Bass Strait Maritime Centre

Experiments and estuary training

SIGN NUMBER 5 – Experiments and estuary training

Training Wall

The training wall at East Devonport is a breakwater made of stone. Situated on the eastern side of the Mersey River, the breakwater, which is shaped like a dogleg, connects the end of East Devonport Beach to the Fairwell Beacon. It helps to channel tides and currents that flush sand and silt from the mouth of the river.

This training wall was completed in January 1903 at a cost of £4,112.

Marconi’s Wireless Experiments

Marconi transmitter, c. 1906.

Towards the end of 1896, the inventor Marconi’s wireless telegraphy was spreading through Europe and Great Britain. The Marconi Company devised a demonstration, that they hoped would convince the Governments of Australia to adopt their new communication technology.

The plan was to send a wireless telegraph message from the Governor General in Queenscliff, Victoria, across Bass Strait, to the Tasmanian State Governor, in Devonport.

The demonstration was successful, however the State Governor was in Hobart at the time, so although the message was received, it had to be written down, then transported by bicycle and ferry to the post office across the river, then transmitted via Morse code to Hobart, where the Governor eventually received it, and replied 40 minutes later.

Torquay Pound

(Refer to map displayed at each end of this sign)

Typical for the era, Torquay’s town plan circa 1852, features a flat, checkerboard design with no depictions of hills or gullies.

A notable feature of the plan was the large amount of land set aside for reserves and public use.

There was a lack of fencing in early Devonport, and a growing number of stray animals, especially dogs and horses. The town needed a pound!

The Torquay Pound was originally located next to a reserve, near to where the caravan park is located today.

The map on either end of this sign was prepared in 1860, however the first land sales took place in late 1852 in Launceston.  We have not been able to locate this earlier map from which land sales took place.


  • Department of Natural Resources and Environment
  • “With The Pioneers” by Charles Ramsay
  • “The Quiet Achievers” by Maureen Bennett
  • Centenary of the Marconi Wireless Telegraphy Experiments by Faye Gardam
  • Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph Coy Ltd Souvenir of Queenscliff and Devonport Demonstration
  • Bass Strait Maritime Centre