50th anniversary of Naval Communication Station Harold E Holt

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Minister for Defence Marise Payne today congratulated the Australian Defence Force and the United States Navy on the 50th anniversary of the official commissioning of Naval Communication Station Harold E Holt in Exmouth, Western Australia.

CAPTION: Arrayed antennaes at the Naval Communication Station Harold E Holt in Exmouth, north-west Australia. Photo by Corporal Christopher Dickson.

Minister Payne said this long-standing joint initiative has ensured our nation’s important strategic capabilities and borders are protected.

“Since the station was commissioned on 16 September 1967, it has played a significant part in the Australia-US relationship through its strategic and operational role,” Minister Payne said.

Naval Communication Station Harold E Holt in Exmouth, north-west Australia. Photo by Corporal Nick Wiseman.
Naval Communication Station Harold E Holt in Exmouth, north-west Australia. Photo by Corporal Nick Wiseman.

The station was built following the 1963 signing of construction and operation agreements, and the status of forces agreement, between Australia and the United States.

“The station provides very-low-frequency (VLF) communication transmission services in support of Australian, US and allied submarines and has strengthened the relationship between Australia and the United States,” she said.

“The VLF antenna array covers over 400 hectares. The antennas are a large spiderweb of wires supported in a top-hat arrangement using 13 towers, the tallest of which is nearly 400m high.”

In 1992 command of the base was officially passed from the United States Navy to the Royal Australian Navy.

The Station is now operated and maintained by the Australian Department of Defence on behalf of the Commonwealth of Australia and the United States, after a formal agreement between both countries was signed in 2008.

Created in support of the station’s construction and operation, the town of Exmouth was declared open on the same day the station was commissioned and has become a popular tourist destination.

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Brian Hartigan

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