Whatever farmers and rural communities needed to improve their lives and livelihoods, Westralian Farmers sought to provide. It was this intention which led to the company’s unlikely expansion into radio services with the launch of 6WF – Western Australia’s first commercial radio station.
It was while out driving that General Manager-in-waiting John Thomson first saw the potential of radio as a way of raising alerts. Stranded by two flat tyres, he began to appreciate just how isolated farmers could feel. Radio could go beyond simple alerts however, issuing crop price reports, keeping farmers in touch with each other and even providing entertainment.
Unperturbed by a lack of radio receivers or radio infrastructure available in Western Australia at the time, then General Manager Basil Murray set about building his own. The third floor of 569 Wellington Street was converted into three sound studios and the chief engineer designed and built the state’s first radio receiver, known as the ‘Mulgaphone’.
Any staff member who could play an instrument - and many who couldn’t - were drafted into the Westralian Farmers band and,with the first broadcast on 4 June 1924, 6WF was born.
'An installation of this nature must serve to overcome the isolation which is one of the disabilities of present day life in the country. It will annihilate distances, and bring the people of the outback in touch with everyday life and enjoyment of the city and of other countries.' Premier Phillip Collier addressing the opening night audience.