Point Lonsdale and Queenscliff hold a place in the story of Guglielmo Marconi, an Italian physicist known for his development of wireless communication and the radio. But Marconi never came to Point Lonsdale or Queenscliff.
On 25 June, about 100 members and friends of the Queenscliff Historical Museum enjoyed a one-hour talk by Professor Jock Given, Professor of Media and Communications at Swinburne University on ‘Marconi at Point Lonsdale’.
About 115 years ago, on 12 July 1906, representatives of Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph Company staged the first overseas wireless transmission from Australia. It was held at Springs Beach at Point Lonsdale in Victoria.
The Governor-General Lord Northcote, the Prime Minister Alfred Deakin, and most of the Australian Parliament, came to Queenscliff by train to witness the transmission between the Governor-General at Point Lonsdale and the Tasmanian Governor in Devonport, Tasmania.
The only problem was the Tasmanian Governor was in Hobart. There was a short delay in his response while he waited for a courier to cycle to the nearest post office to relay the message by wire.
At the time, Marconi was a global celebrity, capable of using his charm and connections to attract the large amount of money and support that he needed to globalise wireless transmission of communication. Today’s wireless technologies are based on wireless connections pioneered by Marconi.
The next Museum talk is ‘From China to the Goldfields to Queenscliff’. It will be held on Friday 23 July at 10 am for 10.30 am at the Point Lonsdale school hall.