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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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Brief Stories from Phil Black (continued)

I was flying to Coffs Harbour one night when there was a disturbing sound coming from the window beside me. After about 20 minutes the whole plastic window surround popped out. By this time I was a nervous wreck.

On one occasion when I was working at Canberra I was sent from there to Cobar on an emergency. I decided on the shortest route which took me through a pretty remote part of the country. This was when the movie Deliverance was around. Some of the settlements were so unnerving at that time of day, around dusk, that I just kept on driving until I got to Cobar.

Field trips ranged from the choice ones, like Norfolk Island and Lord Howe Island, to day trips to Richmond or St. Marys. There was always a lot of variety in the job and most of the time it was quite enjoyable. One day when the Weather Service Office at Mascot was being shifted into the TAA building, Trevor Donald told me to cut a big bunch of cabling as all the equipment was being moved out. I did, reluctantly, only to be informed by the staff that all their phone lines had gone down as a result, and that there was no contact with the control tower.

The Regional Office at Goulburn Street, Redfern, is a memory of generator test runs, broken down lifts, fax machines, flirting with the 5th floor girls and office parties, etc. Recently, my nephew moved into a unit in Goulburn Street and when I visited him I was surprised to find he was next door to the Bureau's building of old. I remarked to him about the coincidence, and the very next day got a phone call from Trevor Donald after almost 17 years. That's what I call a real coincidence.

I left the Bureau, reluctantly, basically because of the commuting and not seeing much of my family during daylight hours. Also, with the then revolution in microelectronics, it became clear to me that I would have to update my electronic knowledge, and by this time, I was getting a bit tired of electronics. I have been working as a glass artist quite successfully since then but the Bureau and all its people that I worked with will always have a special memory for me.

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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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