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Table of Contents

Seventy-Five Years at Willis Island



Chapter 1: Willis Island Today

Chapter 2: Willis Island is Conceived

Chapter 3: Willis Island is Born
Extract from Overseas Telecommunication Veterans Newsletter

Chapter 4: The Early Years

Chapter 5: Life in the 1930s

Chapter 6: Willis Island at War (1941–42)

Chapter 7: After the War

Chapter 8: Willis Island—1960s Style

Chapter 9: The Value of Willis Island

Chapter 10: The Original Inhabitants

Appendix 1: Willis Island Milestones

Appendix 2: Willis Island Officers

Appendix 3: Log of Willis Island Observations, December 1922

Appendix 4: References


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Extract from Overseas Telecommunication Veterans Newsletter (continued)

November 1—Tuesday
Cup Day. 6.00am. Hope to get through today on earth system and aerial. Hoisted aerial at noon and tuned set 12.30. VIT and MIJ answered and several messages sent and received. Water from ship now being brought ashore making things more comfortable. Cup winner came through just before 5.00pm. VIC [Cooktown Coastal Radio Station—Ed] then spoke and exchanged sigs. Generator reversed, polarity battery reversed. Charged for couple of hours.

November 2—Wednesday
Start 6.00am on battery and No. 2 mast. Got charging resistance going to charge A batteries. Had great trouble with sam (sic) reversed generator several times owing to fluctuations of resistance. Finally burnt out bracket holding electrodes. Soldered cross wires on earth and prepared for No. 2 mast. Water gave out and had to drink barrel stuff. Also food short.

November 3—Thursday
6.00am. Crook water for morning coffee and no eats. No butter, jam or anything. Got No. 2 mast ready as far as possible owing to concrete track being in way. Finished charging of batteries after much trouble. Went fishing from 8.00pm to 10.00pm. Nothing doing.

November 4—Friday
At pump 6.00am. Overhauled and fixed up. Finished wiring and installation of A battery and emergency. Shifted gear for No. 2 mast. Got ready for hoisting jury. Food came ashore no jam. Went fishing, caught l0lb coral bream and two pounder, also turtle. Tied him up all night. Went bed 11.30pm.

November 5—Saturday
6.00am., started on raising jury. Raised before breakfast. Ready for ships party. Raised mast 2.00pm and hoisted aerial. Worked till 6.30pm. Gave VIT shout. Fishing 12.00am. and one big bream, one turtle.

November 6—Sunday
At it at 8.00am. Ran earth system ready for test out tomorrow. Going aboard for night. Had shower bath, best thing of trip. Slept fairly well.

November 7—Monday
Up early, and went ashore to finish up. Overhauled engine and carburettor fixed wind apparatus with Chief Engineer. Got masts painted and plumbed. Tested out with VIC and VIT with masts earthed lost two points in sigs. D' ran up flag and shouted grog all round. Said goodbye and came aboard 5.50. Steam up. Set off for Cairns passage, 6.00pm ship time.

November 8—Tuesday
En route for Cairns passage. Great fun. Boats crew want no time wasted, captain in hurry. Expect to get in late Thursday.

November 9—Wednesday
Sorted out gear in hold. Passed through Flying Passage and now inside barrier.

November 10—Thursday
Due in about noon.

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Fletcher, P. 1996 'Seventy-Five Years at Willis Island', Metarch Papers, No. 9 December 1996, Bureau of Meteorology

© Online Edition Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre and Bureau of Meteorology 2001
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