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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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Trevor Donald Tells It All; Life in the Bureau from 1947 to 1989

My association with the Bureau commenced in April 1947 when I arrived in Melbourne to attend Observer Training Course No 6.

I was one of about 30 returned servicemen who received their training in the Royal Society building, Victoria Street, Melbourne. To the best of my knowledge all trainees qualified for appointment and on completion of training were posted to various locations around Australia. I was fortunate for my posting was to the weather office at RAAF Base, Fairbairn, Canberra. During my service at Canberra I was comfortably quartered in the Sergeants' Mess.

About the middle of 1948 Head Office called for volunteers for the 2nd Expedition to the Antarctic. I duly applied for selection along with a lot of other hopeful Observers. I did not make the team for 1949, however, I did get transferred to New Guinea; to Lae to be precise.

I was granted two weeks special leave in January 1949 to go south and get married. My wife to be was an ex-WAAAF and we met in the signals office at No 5 Aircraft Depot, RAAF Base Wagga, prior to being demobilised in 1946.

Our first home in New Guinea was a Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) residence at the airstrip. We were given use of these quarters until the 'met' homes were built. In actual fact the residence was originally the Salvation Army Red Shield hut during the latter stages of WWII. The building was little more than a very large shed with a concrete slab floor, timber frame and a corrugated iron roof. The timber frame was clad internally and externally with Sisalcraft (tarred paper) and fly wire. There were two doors for access and the internal ceilings consisted of three cargo parachute canopies slung from the roof. If I remember correctly, two chutes were cream coloured and one was red. We were there about twelve months before the 'met' homes were completed.

On those occasions when I was rostered on for a dog watch, my wife Dot would sometimes accompany me to the office. When she elected to remain at home she did so with a loaded revolver under the pillow.

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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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