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Wireless Hill Future – Part 6 of 6

Posted by ken On October - 9 - 2011

Wireless Hill Future – Part 6 of 6

The City of Melville commissioned a survey into community needs between 1995 and 2005 and has evidence that visitors to Wireless Hill Park go mainly for recreational purposes. Sight seeing, exercise, picnics, playground, wildflowers and birdlife.

Our conversations with people passionate about the subject indicates there is a belief in the wider community that a Telecommunications and Broadcasting Museum should exist in this State. A better publicised venue that stays open and is convenient to all Western Australians. Not to be seen as a dusty collection, but a living museum with a hands on component to educate school children and media students. A venue of many purposes which caters for public entertainment as well as conservationists wishing to restore and care for the collection. A venue that commemorates the many people in the industries which made it all happen, be that inventors, pioneers, technicians, engineers, operators, performers, personalities and the many support personnel.

Most people give rare items to a museum because they want to see them preserved for future generations. They consider that a museum is the best home for their valued and prized possessions. Its important that a Telecommunications and Broadcasting Museum be constituted with this sentiment in mind, so that people can confidently donate artefacts knowing they will be cared for in perpetuity, because they are bound to do so. For an association cannot be incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Act 1987 (WA) by a name that is likely to mislead the public as to the object or purpose of the association.

As with any museum, it is of upmost importance that one holds legal title to an object before it can be disposed of. There needs to be a very valid reason for shedding artefacts, such as duplicated items where some are lacking integrity and relevance. If legal title is not held, for example a deed of gift signing the object over to the organisation, this becomes a more difficult process. Museums must comply by their Statute, Articles and Memorandum or Trust Deed to ensure they are entitled to deaccession and dispose of material. Advice on these matters is provided by consulting a solicitor or a legal advisor such as the Arts Law Centre of Australia.

[CITY OF MEVILLE RESPONSE - All items must have documented provenance, and if the item is considered to be de-accessioned, it is immediately offered to the original donor first. The City of Melville is fully aware of the legal process required to undergo a de-accessioning program and will follow our documented de-accessioning policy. The City of Melville followed an extensive visioning process for the Wireless Hill site which included local community and key stakeholders. The future theme/s of the collection will be determined from the outcome of the Significance Assessment. Objects will not be destroyed… deaccessioning simply means removing them from the collection, usually to be offered back to the original donor, or onto an another appropriate museum collection but ONLY with consultation with the donor.]

[Editors note: My understanding from talking to the heritage consultant is that they are having a difficult task identifying and locating a number of the private donors.}

The City of Melville estimates that the cost to relocate existing objects offsite will be $20,000. This stage was scheduled for between September 2011 and February 2012, to ensure the museum exhibition space can be ready for the centenary celebrations.

The plans have been published on the web. Links to the official reports can be found at the end of this article. It needs a careful reading to glean the vital points regarding the collection, such as the current telecommunications theme no longer reflects the community aspirations for the site.


More an audio visual display of Wireless Hill specific matters from 1912 to 1967 rather than the broader scope of industries that touched us all and changed our life

Work to be conducted on the site includes:

The Museum and the Capital Radio Station buildings will be restored and the present white paint stripped back to its original red brick finish.

The former Operators House is at risk of damage if the present white paint is stripped back, so it is recommended that the house be repainted to tone-in with the other two buildings.

Restoration work will also take place on the concrete base of the 120 metres high guyed aerial mast.


Concrete base in 1912

(Photo © State Library of Western Australia)


Concrete base in 2011

(Photo taken by the author at the Wireless Hill Telecommunications Museum)

The three concrete anchor blocks; located north, southeast and southwest, each approximately 4.6 m high, were built to hold the mast guy wires and will be retained with the structure conserved as much as possible to reflect the original finishes and layout.


An anchor block in use in 1912

(Photo © State Library of Western Australia)


The same anchor block in 2011

(Photo taken by the author at the Wireless Hill Telecommunications Museum)

Two viewing platforms were installed on the north and southwestern anchor blocks.


(Photo taken by the author at the Wireless Hill Telecommunications Museum)

The City of Melville had reservations about this story…

” …have some concerns with what has been produced in this story, including some statements which are not factually correct, and assumptions about what has supposedly been predetermined by the City Of Melville.

Additionally, the photos that have been taken inside the museum of the objects cannot be reproduced without permission from Museums & Local History, and others images and cut & pastes from various reports would need to be credited accurately (again, notation to state that you have permission to reproduce them).”

The City of Melville has responded to clarify a number of issues and these passages are now clearly marked in the text. The author recommends readers to study the official documents listed below so that they may reach their own conclusions.

This article is published under the previsions of the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (as amended) notion of ‘fair dealing’ where the use is for and to assist:

  • 40. Fair dealing for purpose of research or study
  • 41. Fair dealing for purpose of criticism or review
  • 42. Fair dealing for purpose of reporting news

This story is based on information contained in official City of Melville documents placed in the public domain and which can be located at…

Wireless Hill Concept and Museum Plan July 2011

Wireless Hill Vision 2020 (31st March 2011)

Wireless Hill Reserve Management Plan August 2008

Shirley Barnes Reports on Wireless Hill – 1995 & 2005

Additional Reports

In 1997, the then Heritage Minister Graham Kierath said the State Government has moved to protect the heritage value of Wireless Hill Park, an important reminder of the early days of radio in Western Australia.

“It is highly valued by the local community and by organisations such as the Institution of Engineers who have recognised the site for its significant contribution to telecommunication links between Australia and the rest of the world.

“Wireless Hill deserves the protection of the State’s heritage laws.”

Heritage Council of WA assessment of Wireless Hill Park

Wireless Hill Future – in six parts

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