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Table of Contents

Radio Technical Officers





Chapter 1: The Early Years

Chapter 2: The Training School

Chapter 3: Equipment Installation Records

Chapter 4: The 'Techs' in Antarctica

Chapter 5: The 'Techs' Tell Their Stories
Trevor Donald Tells It All; Life in the Bureau from 1947 to 1989
Ray Clarke Looks Back
Some Memories from Ralph Bulloch
Peter Copland Works in Meteorological Electronics
Some Titbits from Dave Grainger
A Very Modest Tale from Alf Svensson
Adrian Porter Pulls No Punches
Jack Tait Recalls
Some Stories by Colourful Freddie Soutter
Some Snippets from Noel Barrett
Stephen CourbÍt Has His Penny Wworth
And a Flyspeck or Two from Lenny Dawson
Some Interesting Reminiscences from Jannes Keuken
Brief Stories from Phil Black
From Gloria West, Wife of the Late Bob West
The Life and Bureau Times of Graham Linnett
Tales Out of School from Bill Hite
Peter Copland on Cyclone Tracy
Peter Broughton Tells the Story of Maralinga

Appendix 1: 'Techs' Roll Call

Appendix 2: Trainee Intakes

Appendix 3: 'Techs' Who Have Served in the Antarctic Region

Appendix 4: Summary of Major Installation Projects

Appendix 5: Summary of Major Equipment Variously Installed at Sites and Maintained by Radio Technical Officers


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Some Snippets from Noel Barrett (continued)

In September 1972 I applied for a transfer back to Melbourne as I wanted to get back nearer to my parents in Hobart, and also to go back to college and get engineering qualifications. We left Port Hedland by Land Rover for Melbourne in February 1973. Our personal effects had been collected a week earlier and our departure delayed by a cyclone. One truck, a canvas covered one with our books, records and kitchen gear, etc, in cardboard boxes got stuck at Whim Creek in the blow and many kitchen items including food went missing. The books still have water marks. The other truck with our furniture stayed in Port Hedland and left the day before us via the inland road and hence crossed the DeGrey River in flood. Our mattress was still wet when delivered in Melbourne two months later. We travelled via Nullagine, Meekatharra, Northam then across the Nullarbor to Melbourne and a spot of leave in Hobart. Ken Richards relieved me in the West.

I recommenced with the Victorian Region in May 1973, working for Peter Broughton as a Radio Technical Officer Grade 2, and in February 1974 I started part-time engineering studies at the Preston Institute of Technology (PIT). In August 1978 I transferred to the Training School as a Technical Instructor Grade 2, working for John MacDermott.

Following Cyclone Tracy I was sent to Darwin in February 1975 for three weeks to assist the RMO with getting the gear back in operation. The WF44 radar had survived very well; in fact it was the only radar left standing in Darwin. We slept in the Nightcliff Primary School and generally roughed it along with everyone else.

Following 'Mac's' promotion to a position at the workshops in Hoddle Street, I was promoted to Senior Technical Instructor Grade 1 in January 1976 and became responsible for the selection and training of Radio Technical Officers in the Bureau and for Antarctic service.

In response to a request from the Papua New Guinea National Weather Service, I went to Port Moresby for three weeks in February 1976 to train local AWA staff on WF44 radar maintenance and to bring the gear up to scratch.

In the middle of 1976 I transferred from PIT to RMIT to continue my part-time engineering studies and, in 1979, I took long service leave on half pay so that I could finish the final year full time. Reg Carter looked after the technical training while I was away. Sometime around 1976 the Training School moved from 196 A'Beckett Street to 150 Lonsdale Street.

After finishing my Diploma at RMIT I returned to the Training School, but after being a full time student the job just wasn't the same. Also, my parents in Hobart were in need of more on-hand support. The Radio Technical Officer Grade 2 position in Hobart became vacant in early 1980 when Sid Owen left to work in apples. The position was also made that of RMO Tasmania and was no longer under the RMO in Victoria. I applied for the transfer and subsequently returned to Hobart.

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Clarke, R. 1999 'Stories of the Bureau's Radio Technical Officers from 1948', Metarch Papers No. 14 February 1999, Bureau of Meteorology

© Online Edition Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre and Bureau of Meteorology 2001
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