Concept: Wireless Communication


In 1909, a conference was held in Melbourne to discuss extending wireless telegraphy communications from Australia and New Zealand into the British Pacific. The government Wireless Station at Tulagi opened for official use in 1915 and was open to the public from 1916. A Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Station connected the Protectorate to the world, but the atmospherics made direct communication with the WPHC headquarters in Fiji difficult. In 1923, the Methodist Mission installed a wireless at Kokeqolo in Roviana Lagoon which allowed Tulagi fast communication with the Western District, and a year later the Vanikoro Kauri Timber Co. Ltd. in the south of the Protectorate installed its own Morse code radio communications. The first public radio broadcast was probably by the Methodists in 1923. (BSIP Handbook 1923, 55-56; AR 1914-1915, 7, AR 1921-1922, 4, AR 1922-1923, 4, AR 1925-1926, 9)

The American military forces started public radio broadcasting in 1942 and more formally from early 1944 when the 'Mosquito Network' began (q.v.). The last unofficial American broadcasts were in September 1946. The first attempt at regular local broadcasting after the war began in 1947 with Station VQJ2, which transmitted each Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m., for half an hour, from a leaf hut of the beach in Honiara. It used a rebuilt American war surplus transmitter operated by Wireless Officer R. F. Calvert. This was known as 'The Shoestring Network', and it began a short weekly radio service primarily for planters, missionaries, and colonial officials, keeping them in touch with world news, copra prices and shipping schedules. In 1948, the government began official moves to establish what later became the Solomon Island Broadcasting Services (q.v.). ('Wireless Telegraphy in the Pacific: Confidential Report, Melbourne, 15-21 December 1909', C. M. Woodford papers, reel 4, bundle 20, 8/10; BSIP
Handbook 1923, 55-56; AR 1914-1915, 7, AR 1921-1922, 4, AR 1922-1923, 4, AR 1925-1926, 9)

Published resources


  • British Solomon Islands Protectorate, Handbook of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate, Western Pacific High Commission, Suva, 1923. Details


  • British Solomon Islands Protectorate, British Solomon Islands Protectorate Annual Reports (AR), 1896-1973. Details