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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)

About this time I was finding that the latest developments in electronic gear contained more and more computerised 'gee-gaws'. Also, I was doing more desk work on the PC with Autosketch, making drawings for the installation of a mesoscale network of AWSs around the State, mainly in the west and around Port Phillip Bay. These stations were installed on a grid intended to fill gaps where there were no staffed or co-operative observing stations, and which, amongst other things, enabled more accurate forecasts of the arrival of fronts in the Melbourne metropolitan area.

In 1989 I was advised that there was a vacancy for a fitter and machinist at the Hoddle Street workshops. I finished my career there, practising my intended retirement hobby of model engineering. The personnel in residence at the time were OIC Bill Taylor, Allan Edwards, Ron Hall, Luigi Barbieri, Dave Robertson and Jose Alvarenga. In about 1991, the premises of the Bureau's central store at Barry Road, Campbellfield, was sold and the new owners decided that the new lease would be much more expensive. There was a rush to find alternative accommodation, and a good idea was mooted that the workshop should go with the store. One suggested site was at Williamstown; another at Kensington would have been quite acceptable. However, due to the usual speed at which decisions are made, the store moved into a new building in Truck City Drive, a few kilometres up the road from the old site and the workshop missed out again.

About the start of 1994, Bill Taylor was dragged, kicking and screaming, into 150 Lonsdale Street and Allan Edwards took over as OIC of the workshops. In order to show our willingness to reduce the rental at Hoddle Street we vacated the ground floor of the southern building. Also, to consolidate the workforce into 'safety hailing distance', we vacated the upper floor and remodelled the amenities area. At the end of 1993, Luigi Barbieri, who was renovating Woelfle anemographs, retired and was not replaced. In January 1996, Ron Hall, the electrical fitter, retired and was not replaced. This left Allan Edwards, who was actually attending 150 Lonsdale Street on two days a week, Dave Robertson and me rattling around in the ground floor area, with Radar Section upstairs under Alf West.

After at least four years of rumours Bill Hite came out of his den saying that the Hoddle Street workshop was to be closed "because we can't afford the rent and power bills". It moved to the training annexe at Glenlitta Avenue, Broadmeadows, retaining only the WF44 and WF3 radar rebuilding functions. So, it was either Glenlitta Avenue or 150 Lonsdale Street. Since both these options were going to cost me money, and since I had my thirty year gong, I simply pulled the plug.

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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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