Maloney’s Boloney Station

A.K.A the Southland Pirate

By Arthur Cushen, reprinted from the July 1993 DX Times.

In the June issue of the DX Times, page 14, there was some details on the capture of Southland’s first pirate radio station but as the one who was at the kill with (AR) Casey Harris from Dunedin, I have all the information here including letters, a verification and other momentos of this memorable catch.

During 1942 spasmodic transmissions were heard on several frequencies on the broadcast band and in November I alerted Casey Harris to the fact that they were more frequent, as I was writing to him each week sending him POW names and Security information. He wrote saying that he felt that this was a matter of urgency. It was war time and of course, all amateur transmitters had been sealed and no-one was allowed to operate anything unlicenced and here is a case in point where someone had decided to start their own broadcasting station.

Arrangements were made for Casey Harris to visit Invercargill and I had receivers tuned to the frequency awaiting the commencement of broadcasting. Casey brought with him a heavy portable radio with giant nine volt batteries underneath the receiver and it was built on to a disk which meant you could stand it on the road and turn it around and get a fairly rough direction of any signal.

It was a warm, sunny Saturday afternoon on December 5, 1942 when we got into the car and travelled north, keeping the signal on the receiver and we got into the Makarewa area and decided that we would turn left down a country road and this proved to be the right move, as the signal gradually got louder.

We stopped outside a farmhouse and could hear the same music being played inside and we thought, this is either the culprit or one of his friends in the know. The receiver was put on the road to make certain that we were getting a direct bearing and then we rushed the house, through the front door and found the startled inhabitants with Maurice Maloney playing recordings, and his audience was his mother and father.

All his material was confiscated, it was found that he was out on leave to assist with harvesting on the farm and the equipment he was using actually belonged to his brother who was in the Air Force. The pile of recordings were not all his own, some of them were marked AZP which was the call of one of Invercargill’s early radio stations operated by Dick Parsons in Layard Street.

Casey Harris afterwards gave me a recording and suitably transcribed the message on it. In the form of a verification, he detailed the recordings we had heard on the back of a 1943 calendar.

The following Monday morning Maurice Maloney appeared before the Invercarqill Court and was fined three pound and costs of ten shillings and his equipment of two transmitters and 150 recordings was confiscated. The recordings he played included, “The Yellow Rose of Texas”, “Wild Irish Rose”, “The Rose Of Trallee” and “All The Flowers Of Dan Mahoney’s Grave”. These were some of the tunes which Casey Harris wrote on my verification card and were the type of music that Maurice Maloney played and, of course, the station soon became known to Southlanders as Maloney‘s Boloney Station.