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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 (continued)

It must have been 1965 when Reg Goldsworthy was appointed Regional Maintenance Officer (RMO) for New South Wales. Reg and his wife travelled down from Queensland and settled into suburban life in Sydney. A nice chap Reg, and pleasant to work with. I never met his wife but got the impression that she was not happy living in Sydney, and I suspect that this was the reason for his resignation the following year. Reg joined Philips Industries in Queensland and was involved with their X-ray division.

Around this time, late in 1965 or possibly early in 1966, Fielden remote sensing temperature and dewpoint equipment began to appear in the Region. The Regional Office was the first installation with chart recorders installed there receiving data from sensors installed in the instrument enclosure at Observatory Hill. The Sydney Airport installation followed soon after.

Within the next few years Fielden telemetry had been installed at all aviation field offices. The equipment proved to be very reliable although we did have some problems at Sydney Airport. The old instrument enclosure there was situated only a few metres from a main taxiway and residue from jet engines of passing aircraft fouled the dewpoint sensors. The use of very fine sintered bronze filters alleviated the problem somewhat in the short term.

In those early days Reg and I had access to virtually nothing. We shared a seldom used broadcast booth in the forecasting room as our office. When called upon to attend to problems at Sydney Airport we either caught the 302 bus to the airport or thumbed a ride on the Trans-Australia Airlines passenger coach.

When I arrived at Sydney Regional Office, Jack Johnston was Regional Director, Errol Mizon was his deputy and Gordon Sessions was Senior Clark. The Meteorologists that readily spring to mind from this period are Dick Wyatt, Max Moss, Harold Bond and Dick White. A number of Meteorologists Grade 1 were also appointed to Sydney during this period; Phil McGrath, John Armstrong, Elly Spark, Dace Kurzeme, Grant Sabin and Dick Whitaker are some that I recall.

During the latter part of 1966 installation of the Sydney Airport WF44 radar was commenced. Ray Clarke headed the installation team and was assisted by Bob Brealey and one or two other technicians. I also became part of the installation team. As work progressed, Bill Hite arrived from Head Office followed shortly after by Alf West. In due course, Alf, assisted by Bill, commissioned the installation.

Once the radar had been commissioned, Alf West started a WF44 training course at Sydney Airport. The participants were John MacDermott, Jannes Keuken, myself and one other (I think Peter Collins who later transferred to the Navy). The course had only progressed a couple of days when Alf West was whipped into hospital with appendicitis. Another Engineer arrived from Melbourne to carry on.

Towards the end of the course I was appointed Supervising Technician Grade 2 (RMO), and replaced Reg Goldsworthy who had resigned and returned to Queensland.

When the WF44 installation and commissioning party returned to Melbourne I was left on my own in Sydney, a situation that Jack Johnston quickly rectified by temporarily transferring Jannes Keuken from Wagga to Sydney.

People in Bright Sparcs - Bond, Harold George; Clarke, Raymond W.; Johnston, John (Jack)

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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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