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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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The Life and Bureau Times of Graham Linnett

After slogging away for five years with restricted exposure to post-WWII affluence, I managed to reach the exalted position of Technician Radio with the PMG, final salary $2004 (then in pounds of money). Imagine achieving that amongst the bodgies and widgies, crew cuts and National Service with Her Majesty's Australian Army. Apprentices were exempt from National Service until fully qualified but then they were fair game. Somehow or other I managed to miss my appointment with numerous noisy Army medicos and sergeants and was really treated to some very strange hospitality as a result. Not long after being advised I was just what they wanted, entitled to free board and lodgings for 36 months, National Service was abolished; another example of deprivation.

Anyhow, I decided not to let this get me down and embarked on a promising career in the entertainment industry, technician at an ABC broadcast transmitter site some nine kilometres west of Longreach. Longreach in those days was the Wild West, with only about 250 kilometres of sealed road between there and Brisbane, or to anywhere else for that matter. After about three years with the flies, sandflies, grasshoppers and shearers, one tended to sit back and wonder what is life all about. There must be something better out there, something that will bring one a feeling of importance, well being and great wealth; a chance to see the cities and other important areas of our great land.

Well, providence has a way of rewarding great thinkers. Lo and behold, there it was in the Courier Mail, which was invariably about ten days old when we got it. "Are you looking for a career in the Bureau of Meteorology taking weather observations, performing upper air soundings and working on the latest radar and other electronic equipment?" the notice said. I pondered the opportunity of working at airports and weather stations all over Australia, the salary being in the region of 300 pounds (again money) more than I was then on and the six month's training being offered at the Bureau's Training School in Melbourne. Unbelievable! There is a God after all. Where do I sign? I sat for and passed the Bureau's entrance examination in Brisbane in February 1963, took up the challenge and accepted the Bureau's kind offer of employment.

After the dust settled and PMG found I wished to depart I was offered a position with their installation group, possibly because of my evidenced desire to travel, which I had to turn down because of my now all consuming urge to get out there and do something for the good of all the country.

Imagine the lot of a young Queensland country lad being sent to Melbourne, and being exposed to all kinds of things. I recall being given some sage advice by an old 'Senior Tech' and being told that those Victorians were a strange race and that they burn that strange smelling coal to keep warm, close the pubs at six o'clock and play that funny game of football with four poles at each end and blokes in white coats running around waving white flags.

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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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