Constructed in 1936 as part of the Postmaster General’s Plan for telecommunications across Australia, the heritage-listed 2NR Broadcasting Station building, home of the Lawrence Museum, is a familiar landmark in the riverside community.
17 acres including around 11 acres of crown land was purchased for the site, which was determined by scientific measurement of soil conductivity to provide the best quality transmission and distance.
Posts and Telegraph Officers developed the original mast design, and it was so successful it was patented, and subsequently used at other stations.
Described as having interwar functionalist style with a strong monumental entrance and four columns supporting the portico, the total cost of the station, including land, building mast and transmitter was $51,789.42, or £25,894, 14 shillings and threepence.
The official opening of the building took place at the Saraton Theatre in Grafton on July 17, 1936, with the opening speech by Dr Earle Page, MHR, Minister for Customs and Leader of the Country Party in Federal Government.
During WWII, the premises had an armed guard, and the guard’s sign on book is part of the wonderful historic collection presently on display in the building.
On November 13, 1946, the mast blew down during a violent storm.
Overnight, station staff built an emergency aerial and had the station back on air for the scheduled 6am start.
A replacement mast was completed on November 9, 1951.
Transmission equipment was upgraded from 7kw to 10kw in 1952, to be replaced in 1958 by a 50kw transmitter, and the station underwent a diesel generator upgrade in 1969.
In 1989, the station became automatic, and the staff reduced to one technician and a general assistant.
Staff were withdrawn in 1995, the equipment dispersed and the station building closed.
In 2002 the Lawrence Historical Society purchased the building and surrounding land, and in 2004 the Lawrence Museum was opened.
The Society has restored the building, keeping as much of its history as possible.
Reflecting on its communications history, the Lawrence Museum has an extensive collection with industrial, commercial and social items, including rare items.
As ABC Radio celebrates 90 years of broadcasting in 2022, it is also important to note that the 2NR Broadcasting Station building has played a significant role throughout its long and proud history, helping to deliver news and information across the region.
The Lawrence Museum is open each Tuesday from 9am – 1pm, and weekends between 1pm – 4pm.
Admission is $5 per person.
EFTPOS is not available.