The Boat Under the Bridge [Awatea]

A while back, we presented a story here in Wavescan about the New Zealand passenger vessel, “Awatea”, that made many voyages across the Tasman between Australia and New Zealand. This ship was also on the air at times with radio broadcast programming for which QSL cards were issued and these days these cards are quite rare.

Down in the island of Tasmania, Rex Arnott came across the radio script containing our feature item on the “Awatea” on the Pacific Heritage website in New Zealand. Rex tells an interesting story of earlier years, back in 1939.

At the time, a high profile radio comedian on the air in Australia was the New Zealander Jack Davey who was heard in the evenings on nationwide relay with quiz programs and other similar audience participation programs. During the day he was on the air over the mediumwave station 2GB in Sydney.

It so happened that Jack Davey’s father, Captain A. H. Davey, was the Master of the passenger vessel “Awatea”. Now, it was the pride of the passenger liner “Awatea” to pass under the Sydney Harbor Bridge at exactly 8:00 am on arrival day and then tie up at the wharf at Darling Harbour half an hour later.

Rex Arnott states that he remembers on many occasions listening to 2GB on arrival day and he would hear Jack Davey in 2GB talking on the radio with his father on the “Awatea”. In true comedian fashion, if per chance his father was ever late, this provoked a season of verbal sparring over the air.

From: Wavescan 466 – Dec. 7, 2003

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“Wavescan” is a weekly program for long distance radio hobbyists produced by Dr. Adrian M. Peterson, Coordinator of International Relations for Adventist World Radio. AWR carries the program over many of its stations (including shortwave).