Overseas Telecommunications Satellite Earth Station


Shire of Carnarvon

Place Number



Mahony Av Brown Range

Location Details

Lot 2 on Plan 401280 and Lot 28 on Plan 015963

Other Name(s)

OTC Earth Station
OTC Telecommunications Station
Overseas Telecommunications Station
The Dish

Local Government




Construction Date

Constructed from 1966

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents
Heritage List Adopted 23 Jun 2015
Heritage List Adopted 26 Feb 1988
State Register Registered 04 May 2001 HCWebsite.Listing+ListingDocument, HCWebsite.Listing+ListingDocument

Heritage Council Decisions and Deliberations

Type Status Date Documents
(no listings)

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management
Register of the National Estate Indicative Place
Municipal Inventory Adopted 23 Jun 2015 Category 1

Statement of Significance

Aesthetic Value – OTC Satellite Earth Station (fmr) has landmark value as a distinctive part of the Brown’s Range landscape and is a prominent focal point to the area east of the Carnarvon township. Aesthetic Value – The 1960s buildings and structures that comprise OTC Satellite Earth Station (fmr) form a precinct that is identifiable as a satellite earth station. Historic Value – OTC Satellite Earth Station (fmr) is of exceptional historical significance as the first satellite earth station constructed in Australia. Historic Value – OTC Satellite Earth Station (fmr) is significant for its association with the creation of INTELSAT in August 1964, reflecting Australia’s involvement in the establishment of the global communications system (INTELSAT). Historic Value – OTC Satellite Earth Station (fmr) is significant for its association with a number of NASA’s space projects, including the Apollo project which successfully landed the first men on the moon in July 1969. Historic Value – OTC Satellite Earth Station (fmr) is associated with the first live telecasts between Australia and an overseas country. Historic Value – OTC Satellite Earth Station (fmr) is closely associated with the work of OTC, INTELSAT, NASA and ESA organisations. Historic Value – OTC Satellite Earth Station (fmr) is associated with the technical innovation and achievement of creating a global communications system. Research Value – OTC Satellite Earth Station (fmr) holds international significance as a research and teaching site for its ability to illustrate the principal characteristics of the earth stations erected to create a global communications system in 1968. Elements of particular importance include the Cassegrain fed folded horn antenna and the larger OTC parabolic dish. Research Value – OTC Satellite Earth Station (fmr) is significant as an example of technical and innovative advancements in global communication in the 1960s. Social Value – OTC Satellite Earth Station (fmr) holds significant social value to the Carnarvon community as a site of international importance at which many people from the town were employed. Rarity – OTC Satellite Earth Station (fmr) contains a collection of structures that are rare and uncommon in Australia. The place was the first earth station built in Australia by the Overseas Telecommunications Commission and was one of only eight satellite earth stations in the world which carried out the function calling Tracking, Telemetry, Command and Monitoring (TTC&M) Representativeness – OTC Satellite Earth Station (fmr) is characteristic of satellite earth stations located around the world.

Physical Description

Satellite communication dish that formed part of a world-wide network of communication stations. Carnarvon was chosen as the site of the station for its close association and incidental role to the NASA Tracking Station.


On 20 August 1964, Australia along with fourteen other countries, signed two agreements to form an international telecommunications satellite consortium (INTELSAT). The objective was to establish a global communications system by 1968. The Overseas Telecommunications Commission (OTC) was Australia’s representative on the Interim Communications Satellite Committee (ICSC). In 1965, NASA’s Apollo moon landing project proposed a communications satellite network in which two satellites would be launched into orbit. A network of satellite earth stations was also needed to work in conjunction with these satellites. The Carnarvon location was decided upon primarily because of the presence of the NASA Tracking Station. Subsequently the earth station was designed to provide a direct communications link between Australia and the USA as part of the space projects administered by NASA. The OTC Satellite Earth Station (fmr) was established on Brown’s Range in 1966. The site initially comprised of three air-conditioned vans, an administration building, a powerhouse, 12 staff houses and a 12.8m Cassegrain fed folded horn antenna (Casshorn). On 24 November 1966 the first live telecasts occurred between Australia and an overseas country through transmission from the OTC Satellite Earth Station. The OTC Satellite Earth Station was also involved in the Apollo series which operated from October 1968 to December 1972. In 1969, the earth station was upgraded from semi transportable structures to more permanent structures. The Casshorn antenna monitored the performance of satellites while the larger 29.6 metre parabolic dish handled internal communication via the INTELSAT Pacific Ocean Satellite. The ESA antenna played an instrumental role in the 1985/1986 space mission to track the Giotto satellite from its launch up to its interception with Halley’s Comet. The OTC Satellite Earth Station closed in 1987. In 1989, an observatory was constructed at the northern end of the site. The OTC Satellite Earth Station is currently used as a Space and Technology Museum. The listing consists of the single men’s quarters, recreation building including swimming pool, tennis court and playground, administration control building, workshop, powerhouse and fuel shed, 1966 cassegrain fed folded horn antenna (Casshorn) (12.8 metres by 16.5 metres high), 1969 parabolic dish antenna (29.6 metres wide), 1980 ESA dish antenna base (15 metres wide), telemetry antenna support and equipment shelter and the telecommand equipment shelter. The staff quarters (25 houses on Craggs Court) have not been included in this listing. A representation of these houses has been listed separately as Place Record No. 62.





State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
5980 Conservation plan for OTC Satellite Earth Station (fmr) (1966) : Carnarvon : Western Australia. Heritage Study {Cons'n Plan} 2002
7548 OTC Satellite Earth Station Carnarvon : Casshorn Dish and Parabolic Dish : conservation works 2005 (final report). Conservation works report 2005

Place Type

Historic site


Epoch General Specific
Present Use VACANT\UNUSED Vacant\Unused
Original Use Transport\Communications Comms: Other

Architectural Styles

Other Style

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Other CONCRETE Other Concrete
Other METAL Steel

Historic Themes

General Specific

Creation Date

30 May 1989

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

27 Apr 2021


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