Description: RAN Tally Band – HMAS Melville – circa 1960/1970s

Maker’s Name: N/A

Condition: Very Good

Comments: Royal Australian Navy – Tally Band – HMAS Melville – circa 1960/1970s.

HMAS Melville was a naval base of the Royal Australia Navy at Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia. First established as a naval reserve depot in January 1935, commanded by Lieutenant Commander H.P. Jarrett of the Naval Reserve District of Queensland. In 1937 Lieutenant Commander J.H. Walker was appointed the District Naval Officer of the newly created Naval District of the Northern Territory.

A high-powered Wireless Transmitting Station was built in 1939 and also the construction of fuelling facilities, boom depot and improvements to Darwin’s water supply. The depot was renamed HMAS Penguin IV with the outbreak of the Second World War. On 1 August 1940, the depot was commissioned as HMAS Melville.

The Naval Wireless Transmitting Station Coonawarra, which operated under the command of Melville, provided essential communications in support of the Allied operations in the Dutch East Indies and South West Pacific Area regions. The base was subjected to numerous bombing raids during the bombing of Darwin and suffered significant damage.

After the cessation of hostilities, the base was hampered by the continuing expansion of Darwin and the increase in numbers of naval personnel. It was decided to move the operations to the Naval Wireless Transmitting Station Coonawarra, which was commissioned on 16 March 1970 as HMAS Coonawarra. The facilities at Melville continued to be used until they were destroyed by Cyclone Tracy on 25 December 1974.