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Photo:- via Cameron Alexander

RAAF radar on roof of complex at Shepherd's Hill


Wing Commander Alfred George Pither RAAF carried out a reconnaissance flight of the Newcastle - Sydney - Port Kembla coastal strip in November 1941. Wing Commander Pither subsequently ordered that the British CD/CHL set being held by the CSIR Radiophysics Laboratory (RPL) be installed at an Australian Army establishment at Shepherd's Hill near Newcastle in New South Wales.

Pilot Officer Roger Sidney Choate in conjunction with Radiophysics installed the large radar on the roof of the observation post and on 10 January 1942, this Shepherd’s Hill RAAF Radar Site became the RAAF's  first operational air-warning radar under the command of Pilot Officer Choate. Unlike many other RAAF radar sites that followed in Australia, this Radar site was not numbered.

They installed an aerial at the site designed by Radiophysics and built by the NSW Government Railways for an Army SHD set. The RAAF installation party comprised students from 1 Ground Course at Richmond who started at site on 31 December 1941.

The RAAF operated the radar from this location until 19 April 1942. After the radar was removed the buildings were handed over to the Australian Army for shore defence duties. The Radar itself was relocated to nearby Nobby's Head by December 1943 and used by the Australian Army.

The RAAF radar unit was moved to Bombi in New South Wales on 1 April 1942 and became 19 Radar RAAF.


VAOC Post Nobby's Head

Searchlights at Nobby's Head

Australian Army Radar Nobby's Head

Twin 6 Pounder Emplacement Nobby's Head

RAN Station 301 Port War Signal Station Nobby's Head

Rail Section 3 Pounder Guns Nobby's Head Breakwater

RAN 302 Indicator Loop and Controlled Mining Station Newcastle



I'd like to thank Graham McKenzie-Smith and Cameron Alexander for their assistance with this web page.



"Units of the Royal Australian Air Force - A Concise History"
"Volume 5 - Radar Units"
compiled by the RAAF Historical Section


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This page first produced 15 June 2007

This page last updated 13 January 2020