- Camp Kalinga - Australian Special Wireless Group
- ASWG Emblem
- ASWG Badge to be pinned on clothing
- ASWG Banner on Anzac Day
- Aerial view of Camp Kalinga Courtesy Nundah Hist. Soc.
- Australian Special Wireless Group. 1
- Australian Special Wireless Group. 2
- Key to Numbers on Aerial Map
- Australian Special Wireless Group. 3
- Camp Kalinga ASWG moves from Bonegilla to Kalinga.
- Operational activities at Camp Kalinga - Steve Mason 1
- Operational Activities at Camp Kalinga - Steve Mason 2
- Australian Special Wireless Group 4
- Camp Kalinga The Rhombic aerial system. 1
- Camp Kalinga Rhombic Aerial Structure 2
- Rhombic Antenna Home Page
- Working on top of the Mast.
- Working on the ground.
- Australian Special Wireless Group 5
- Personnel Shift Work
- The Katakama Chart - Japanese Morse Code
- Formal Military Activities
- Lt. Colonel Jack Ryan OIC
- Major Arthur Geddes Henry 2IC
- Colonel Jack Ryan Inspecting Troops.
- AWAS Inspection
- Security Fence 300
- Ground View of Camp Kalinga
- Work Party on ground
- Australian Special Wireless Group 6
- Motor Pool
- Dispatch Riders
- Australian Special Wireless Group 7
- Off Duty - Recreation
- Margaret Raymond (nee Fullgrabe)
- Margaret Raymond, Therese Henry and Beverley Isdale
- Leave Pass for Margaret Fullgrabe (Raymond)
- Vale Margaret Raymond Card 1
- Vale Margaret Raymond Card 2
- The Bletchley Badge or Broach
- Shaw Park Today Google Embedded Map
- Australian Special Wireless Group 8
- Books and other ASWG Information
Camp Kalinga - Australian Special Wireless Group
Camp Kalinga was born in WW II and vanished into oblivion when the war ended. No trace of it remained except the story which only its occupants knew and they were sworn to secrecy till 30 years after the the war which ended in 1945. They and their like in the Allied Forces served in secret and shortened the war by two years thus saving millions of lives without firing a single shot.
The ancient Athenian god Mercury, the messenger of the gods, had wings on his heels and was probably chosen to represent ASWG because of his swiftness. In the 1940 s the wireless was the fastest way of sending a message so that could be the link. Anybody have a better explanation?
It is now used as the ASWG Association emblem and there not many members left.
ASWG Badge to be pinned on clothing
ASWG Banner on Anzac Day
After WWII a banner like this could not be used in the Victory Parades or for the first 30 Anzac Days after the war. In fact the banner didn't exist at all!
Aerial view of Camp Kalinga Courtesy Nundah Hist. Soc.
This overall view of the camp shows Kedron Brook across the top of the photo and the Shaw family homestead in the top right corner.
Shaw Road is off the right hand side of the photo and there was another more conventional army camp on the other side.
What this photo does not show is the elaborate system of wires on very high masts which passers by would notice and they guessed that it was some sort of wireless system. But nobody asked, people then knew better, the slogan was " If you don't know what it is, you don't need to know."
There were high barb wire fences and armed guards at the entrances, people knew to keep away, there was a war on and it was total war.
The embedded Google map shows Shaw Park on either side of Shaw Rd. Camp Kalinga was on the right or West side of Shaw Rd., while the other army camp was on the left or Eastern side. It occupied the area across to Sandgate Rd.
Australian Special Wireless Group. 1
Section 1 Introduction
The wartime activities of the complex network of intelligence gathering organisations is gradually becoming better known, and suitable acknowledgement and appreciation of their efforts is becoming possible.
We now know a great deal more about the use of coded information and how those highly complicated codes used by the enemy, were un-jumbled to become valuable information. However, what is frequently overlooked is how that original coded message came to be available to the code breakers. Who intercepted that information? Where did it come from? And to find that answer, we have to peel away another layer of that secrecy veil that was so necessary to achieve the essential war time security.
Helen Kenny, the Editor of the Newsletter for the retirees (CBers) of the Central Bureau Intelligence Organization, wrote an item in that newsletter, (August 2013) which she entitled: Chooks at Chermside. It was an account of how, in the 1950's, young Peter Hill's collecting hobby, added to the CDHS Inc. account of the AWAS ladies who were billeted at the Chermside Military camp, and the work they did for the Central Bureau in the humble garage at the rear of 21 Henry Street, Nyrambla House, Ascot.
That leads us to the motorcycle dispatch riders who provided the personalised 'by hand' protected direct delivery of the intercepted Japanese military Kana Morse code messages that had to be de-coded, and that leads us to yet another little known group of highly technical military personnel, the Australian Special Wireless Group. In our north Brisbane area, we are gradually learning more about the activities at Camp Kalinga, which we now know as Shaw Park and which now bristles with wonderful sporting fields and leisure time activity facilities.
The history of that little pocket of fertile productive land skirted by Kedron Brook, has seen various changes of usage, from native forest, the home of the Turrbul (Stone) People, to agriculture with the Shaw family farm, then military camps during WW2. The camp on the eastern side of Shaw Road through to Sandgate Road, was a mostly tent accommodation area used by various military groups in transit, coming and going to somewhere else. The history of that area is well documented by the Nundah Historical Society.
On the western side of the road, where the land rises slightly was a complex of military huts that looked much like the many other military camps that suddenly appeared during the war years. This camp had a significant array of very high poles, about twice as high as the ordinary electricity poles which we now know carried a 'state of the art' wireless antennae network called a Rhombic Aerial System.
The men and women military personnel who worked there, carried out a 24/7 radio signal intercept role tuning into the frequencies of the Japanese military forces. The Japanese used the Kana 45 letter system, (For more detail go to the section on 22 Henry St. Ascot above or the Katakana Chart below.) The highly skilled listeners at Camp Kalinga would write down, in pencil, what they heard, a supervising officer would collect the written notes and the motorcycle dispatch rider who was always standing-by, would transport those messages to wherever he was directed.
He may have taken his courier bag to Nyrambla House, 21 Henry Street, Ascot where the notes were decoded by the AWAS personnel in the garage at the rear using Typex machines and the results assessed for their relevance and acted on accordingly. Another dispatch rider may have taken the result to Central Bureau in the AMP Chambers which was General Macarthur's Headquarters.
The development of this Australian Special Wireless Group had its origins in the little known pre-WW2 intelligence gathering activities under many different names but essentially the nucleus was ready to be drawn together for active service when war was declared in 1939. The official histories have been written by the people who were involved at that time, and they are available through our CDHS Research Rooms. They make intensely dramatic reading.
The Commanding Officer at Camp Kalinga was Lt. Col. Jack Ryan, who had been with this unit during the activities in the Middle East. Also involved during those times and at Camp Kalinga, was the radio and Morse code expert, Major Arthur Henry whose military ID disc was among those found at the Chermside chook yard.
Major Henry's daughter, Therese, was born after the war, and has researched her father's military service, most thoroughly. The result is the detailed account is available in the CDHS archives and we thank Therese for her generosity.
Two of the military personnel who worked at Camp Kalinga intercepting the Japanese radio signals on the 24/7 shift work operations were Margaret Raymond (nee Fullgrabe) and Steve Mason. We have extracted from Steve's written memoirs, the section dealing with his enlistment and war service, and Margaret, an accomplished artist, has allowed us to reproduce here, some of her sketches of her war-time AWAS experiences.
Sections of oral history recordings with both Margaret and Steve will eventually be added to this account, and we thank them both for that personal insight to the important work that was carried out by the Australian Special Wireless Group at Camp Kalinga, towards the defence of Australia during WW2.
The other audio recording added here, is a conversation with David Brownsey, speaking about the radio and Morse code equipment of that 1940's era. Thank you David.
Australian Special Wireless Group. 2
The photos of WW2 Camp Kalinga are from the Australian War Memorial collection, and are reproduced here with their permission.
Camp Kalinga layout and operation, by Steve Mason.
1946 aerial survey photo, where Steve has added a number to the roof of each building, and added information as to the use and activity there.
Key to Numbers on Aerial Map
Steve Mason has written on No. 8 - No heating, cooling or air conditioning.
Australian Special Wireless Group. 3
Camp Kalinga ASWG moves from Bonegilla to Kalinga.
Operational activities at Camp Kalinga - Steve Mason 1
Section 3. Operational activities at Camp Kalinga, by Steve Mason.
Operational Activities at Camp Kalinga - Steve Mason 2
Operational activities at Camp Kalinga - Steve Mason
Australian Special Wireless Group 4
Camp Kalinga The Rhombic aerial system. 1
Section 4The Rhombic Antenna was state of the art broadcasting aerials in the decades of 1930 s and 1940 s. It also drew attention of passers by but people didn't ask too many questions during the war years.
The antenna was pointed directly at the Japanese mainland and the operators listened, silently and endlessly. When a message came through they wrote at an incredible speed of up to 30 words per minute. Try it sometime. They kept up this pace for their four hour shifts using pencil and note paper. .
Camp Kalinga Rhombic Aerial Structure 2
This is part of a Nundah Historical Society photo with a Rhombic Aerial Structure superimposed on it. The masts are 72 feet or 22 metres high about twice the height of high tension electricity poles. The ASWG Radio Intercept Operations Room was situated in the guarded security area and was connected to the massive Rhombic aerial system which extended for approximately 600 metres in a slightly north-west direction, towards Japan.
While the military huts themselves were similar to the huts in any other military camp, an observer would immediately realise that Camp Kalinga was not an ordinary military camp, if there is such a thing.
Rhombic Antenna Home Page
Rhombic Antenna Home Page
While amateur radio operators today largely employ rotating array antennas such as the Yagi dipole array and the cubical quad antenna, some still use wire antennas, some of which can afford higher gain and lower receive noise characteristics. In fact, the rhombic antenna is usually described as the "King of antennas" because of it's very desireable characteristics. The rhombic antenna is basically a diamond-shaped wire curtain that is made of 4 wires, each several wavelengths long connected to form a "diamond" or rhombus shape . The diamond is constructed with the narrowest ends left open for the feed point on one end and a non-inductive resistive termination on the other. This creates the terminated (also called non-resonant) rhombic which is a unidirectional antenna with broad bandwidth. Non-terminated (also called resonant) rhombics do work but have narrower useful bandwidth and are bidirectional (non-resonant rhombics are fed on one end and the opposite end is left open. In my experience both non-resonant and resonant rhombics work quite well. All wire antennas tend to be less "noisy" on receive and longer antennas like the rhombic are very low noise antennas with the solitary exception of precipitation static (snow and rain add small charges to the curtain and you get very high noise under such conditions). Precipitation static can be minimized by using termination resistors with a grounded center tap (leaks static to ground continuously).
The sides of the rhombic (with the broadest included angle) are constructed of differing dimensions to determine what radiation angle will be obtained. Half of the angle included by the rhombic side is called the "tilt angle" or theta ø and as the tilt angle is varied, the radiation angle will also vary. There exist various ways to calculate the ideal tilt angle to choose relative to the radiation angle and gain desired for a given rhombic application. Generally the tilt angle is between 65 and 75 degrees. The apex angle is the angle included by the feed point end of the rhombic and is between 30 and 50 degrees and varies with the tilt angle (the sum of half the apex angle and the tilt angle will be 90).
Height is very important for rhombics, as it is for all antennas. Basically, the radiation angle of the main beam of any antenna is related to the height above the ground and the ground characteristics. Generally, for any antenna the following height (in wavelengths)/wave angle (degrees) relationships hold: 0.5/30; 1.0/15; 1.5/8; 2.0/6; 3.0/5. As you can see, to take advantage of the rhombic's extraordinary gain for distant (low angle) communications, you will need to have the antenna at least 1.5 wavelengths high: on 14.0 Mhz, this is around 90 feet, the "usual" height used for rhombic antennas (most rhombics used are in amateur radio usually optimized for 14 Mhz or 20 meter band).
Rhombic antennas are generally fed with open feedlines of around 400 to 600 ohm impedance. This is not critical and any issues related to feeder loss and/or standing wave ratios pales in significance in relationship to this antenna's gain. In the real world things work fine without worry related to feedlines so long as you use a good antenna tuner. Use of baluns is probably unwise as this is likely to limit the useful frequency range of this intrinsically broadbanded antenna. Many commercial applications of the rhombic use what are called "exponential feeders" with the nominal impedance being 300 ohms at the feeder end and with the paired feedlines gradually spreading to a spacing of around 12 inches at the rhombic feedpoint (a distance calculated to provide the rhombic feedpoint impedance of 600-800 ohms). This exponential feeder provides a smooth transition of impedance and acts as a sort of impedance transformer.
In current antenna publications it seems very hard to find anything other than a very abbreviated discussion of rhombics and perhaps some basic design charts and dimensions for a simple rhombic. Little discussion is generally available of the more complex details important to anyone seriously interested in constructing a rhombic antenna. With this in mind, this page has some images of real-world installations and discussion of most of the important practical details you would need to be aware of to construct and maintain a proper rhombic. I am always interested in hearing from anyone with experience with building, maintaining or using rhombics. Images, plan sets and even parts from dismantled rhombics are of interest to me. I will add anything to this page that fits, and then some.
CDHS wishes to thank Bob Cromwell for his permission to use this information from his website in our webpage article about the ASWG.
Working on top of the Mast.
There are many forms of bravery and this is one of them. Once the soldier, Frank got to the top he would buckle a large leather belt around himself and the mast. This would enable him to use both hands to do whatever job he had to do.
The four guy ropes anchoring the mast can be clearly seen, there is another set of guys around the middle of the mast.
Working on the ground.
The diameter of the masts can be seen in relation to the soldier, Noel, they had to be sizable masts to stand up in a strong wind.
Note the ladder in the left background;it was necessary to have long ladders to reach the first climbing spike on the mast.
Australian Special Wireless Group 5
Personnel Shift Work
Section 5 Personnel
Steve Mason recalls the Radio intercept personnel worked in shifts of basically four hours but was a special one, the 9 pm to 3 am which was the most common - this was when the Japanese were most active. There was also a two hour shift but he does not remember what it was for.
Radio personnel worked in shifts of four hours. We can only imagine the level of intense concentration required as well as having to contend with fluctuating levels of radio reception and static. AWAS operator the late Margaret Raymond (nee Fullgrabe) was a talented artist and she drew the above sketch, which gives an idea of the atmosphere during a duty shift.
The Katakama Chart - Japanese Morse Code
The Japanese Morse code was complicated in that had 45 symbols as opposed to the International Morse code's 26 symbols which we used. The operators had to work very rapidly as the Japanese could send up to fifty words per minute. The written Morse signals would be sent to Ascot for the Linex machines operators to convert them into Japanese symbols to be translated into English by Japanese speaking operators.
Formal Military Activities
The ASWG had its formal military activities like any other Army group. The regulations, the procedures, the training and parades as the following photos from the Photographic Library of the Australian War Memorial show.
Lt. Colonel Jack Ryan OIC
Major Arthur Geddes Henry 2IC
Colonel Jack Ryan Inspecting Troops.
Colonel Jack Ryan inspecting the troops- two flaws in the foreground of the photo?
Marching was particularly important to train men and women how to act instantly to a command as a member of a large group; very important especially on the battle field. Australia's greatest commander Field Marshal Sir. John Monash, in reply to English criticism about Australians being somewhat ill disciplined on leave, remarked that their battle discipline was flawless and that was the one that counted.
Inspections were carried out regularly for the Australian Women's Army Service, (AWAS) just like the men. Although they were, it seems, allowed to smile a little.
Security Fence 300
A subtle but noticeable difference between this Camp Kalinga establishment and other military camps was the higher level of security. We know that these personnel were all bound under the Oath of Secrecy, and could not say, even to their families, what work they were doing. That secrecy blanket was maintained for 30 - 40 years after WWII.
Access to the barb wire enclosed Operations Area was via an armed guard at the sentry box.
It is a testament to their moral integrity that the outside world knew nothing of this highly sensitive intelligence gathering process until about the 1980's when the Bletchley Badge or Broach was issued. At last, those who remained alive were recognized.
Ground View of Camp Kalinga
This ground eye view from outside the camp gives some idea of the lay out of Camp Kalinga. Note how the mast to the top right dominates the camp. The sentry at the gate is standing on guard.
Work Party on ground
Australian Special Wireless Group 6
The Motor Pool was army talk for Parking Area and it looks like there was plenty of room when this photo was taken.
Note the ever present aerial masts.
Another very essential segment of this Motor pool was the inclusion of motor cycles for the Dispatch Riders. At all times, a machine and rider were parked at the entrance of the secure Operations area ready to hand deliver an urgent message to wherever it had to go.
Australian Army Dispatch Riders No helmets, no leathers but note the shrouds on the headlamps which reduced the glare during the usual night time black outs during the war. Like everybody else the Riders were sworn to secrecy they knew they must not ask what they were carrying only where was it going.
Rumour has it that these riders were not necessarily restricted to the general road rules - if the necessity called for urgency; there are many anecdotes.
Australian Special Wireless Group 7
Off Duty - Recreation
Steve Mason's diagram and notes in Section 2 above show an area marked No. 20 which was set aside for cricket and football activities. It must have been a well-chosen area, because there is still a football field/cricket oval on that location and the goal posts are only about half the height of the rhombic aerial system masts.
Steve Mason mentions in his Memoirs mentions that the AWAS ladies had a basketball court behind their accommodation huts, and the late Margaret Raymond (nee Fullgrabe) talks about their State Premiership team. .
Margaret Raymond (nee Fullgrabe)
This photo of Margaret is that of a young Australian woman caught up in the vast cataclysm of WWII when Australians were afraid that they might be invaded by the Japanese. For the first time Australians felt they were fighting for their lives and until the Americans arrived, on their own. Remember the Kokada Track and Milne Bay.
Like thousands of young Australians she was "doing her bit" but in complete anonymity in a Unit which, officially did not exist and for which no medals would be awarded and no thanks even in the Victory parades that followed the war.
Finally we have another photo of Margaret in her later years below.
Margaret Raymond, Therese Henry and Beverley Isdale
Margaret also created the illustrations for Jean Hillier's book the title of which is "No Medals in This Unit". It is the information that personnel in these occupations were told when they signed their Oath of Secrecy.
Secrecy was their watchword and if anybody, including their family, husbands and wives asked them what unit were they serving in, their reply was Signals.
Therese Henry has written extensively about her father Major Arthur Geddes Henry and on the ASWG in the war in Greece and Crete during the early part of WWII.
Beverley Isdale is the Archivist for the Chermside & Districts Historical Society Inc.
Leave Pass for Margaret Fullgrabe (Raymond)
Vale Margaret Raymond Card 1
The long memories of old comrades, they have not forgotten those dreadful days when they worked together to achieve victory.
Vale Margaret Raymond Card 2
The symbol proclaims the Unit which didn't exist and the AWAS veteran who worked and sketched to remember. "We Will Remember Them".
The Bletchley Badge or Broach
The Bletchley Park Badge Broach was minted and presented to all those who worked at BP and the outstations which included those in Brisbane.
A broach or Badge was presented instead of a medal because the staffs were such a mixture of civilians and soldiers involved in the cipher war. While medals were given to soldiers they weren't usually given to civilians, so a compromise was made, both could use a broach or badge.
Of the 12,000 personnel involved in Bletchley and Outstations about 5,000 were still alive in 2009 when the broach was presented, 64 years after peace was declared in 1945.
GC&CS - Government Code & Cypher School or, in the words of the eclectic staff of "Boffins and Debs" at Bletchley Park, the "Golf, Cheese and Chess Society".
Shaw Park Today Google Embedded Map
Australian Special Wireless Group 8
Books and other ASWG Information
Books and other ASWG information.
The following material is available at the archive room of the Chermside and Districts Historical Society Inc. It may be read and copied on site and must not leave the premises.
Therese Henry has written an article about the WWII activities of her father, Major Arthur Henry, who was the technical radio and Morse Code advisor in the ASWG. His experiences in Europe and later at Camp Kalinga on Shaw Road make for powerful reading.
The article is available on a CD at the CDHS archive room.
Steve Mason has written a memoir of his life story, and his AIF service with the ASWG. (An extract is available on a CD at the CDHS Archive Room). Starting at p. 89 he writes about his pre-enlistment life and then describes his war experience concluding with his demobilisation on p. 210.
ON ULTRA ACTIVE SERVICE :- The story of Australia's signals intelligence operations during World War II , by Geoffrey Ballard.
SPOOK STUFF :- First Australian Corps Signals - Number 4 Wireless Section (renamed, Number 5 Wireless Section). Australian Special Wireless Group Sections - 51,52,53,56,51,62,63,64,65,and 67.
7thSignal Regiment (Electronic Warfare) by Bill McCue.
CD Video presentation: ASWG 1929 - 23 April 194** PROSHOW1.
CD Video presentation: ASWG, Crete, 19** PROSHOW 2.
CD ASWG 1939 - 1947. Special Issued for the CABARLAH 70th Birthday event November 2017.
CD Audio Recording: Margaret Raymond Memoirs. Recorded March 2017.
CD Word document: Extract from Steve Mason's Memoirs.
CD Word document: Therese Henry's article about her father's WWII experiences with ASWG.
INK Emma INK is the Newsletter of the Australian Special Wireless Group Association. A good number of back issues are available in our CDHS Resources Room. They contain much information about ASWG operations in a most readable form.