Australian forces in the SW Pacific and Japan were served by a number of stations during and immediately after WWII.
The little known Australian Army Amenities Service [created April 9 1943] operated most of them, the first being a joint operation [9AA] with the AFRS in Port Moresby.
Unlike the AFRS which had the resources of Hollywood and the giant American radio industry to draw upon for music programs such as ‘Command Performance, the 1st Australian Broadcasting Control Unit was part of a wider morale boosting service and had no such resources available.
The AAAS relied heavily on AFRS recordings [sometimes inheriting complete libraries from the AFRS stations they replaced] for their programs. They also received programs from commercial Australian stations, the ABC, and often relayed sports commentaries and results [horse racing, cricket and football being the most popular] from short wave transmitters in Australia.
During 1944 and 1945, popular Australian radio personalities were drafted into the AAAS, and some found themselves broadcasting from The Voice of the Islands [an RAAF station] in Milne Bay, or hastily established stations using captured Japanese equipment.
In 1945, the AAAS began test broadcasts from Melbourne for a group of 21 mobile radio stations that it planned to send to the SW Pacific. By the time the tests were completed, Allied forces were in the Philippines and looking towards Japan and most of the mobile stations went on the air in the last few months of the Pacific war, and immediately afterwards.
Call-signs were allocated in the 9A series [such as 9AD Morotai], and when the units arrived in Japan, they were first allocated AFRS call-signs in the WVT series, quickly followed by a further change to the WLK series.
Many of the stations broadcast from New Guinea, the Dutch East Indies and Borneo, whilst several were permanently in Australia, such as 5DR Darwin. By the end of 1946, most stations had closed down and the mobile units returned to Australia.
We’ve managed to track down just under 50 separate stations broadcasting during the 1944-46 period, but we’re sure to have missed some. Many changed frequencies and locations, and make it difficult to form a complete picture.
If you or any of your family or friends were involved with any of these stations, or have photos, memorabilia, station programs or other ephemera, or even recordings from any station, please contact us. If you know of any magazine or newspaper articles about them, or the personalities who worked at them, please let us know so we can begin filling in the many gaps.
|10||Adelaide River, NT||5DR||1500|
|16||Cemetary Plain, NT||5DR||1500|
|45||Melbourne and suburbs, Vic||9AF||1440/1460|
|51||Milne Bay||RAAF Radio||1150|
|52||Voice of the Islands||1250|
|55||New Guinea unspecified||JS8||1300|
|65||Rose Bay, NSW||9AP||980|
|66||Solomon Islands unspecified||9AJ||960|