Moree officially opened on 29th March 1968 and officially closed in September 1988.
Moree 1 was OTC’s first satellite earth station built specifically to convey public communications traffic; it opened with a two-way Australia/Japan broadcast via the Pacific Ocean Intelsat 11 satellite on 29 March 1968.
Since that time, Moree 1 (and more recently Moree 2) has been Australia’s primary earth station for conveying public and private communications traffic to Asia, Canada, the Americas and Pacific region nations.
Moree 2 became operational in 1982 to cater for increased traffic demand. The dish and associated equipment was dismantled by OTC riggers, engineering and technical staff, and re-erected at Sydney earth station (to become Sydney 2) earlier this year.
The last communications traffic to pass through Moree did so in August via the original earth station, Moree 1. Since that time, the complex has been wound down – in terms of both equipment and staff.
Much of the equipment is now operational at the new Sydney earth station complex – with staff transferred to Perth, Ceduna, Melbourne and Sydney.
The Moree station is being sold to a private developer – possibly to cater for the tourist trade as a hotel/health spa complex. A skeleton staff will remain at the station until all details are finalised and the complex is handed over.
The transfer of operations from Moree to Sydney is a further development in OTC’s capital city earth station program – made possible through the application of modern technology which provides for improved frequency interference protection.
Locating earth stations close to major customer centres provides improved service quality and more cost-effective operations. Such is the march of progress.
Hailed in 1968 as a major breakthrough in Australia’s international communications network, Moree has provided reliable, high-quality service via a succession of Intelsat Pacific Ocean Region satellites for more than two decades.
In a series of functions held mid-August, Moree staff, families, and the local community, bade their farewells.
Such was the interest shown by other staff involved with the station at various times over the past 20 years, a coach was provided to take them from Sydney to Moree for a ‘farewell’ weekend 13/14 August. Others arrived under their own steam from as far away as Queensland.
It was a nostalgic weekend tinged with sadness for many, but with enthusiastic anticipation of future transfers for most.
Executive Manager, Planning, John Mattes, was responsible for commissioning the original station. ‘I was here at the beginning’, he said. ‘So it was good to have the opportunity of being here at the end – it’s a trip back through time.’
The last word went to station manager, Ed Willingham, after several hours of nostalgia and ‘There we were’ yams (instigated by Regional Manager Europe, Dennis Grant): ‘That’s it folks’, Ed
announced sadly. ‘It’s over.’
OTC donates Rolls Royce to hospital
As a parting gesture to the local community, Managing Director George Maltby (seen in photo) handed over ownership of a Rolls Royce to Ron O’Mullane of the Moree District Hospital. The Rolls Royce 375 KYA diesel alternator will be installed in the hospital to provide emergency power. The hospital’s present generator can only support the operating theatre and some emergency services and facilities during a power failure. With the donation of OTC’s alternator, which has recently undergone a major re-build, the hospital should no longer face inconvenience to patients and staff during blackouts.
Extracts of both the Contact article announcing the fanfare around the opening of the Moree SES and the Transit article heralding ‘The End of an Era’.Extracts-of-1988-Contact-Magazine-OTC-Moree-SES-Opening
Other photos of Moree: