BROOME BOWLING CLUB

About Us

Broome Bowling Club is still often referred to as both the 'Wireless Station' and the  'OTC building.' The Bowling Club restored the building, which was in a badly deteriorated condition, for its 1981 opening, the first game being played in 1982. 

HISTORY OF THE BROOME BOWLING CLUB

 

In 1905, the Postmaster General’s Department was given full control of wireless communications in Australia and by 1909, with the threat of war in Europe increasing, the Government decided to establish wireless telegraphic stations around Australia’s coast as a means of gathering naval intelligence and for the safety of life at sea. The Broome Coastal Wireless Station was one of 15 such stations placed at intervals around the perimeter of the Australian continent to serve the needs of ships at sea, providing a communications 'umbrella' which covered the whole of Australia’s long coastline.

Built in 1913 for Amalgamated Wireless Australasia Ltd (AWA), the Broome Coastal Wireless Station, now Broome Bowling Club, opened on 18 August 1913.  Believed to have been built/designed by J.T. Piggot, the station  consisted of two rendered concrete block buildings joined by a breezeway.  One of the buildings housed the transmission equipment while the other building was used as single men’s staff quarters. The site also included a 200 foot mast.

During World War One, the Department of the Navy took control of thestations; this responsibility reverted to the Postmaster General’s Department in 1920.  The CRS (Coastal Radio Service) played an important role in Australia’s defence during World War Two; its stations participated in the vital Coast Watching Scheme and provided links between naval ships and the Royal Australian Navy communication stations.  The Broome Coastal Wireless Station was an essential part of this network, particularly in early 1942, when radio contact was maintained with aircraft used to evacuate military personnel and civilians from Java and other northern areas overrun by the Japanese.  It is significant that, although Broome was bombed by the Japanese on 3 March 1942, the radio station was able to maintain operations.

In February 1957, Broome was affected by a strong cyclone. The officer in charge of the station, who stayed at his post throughout the cyclone, was awarded the British Empire Medal in recognition of his dedication to duty.

OTC operated out of the Broome Coastal Wireless Station building until 1967, when the Overseas Telecommunications Commission relocated to new premises.  Given its long association with coastal radio services, a total of 54 years, Broome Bowling Club is still often referred to as both the 'Wireless Station' and the  'OTC building.' The old 'OTC building' was vacant for several years before being vested in the Shire of Broome and taken over by the newly formed Broome Bowling Club in July 1980. The Bowling Club restored the building, which was in a badly deteriorated condition, for its 1981 opening, the first game being played in 1982.  The former transmitting and receiving office became the lounge room complete with bar facilities, while the toilet and office area were accommodated in what was the original living quarters for the single men who manned the station from 1913 onwards.

Broome Bowling Club was classified by the National Trust of Australia (WA) on 7 June 1983.

Thank you to our sponsors: