Home' The Mt Barker Courier : The Courier - 2016-12-21 Contents www.courier.net.au
Wednesday, December 21, 2016 – PAGE 15
By Tom Staggard
Imagine a world where instead of swiftly
phoning the police or ambulance from
your smart phone, you had to call for
assistance using a pedal-powered radio.
That world was a reality for sheep station
workers and their families in the Australian
outback in the 1930s, who used these devices
to send Morse code messages to report
Strathalbyn author Jane Jolly has brought
this world back to life in her new book Radio
The book is illustrated by Australian artist
Robert Ingpen and tells the fictional story of a
young boy who used a pedal-operated radio to
contact the Royal Flying Doctor Service when
his father was badly injured.
Ms Jolly said the idea for the story came from
“Robert actually had the original idea to do
a story on the use of the pedal radio,” she said.
“I did some further research and developed
the story from that information.”
Ms Jolly’s story is based on the work of Alf
Traeger – who invented the pedal radio in 1928
and his connection to Reverend John Flynn,
the founder of the Royal Flying Doctor Service
As Mr Flynn was devising plans for the Flying
Doctor, he recruited the help of Mr Traeger
due to his expertise in building high voltage
It was Flynn’s dream to enable remote
outposts to contact a central medical base via
wireless radio so doctors could be notified and
fly in to assist in emergencies.
Without Traeger’s skills Flynn’s dream may
have never taken flight.
Mr Traeger’s pedal operated machine allowed
users to power their radio while keeping their
hands free, enabling them to tap Morse code
messages to those connected to the network.
Within six years, 40 pedal wireless outposts
had been activated throughout the outback
which all connected to the main station at
Cloncurry in north west Queensland.
This ground breaking invention resulted in
families throughout remote communities being
connected to the outside world and enabling
them access to the help offered by the RFDS
The book also contains historical photos and
an overview of the use of radios in the outback
throughout the mid-20th Century.
Ms Jolly said the historical information and
photos were used to help connect people to the
information available through the National
Library of Australia.
“All the photos came from the archives of the
National Library,” she said.
“The idea is to link the fictional story with the
historical information available that people
might not have heard before.”
The book is the second in the series published
by the National Library of Australia and follows
the success of Tea and Sugar Christmas, Ms
Jolly’s previous collaboration with Mr Ingpen.
A third book is currently being developed and
revolves around the Sikh hawkers who traded
in rural Australia throughout the early 1900s.
Pedal power brings outside world to outback
Strathalbyn author Jane Jolly,
left, with Anne Smallwood, the
daughter of Alf Traeger, who
invented the pedal radio featured
in Ms Jolly’s book Radio Rescue!
are being urged
to keep a look out
for symptoms of
cases of pestivirus
increased the risk of
some other diseases.
Pestivirus is the
name given to a poten-
tially deadly group
of viruses that com-
monly infect cattle.
It is transmitted via
direct contact between
animals and can cause
tory problems, ulcers
on the nose and lips,
bleeding disorders and
in severe cases, death.
than average spring
and winter months
have produced ideal
conditions for mos-
quitoes and midges
many of which can
carry diseases, includ-
ing bluetongue, Aka-
bane, bovine ephem-
eral fever and Murray
docks also increase
the risk of footrot in
by redness, tender-
ness and swelling of
the hooves, sometimes
causing lameness and
a foul odor.
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