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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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Chapter 5: The 'Techs' Tell Their Stories

The contributions in this most important chapter, whilst relatively few in number, are rich in quality and cover a wide variety of technical activity, places and people associated with the Bureau's network.

Most of the contributors will be known to the older 'techs' and some who are legends in one way or another will still be familiar to the newer. It was not an easy job to get information since, alas, many of the early day 'techs' have passed on to the big weather station up top. Some who I did manage to trace were incapacitated in one way or another, and some again were just not traceable even through the Frosterley Clubs and the Bureau's offices. There were some who promised to submit something, but didn't. All in all, my only regret is that I didn't start this project 10 years ago.

Although this Metarch Paper is about 'techs', their lives, their jobs and their ups and downs, I must record the 'techs' appreciation of the Engineers and other technical support groups in Head Office for just that, viz, their support. Some names come to mind readily and if I miss any put it down to my bad memory. I remember Geoff (Benny) Goodman, John Ellis, John Ryan, Don Seedsman, Mike Hassett, Ken Johnston (who was always borrowing my soldering iron), Keith Henderson, Ralph de la Lande, Gwyn Court (my boss when I was acceptance testing WF2 Radars), Alf West (what he doesn't know about 'met' radars isn't worth knowing), Bill Hite (who followed me commissioning WF44 radars and who is now maintenance chief) and, of course, my boss in the Installation Section Tony (Savoury Crackers) Savory who was a good bloke but, alas, believed in that myth probably perpetrated by Gilbery that 'the West is the best'. Not a real bad egg amongst the lot of them.

In the workshops there was Colin Maxfield (never short of a word, our Col) and Brian Baker who were handy to keep on side. I also remember Rex Moncur who was the radiosonde king in the early days before he rose to his now exalted position as Director of the Antarctic Division in Hobart.

What follows are the stories of some of the Bureau's 'techs'. I trust they are to your liking.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Frosterley Club

People in Bright Sparcs - de la Lande, Ralph; Henderson, William Keith

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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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