Welcome to the Queensland Advisory Committee
of the
Wireless Institute
of Australia

100 Years of History
Queensland Radio Transmitters League

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1912 ~ 2012






I would like to acknowledge Mr. Alan Shawsmith’s wonderful history “HALCYON DAYS” as my reference material, and the basis for most of this next article on the Origins of the Wireless Institute in Queensland. Many who have not read Alan’s book would be surprised to know how close we came to “NOT” being,

 “The Wireless Institute of Australia”.

The Wireless Institute in Queensland, formed post WW1 in 1919, and hereafter know as the QWI, and or WIA Qld Division. It appears that most of its members were indeed professional men or academics. This is evidenced by the list below of such men and their occupations. Truly the QWI was in good hands from the very beginning of it formation with men of such stature at its helm to guide it.

Office Bearers elected at the inaugural meeting on the QWI on 19th of March 1919

President:                             Mr. R.A. Wearne B.A

Vice Presidents:                    Mr. S.R. Smith, Mechanical Engineer, General Post Office, Brisbane

                                             Mr. H. Cornwell, Manager, Edison & Swan Electric Company

                                             Mr. A.G. Jackson, Synchronome Electric Company

                                             Lieutenant E.A. Blackboro, Royal Australian Navy

Secretary/Treasurer:              Mr Sydney. V. Colville

Councillors:                           Messrs E.M. Jack, W.J. Monkhouse, David J. Garland, B. Priest, J.O. Price


An initial meeting to formulate objects and article for submission to the inaugural meeting was convened by the Hon. Secretary/Treasurer, Mr Sydney V. Collville. It was held on February 28th 1919, at the rooms of the Brisbane Chamber of Manufacturers. Mr. H. Cornwell occupied the chair. Following this on March 19th 1919, was the inaugural meeting of the QWI, held at the Brisbane Chamber of Commerce. Their Patron was none other than Professor Hawker, B.A; B.E: A.M.I.C.E, Principle of the Queensland University.

Alan Shawsmith tells us, that just six years after the formation of the QWI, that Medium Wave Broadcasting began to capture the imagination of the general public. This in turn revealed itself as dissatisfaction with the younger more active experiments who now viewed the QWI as an ineffectual body. The culmination of this dissatisfaction led to a meeting called by Matt O’Brien, OA4MM in March 1927, which was held in Tom Elliot’s Radio Shop in Adelaide Street, Brisbane. Those attending were put the question, “Do we join the WIA Qld. Division as a group and vote ourselves into office, or form a separate organization?” By April 1927 a second well attended meeting at the same QTH voted to form into a separate organization. Thus was formed the Queensland Radio Transmitters League QRTL.


President:                                Matt O’Brien OA4MM

Secretary:                                Leo Feenaghty AO4LJ

Treasurer:                                Cliff Gold OA4CG

Working Committee:              A. Walz OA4AW, R.J. Brown OA4RB, C. Gold OA4CG, Tom Elliot (Of TV Fame)

These Office Bearers went on to become some of the most talented Experimenters, Administrators and Journalists of the VK4 Division.