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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Australian Naval Communications Centre, Western Australia

Australia and the US agreed to build a Naval Communications Centre at Exmouth. It opened in 1963 as the US Naval Communication Centre Harold E Holt, named after the late Australian Prime Minister who drowned while scuba diving near his home. The primary purpose was to create a radio relay station so messages could be passed between Australian and US Command Centres to submarines and ships in the Indian Ocean.
Today as the Australian Naval Communications Station, it continues to play a vital role in the secure operation of the Australian submarine fleet. Tropical Cyclone Vance caused about 12 million dollars worth of damage to the base and destroyed many older, unused buildings. The US Navy still maintains an involvement with the station and contributes to operating costs and upgrades.
It is the world's largest low frequency transmitter. The central tower, known as Tower Zero stands majestically overlooking the north west cape. It stands in the centre surrounded by 12 others, which can be seen from a great distance. Because cyclones come through this area every few years, it was built to withstand winds of 500 kilometres an hour.