AWA Marine has a long and proud history in Australian Electronics, and throughout the 20th century, the company was one Australia's largest, and most prominent electronics organizations, undertaking the development, manufacture and distribution of Radio, Telecommunications, Television, Audio Equipment, and Broadcasting services.
At one stage in it's history, AWA was one of the largest companies in Australia, however, in the early 1980’s the company suffered a huge financial loss on the Foreign Exchange Market, which resulted in the company having to sell its various business Units, in order to try and continue operating in the market.
In 1995 Ausmur Pty Ltd purchased the Maritime Division from AWA Defense Industries, and the company has been operating as a Family Owned and Operated Business ever since.
Although AWA Marine has no association or business relationship with AWA Ltd today, we do share a very interesting past History with this company, as part of the old "AWA Empire" in Australia.
We are extremely proud of our past connection with such an incredible Innovator, and the companys impressive History since its original foundation in 1909,
AWA Ltd was undoubtedably one of the world’s most prominent and pioneering Electronics Companies, and we would like to share some of the History with you.
- The company commenced operations in 1909 as Australasian Wireless Limited (AWL), a Telefunken wireless agent.
- In 1912 Telefunken and Marconi Company merged in Australia to Form AWA-
Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Ltd
- In 1918 completed the first Radio Broadcast between Australia and England,
including Newsreel pictures from Sydney to London
- Australian Government became the Main shareholder in the company, commissioning
AWA to provide a direct radio service between Australia and the UK, in lieu of submarine cables
- In 1922 up until 1946 Exclusive Rights were granted to AWA to operate the Coastal Radio Service (CRS), a Network of Maritime Radio Stations
- AWA continued Maritime Operations supplying Marine Radio Operators to Australia Registered Vessels until the early 1980s
- Up until 1994, AWA was the largest manufacturer of Consumer Radios, and also the first and largest Commercial Radio Networks in Australia- owning 2CH Sydney, 3MP Melbourne and 6KY Perth. AWA purchased 3XY Melbourne in 1991, launching it in 1992 as 3EE (Magic 693)
The AWA Building 45-47 York Street in Sydney was completed in 1939 becoming an instant landmark with its art-deco style and large white radio tower on top (in the shape of the Eiffel Tower) and was the tallest building in Australia until 1958. It remained the AWA head office until the 1990s and is now heritage listed in Australia
- During World War II, the Marconi School trained an extensive number of military personnel in signals and communications. Additionally, the Department of Defense appropriated and operated the Ballan facility for military radio operations, eventually returning it to civilian operations with the Overseas Telecommunications Commission (OTC). OTC joined with Telecom Australia in 1992 to form the Australian and Overseas Telecommunications Corporation, later to become Telstra Corporation.
- AWA continued to have major involvement in the Australian defense electronics industry. It worked closely with the Defense Science and Technology Organization (DSTO) in developing the electronics in the Ikara anti-submarine weapon, Nulka EW rocket drone, AN/SSQ-801A Barra sonobuoy (with Plessey as Sonobuoys Australia Pty Ltd), Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM), Agile Gliding Bomb and ALR-2002 Radar Warning Receiver, as well as providing support to the initial Jindalee Over The Horizon Radar trials.
- AWA Defence Industries (AWADI) was formed in October 1988 by the merger of the defense electronics business of AWA with those of Thorn EMI Electronics Australia and Fairey Australasia. AWADI was sold to British Aerospace Australia in April 1996.
- With Radio Corporation of America (RCA), AWA established a joint venture (Amalgamated Wireless Valve Co. Pty Ltd) to manufacture radio valves (vacuum tubes) at the Ashfield works under the AWV, RCA and Radiola brands. During World War II AWV produced a range of defense electronics material, including klystrons and magnetrons for radar equipment. In 1958 AWV commercialized research work by the AWA Research Laboratories to set up a plant to manufacture transistors and AWA Semiconductors was born. AWA continued to distribute products from RCA Semiconductor into the mid 1980s.
- With its commencement in the 1930s, AWA Aviation Department (later Aviation Division) operated the major avionics servicing organization in Australia and Papua New Guinea through a number of service depots located at major and secondary airports, with a large workshop located in Airport West, Victoria. From 1948 to 1991 AWA held the contract to install and maintain the avionics of the Australian domestic airlines (Ansett-ANA, later Ansett Australia and Trans Australia Airlines, later Australian Airlines and subsequently Qantas). The Aviation Division was sold to British Aerospace in 1996, before being sold again to Rockwell Collins to be absorbed within its Australian avionics maintenance operations.
- AWA engineers were working with Marconi in England on television systems from 1948 and in 1954 AWA provided the first (experimental) TV broadcast in Australia during Queen Elizabeth II’s Australian Royal Tour.
- AWA moved into TV broadcasting again in 1980 when it purchased QTQ-9 in Brisbane, which it sold to Alan Bond in 1985 when Bond started to assemble his ownership of the Nine Network
- AWA reported in 1987 AUD $49 million in foreign exchange losses due to unauthorized trading in 1986 and 1987. Over the next decade, in what developed into a landmark case in Australia, there were legal proceedings against auditors for failing to identify the trading, as well as cross claims against the company's directors, the foreign exchange trader and the banks involved. In May 2010 the employee at the center of the foreign exchange losses, Andrew Koval, was extradited from the United States to face criminal charges. He had previously defended a civil suit in relation to the matter.
- In 1988, the company was renamed "AWA Limited", and in August sold its telephone manufacturing and related businesses to Exicom Ltd.
- A year later, AWA Computer Support Services was established as an independent business unit. In the early 1990s, unable to compete with cheaper imported appliances, AWA exited the field of domestic appliances and consumer electronics, and focused on industrial technology.
- In 1991 AWA acquired Smorgon Technologies, a world leader in totalisator systems. The company developed and operated state-of-art wagering systems that were installed around the world
- In 1995 the Maritime Division was sold to a private company, and named AWA Marine.
- In 2001 AWA Ltd was acquired by Jupiters Limited, which was soon acquired by Tabcorp. It is now a private company that specializes in Shore-side IT Services.