RAN WIRELESS STATION
RAN "Y" STATION
STANTON HILL, TOWNSVILLE, QLD
DURING WW2

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visits since 2 July 2004

 

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) established a Wireless Station, at 121 Upper Blackwood Street on Stanton Hill in Townsville during WW2 on about the 9 November 1942. It was was known as a "Y" Station. The Transmitter/Receiver Station for the Wireless Station comprised two 150 feet high wireless towers. The building is now used as a private house and is located at 7 Hillside Crescent ("Aileen's Place"), Stanton Hill. 


Naval Historical Collection

RAN "Y" Station, Stanton Hill, Townsville. Castle Hill can be seen in the background.
This photo was described as the "Lecornu Naval Wireless Transmitting Station".
Has anyone heard of the name "Lecornu" before in connection with this location?

The WRANS telegraphists who worked in the "Y" Station intercepted signals sent by the Japanese Command and signals from Japanese ships and submarines when they broke W/T silence. The Japanese signals were in code. The telegraphists would write down the messages, transposed them into "kata kana" and then sent them to the intercept site for FRUMEL at Moorabbin or to  Monterey in Melbourne by land line. The decoding and code breaking took place in Melbourne.

Early in the war some plain language Japanese messages were intercepted by the "Y" Station on Castle Hill. These messages were initially considered by the Japanese to be routine operational communications but it did not take the Japs long to realise that the Allies were able to obtain useful information from these messages. The "Y" Station on Castle Hill were able to clearly receive Japanese signals associated with the midget submarine attack on Sydney Harbour. 

 


Photo:- James F. DeYuliis, 4th Air Depot Group via Gloria Burnley

RAN Wireless Station on Stanton Hill can be seen at top right of this interesting photograph from WWII.
The Catholic Sacred Heart Cathedral in Stanley Street can be seen near the centre of the photograph.
Can anyone please send me a similar colour photo taken now from the same spot?

Alison Armstrong  (WR505), Betty Club, Margaret Gnu and Pat Dunhill, were members of the second draft of "Y" operators who arrived in Townsville in August 1943 from Harman. Others who worked at the "Y" Station were Marjorie O'Brien (WR68, later Marjorie Howe), Betty Russel (WR52), Cora Allen, Joan O'Brien, Rita Horner, Jessie Chisholm (WR1370, later Jessie Horton), and Margaret Shergold.


Photo:- Peter Dunn, November 2005

"Aileen's Place", 7 Hillside Crescent. Cleveland Bay and Magnetic Island can be seen in the background.

 


Photo:- Peter Dunn, November 2005

I believe this is the remains of the power plant building. It has a concrete walls at the base.

 


Photo:- Peter Dunn, November 2005

The sailors who worked at the Wireless Station
initially lived at 13 Bell Street, South Townsville.
Does anyone know if the houses
have been renumbered since WW2?

They then relocated to a new building on the western side of the Wireless Station at 119 Upper Blackwood Street which has since become 6 Hillside Crescent. This house is now known as Stanton Lodge and is used as the Life and Vocational Skills Unit for Townsville State High School.

The Royal Australian Navy also took over Control of the Townsville Radio Station which was located in Victoria Park, South Townsville during WWII. The Townsville Radio Station was operated by the Coastal Radio Service.

WW2 photo of the RAN Wireless Station. WRAN quarters are in the house on the right of
the photograph. You can see one of the two 150 feet high wireless towers in the background
and  you can also just see a stay wire at right of photo in front of the WRAN quarters.

 


Photo:- Peter Dunn, November 2005

Stanton Lodge with Castle Hill in the background

 

One of the two 150 feet high wireless towers can
be seen in the background of this photo

 


Photo:- Peter Dunn, November 2005

Entrance to Stanton Lodge

 


Photo:- Peter Dunn, November 2005

Stanton Lodge

 


Photo:- Peter Dunn, November 2005

Stanton Lodge


Photo:- Peter Dunn, November 2005

Stanton Lodge. The road leading up the hill leads to the start
of the "Goat Track" which goes to the top of Castle Hill

 


Photo:- Peter Dunn, November 2005

A view of Stanton Lodge from near the entrance to the "Goat Track"

Some of the WRANS who worked at the adjacent RAN Wireless Station were accommodated at 123 Upper Blackwood Street, Stanton Hill. This was a house owned by Major C.E.S. Jackson, that had been hired by the RAN. This house later became 17 Victoria Street, Stanton Hill. I believe the motel called Ridgemont may now be located on the original position of this house. Can anyone please confirm?


Photo:- Peter Dunn, November 2005

Ridgemont which might be the former location of the WRANS
accommodation. Castle Hill can be seen in the background.

 

NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF AUSTRALIA REFERENCES

Title
Townsville Naval W/T Station - new works
Series number
MP151/1
Control symbol
622/203/1183
Contents date range
1942 - 1944
 
Access status
Not yet examined
Location
Melbourne
Barcode no
6014309

 

Title
Townsville Naval W/T station
Series number
MP151/1
Control symbol
612/246/3423
Contents date range
1941 - 1947
 
Access status
Not yet examined
Location
Melbourne
Barcode no
6014932

 

Title
Naval W/T Station - Townsville
Series number
MP151/1
Control symbol
622/203/2107
Contents date range
1945 - 1948
 
Access status
Not yet examined
Location
Melbourne
Barcode no
6014358

 

Title
Department of Navy - Keying lines - W/T station Receiving station, Townsville - W/T Transmitting stations - Townsville - Queensland
Series number
MP721/1
Control symbol
W455/28
Contents date range
1944 - 1946
 
Access status
Not yet examined
Location
Melbourne
Barcode no
5784517

 

Title
Department of Navy - Naval W/T [?Wireless Transmission] Station - Townsville - Queensland - telephone facilities
Series number
MP721/1
Control symbol
W356/11
Contents date range
1942 - 1944
 
Access status
Not yet examined
Location
Melbourne
Barcode no
5812937

 

Title
Department of Navy - Teleprinter service - W/T Transmitter station, Townsville - Naval Staff Office, Townsville - Queensland
Series number
MP721/1
Control symbol
W455/8
Contents date range
1942 - 1946
 
Access status
Not yet examined
Location
Melbourne
Barcode no
5784502

 

Title
Department of Navy - private telephone line - Navy Signal Office Townsville - radio station Townsville Queensland
Series number
MP721/1
Control symbol
W356/19
Contents date range
1941 - 1941
 
Access status
Not yet examined
Location
Melbourne
Barcode no
5812942

 

Title
Townsville - night rest room for WRANS Signal and W/T Watch Keepers
Series number
MP150/1
Control symbol
569/216/866
Contents date range
1943 - 1943
 
Access status
Not yet examined
Location
Melbourne
Barcode no
5785863

 

REFERENCE BOOKS

 "Diary of WWII, North Queensland"
Compiled by Peter Nielsen

"Ships Belles - The Story of the Women's Royal Australian Naval Service in War and Peace 1941 - 1985"
By Shirley Fenton Huie

 

In Association with Amazon.com

Heaps of WW2
books available at
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                         "Australia @ War"
                         

Copyright

 Peter Dunn 2003

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This page first produced 2 July 2004

This page last updated 30 December 2009