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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 Titbits from Dave Grainger (continued)

I was then posted to Adelaide Airport where I met up with John Surgee again. RMO South Australia was Alan Jarman and his offsider in the city was Mike Rowell. 'Doc' Hogan was Regional Director. John Spehr was the 'tech' at Woomera. It was at this time that I decided that I could not exist without a set of wheels and, with a family of five kids, it would have to be something adequate. I purchased a second-hand Morris J2 bus and the first time I decided to take them up to the Adelaide hills the thing boiled half way up. Eventually I replaced the 1500cc motor with a 2400 cc motor from an Austin Freeway, and replaced the differential with one from a Morris Marshall. This gave me more power and longer legs. In October 1969 I was detached to Darwin for six weeks to look after the WF44 radar as leave relief, replacing, I think, another Carter. I can't remember his first name; it may have been Ray.

I found accommodation fairly easily in Cyprus Grove, Flinders Park. It was fully furnished, all supplies were still connected, and the phone was operating. When I went back to the agent he said that this was because the previous tenants had 'done a flit'. Over the next couple of months we had a few mysterious phone calls for a Bill Everett and eventually had a couple of CIB detectives come to the door. Bill Everett was an accomplice in the Great Train Robbery of 1966. And here's the coincidence, his mate Ronald Biggs and wife Charmain were located living a couple of doors away from Russ Henry in Blackburn, Victoria.

For some reason it was decided that I was supernumerary to requirements at Adelaide and, in April 1970, I was posted to the Victorian Region in the Commonwealth Centre on the corner of Spring and LaTrobe Streets (the 'Green Latrine') under RMO Victoria/Tasmania Peter Broughton and his No 2, Roy Holmes. Keith Hannay was Regional Director.

This building was later found to have asbestos in the ceiling cavities; yes, after I had been pulling cables in the ceiling for years. It was too expensive to have the stuff removed and the building was demolished in about 1991 or 1992. Also present in the Victorian Region were 'techs' Ken Richards, Neil Simmons, John Dee and Orm Guy. In the years that followed there was a procession of 'techs' second in charge under Peter Broughton. The order may be out but there was Orm Guy, Jannes Keuken, Ken Richards, Noel Barrett, Bruce Duck, Bob West, Russ Henry and Phil Wilson. Phil is now, in 1998, Regional Engineering Services Manager (RESM), Victoria.

Being so close and convenient to Head Office and Training School, the Victorian Region also experienced a procession of trainee 'techs' during the school holidays, a few of whom were posted in on the completion of their studies. There were Chris Heal, Haig O'Hanian, Ian Parsons, Dave Newton, John Oldenhuis, Ron Chambers, Greg Caddaye, Phil Purdam, Mark Mackenzie, Stammy Criticos, Arnold Mavromatis, Greg Clark and Tom Cobbley.

People in Bright Sparcs - Hogan, John (Doc); Holmes, Ralph Aubrey Edward

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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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