US ARMY SIGNAL CORPS
REDLAND BAY GOLF COURSE RADIO TRANSMITTER SITE
NEAR BRISBANE, QLD
DURING WW2

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The US Army Signal Corps established a Radio Transmitter site at the Redland Bay Golf Course in The Redlands area in 1943. There were usually about 10 personnel on shift at the site at all times. They also established another Radio Receiving site at Cotton's Farm, Capalaba near Brisbane. 

The "Fixed Station Communication Co." comprising 125 officers and enlisted men landed in Brisbane from the ship "Tasker H. Bliss" on 18 June 1942. They immediately marched to Camp Ascot where they camped initially.

Colonel Arnold interviewed part of the group approximately 3 days later. George J. Sullivan was one of the group to remain in Brisbane. He reported to the Somerville House radio room on about 24 June 1942. The room was located in the centre of the girl's school, above a patio. The soldiers were able to walk out of the radio room and sit on the patio roof and relax in the sun.

About two weeks later George Sullivan was sent to Capalaba, the CW Radio Receiving Station, to commission their first circuit to San Francisco, WTO.

A 1 kW Federal transmitter was set up in a tent at the Redland Bay Golf Course. The circuit was established and sending with a hand key, the traffic started to flow to the War Department. Brisbane, WTO, was up and running! They handled between 80,000 - 100,000 groups a day with some messages via courier.

When the US soldiers arrived at the Redland Radio site there was a large "banana grove" and a "papaya orchard" on the other side of North Street.

This Radio network was part of the Army Command and Administrative Network or ACAN. Also referred to as the Global Radio Network, Brisbane, Australia.

The site was patrolled day and night by civilian guards on horseback who would continually ride around the perimeter of the radio site. There was a diesel pump plant house and four underground diesel fuel tanks. The large Radio Transmitter Station building was serviced by underground power, a 3 inch water underground pipeline and an underground 10 pair key line.

Five large Rhombic aerial arrays were erected across the golf course. A Rhombic is a huge antenna that covers acres.  The diamond shaped across the map below (crosses the underground power and disappears off the upper left of the map) is one of the Rhombic aerials. Each of the four poles can be 20-30 metres high depending on the frequency and angle required for the radio signal to head off to the troposphere.

 


National Archives of Australia via Russell Miller

Part of a plan of the Redland Bay Radio site

 

On 20 July 1942, General Douglas MacArthur moved his General Headquarters, South West Pacific Area (GHQ, SWPA) to Brisbane in the AMP building on the corner of Queen Street and Edward Street. There was a communications centre established in the basement of the AMP building.

Brisbane now became the nerve centre of the South West Pacific Area. Radio circuits from Melbourne, Sydney, Townsville, Darwin, Noumea and Hawaii were now relocated to terminate in Brisbane.

A new 10 kW amplifier arrived for the Brisbane to San Francisco circuit. Col. Calvert H. Arnold, July 1942 became the Signal Officer of the United States Army Services of Supply in the SWPA (USASOS, SWPA). Col. John C. Grable became Arnold's executive Signal Officer.

To get a feel for the magnitude of this radio network, in those days a 1 kW transmitter was considered fairly large. For example at the time, 4QR and 4QG operated on 2 kW STC transmitters that were half the size of a low set suburban house. So a 10kW transmitter was a massive set up at High Frequency. Federal transmitters though were fairly compact by comparison to STC transmitters.

The October 1943 Brisbane Military Telephone Directory shows:-

USASOS Headquarters, Signal Section (Building No. 5 - Victoria Park)

Signal Officer:
    Col. Mitchell, H.

Executive Officer:
    Lt. Col. Arnold, R.B.

Radio Section:
    Lt. Col. Misenheimer,H.N.
    Capt. Eskew, H.L.
    Lt. Joy, H.H.
    Lt. Windle, B.E.
    Lt. Steele, R.E.
    Lt. Hawn, M.

On approximately 1 November 1943, the 805th Signal Service Company, set up a telephone voice scrambling circuit at Gen. MacArthur's GHQ known as SIGSALY (Green Hornet) which used the upper side band of the ACAN radio link.

The American soldiers who worked at the Redland Bay Transmitter site were accommodated at the Redland Bay Hotel. The soldiers who operated the Capalaba Receiver site stayed at the Capalaba Hotel which was also commandeered by the Americans.

 


Photo:- Peter Dunn 3 Feb 2007

Main entrance to the Redland Bay Golf Club

 

Don Kidd advised me that the last entry in the Visitors Book at the Redland Bay Golf Club was on 2 May 1942. Presumably the military forces then took over the Golf Course and started to build the Radio Transmitter site. They used the old club house which can be seen in the photographs below.

 


Photo:- Peter Dunn 3 Feb 2007

Photograph of the old Redland Bay Golf Club Clubhouse looking back towards North Street

 


Photo:- Peter Dunn 3 Feb 2007

Photo taken from North Street

 


Photo:- Peter Dunn 3 Feb 2007

Photograph of the old Redland Bay Golf Club Clubhouse

 

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Photo:- Peter Dunn 3 Feb 2007

The old Redland Bay Golf Club Clubhouse looking towards Redland Bay

 


Photo:- Peter Dunn 3 Feb 2007

Entrance to new Clubhouse

 


Photo:- Peter Dunn 3 Feb 2007

The Clubhouse area

 


Photo:- Peter Dunn 3 Feb 2007

Other end of the Clubhouse. Pro Shop at the left of photo.

 


Photo:- Peter Dunn 3 Feb 2007

Old Clubhouse as viewed from the car park to the new Clubhouse

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Bruce Cullen, George J. Sullivan, Russell Miller, Ross Armour and Don Kidd for their assistance with this web page.

 

The Redlands @ War

 

Can anyone help me with more information?

 

I need your help

Copyright

 Peter Dunn 2015

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This page first produced 14 June 2002

This page last updated 31 May 2015