Belconnen Naval Radio Station


The Belconnen Naval Radio Transmitting Station was situated in Canberra the nations capital between Ginninderra Drive and the suburb of Kaleen. The site hosted a myriad of antenna arrays and Radio Transmitters. The most impressive of which would have to be the VLF transmitter built in the late 1930's and the three 600ft masts that suspended the 40khz VLF dipole The site has a Generating room containing a Blackstone 16Cyl Twin Turbocharged Diesel generating plant and a smaller generator.


The maps linked to below are off site maps © ACT Land Information Canter 1998 - 2001 Australian Capital Territory .

Location maps can be found at the Department of Urban Services Maps of Canberra by suburb or by going directly to the Belconnen locality map section URL. You can access the images directly from the urban services website as below.

North east Lawson (Mackellar), North West Lawson (Lawson),

South West Lawson (Bruce), South East Lawson (Belconnen)

These maps are not free for download and are all links to the Department of urban services website.


The Royal Australian Naval Transmitting Station at Belconnen is important for its association with the development of Australian Naval Communications in Australia from 1938 in the lead up to the Second World War 1939-45. Completed in 1939 the Transmitting Station was, in its time, the most powerful naval wireless station in the British Empire and the largest naval or commercial station in the southern hemisphere.

The transmission station occupies part of the suburb of Lawson in the ACT. The remaining land in the suburb is undeveloped. The station is scheduled for decommissioning by the Royal Australian Navy in 2003. Following decommissioning, the land will be transferred to the ACT Government from the Department of Defence, possibly as early as 2004. The station's buildings will be retained and it is anticipated that the majority of the existing aerials and arrays will be removed. The ACT Government proposes to develop a portion of the suburb for residential purposes. The majority of the area that is currently occupied by the station will be preserved as open space for the conservation of endangered flora and fauna.

Heritage Status.
The transmitting station was entered on the interim list of the Register of the National Estate for its historic importance. The registration and full details can be found at The Belconnen Transmitting Station principally contained the very powerful 250 kilowatts transmitter operating at the low frequency (long wave) of 44 kHz. Three 600ft high aerial masts supported the massive radiating aerial. This purpose built and unique transmitter was designed to be able to be received by submerged submarines in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The facility at Canberra made it possible to communicate with Merchant or Fleet shipping anywhere in the world. The 44 kHz transmitter is intact and is of considerable historic value. Many other aspects including the buildings, transmitting and other equipment also have significant heritage value.

The station has also been registered on the Register of the National Estate for its natural heritage value as the area is a habitat for the endangered Golden Sun Moth (Synemon Plana). It is for this reason that much of the site will be retained and not subject to urban development. The proposal for the site would be consistent with achieving both these heritage outcomes, and not being inconsistent with residential housing nearby.

Interested Parties.

The current list of interested parties shows those with an interest in the process and outcomes based on their role in the future of the BNRS. i.e.: Disposals, Land Sales, Environmental concerns, Revenue, Heritage value, Building access etc..

  1. The ACT Government, including :
    a. Land & Property, Department of Urban Services
    b. Planning and Land Management
    c. Environment ACT
    d. Heritage ACT
  2. The Department of Defence, including
    a. The Australian Defence Force (ADF)
    b. Royal Australian Navy (RAN)
    c. Defence Materials Office(DMO)
    d. Infrastructure Group
  3. Australian Heritage Commission
  4. Environment Australia
  5. Wireless Institute of Australia , ACT Division and Federal Office
  6. Related Institutions
    a. The National Museum of Australia
    b. The Australian War Memorial
    c. The National Science and Technology Canter
  7. Other Community Organizations, including
    a. Ginninderra Catchment Community Group

The Preservation committee.

The Preservation committee 'For want of a better name' was a collection of people each with a different interest in the BNRS yet having a compatible and apparent common goal. Whilst most of the members were either amateur radio operators or members of the WIA the individual interest's are diverse and range from a keen desire to specifically preserve the technology on site at the BNRS through to use as a world class radio operating station where education training meetings and the operation of the Wireless Institute Civil Emergency Network could operate from, Just to name a few.


Proposal for a National Museum of
Radio Communications and electronics.

Failed: We gave it our best shot but to no avail! After all of the masts were dropped by either blatsting the cables or simply cutting them, they were all sent off for scrap.

The site is now unmanned and has a security system installed. It is my guess that the ACT Government just have to wait another 2 years and the vandals will have done their job.

Contact Details.


HMAS Harman.



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7 December, 2008 © Kerry Richens