Day Contest - 1998
His Excellency Major General
Michael Jeffery, AC MC
Governor of Western Australia
for the WA Division of the WIA 1993 - 2000
As Governor of Western Australia, a former career soldier and war
I am honoured to have been asked by the Wireless Institute of Australia
to launch this year's Remembrance Day Contest, which perpetuates
of those 26 radio amateurs who lost their lives in the service of
This is an historic year for this contest being its 50th year of
This year also marks the 80th anniversary of the end of World War
the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Royal Flying Doctor
Indeed it was during World War II, the Flying Doctor Service, as
it was then known,
played an important role in the defence of Australia through its
pedal wireless network.
Earlier in 1918, the founder of the RFDS, the Reverend John Flynn
that an attack against Australia was likely to come by air from
Flynn was proved right when 128 Japanese bombers droned in from
in early 1942 and pounded Darwin, killing 233 people and wounding
Sixty four air raids followed, some on targets other than Darwin.
For example, Broome, Derby and Wyndham were attacked,
which suggested that invasion might be imminent.
Flynn immediately pledged the Australian Inland Mission (AIM)
to an all-out war effort:
Nurses, patrol padres and wireless staff served with distinction
in the battle zones.
AIM buildings became troop hospitals or were used as homes for Army
Six patrol padres served as chaplains to the forces.
Lacking an adequate wireless for themselves, the defence forces used
extensive outback network based on Alf Treager's magnificent pedal
General MacArthur himself wrote that Treager's transceiver was
"one of the most useful pieces of equipment for communication purposes
over the spaces of continental Australia."
The people of the inland were the eyes and ears
of the defence forces, reporting anything suspicious.
They were given silhouettes of enemy aircraft to enable them to
Transceivers were also used by the army and police
and a special clandestine operation using Traeger's transceivers
set up in Arnhem Land to monitor and report on any Japanese troop
Australia thus owes a great debt to these amateur radio operators.
From my own experience in Papua New Guinea and
on active service in Malaysia, Borneo and Vietnam,
I know full well that good communications save lives and win battles.
During my service lifetime I have seen radio communications develop
from long messages painstakingly sent by morse code at eight words
and taking hours to get through, to today's unbelievable almost
data or burst transmission transfers utilising small hand held battery
with ranges of thousands of kilometres in all weather conditions
automated coding and decoding integrated into the system.
Much of today's technological progress has been made through the
enthusiastic assistance of amateur radio operators.
It is fitting that we remember with gratitude, the sacrifice of those
who gave their lives or were wounded as a result of their war service.
We remember also the tragic loss experienced by the widows, children
and families of those who gave their lives on active service.
In concluding, I would like to thank you for inviting me to talk
with you on
this important commemorative occasion and I strongly encourage those
to take part in the 1998 Wireless Institute's Remembrance Day Contest.
10 August 1998
Printed in Amateur Radio Magazine September 1998
(also recorded on tape by the Governor for the Broadcast)