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Perth Centenary Wireless Hill Celebration

21 Jun 12
Peter Bull

From Neil Yakalis:

I have assisted the City of Melville Council with history of OTC’s involvement in the running of Applecross Radio station prior to its move to Gnangara in 1966. Yesterday I received an invitation from the Mayor to come to the 100 year celebration set for Sunday 30th September 2012.

The celebrations are to be held at the original radio site, Wireless Hill Park, Telefunken Drive, Ardross which is on the Swan River not at Gnangara.

Invitation to Centenary Celebrations


  1. Peter Bull June 21, 2012 at 9:21 am

    From Kevan Bourke:
    I was aware that something was happening with regards the museum but not regarding the 100 years celebration. I’ll let the others respond as to what they know and their interest but there are members of the WA vets who worked at or were associated with the Applecross station and the transfer to Gnangara who might be keen to attend. Ron Cocker and Brian Woods ( Sydney ) are two who both worked there whose names spring to mind. I’m not sure whether Des Kinnersley ( President of WA Vets ) worked at Applecross but he was around at the time, would know lots of the history and he would be an ideal person to provide other names and he may be interested in attending. Derek Walker would also have had plenty of exposure to people and events from that era due to his long association with the WA vets .

    I’ll copy Des on this for his thoughts and after hearing back from him will get back to you and perhaps members. Do you have any idea of the format of the celebration, numbers, whether open to the general public etc.

    I personally didn’t have anything to do with Applecross, I’m not that old. I started out at Gnangara as a trainee around late 1971. I would be happy to attend to represent the vets, make up numbers or accompany Ron if needed and he wants to go ( as I live around the corner, know him well and due to his health issues he might prefer a lift ) but I’m not concerned either way.


  2. Peter Bull June 21, 2012 at 9:38 am

    From Desk Kinnersley:
    Many thanks for sending the information on the Wireless Hill Museum
    Centenary Celebration.
    I never worked at the Applecross Transmitting station and I think
    the only one still alive and kicking is Ron Cocker who was at the old
    Cottesloe Cable station and and worked at Applecross for a short while
    after the Cable Station closed and subsequently went to Gnangara when
    it first opened in 1965.
    Ron is not in the best of health but lives fairly close to the
    Wireless Hill Museum.

    I was involved in 1988 at a function they held there for the Seoul
    Olympics as I was Manager Perth ITC at Gnangara at the time.

    Peter, good to hear you are alive and kicking.

    I retired in 1992 twenty years ago, it doesn’t seem that long ago.



  3. Peter Bull June 21, 2012 at 9:39 am

    From Neil Yakalis:
    I spent many months working & helping the radio techs at Gnangara
    transmitters plus Rottnest Is & Bullsbrook (DCA site) receivers. On one of
    my visits in the mid 1990’s I went one Sunday to Applecross to visit the old
    OTC radio station at Wireless Hill. This surviving building is an exact
    replica of the AWA Pennant Hills building in Sydney which was demolished
    after Doonside opened in 1955. Both buildings were built to the same floor
    plans. Applecross was noted for its 400 foot high MF mast which ships
    entering the Swan River used as a location marker. This mast was featured on
    an early WA stamp but today only the 3 two story high mast anchor points
    remain with one of them now a lookout tower over the Swan River.

    Much of the early OTC equipment at Perth & Doonside was the same type with
    AWA engineer Joe Reid designing the early transmitters for both stations &
    building them at Marrickville in Sydney after WW2.

    Managers at Perth I worked under were Herman Williamson, Jim Williams &
    Keith Walsh. Wayne Rhodes & later Bill Dunn were the STO’s. The overworked
    Perth techs were always grateful for any technical staffing help offered by
    my boss at the time, Ray Hookway. As the techs used to joke, WA stood for
    “Wait A while”, as many pieces of equipment sat waiting for parts to arrive
    from the East.

    I don’t think I will be able to make it over for the celebrations but wanted
    you all to have the opportunity to go as you are locals with an interest in
    the origins of Perth Radio VIP. I am sure Melville City Council would
    welcome Ron Cocker as a special guest having worked at Applecross. He might
    be asked to recount a few notable memories of the old station at the
    official celebration. Can you follow this up please? The contact persons are
    Kate Schilling phone 9364 0286 or Sandra West 9364 0644.

    Neil Yakalis
    Former Tech, TO, STO & PTO2 (at retirement in 2003)

  4. Peter Bull June 22, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    From Neil Yakalis:
    I spoke to Kate Schilling at City of Melville Council (08 9364 0286) regarding interested vets coming on 30th Sept. She said if they ring her & mention my name they will be posted a parking permit to be able them to park close to the museum. Large crowds are expected on the day. Also they will get an invite to afternoon tea to be served in the VIP tent from 3pm. If any of them are willing to speak briefly of some of their experiences working at the OTC Applecross Radio station, she would be interested in knowing beforehand so it can be included in the program.

    Neil Yakalis
    0414 228516

  5. Peter Bull June 25, 2012 at 9:18 am

    From Des Kinnersley:
    Thanks for the info on the Applecross station

    Leave it to Kevan and myself to follow up with Melville Council regarding Vets who would be interested in attending.

    I spoke to Ron Cocker this morning and he is interested in attending. Ron worked there briefly after the Cottesloe Cable Station closed
    He also mentioned another ex Applecross bod, John Knight. We don’t have any contact details yet but will work on it.

    (Kevan, could you dialog with Ron to see if he has been able to dig up any further info on John Knight).

    Thanks also for the information on the Parking Permits. I have managed to dig up some old photographs on the establisment of the Applecross station from one of the old OTC publications.

    This jogged my memory from the time I was stationed at Cottesloe 1952-1954. We used to provide a back up radio circuit for the direct London-Sydney
    radio circuits for 8 hours each day using Applecross( TX Stn) and Bassendean (RX Stn) tape storing traffic at Cottesloe and forwarding it on landline to
    Sydney and Melbourne. However it was 31 years before I got back to the West spending time at Sydney, Suva, Fanning Island, Paddo ISTC/ITMC. Cairns, HO Cable Services, Guam and finally Gnangara.

    I use Wireless Hill to take visiting Ham Radio Operators from Overseas as it give a very impressive view of Perth.

  6. allanh July 12, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    Brian Woods is seriously considering attending .

    Any specific details would be worth passing on to help in the decision making process..

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