HomeNewsWarburton gains ABC Melbourne relay transmitter on 96.1FM

Warburton gains ABC Melbourne relay transmitter on 96.1FM

Warburton Valley residents can now tune into emergency radio broadcasts in the event of a major emergency thanks to a community-driven project to secure an ABC re-broadcasting antenna.

ABC Radio Melbourne’s (774kHz) Libbi Gorr will broadcast her Sunday Mornings program live from the Warburton CFA Open Day between 10am and 12pm on Sunday,  October 29, to celebrate Warburton accessing essential emergency information during a bushfire or storm via 96.1FM.

Warburton Emergency Planning Group (WEPG) member Kevin Bargar said the new antenna on Mount Victoria which re-broadcasts ABC Melbourne could potentially save lives.

“This re-broadcasting antenna will give the community the ability to get the information they need to stay safe and be as prepared as possible,” he said.

“Previously, feedback from Upper Yarra residents indicated that receiving timely emergency information was a problem for many people.

“Warburton has limited AM/FM radio coverage, mobile phone coverage black spots and lack of internet access.”

Mr Bargar said the Warburton community had benefited from a temporary antenna during the 2009 Black Saturday event and had been advocating for a permanent replacement.

“The radio signal can now be picked up by the transmitter and re-broadcast to the Upper Yarra region using FM radio,” he said.

WEPG received a $20,000 grant from the Warburton and Yarra Junction Community Bank branches (Bendigo Bank) to fund the technology.

The service is designed to provide coverage for along the Warburton Valley between Yarra Junction and Reefton (including Upper Yarra Dam and Cambarville).

After Premier Daniel Andrews’ visit to Warburton in late 2015 highlighted Warburton and surrounding areas as one of the highest bushfire risk locations in the state, the WEPG approached Emergency Management Victoria (EMV) to support the community with the outstanding $25,000 funding to install the antenna and transmitter.

O’Shannassy Ward councillor Jim Child said Yarra Ranges Council had been working with WEPG to coordinate and fund the feasibility, implementation and planning requirements to get the transmitter in place.

“This antenna will allow Warburton to maintain their resilience and receive much needed information during a disaster,” Cr Child said.

“We are encouraging everyone in the community to come down to the Warburton CFA to be present at the live broadcast.”

Council provided funding for the project and additional in-kind support.

The tower owner TX Australia has agreed to subsidise the annual rental fees and Council has committed to supporting the annual running costs of the service.

This summer residents who cannot easily receive the 774AM signal are being asked to tune into 96.1FM during times of emergency for all emergency broadcasting needs.

Warburton CFA Open Day

Sunday, October 29
10AM – 3PM
Warburton Fire Brigade CFA
3484 Warburton Hwy, Warburton


Warburton Emergency Planning Group (WEPG) members Gordon Buller, Kevin Bargar, Julian Guess and Cr Jim Child. (Photo: Supplied)


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