GROWING UP, SCHOOL, WORK and PLAY
Growing up and School
I was born in Auckland, New Zealand and educated at Ardmore Primary School and went on to Papakura High School, finishing there in 6BScience in 1964.
The Schools motto was "Suma Peta" Reach for the Highest and all because of our local hero Sir Edmond Hillary. Ed had just climbed Mt Everest when the school was opened.
After High School I worked for the Auckland Regional Authority at Hunua with the forestry. Planting thousands of Pinus Radiata trees all through the water catchment areas. My class mate Alan Hawke (now a Geologist) asked me to go on a "working holiday" to Australia. We arrived in Sydney aboard the Oriental Queen, a 22,000 ton passenger vessel which I believe has since sunk somewhere in the northern hemisphere.
We landed on the 8th March 1966 in Sydney and travelled to Rockhampton where Allan had some contacts. We took the train to Brisbane and bought a VW Combie van from Hank Cable at Stones Corner. We drove up via Gayndah and visited Emmersons who operate an orange orchid. Allans father Les Hawke was in Lions or Rotary, something like that and he had many Australian contacts.
after arriving in Rockhampton we both took a job at Mt Morgan in the copper/gold
mine. Allan worked on the furnace, while I worked as a puncher.
A dreadfully hot job, dangerous and no room for error. Mt
Morgan mine has recently (2003) reopened with a gold consortium drilling
looking for deep gold deposits.
From there we both went to Queensland Rail and worked with the fettlers and the relay gang at Edungalba, west of Rockhampton. A rude awakening to the chain gain workforce. We departed Rockhampton on the "mixed to the west" and asked the guard to tell us one stop before Edungalba. Our call came and in the pitch of night we stepped out of the carriage into the dark. There was nothing there and we rolled down the embankment. After the train left we found the guard house and slept the rest of the night on the seats. Eugene Chambers, the ganger was not impressed, how dare we sleep in his station! He gave us 5 minutes to get to the camp, find a hut and be back at the "motor" to start work at 0700.
a hot, unforgiving job, working in the direct sun with crowbars and shovels.
(Nearly all mechanical these days) We learnt about fishplates, points,
sidings, pumpers, flattops and we learnt how it felt to have blisters
on blisters. We
were provided a ration on metho and kerosene to run the lamp. The
metho was to heat the mantle in the lamp, but most was used to rub into
blisters. Our gang pulled up the old 42 pound line
and replaced it with 82 pound. New sleepers in some places and a new type
of spring dog-spike. Eugene looked along the line and we, the gang, rammed
the balast in under the sleepers using a blobb ended pick. The balast
train came and ran balast rock along the line screeding it with a plough
on the last wagon.
packed up the van and headed to Mourilyan Sugar
Mill. The money was better, living quarters and the kitchen was
even better and we started to save some money for the next journey.
We both worked in the Mill and at weekends we'd do extra work on the cane
trains, planting cane, or on maintenance in the mill. There
was always work for those who wanted to work.
In early 1967, Allan obtained a job ploughing at Moura and I started as a Surveyors Chainman with Garnet Lincoln and Associates Surveyors
We surveyed the newly found Nickel lease at Yaamba, Central Queensland. Along with many other subdivisions and projects, I found surveying an interesting occupation and I started a correspondence course in Engineering Survey. Back to Top
In my spare time I was learning to fly with Williams Aviation and the Rockhampton Aero Club. I'd started my student licence at Ardmore Airfield in New Zealand. It was great to be able to see our farm from the air. Our training area was over the Hunua/Clevedon/Ardmore area. Radios were only in newer aircraft and to takeoff and land, all signals were done with flashing coloured lights. I went Solo after dual instruction from Brian Cox and had an endorsement for a Cessna 150 and a 172.
Flying in Rockhampton was not as busy as Ardmore and I was lucky enough to have instructors like Jim Stewart Ex RAAF Instructor and Alan Lywellan the Aero Club Chief Pilot and Morrie McMullen. I was soon able to convert and gain an endorsement on the Victa 100 and the Cherokie 140. The Victa 100 was a great little two seater, easy to fly, and we had a lot of fun in and out of the training area and on "flour bombing" sports days at Jim Crow. Back to Top
National Service and the Draft was taking many Australians out of their regular jobs and putting them into the Army in readiness for Vietnam. I never found out whether my number actually came out of the barrel, but they got me. I was a British Subject and although not technically resident in Australia, I was classed as being here long enough to be eligible for National Service.
Draft and National Service
Back to Top
heard of 'Blind Dates' and how they can go horribly wrong. Well I met
Helen as a blind date, she had just returned from a working holiday in
New Zealand and through a friend of hers Anne (Davie) Jakovic we met for
the first time. Not a real romantic night. Started at the Kalka Hotel
and then down to Rosslyn Bay Harbour where a mate of mine had a boat that
we were going fishing on. We left the girls behind and headed out to Barren
Helen was working at Redcombe stock feeds
I worked with Les Gordon who was a very accurate engineering surveyor. Les taught me how to calculate a traverse using 8 figure log tables and a pencil and paper. We surveyed powerlines all over Central Queensland and not long after starting at CREB management set me up with my own team and theodolite. Powerline surveys for the Rural Electricity Development (RED) scheme extended SWER 12.7KV power lines to properties in rural areas and created an electrical grid covering many areas of Queensland.
After spending 28 years of my life in electricity I have now retired. The CREB which changed its name to CEB, CapElec, CEC, and now Ergon was a good employer and one that looks after its workforce. I carried out a multitude of tasks and never turned a job down. After an illness I had to give surveying away and took a possition with Civil Works as a tracer.
Being part of the Civil Works Department gave me the opportunity to learn how to carry out building design, maintenance, refurbishing, relocating staff and office systems.
Civil was the work horse of the CREB, providing a contractor like pool of men to carry out any task required by the Board. Civil were the ones down the hole, in the mud, out in the rain providing a service for all other departments. For more than 20 years while I worked with Civil our main task was the installation of Low and High Voltage cables. We provided the trench and then worked with the Cable Jointers to pull the cables in. Some major feeders, like the 66KV in North Street and the Queens Park Feeders, the Kmart and Aquatic Place Feeders and the bridge crossing near Bob Jane and Kmart and many subdivisions were designed and carried out by Civil Staff. Civil also designed and constructed buildings and foundations in the major substations and other buildings like Depots and offices.
In later years I developed an interest in security and was the instigator of electronic security systems in the local industry. In 1983 technology in the locks area was minimal. However, Chubb had developed a infa-red reader using a Bar Code and plastic cards. Tedious to program with the computer running in basic, but provided a secure building system.
When the CEB planned their new office building I proposed that it be fitted out with an Intelligent Building System. After some major teething problems we finally installed a James Hardie Building System called Octopus. With unlimited access control to doors and lifts, remote sites and integrated systems for lighting and air-conditioning. The new Capricornia Electricity Center now Ergon at the corner of Alma and Fitzroy Streets in Rockhampton was the first Intelligent Building in the Rockhampton area.
When the (QEGB) Queensland Electricity Generating Board built the Richardson Road complex they installed a Wormald D1500 cardkey system and security interfaced it to the building alarms. Technology passed itself 10 times and this system started to fail and eventually was not repairable. The whole complex was rewired with a Acsent 2000 very sofisticated intergrated building management system, again from James Hardie Building Services.
With the assistance of Rockhampton Alarms and KeyCut Services, we extended the JHBS to the Glenmore Depot and to the Richardson Road Depot. Thus having three locations operating off one electronic card key system. And total access control of all secured areas. Back to Top
The threat of armed holdup is always an area that must be addressed. Again with the assistance of Rockhampton Alarms we installed a TVX system of Closed Circuit TV, but with an added bonus. TVX records and transmits frames as the holdup takes place. Live pictures are available for the Police immediately. Electronic Security improves every day, and it was a desire to be one step ahead of perpetrators of crime that kept me busy.
Unfortunately, due to ill health caused by service in Vietnam, I had to retire. I'm now a Totally and Permanently Incapacitated Pensioner (TPI) under the Department of Veterans Affairs.
For many years before retirement I had an interest in computers. Repairing, upgrading and trouble shooting computers. It is interesting, keeps the brain cells active and rewarding when you see the machine jump into life as it boots up.
Since 1997 I'd taken an interest in Web Page design. I started out on Microsoft FrontPage and then in 2003 I attended a TAFE (Techincal and Further Education) course on Dreamweaver, Fireworks and Flash. This opened my eyes and my web pages have taken an advanced leap ahead in technology. Having the power to design and manipulate has lead to new accomplishments. Web pages are made under the banner of VetWebs .
Andrew and I have increased our interest in shooting. Both joined the Sporting Shooters of Australia Rockhampton branch and shoot at Morinish An exacting experience with strict rules and regulations, but a good fun day out in the fresh air and good friendship with people with a similar interest.
1990 I obtained my Full Call AOCP Amateur Radio Licence VK4CNQ.
Amateur radio provides a rewarding hobby and extends your communication
capabilities because you might be talking to your neighbour one minute
and the King of Siam the next. Amateur radio takes in many means
of communication too. Starting out many years ago with Morse Code
it now includes Digital communication and experimentation in fields such
as the Internet and Satellites. I assisted at JOTA with the Cubs
and Scouts for many years.
I'm a member of the RADAR Club (Rockhampton & District Amateur Radio) and they meet on the third Wednesday of each month at 1930 at the Rockhampton State Emergency Service HQ at 90 Charles Street North Rockhampton. For more information on the Club Email Clive or call 07 4928 1173 or 07 4928 2533 or go to the Wireless Institutes of Australia site.