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Weather News



Personal Notes

Mr. B. W. Newman
Retirement of Walter Dwyer
Gerry O'Mahony—Thirty Years On
The Retoubtable George Mackey, Retd.
Retirement of ADR [Neil McRae]
A Long and Fruitful Innings [John Lillywhite]
Pat Ryan Retires
Harry Ashton Retires
'Fly Boy' Retires [Bill Brann]
Our Actor Steve [Lloyd]
Our Man in the Region Retires [Keith Hannay]
ADM Retires [Allen Bath]
Regional Director Queensland Retires [Arch Shields]
ANMRC Head Retires [Reg Clarke]
Vic Bahr's Last Bow
Long Serving Officers Retire [Jack Maher and Kev Lomas]
Allan Brunt Retires, 38 Years in 'the Met'
Henry Phillpot Retires
A Stout With a Dash! [Reg Stout]
Around the Regions [Keith Stibbs]
Bill Smith Bows Out—47 Year Record
Smooth Traffic Ahead for Keith Henderson
Happy Retirement, and Happy Birthday too! [Ralph de la Lande]
Air Dispersion Specialist Calls it a Day [Bill Moriarty]
Bob Crowder Retires
Grass Looks Greener for Tony [Powell]
Farewell France [Lajoie]
Forty Four Years in Meteorology—John Burn Remembers
Des Gaffney bows out
After Only 41 Years . . . Shaw, Enough! [Peter Shaw]
Brian Bradshaw departs, 45 Years On . . .
Bill Ware Ends on a High Note
Peter Barclay Retires
Mal Kennedy Retires
'The Ice Man Goeth . . .' DDS Neil Streten Calls it a Day
Dan of the 14,016 Days [Dan Lee]
A Launceston Boy Gone Wrong: Peter Noar Bows Out
It's Official—Climate Change Confirmed [Bill Kininmonth]
Victorian Forecasting Legend Bids Us Farewell [Ian Russell]
Gentleman Doug Gauntlett Retires
Queensland Regional Director Calls it a Day [Rex Falls]
Assistant Director (Services) Retires and Tributes Flow In [Bruce Neal]
NSW Regional Director Retires [Pat Sullivan]


Observers and Volunteers




Contact us
No. 283 September 1987 (continued)

Career History

Melbourne born and bred, Ralph completed his secondary education at Melbourne High School. He joined the Commonwealth Public Service as a clerk on 17 March 1941. After serving in the RAAF, he obtained his Bachelor of Electrical Engineering Degree at Melbourne University in 1949.

Ralph joined the Department of Civil Aviation in 1950. From 1953 to 1961 he established and led a Melbourne-based 'foreign legion' which operated in the Northern Territory and later extended to other States to establish and upgrade airways ground facilities including communication stations and navigation aid networks. The 20 to 50 staff were volunteers recruited from DCA regions for terms of six months temporary transfer in the field.

From 1961 to 1963 Ralph was seconded to work in Indonesia under the Colombo Plan assistance scheme as the Supervising Engineer for a new Australian-sponsored civil aviation project to replace outmoded morse type communications with modern HF radio teletype and speech circuits linking all nine major centres in the country. Working with the Indonesians, Ralph and his small team were able to site and plan all stations and in later short visits to 1965 (just before the coup) see site works well advanced.

On return to Melbourne he was employed from 1964 to 1966 as DCA coordinating engineer on the massive Tullamarine airport project, then in its early stages. He recalls being shown over the site when it was 'just a field'. The airport took about eight years to complete.

Ralph joined the Bureau in January 1967 as Supervising Engineer Equipment and Plant Section. In this role he was responsible to Bill Brann for instrument development, installation and maintenance including logistics. In 1975 he was promoted to Superintending Engineer (STEB) under ADF Keith Henderson and later acted as ADF for the three years 1979–82.

During this time Ralph and his team played an important part in building up Bureau facilities including the major expansion of the automatic weather station network in the 70s, flood warning telemetry, radars and numerous other projects. A highlight was participation in the very successful FGGE drifting buoy project using a Bureau-developed buoy.

He participated as Australian representative on the WMO committee responsible for FGGE buoy planning and also represented the Bureau at a GMS Coordinating Committee in Tokyo and chaired sessions held in Australia.

Ralph was part of the initial contingent that travelled to Saudi Arabia in 1982 as advisers to MEPA. As Technical Services Adviser his work involved participation in various projects including the formulation of a major five year development plan, the early planning to combat oil spills arising from the war in the gulf, technical and maintenance contract specifications and such diverse matters as the feasibility of airships for use by MEPA.

He returned to the Bureau's Head Office in August 1986 and up to his retirement worked as an unattached Class 5 on special duties relating to implementation and updating of the capital program.

Retirement Plans

Ralph and his wife Lois (who worked for the Bureau from 1946–50), hope to travel to Europe in the not-too-distant future and also visit friends in Seattle.

They have four married children (son John is AROS Manager at Vic RO) and Ralph anticipates family interests will account for quite a bit of his time.

Ralph and Lois both enjoy sailing—Ralph is a member of the Beaumaris Motor Yacht Squadron and a former member of the Red Sea Sailing Association in Saudi Arabia.

He plans to use his carpentry skills around the home and also take up golf again—an interest he let slip around 20 years ago. (Actually, Ralph was overheard making plans with Keith Henderson to tee off at 9.00 the following Monday!)

If he has any spare time left, he will do more work on his family tree which he has traced back to 1613 in Jersey Island.

People in Bright Sparcs - de la Lande, Ralph

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