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					    Belconnen Naval Transmitting Station

      A History – To be ruined or saved?

Peter Dowling
Belconnen Naval Transmitting Station

Officially opened 20 April 1939

Decommissioned 1 June 2005

                              Bells was part of a world-wide
                              Naval network radio establishments
                              providing communications for the
                              Australian, British & other
                              Commonwealth nations & allies

                       Extensions made to the original

Sheep safely grazing
Before urban development surrounded the site


   P.J. Davey 1972
Historical Events
Battle of the River Plate
    December 1939
                            Admiral Graf Spee

  HMS Ajax
                             The loss of HMAS Sydney

HMAS Sydney

              HSK Kormoran
Battle of the Coral Sea
     4-8 May 1942

                          HMAS Hobart

 HMAS Australia
                    RAN ships in the Korean
                     and Vietnam conflicts &
                    Indonesian Confrontation
                 HMAS                    HMAS Yarra

HMAS Hobart                        HMAS Swan

                                  HMAS Ibis
                         Gulf deployments
HMAS Tobruk

The 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne
What we have lost

Aerials & masts
dismantled and
broken up for scrap
To cut a long story short

• 2006 - Joint National Trust, Engineers Australia seminar held, communiqué
        sent to PM & Commonwealth politicians

   • 2007 – Low Frequency antenna towers demolished, BNTS placed on National
              Trust National Heritage at Risk List
      • 2008 – A CMP was prepared by GML

          • 2008 A nomination of BNTS to the World Monuments Fund,
                    World Monuments Watch 100 Most Endangered Sites

               • 2008 – Detailed paper written by Dr Brian Egloff,
                     Belconnen Naval Transmission Station, an
                       inconvenient heritage’ & nominated to Commonwealth
                        Heritage List

        • 2006 - 08 – Several letters written to PM & Commonwealth politicians
                       + articles in newspapers, interviews on electronic media
2007 Decision by Minster for Heritage and Minister for Defence
      …I am advised that the LF masts present a significant safety and
       ongoing maintenance liability to the Government. Accordingly, it
      is not considered feasible to retain one portion of any of the LF
      masts in their current standing state. Therefore, and as previously
      advised , the mast removal … will proceed. Further, I understand
      that the concrete footings for the LF mast and guy wires will
      remain in place and that a representative portion of one tower will
      remain on site, secured horizontally on the ground.
3.24 pm
Wednesday 20th
December 2007
It is interesting to note that these towers were felled and then dismantled
In December 2007

In 2008 the Commonwealth Government commissioned a CMP
What else will
we lose?

Transmitters & equipment
dismantled, removed or ???

Precinct D has been identified for heritage (natural, historic, cultural
and technical) and nature conservation only. Development of this
precinct shall be in accordance with approved environmental and
heritage management plans prepared for the site.

4.17 Development shall be integrated with adjoining development in Lawson
South, exemplify sustainability principles and demonstrate excellence in site
amenity, urban design, landscape and architecture.

4.18 Functional relationships between uses within and external to the site shall
be provided.

4.19 Properties within the precinct shall have a good address to the public realm
and clear and distinctive entrances.

4.20 Any Asset Protection Zone required in relation to bushfire protection for
urban areas must not be locate in this precinct.

ACT National Trust Comments on the
Draft Development Control Plan 2010

Specific Comments
Section 2.2.2 – the first sentence, ‘The Royal Australian Navel [sic] Transmitting Station –
comprising the three main aerial masts … is listed on the Register of the National Estate
and the Commonwealth Heritage List’ is incorrect.
As noted above the three low frequency masts were removed
despite opposition in December 2006.
This phrase should be removed and the correct spelling of ‘Naval’ replaced.

Section 2.4.15 – Precinct D – Desired Planning Outcomes.
The statement ‘Precinct D has been identified for nature conservation only’,
 ignores and denies the Identified Cultural Heritage values of the transmitting facility
 and its role in Australia’s defence history and the development of
low frequency and high frequency defence radio communications.
So now we wait to see what happens to the historical fabric of Bells

   The moral of this story is – Keep a sharp eye on the processes which
   Government departments manage heritage listed places and the
   heritage of our country and make the time to offer advice and comment
Thank You All

                Ne Cede – Don’t yield
Molonglo Receiving Station

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