2,000. Further delay ensued in completing the sending and durability tests.

In accordance with the notice given some time ago by the Postmaster-General, the private station at the Hotel Australia, Sydney will be closed, and all public business in wireless telegraphy will be carried on through Pennant Hills.

It is anticipated that the tests at the Fremantle wireless station, which was built by the same company, will be completed shortly, when control will be assumed by the Postmaster-General.


BRISBANE. Tuesday. The Commonwealth wireless expert (Mr. Balsillie) arrived in Brisbane from the south last night, and this morning visited the wireless station, which is now nearing completion, at Pinkenba. Mr G. Scott has been appointed officer in charge, and the staff will include four assistants.

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