Mt Crawford receiver site

In the 1930s, and perhaps earlier, Wellington Radio had a remote receiver at Mt Crawford. Technician Chris Underwood recalls having to visit the Mt Crawford site on a couple of occasions in the mid 1960s, at which time Mt Crawford was being used by Radio Inspectors.

Mt Crawford station was fairly insignificant in appearance, being about the size of an Army Hut. From memory there was a 70ft mast beside the hut and possibly another somewhere else. I don’t remember what antennas were there but the radio equipment was a couple of CSR5 receivers and a bit of miscellaneous gear lying on the bench.

WH (Bill) Deverall with the Marconi CSR5 receivers at Mt Crawford in the late 1950s or early 1960s

WH (Bill) Deverall with the Marconi CSR5 receivers at Mt Crawford in the late 1950s or early 1960s.
Photo courtesy Chris Underwood

The hut and mast were inside a fenced area with a padlock on the man-sized gate. The door to the hut was well fastened on the inside from the sound of the bolts being withdrawn when I knocked on the door.

The hut was in the grounds of the Mt Crawford Prison and you had to park your car on the side of the road and follow a footpath to the gate in the fence around the hut. I was told by the boss to empty the vehicle before I left for Mt Crawford, including the tyre jack, wheel nut spanner, etc., and to be sure I locked the vehicle properly with all windows fully wound up, as the prisoners were known to take every opportunity to ‘borrow stuff.’

They gave me the oldest van in the fleet, a Bedford CA, to hand-deliver some spare parts to the RI. I was issued with a key to the gate, but not the hut, and was told to ring the RI to let him know when to expect me.

“The boss was probably winding me up a bit, but I was fairly nervous when I arrived, with eyes everywhere. As it happened, I never saw or heard another soul on either of my visits but I noted the RI sounded as nervous as me when he asked me to identify myself before unlocking the door, which he wouldn’t do until I confirmed that I’d locked the gate after me.

I gather his job was to sit there all day monitoring various frequencies for illegal usage, etc.

I was pleased to get out of the place without problems.

Mt Crawford receiver site in the late 1950s or early 1960s. WH (Bill) Deverall (centre) and Eric J Dinnan (right)

Mt Crawford receiver site in the late 1950s or early 1960s. WH (Bill) Deverall (centre) and Eric J Dinnan (right).
Photo courtesy Chris Underwood