to the Queensland Advisory Committee
“THE CENTENARY OF THE WIRELESS INSTITUTE IN QUEENSLAND”
ONE HUNDRED YEARS
OF ORGANISED AMATEUR RADIO
MICHAEL J. CHARTERIS VK4QS, CHAIRMAN, Q.A.C, W.I.A
This year 2012, is the Centenary of the founding of the Wireless Institute in the State of Queensland. Eventually over time it developed into the Wireless Institute of Australia, Queensland Division, or W.I.A.Q.
As we look to celebrate our Centenary, I am sure it will mean many things for each and every Amateur in our State. Those of the oldest era will recall as far back as the so called “Halcyon Days”, when the undertaking of Amateur Radio as a Hobby was very much a hands on activity that often involved the Amateur constructing most if not all of his station. Those men and women of the Post WW2 era still continued to “Home Brew” as it was called. The next phase saw Amateurs enjoy the temptation to indulge in all the excess War Service disposals that now filled the pages of the Radio & Hobbies. Such equipment would have been way beyond the average wage of most, were it to be dreamed of in the pre World War Two era. A golden time many would agree, with such a wealth of excellent quality American made communications receivers and transmitters to enhance to Amateur Station. Then by the 1960’s it was the beginning of a new era, with the advent of specialized commercial equipment directed at the Amateur. Expensive though it was, the dye was cast, and the era of Commercial Amateur Radio equipment in the Radio Shack was here to stay. Today it’s considered the done thing, nobody bats an eye and very few build their own equipment. Others meanwhile endeavour to restore older valve equipment, dubbed “Boat Anchors” to hark back to the magical golden days of equipment that glowed in the dark. We have indeed evolved from once being Hands-On Amateurs at the cutting edge of technology, to operators of commercially produced equipment, way beyond our ability to repair or build.
Over the past One Hundred Years the Wireless Institute in Queensland has developed into what we see today through the hard work, drive and vision of many men and women who have come before us. Their efforts have seen us grow by the decade to emerge into an essential part of the National W.I.A. To name all these wonderful people would indeed fill many volumes, and to recognise them all would be impossible. But to take the time to respect them, and congratulate them collectively for all their efforts from 1912 through to 2012 can indeed be achieved, by walking in their footsteps to continue the work they so deeply believed in.
I have endeavoured to study the various publications that I have at hand, in order to discover a definition of this event, and especially the people involved. How indeed can we highlight a Centenary of achievement when sadly most of those who did the hard work are now SK. Well we can remember them, we can emulate them, and we can take up their mantle, and make each day count for the betterment of Amateur Radio. This is what they would have wanted, to know that their legacy was not squandered and forgotten as the years faded their gravestones. Let us not take for granted the hard won privileges they fought to gain from the government departments of the day. The freedoms and frequencies we enjoy so much in our various forms of the Hobby, that came at the price of many an hour away from their families.
From the WIA Book, Volume One, the following information.
1912: WIRELESS INSTITUTE OF QUEENSLAND FORMED BY S.V.COLVILLE (XQF) who became Secretary and Organizer.
My research then lead me to an article in “The journal of The Radio Amateurs Old Timers Club of Australia” Number 22, March 1999. In this publication on page 17, we find the article “GREATEST STORIES NEVER TOLD” by Mr Clifford Roy Colville, eldest son of Sydney Colville. In this article about Mr. Sydney Victor Colville, it is stated, that Sydney Colville was born in Kerang, Victoria, on March 22nd 1894, as the second youngest of a family of nine, who in 1900 moved to Queensland. In 1911 at the age of 17, Sydney built the first Amateur Wireless Station in Brisbane, whilst studying Electrical Engineering.
I will not quote the whole article here, but it is certainly recommended reading as Colville was indeed a great man in the fields of Radio Communications, Broadcasting and Aviation Communications. His achievements in Queensland from 1925 included the construction of Broadcast Stations 4AY in Ayr, 4IP in Ipswich, 4BU in Bundaberg and finally 4GR in Toowoomba. Sadly this great man passed away on February 20th 1966, aged 71 years, a life truly lived in the advancement of technology.
As Queensland Radio Amateurs, we are uniquely fortunate for the work done by a man I am proud to have called call my “Friend”. I speak of none other than the late Mr. Alan Shawsmith VK4SS, George Taylor Medallist, and Author of the wonderful book, “HALCYON DAYS”. I would truly recommend this book to anyone as one of the best histories of the development of Amateur Radio from the 1900 to post World War Two. I will be quoting and listing many historical facts from Alan’s book is a series of articles on this website for teh sake of bringing to light the deeds of our early WIAQ Pioneers. Now to quote from “HALCYON DAYS” as regards our formation and the man behind it, though many others were in fact party to these events.
1912: The Wireless Institute of Queensland (WIQ) formed.
1919: S.V. Colville XQF instigates the formation of the Queensland Wireless Institute (QWI). Also, called the WIA Qld Branch (WIA Q).
1921: WIA Q total membership 38- but only 17 active and financial, balance sheet 19 shillings and one pence.