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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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The Life and Bureau Times of Graham Linnett (continued)

Many of them soon found better employment outside the Bureau and quickly moved on. Our representative was irreverently nicknamed 'Speedy' mainly because it took him 'til 4.30pm to complete a 2300 UTC radiosonde flight. He was an ace on the sferics also. Because of poor vision he wore glasses with lenses like the bottoms of milk bottles; managed to see every third or fourth flash on the CRT. It made for anxious and unfortunate entertainment on the network with the old hand Observers. To overcome staff shortages and imbalances he was offered the position of Observer (Radio) at Charleville which, after much protestation, he refused and headed back to the Old Dart.

Merv became disenchanted with the Bureau and transferred to the then Department of Shipping and Transport later to become the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. I acted as Senior Observer (Radio) for a short period. My tour at Brisbane was from approximately April to December 1966. I was relieved as Senior Observer (Radio) by the 'old master' Jack Byrne from Hobart.

One of the major tasks carried out at Eagle Farm was JACMAS watches. These were the forerunner of the terminal area severe turbulence service and were a primitive means of guiding aircraft around severe thunderstorms. This system was devised and implemented after the crash of a Viscount aircraft into Botany Bay. It was my introduction to the research side of the Bureau. In addition, it resulted in much overtime, sometimes to 11.00 pm, tracking thunderstorms passing around and over Brisbane. The money may have been good but the fatigue of the radar watch soon took the edge off it.

Towards December 1966 it was decided that more staff than necessary were on hand at Eagle Farm and that some adjustments were required. Now the old field officers' pool was a wonderful thing. Every two years you were expected to move on to a new station and let someone else move into your spot and catch up on some of the experiences and niceties of life they missed out on by being in the bush. Like all these fairytale systems, inequities soon creep in and lo and behold someone has been in a spot for a longer than normal time and someone thinks he should move. They ask him nicely, but human nature being what it is, he declines their kind offer. That, to the old clerical types of the time, was like a 'red rag to a bull'. We'll move him anyway was their response.

Now it came to pass that the considered opinion of the Bureau's hierarchy deemed the occupant at Williamtown should be transferred to Sydney to further benefit his career and the Bureau overall. I'm advised "you are to be transferred to Williamtown in December 1966 on a two year posting". You beauty! The chance to work on, and enjoy all that goes with life on a Luftwaffe base. The paperwork goes through and furniture pickup date has been arranged. At approx 9 pm on the evening prior to pick up I get a call from the Staff Clerk saying, "the two year posting has been cancelled but you'll still have to go on a three months temporary transfer to cover the incumbent's recreation leave, sick leave and long service leave etc". The old 'Philadelphia lawyer' proved too smart for the best of the Bureau's clerical brains. I left Williamtown about April 1967; he stayed.

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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

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