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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 Interesting Reminiscences from Jannes Keuken

I emigrated from Holland in March 1956. My first job, with a contractor to the Army, was repairing all kinds of electronic and electrical equipment. Twelve months later I took a position with the then PMG at Radio Australia in Shepparton, Victoria. I had an enjoyable time with them for about 19 months.

In September 1958 I started training with the Bureau for the position of Observer (Radio) at Davis, Antarctica, where I was located from December 1958 until March 1960. My time at Davis was very enjoyable and the whole trip was a great experience which I will never forget. Everything we had to do was learnt the hard way; at least you don't forget it so quickly. On our trip down on the Thala Dan one moment will never be forgotten. I was sea sick after the first week at sea. One day, after having lunch, I was leaning over the railing on the top deck feeding the fish as usual. But, since the ship had a terrible sway, the fish feed never reached the sea, landing on the deck below all over the first mate who was having a spell from his normal duties. But he took it in great spirit.

After coming back from Davis I reported to Staff Section, Harry Smally I think, and was told I had earned my 10 weeks leave and to report back when I finished them. Two days later the phone rang and Harry said we are looking for a 'tech' to go to Willis Island. To make a long story short, six weeks later I was at Willis Island. Well the fishing was good then. We had a lot of fresh fish in those days. My stay at Willis Island was cut short due to an appendix infection, and I was rushed to Townsville Hospital by RAAF crash launch. When my sun baking days after the operation were over I was sent back to Melbourne.

For the following 14 months I had several postings including Laverton, Hobart and Gladstone, as well as a stint at Training School during 1961. I remember the fishing trip we had one day. If I recall it the five man party comprised myself, Ray Clarke, Joe Grey and, I think, Neil Davies. I'm not sure about the last one; didn't catch any fish but had a great time.

After the Training School stint I had several postings, the main ones at Cobar, Wagga Wagga, Sydney Regional Office, Victorian Regional Office and finally the Head Office, Communications Centre. I took early retirement at age 55 in July 1987, settling in Healesville, Victoria, on a small property. I have no regrets and am still enjoying life. At present, I am still in good health.

People in Bright Sparcs - Clarke, Raymond W.

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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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