October 6, 2009
Oldest National Amateur Radio Society Marks 100th Anniversary
In 2010, the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) — the oldest national Amateur Radio society — will celebrate its 100th anniversary. On March 11, 1910, the WIA had its beginnings when a group of wireless pioneers gathered at the Hotel Australia, Martin Place in Sydney. These early hams wanted to protect their interests and rights against what they considered to be harsh treatment by authorities — and a high license fee. Chairman of the founding meeting, George Taylor, proposed “the formation of an institution amongst experimenters and enthusiasts in wireless for their mutual benefit.” From that meeting, the Institute of Wireless Telegraphy of Australia — later, the WIA — was formed. Since its founding, the WIA has continued to protect and enhance the privileges of radio amateurs and to promote Amateur Radio in Australia and beyond.
WIA President Michael Owen, VK3KI, said he would like the worldwide Amateur Radio community to join in the celebration. In the October edition of the WIA’s member journal Amateur Radio Magazine Owen announced a program that will include a special call sign — VK100WIA — that will be operated next May by the WIA, and then many affiliated clubs around Australia for the next 5 months. A commemorative QSL card will be issued for contacts with VK100WIA between May and October next year. A limited edition operating award, the WIA Centenary Award, will also be available; two contacts with VK100WIA are required to receive this award.
A program of events is being planned to coincide with the WIA’s annual meeting, scheduled for May 2010 in Canberra, the nation’s capital. Radio clubs throughout Australia are planning events to promote the centenary of organized Amateur Radio in Australia.
“The WIA is not resting on its laurels,” said ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ. “In recent years, the Institute has implemented a fundamental restructuring of the organization, has taken on administrative functions to keep Australian Amateur Radio healthy and has achieved growth both in new licensees and in membership. In short, WIA is well positioned to begin its second century of service to the Amateur Radio community.”