HCJB Australia – The Early Years
From the early 1950’s, people in Australia caught the vision of sharing the gospel around the world and for the next three decades, under various leaders, HCJB in Australia (now Reach Beyond) went about the business of promoting the worldwide ministry, raising support for the work and sending a number of missionaries to serve in Quito, Ecuador in radio, healthcare and other areas.
The name HCJB Global incorporated the call letters of our original station in Quito, Ecuador. What started in 1931 as a local AM station grew into an international shortwave ministry that operated under the same call sign HCJB – the Voice of the Andes.
After returning from service in Ecuador, Charles and Val Gray actively promoted the ministry and also had a small studio built on their property where programming for HCJB was produced.
In November, 1986 HCJB in Australia was incorporated and became The World Radio Missionary Fellowship of Australia Inc.
That same year the ‘World by 2000’ Partnership of HCJB with FEBC, TWR and SIM (ELWA) began and the worldwide search for speakers of needed WB2000 languages began.
In 1988, during Dr Ron Cline’s deputation visit to New Zealand, God spoke to David and Glenis Maindonald and within months they arrived in Australia for David to become the ministry’s first full-time director of the Australian office.
New Studio Facilities
By 1991 our studio was no longer able to meet the expanding programming opportunities, not only for HCJB but also for local and international release.
Through God’s amazing provision, an offer of land and partnership came with The Canterbury Gardens Community Church in Melbourne. “The site could not have been better situated if we had been actively looking for land ourselves. Not only is there more room than we could ever have dreamed of … it’s perfect, truly a provision of the Lord!” said David Maindonald.
The New HCJB Australia Headquarters and Studios were dedicated and opened on Sunday December 5th, 1993.
These studios continue to produce, duplicate and dispatch programming for Reach Beyond and others in a number of languages for local and international broadcasts.
Becoming a Broadcaster
In 1997 a formal offer of a 200 acre property situated adjacent to the Ord River and Diversion Dam, 6 km from the township of Kununurra, Western Australia was made to HCJB Australia. This offer was accepted and the property transferred ownership on 25 June 1998.
The Kununurra site was assessed for suitability by international broadcasting consultant John Stanley who said “This site has so many advantages that, assuming a licence can be obtained, it would be difficult to see it as anything other than God’s provision.”
Through God’s action and the hard work of a few dedicated people, the laws of Australia were changed so that on 19 April 2001, HCJB Australia was granted four international broadcast licences with the opportunity to share the gospel through shortwave radio to the Asia Pacific region, containing 60% of the world’s population.
With God’s help and provision, on 5 Jan 2003, HCJB Australia became an International Broadcaster servicing the South Pacific. A month later our broadcasts to Asia began.
In the years before and since those first broadcasts, while praying, working and watching, we have seen God open doors, remove obstacles and provide in so many remarkable ways. We are excited to see how God is using this international shortwave broadcasting facility for His glory throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
By 2010 we had received reception reports from at least 57 countries. God has indeed set before us an “Open Door!”
In 2014, after more than 80 years as HCJB, the ministry changed its name from HCJB Global to Reach Beyond.
Reach Beyond continues to reach into remote places around the world where the name of Jesus is unknown, resisted or marginalised. Here in Australia, God has given us the opportunity to reach beyond our borders to the people of the Asia Pacific region via shortwave radio.
Today we broadcast in over 30 languages to the Asia Pacific region. The broadcast site has moved from the 200 acre farm property to a nearby larger piece of land, that is leased from the Western Australian Government, where large antennas have been built, giving us a much stronger and clearer shortwave signal for our listeners.
The original 200 acre property has been developed to include staff housing as well as an accommodation block and caravan park. The property caters for long-term and short-term staff and volunteers and ministry teams. It also continues as a working farm, growing bananas and mangoes along with sandalwood trees, creating a revenue source for the ministry. It is also the home of the newly opened Alta-1 College providing school education for local kids that have fallen through the cracks of the normal school system. We are looking for further opportunities to expand the use of this property for ministry to the people of the Kimberley.
In Melbourne, the office and studios are busy with various administrative tasks as well as program production and scheduling. A number of partner ministries lease offices and use our studios to record their programs.
Pray with us, as we continue to develop the ministry God has entrusted to us, that lives would be changed and transformed by the message of hope in Jesus. We are uniquely placed to deliver this message.
For further reading about the history and story of Reach Beyond in Australia, you can purchase a copy of Beyond Borders. Learn more here.