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Federation and MeteorologyBureau of Meteorology
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Table of Contents

Radio Technical Officers

Foreword

Acknowledgements

Preface

Introduction

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 Stories by Colourful Freddie Soutter (continued)

They departed for Mount Kanigan, with the pub at Gunelda as their base camp. I was detailed to meet every aircraft arrival from Melbourne and collect any luggage for the list of names I had been given, plus tools and other items. Late that afternoon, with further arrivals expected at about 5.30 pm and just after 8 pm and with thunderstorms building in the west, I had a quick chat with my OIC Graham Linnett and settled on meeting the arrival at 5.30 pm. I then headed for home for a meal and change of clothes, and to pick up an overnight bag, before setting out for Gunelda. I departed from home at about 7 pm, accompanied by thunderstorms and heavy rain until I was almost at Gunelda.

It was a very slow trip. Many cars were towing vans and often they were travelling in tandem. The station wagon I was driving was heavily loaded, too, so acceleration was not good which made it difficult to pass in such poor conditions. I made the Gunelda pub just on closing time. When I pulled up in front of the pub I could not have imagined the welcome in store for me.

I think it was the local drinkers who were first out onto the footpath with loud cheers; it was a great welcome. The publican raced out, greeted me warmly and virtually carried me into the bar with the statement that my drinks were on the house little knowing that I was virtually a teetotaller. Within minutes the vehicle was unloaded and an assessment made of still missing items for me to chase up when I returned to Brisbane. I think also there were a few bets on as to my arrival time, or if I would make it that night with the storms as bad as they were. I was treated as a VIP by the locals and the publican who apologised that he did not have a spare bed but saying that he had plenty of bedding and a mattress on the floor in one of the large rooms. In no way did he want me to return home that night, which was probably very wise. The cheers and thanks from both the installation party and the locals were a great way to end a trying day with its very difficult and fatiguing drive to help my fellow 'techs'.

Early next morning, after a very hearty breakfast and a friendly chat with the chef and the publican, I departed well before the installation party had surfaced; no doubt some with a heavy head.

The third and last of my particularly fond memories is of the late Arch Shields, a former Bureau Regional Director for Queensland.

In November of 1973 I went with the ever meticulous Merv Christensen, Observer Grade 3, Facilities, to relocate the anemometer at Double Island Point. As we headed along the beach from Tewantin in a four wheel drive we had a strong south-easterly wind, however, on arrival at the lighthouse keeper's residence and radio shack it was evident that this site was sheltered, in fact laundry on the clothes line was waving in a gentle north-westerly wind. The reason for relocating the anemometer from the residence to the headland near the lighthouse was clearly evident.


People in Bright Sparcs - Shields, Archibald John

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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

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