Cloncurry will celebrate some of its rich history at the Show on Friday evening.
At 6pm in the arena, there will be a formal recognition of the 90th Anniversary of the first pedal radio message.
The Friends of JFP will provide wine and cheese at John Flynn Place at 6.30pm. Special guests invited include members of Alfred Traeger's family, members of the Rothery family and members of Vern Kerr's (early radio officer) family.
When Alfred Traeger invented the pedal-powered radio, he opened up a viable method of communication for Outback Australia, that complemented Flynn's Aerial Medical Service.
The Aerial Medical Service (now the Royal Flying Doctor Service) began at Cloncurry in 1928 without radio.
Traeger's pedal powered invention changed all that. In 1929 he travelled with Rev George Scott to stations to install the radios, erect the 60 ft steel aerial masts, and teach the managers's wives Morse code and how to operate the sets.
Augustus Downs station was the site of the first pedal radio. The base station in Cloncurry, call sign VJI, broadcast by telephony - the stations could hear the operator's voice - while outgoing messages were sent by Morse code.
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On 19 June 1929, Gertrude Rothery, with Traeger beside her, was ready for the first contact. The first message transmitted to Augustus Downs came in loud and clear: 'This is VJI, the Aerial Medical Service station calling Augustus Downs.'
Mrs Rothery identified 8XF Augustus Downs and sent her message to Cloncurry. When encouraged to send a personal unscripted message she became flustered.
Traeger suggested 'Hello Harry". The letters "h-e-l-l"; were jumbled but the "o" was clear so she tried again, the "hell" was okay but the "o" was too far from the rest of the word. When she sent "Harry" it was fine.
Harry replied, 'I think I received the message OK'.
When Traeger returned to Cloncurry he discovered the message came through as 'O hell O hell O Harry'.
Alfred Traeger went on to install pedal radios at Lorraine Station, Gregory Downs Station, Turn Off Lagoon Station (Corinda), Birdsville AIM Hospital and the Mornington Island Mission.
He eventually solved the problem of indecipherable messages sent by amateur operators when he invented an 'automatic Morse keyboard' in 1932.
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