I was born 4th October 1949
- 1957 - Listening to "Short Wave" on my grandparents "wireless"
which had a huge "loudspeaker". I later found it was a 12 inch
I loved looking at the markings on the dial which indicated the "Frequency"
in "Kilocycles" and the "Band" in "Metres".
Tuning around the dial I was fascinated by the wavering, distorted
sounds of the voices, the different languages and the weird but very
interesting noises of what I know now as different formats of data
- 1960 - Learnt about Dad's
- 1961 - Found how to use the
volume control on the Valve Mantel Radio as an input point to
hook a crystal microphone up.
- 1961 -
My Uncle brought his
AWA Black & White Television to Kingaroy.
Helped him install the antenna on my Grandmothers roof to try to pick up a
weak signal from Brisbane, with no luck.
- 1962 -
July - Finally, the advent of
Commercial Black & White Television in our area, DDQ-10.
Watching the "test pattern" with my grandfather for signs
of activity when the DDQ-10 transmitter was finally turned on.
- The arguments that ensued between my Father and my Grandmother
over whether my Uncles television was faulty.
As we lived 3 houses away from my grandparents, we would visit
them very often.
When TV first started, they had a clock face with the hands in
white on a black background. Around 30 seconds before the news, they would
run up to it as you watched the second hand moving to the top of the
On my Uncles TV there was what I know now as a loss of signal, "snow".
It was very pronounced.
As none of us had seen a lot of television before - the only
television being my Uncles set when he had it at
my Auntie's in Parklands in
Nambour before he moved to Kingaroy - we assumed that
was how it should look.
My father however, had watched new television sets in shop windows at
night, a practice that was very popular in those days to get people
interested in this "new phenomenon" and he knew it should be a
very clear white clock on a black background. It took him many weeks
to convince my Grandmother that the picture was faulty.
Then ensued many trips to
Nixon's Electrical, now Radunz's
Electrical to have it looked at and hopefully repaired. Eventually
it was realised that a valve in the tuner section was faulty.
To this day I can still remember the name of that valve, as on many a
Saturday afternoon I was asked to visit Ray Dunstan,
the local Television Technician who lived around the corner
in Avoca Street, to embarrassingly pester him for another
Who knows why it continued to fail, maybe it was a design fault in
that AWA set, but fail it did, with the very recognizable
fault, "snow", loss of signal.
The valve was a 6BQ7A.
- 1963 - Watching with excitement and anticipation, from my
State High School, "Industrial" classroom and
anywhere else I could, the tiny silhouette of the "TV" transmission tower
for ABDQ-3 (ABC TV)
gaining height as it was constructed near Mt Mowbullan on
the Bunya Mountains.
- The Australian
Broadcasting Commission - ABC - transmitter, ABDQ-3
- Tendered for Magneto type
telephones from the PMG -
Post Master General - now Australia Post.
- Finding an array of switches at the rubbish dump.
- 1963 - Bought my first radio
from Frank Sama of Sama's
Radio Repairs for 30/- (30 shillings -
$3.00). It was just the metal
chassis containing the valves etc and a loose 12 inch speaker with a
matching transformer mounted on it. No furniture.
I had seen it in his window for weeks and wanted it badly! Radio
fascinated me. So, I collected soft drink bottles until I had the
correct number, then cleaned them and "cashed them in" and
walked into Frank's shop and bought it. It was bliss!
- 1964 - August - Mum payed for
my first Radio, Hobbies and Television magazine, later to be
changed to Electronics Australia.
- 1964 -
November. Started an Apprenticeship as
Electrical Fitter and Mechanic at
Kingaroy Electrical Sales and Service.
I really wanted a Radio Apprenticeship
but as there were very few Radio Technicians
in our area, one being Lou Thiemann
of Star Radio and he had an
apprentice, I was pushed by Dad to try for an apprenticeship as an
My first work involved cleaning and
repairing motor mowers which
intrigued me and still does but I can only gather that, because part
of the goods for sale involved lawn mowers, as someone had to service
and repair them, we electrical apprentices were the best people for
the job. It was very good experience though and still comes in
We were involved with a brand that no longer exists,
plus Victa and various other
brands like Rover.
My work then moved on to dismantling, cleaning in Kerosene and then
boxing, the usable parts of second hand Washing Machines
that had been traded in.
The brands that I remember included Australian Hotpoint,
British Hotpoint, Lightburn, Pope,
and Simpson. That was my first
experience in working on Washing Machines
but in 1986
I was to look back and appreciate that experience as I took on a new
job at Gow's Refrigeration in
As well, part of my work was to help the Salesman,
deliver and install Television sets. I really enjoyed that aspect of
my work. In those days people were still attempting to receive the
Brisbane channels and certain
customers asked us to do a test to see if the signal was in their
area. This was done with a Telescopic Triangular Mast,
a suitable Antenna and a Signal Strength Meter.
My Apprenticeship was done by "correspondence"
- as we had no Colleges in our area. The nearest was in
I had 4 subjects. Each had 18 papers to learn and then complete the
questionnaires at the end, therefore totalling 72 papers to absorb in
All the theory was learnt after work at night. We were required to
attend the High School one
night a week, Monday, and
sit and read our papers for 2 hours from 7pm to 9pm.
There was no help, just someone making sure we attended and sat
there for the 2 hours.
There was a crazy system in those days where, if you did well, you got
a rise in pay, 5% I think - fair enough as an incentive - but if
you fell behind no help was available.
If you did well, you were able to attend College for 2 weeks at
the end of the year for Practical.
I ended up in Toowoomba
What did I do there as an Electrical Apprentice
for 2 weeks?
I made a G Clamp!!
It was only in the last day of the 2 weeks we were given instruction
in various types of switching, 2 way, Tunnel etc.
We were also
supposed to visit various places of employment around Toowoomba
too - to see what type of electrical careers were available, but it was left until the
last day and most "country" apprentices had to catch buses home and
It was very tough working during the day, then trying to understand the
papers at night, with no help and contending with a drunk and
argumentative father but after 4 years I made it but not after many
Working at Kingaroy Electrical Sales and Service,
over the years from 1964
1972, I was
part of a group of tradesmen, apprentices and administrative staff. To
make the business function we eventually became allocated to various
I ended up mainly doing what is known as "contracting" which meant in our
area, Kingaroy, wiring commercial, industrial, farming and
Below are the people
I started work with.
John & Margaret Quatermass -
Laureen Ciesiolka ( now
Green ) - Secretary
Alan Gerhman - Salesman
Terry McAuliffe - Foreman - who
did Small Appliance repair as
Terry Burns - Leading Hand -
Paul Grills - Apprentice - he
left after a year or two.
The following employees came and went during my time there.
Trevor Stone - Apprentice - who
ended up being the specialist in White Appliance
Jimmy Carberry - Apprentice then
( now Fleischfresser ) -
Judy Wolski - Secretary
Bill O'Connell - Tradesman -
Clyde Pethtel - Trainee Salesman
Graham Prothero - Apprentice
then Tradesman. Mainly
Paul Clarke - Apprentice then
Alan? Lewis - Tradesman from New
Zealand - Contracting
(Spike) - Apprentice - Contracting
and a "tradesman", whose name escapes me, from Queensland
Railways who was supposed to be better than all of us and after making
a mess of a job in Murgon, lasted 2 weeks.
- 1965 - Made a "console"
with 2 turntables, various switches, a reel to reel tape recorder and
12 inch speakers. All made of bits and pieces. As a teenager I thought
it was wonderful because of the noise it made. I ended up running the
sound into each room of the house.
- 1965 - Using the "telephone" wires
we made up. Eventually I changed them to Figure 8 flex and used the "console" as an
our house and my Grandparents.
- 1965 -
Bought a Pye Pedigree
from my boss that had been used as a Hire TV.
In those days some televisions were hired out. The TV was installed in
the customers house with a "rabbit's ears" antenna and
connected to the power point via a metal box into which you pushed coins.
2/- ( 2 shillings) gave
you one hour of viewing and invariably cut off at a critical point in
a show and then there was a scatter, as people frantically searched
for a 2/- coin to put into the slot in the box.
The Pye Pedigree TV had no picture but did have sound. I asked
Frank Sama if he was
interested in having a go at fixing it and he agreed as he hadn't had
any experience repairing Televisions, just radios.
He allowed me to watch as he repaired it. To both our great delight he
found it was just a dry joint on the printed circuit board where the
EHT transformer was connected. After resoldering various spots
the picture fired up!
After a lot of experimenting, I mounted it above my bedroom door and extended
the tuner and volume wiring for the Pye Pedigree to my bedside.
Now I just use the Remote Controller but to achieve a similar concept
in those days was great.
- 1972 -
In September I left Kingaroy
Electrical and moved to Brisbane.
I was looking for a change and as work was going really well
that year I was employed at ODG ( O'Donnell Griffin ).
Working in Brisbane was TOTALLY different to working in Kingaroy.
Methods I had learnt in Kingaroy were very outdated and I soon learned
to take on the methods used in Brisbane or be looked down upon as a
"country hick". It was a very fast learning curve.
When I applied for the job, they thought I would be helping pull cables
through the then "new" Toombul Shoppingtown
but as it turned out I was only there
one day for a visit and was then sent to redo the Sunday Sun
I started working with a really friendly, helpful tradesman at "The Sun". I
seem to remember his name was Gary Hansen.
He was obsessed with Jaguar cars. He lived
and breathed them. He owned a white one.
He "looked after me" in the way of doing things the "city" way.
It was very different work, with skirting board ducting being a new experience to me.
All systems were carried around the building in plastic ducting. Each
system had it's outlets fitted into the ducting at the skirting board
level. It was very quick,
neat and efficient.
Other places I worked while at ODG were:
The Atcherly Hotel in
Dry Dock at Bulimba
The Prudential Building
Turrawan Private Hospital
The Royal Brisbane Hospital
- Block 7- at Bowen Bridge
The Home and Building Centre in
The Gatton Agricultural College
and various locations in the
Below are some of the people I was involved with.
Col Johnston - Supervisor
Gary Hansen ? -
Tradesman at the
Sunday Sun job.
Gordon Seeman -
at The Turrawan Private Hospital job.
Ron Hurst - Tradesman at
The Turrawan Private Hospital job.
Paul Messer - Supervisor?
Dario Lenac - Leading Hand at
The Prudential Building job.
? - Tradesman at The Prudential
- Tradesman from Redcliffe
at the Dry Dock
"Grimley" as he was known
as, was fantastic
to work with. He had a really sick sense of humour but kept me in
stitches through the day as we worked on. We really looked forward to
lunchtime as we were able to get subsidised meals at the canteen. That
was good in itself but the meals were terrific!
I learnt (for good or bad) about
at the Dry Dock job. They were a
big thing then.
The Gravel Barge
- from a very strained memory, I think it was either named
Cementco or part of a group owned
by Queensland Cement and Lime (QCL)
that owned Cementco - we were wiring
at the Dry Dock was just another
"contracting" job really but with steel walls and from memory, a sort
of Marine Chipboard. So the work was no great challenge.
There were all manner of Tradesmen working on it and disputes seemed
to erupt over trivial things.
We left the site one afternoon and were to start work on the barge
again at a new location under the Story Bridge.
I arrived to find the Fire Service dousing the remains of the barge.
Apparently, during the night, a fire broke out, caused by a spark from
a Welder the day before. The fire was so ferocious that it buckled the
steel plating on the walls and deck.
I was asked by my Leading Hand to follow him onto the barge, as we had
been asked to check some electrical connections. I did as he asked,
following him closely, as he was the only one with a torch.
The torchlight was absorbed into the blackness. Without any warning my
right leg dropped into the darkness. My groin hit the deck and I was
left spreadeagled, one leg fully through the floor, the other
horizontal along the decking. As I was going down, the inside of my
right thigh scraped against the metal flooring. Luckily the "family
jewels" missed any damage, as somehow, as I was falling through, my
instincts took over and I reached out to stop myself falling and
cushioned the last part of the fall as I hit the deck.
My Leading Hand must have
walked over a circular hole in the deck without seeing it in the
darkness but I dropped through it like a rock!
He helped me up and I was sent to a doctor to check things out. For
weeks I had a huge bruise/blood blister, about 8" long and 6" across
on the inside of the top of my right thigh.
The scar is still there.
The Prudential Building job
taught me about wiring lights in an already constructed multi story
building. Each floor had conduit run on the concrete ceiling and
fluorescent lights mounted into the aluminium suspension ceiling, but
plugged into the points on the conduit work. Pretty boring stuff
At the Turrawan Private Hospital
I started as the extensions were at ground level. The Leading Hand was
He had Ron Hurst with him. Ron had just
become a Tradesman. They were a great pair. They made sure I fitted
in. Each smoko and lunch we played the card game, 500, with the Plumbers. It was very
competitive but also very friendly. It was one of the best work
experiences of my life.
Gordon was moved on to start another job site at
Strathpine by the Supervisor,
which left Ron and myself to complete the job.
It was my first experience installing multi story wiring as the
building was constructed. Also I learnt
about installing and testing Fire Sensors.
During the weeks/months we worked at
Turrawan Private Hospital,
local electrician irregularly visited
to do repairs to their
appliances. That was all he did. At that stage of my life I watched
him and thought to myself how I'd love that type of job. Little did I
know I would eventually get to that point years later and yes, I loved
Gatton Agricultural College job was
the biggest nightmare job of my life.
I was sent, with one apprentice who had a very small amount of Multi
Story wiring experience, to wire all of the services,
Fire, Power and
Telephone for a huge floor and the ceiling below.
It was known by the
Supervisors that both
of us lacked experience with Multi Story wiring but I was told the one
in charge was leaving and didn't care.
That was bad enough but the worst part was it was all to be done in
screwed steel conduit to Government Specifications. There was a huge
Plan and Specifications to absorb.
We had 4 days to do the lot.
I arrived on the site as the concreters
were working their way through fitting the meshing. It wasn't a single
layer either, it was multi layered in places. Both of us considered
ringing and resigning and getting another job as jobs were easy to get
then but we relented and decided to do our best.
The two of us worked feverishly, measuring, threading the lengths of
conduit by hand and working around the concreters, trying to fit them
into place securely.
I rang the Supervisor to ask for more help. Another inexperienced
helper was sent.
We were booked into a hotel in Gatton. I spent most nights on the verandah till after midnight, going over in my mind what we would do
the following day.
We did the best we could but the concreters said the floor was being
laid regardless of whether we had our wiring in.
As it turned out, some conduits were left out and alternative ways were
found to complete the connections after the floor was dry.
It was the week before Easter in 1973.
I really enjoyed that Easter!!
After the Gatton Agricultural College,
the Home and Building Centre in
Valley was a dream. I spent many months there.
I learnt there how to dim fluorescent lights with
special ballasts and resistors. We had row upon row of them to do.
Many would not strike and it was assumed it was because of the very
humid conditions. Those humid days ended up being the lead up to the
I found that job
really enjoyable but other things were in the wind and
I moved back to
Kingaroy to work for
- 1973 - All year, after work,
twice a week for 4 hours each night, I drove from where I lived
at Toowong, to Yeronga Technical
College and did the
Electrical Advanced Trade Course - AEL 101 - Introductory
I gained a Credit.
I loved doing the course. It was my first experience in learning my
Trade at a College. I found it easy to learn as there was always
someone to help you if needed. Learning, as I had done for my
Apprenticeship, by "correspondence", was very frustrating and
limited by my experience and of those around me.
The second year of the course was to be
Because my life took me back to Kingaroy
again, where there was no access to a
College, I didn't ever get to complete the whole course,
While living in Brisbane, I bought a BWD Dual Trace Oscilloscope,
Leader RF Signal
Generator and Leader AF Signal Generator
to try to teach myself more about
"electronics" after I moved back to Kingaroy,
with the hope of sometime in my life being involved in repairs to
- 1974 -
Started work at Radunz's Electrical.
I moved back to Kingaroy to
Radunz's Electrical and spent 11 years
A great deal of my electrical experience was involved in domestic
This involved installing
wiring for new houses, installing extra Power Outlets,
Lights, Hot Water Systems, Stoves and rewiring
old houses. Also repairs where necessary.
Being a farming area, we also installed wiring for
A great amount involved 3 phase motors and associated
control gear for Peanut Processing
were also part
of our work.
With the upgrading of St. Aubyn's
South Burnett Community
many weeks were spent
building the switchboard, running the circuits and installing the
wiring for the Nurses Call System as well as the specialized
wiring for the Operating Theatre. At a later date, we installed
an Emergency Generating System and integrated it into the
hospital wiring circuits.
A lot of work was done for the Kingaroy General Hospital and
Nanango General Hospital.
An upgrade at the Kingaroy
RSL involved us and Gordon Ivins
installing Air Conditioning,
as well as the associated wiring for the "new" extension of the time.
Kingaroy Shire Council was a major source of work. This
work included installation of plant where necessary and maintenance of
the town water supply system including the pumping stations around the
town and the Telemetry System from Gordonbrook Dam.
Swickers Bacon Factory decided to expand, we installed the
wiring for the new Switchboard, the Refrigeration, the
Meat Meal Area, the Killing Floor,
as well as necessary equipment around the supporting area such as
pumps and lighting.
Below are people I was involved with.
Phil & Betty Radunz -
Rob & Shirley Radunz
Ken Jensen - Tradesman
Barbara Winter - Secretary
Debbie Algar - Secretary
Jenny Langan - Secretary
- 1977 - Citizens Band Radio - CB -
From the days of seeing "Walkie Talkies" on the back of comic
books as I waited as a young boy to have my hair cut at the barber, Col Greenslade, it had been my dream to use and learn about
Finally Australian citizens were legally allowed access to this form
I bought various radios including:
Midland Model 79A - 892
- SSB (Single Side Band),
Dick Smith Hornet - SSB,
Dick Smith Bumblebee - AM (Amplitude Modulated)
including a Ringo and 3 Element Beam.
All HF 27Mhz of course, as
hadn't even been thought of for CB use
in those days.
I spent hundreds of hours talking to CB
mates around town and also attempting to get long distance, DX
Skip contacts - before the
"10/4 Good Buddy" morons took over the
hobby and ruined it. I even collected a few QSL
Cards from contacts around
- 1980 - Mounted
a Phased Array
antenna on the house with a Hills Masthead Amplifier to pick up WBQ-8
transmitting to the Maryborough/Hervey Bay area. The days
Aggregation and Networking
hadn't raised their ugly
head and different programs played on different channels at different
times and other than the excitement of picking up distant channels you
had the benefit of receiving programs not seen in your local area.
1983 - April - Bought my first computer, a
Tandy TRS 80 from a Tandy dealer while in
$1299.00. I arrived home to find a flyer advertising the exact
same computer for $999.00. I rang Townsville but was basically
told "stiff!!". I have never trusted Tandy since.
The dealer was a mongrel but the computer wasn't. I spent hours
writing BASIC programs to work out things like how long it
would take me to pay off my Bankcard - I had that problem way
Mark Wical, brilliant as he is, even wrote a program to
generate groups of random numbers for Gold Lotto
It payed out
twice amazingly on the first run and I won around $35.00. Sadly, that
was the first and last time.
1985 - Started work at Stewarts Electrical in
I had just remarried after moving from Kingaroy to
Dalby. I was
lucky to be employed at Stewarts so soon after arriving.
I was employed there for roughly 6 months. During that time I did some
Small Appliance repairs, domestic repairs and a small amount of
domestic installation work. The main work the firm was doing at the
time was installation work at the Cecil Plains Cotton Gin.
Names I remember at
Stewarts Electrical are:
Gary Suhr -
Michael O'Connell -
Barry Land -
Bernadette Luck -
Kev Lindsey -
Alec Edgar -
Phil ? -
- 1986 -
Started work at RG
Refrigeration in Dalby.
The best bosses/family of all of
my working life! Without a doubt. Some of the best times of my
life occurred during the time I lived in Dalby,
both family and work. If it wasn't for the fact that my
stepdaughter became asthmatic from the Dalby
atmosphere, maybe I'd still be working there.
and Don took me on as
someone who had mostly "contracting" experience. They needed
someone to train up as a White
Appliance Repairman. I was looking for
a change and was very excited at the chance of learning another facet
of being "an electrician".
In my days at Kingaroy Electrical Sales and Service
I had started my apprenticeship dismantling and repairing washing
machines. The work then didn't really appeal to me as I wanted to get
involved with "electricity", not oil!
Refrigeration had the "warranty" work
for most of the brands of home appliances, Frank
and Don wanted to teach me
the whole range of repairs to Large Appliances,
including Refrigerators, Freezers, Washing Machines, Dryers
The repairs to the Refrigerators and Freezers was to include not only
the "electrical" side but the "gas" side.
And they did. They spent a great amount of time with me, making sure I
understood fully what was needed and how it was done.
I found I was
very interested in repairs to
Large Appliances other
than the "oil" type jobs. There was no problem with that though
Jim Smith, a fantastic person,
did all of that sort of thing.
I really enjoyed going to work each day at
Refrigeration. Each day was a new
experience. The atmosphere was very friendly and the work was really
challenging and interesting. Everything I was to do in the future was
grounded in what I learnt there.
My work experience included repairs to the following:
Email - (now Electrolux)
As well as repairs to various other Washing Machine brands of the
I also spent a small time repairing
Names I remember at
Frank Monaghan - Owner
Don Monaghan - Owner
Ann Monaghan -
Roz Monaghan -
Sandra Monaghan -
Sister/Daughter of Owners
- Husband of
Jim Smith -
Appliance Repairer -
Moved to Hervey Bay
but travelled back to Dalby
each weekend until February 1988.
Started work at
When I started with
it was only on a part time
basis - as we both wanted it - a few hours a day on a few days a week.
Gary had only recently
taken over the business from his partner Warwick. He was feeling his
way, seeing how the business was going to go after the change.
turned out, I ended up getting more and more work until pretty quickly
I was working full time.
Refrigeration - they did a
lot of the "warranty" work for the most popular brands - so it fitted
my experience well.
The only extra brand that I had to learn about was Fisher and Paykel.
It was only then making it's mark in the appliance world in Australia.
The "Gentle Annie" was around.
I finished there in
1992 and started my own business, Colrix
Below are people I worked with.
Gary & Jan Mackie - Owners
- General Duties
Vince Begaud -
1988 - We bought a double story house at
Urangan, Hervey Bay and I set
up a special room overlooking the Boat Harbour for my radio
equipment. Installed a 50 ft Hills Telescopic Mast
( but only used 3 stages - 30 ft
), and necessary
antennas on the roof.
1988 - Bought GME Electrophone TX472D
and TX472S UHF Transceivers.
Mounted a 12db gain UHF
antenna on the mast and was able to access repeaters of the time at:
Channel 1 - Mt Perry - near Gayndah
Channel 2 -
Gunalda Range, between Gympie and Maryborough
Channel 3 - Tinana, Maryborough
Channel 4 - Bundaberg - Sloping Hummock
Channel 5 - Mt Goonaneman - near Biggenden
Channel 7 - Mt Watalgan near Miriam Vale
Channel 8 - Ghost Hill,
1988 - Bought a Sangean
Receiver and started listening to local Amateur Radio
broadcasts as well as other frequencies including Marine and Police.
1989 - Joined the Hervey Bay Amateur Radio Club.
Bought my first
PC - It was an Acer
from Dick Smith and from my memory
ran at around 12 MHz.
They asked if I wanted a Hard Drive. No one at the time could
see why you would ever need to put out money for a 20 Meg Hard
Drive when you could do everything perfectly well with 2 Floppy
drives - and 5 1/4 inch ones at that!
So, you guessed it, I didn't buy a
Hard Drive and for ages
worked with the 2 silly floppy drives.
1993 - Bought a State of the Art computer with a
Hard Drive, 1 - 5 1/4" Floppy Drive and 1 - 3 1/2"
It was a 386 SX25 and flew at 25 MHz!
I was so proud, as most of my friends had 4, 8
or 12 MHz models. From my
memory it ran on DOS 5. No GUI, just Menu driven or out
of Norton's Commander.
1993 - 1995 ish - Ran a
BBS ( Bulletin
Board Service ) carrying Amateur Radio bulletins and mail.
This was in the days before the www - World Wide Web - had
arrived in Australia.
1993 - Started my business, Colrix Electrical
which I ran until my second marriage
break-up in November 1998.
February - Started work at
L&J Archer Electrical in Townsville.
Names I remember at L&J Archer Electrical
Larry Archer -
Owner and Appliance
Julie Archer -
Owner & Administrator
Shelly Archer - Junior Secretary
Bernie Walsh -
- Appliance Repairer
Craig ? -
2001 - June - Finished work at
L&J Archer Electrical in
November - Finished full
time work due to health problems and was put onto a Disability Support Pension.
Trying to enhance my
income by using my accumulated knowledge of computers.
Helping friends and
acquaintances with their computers.
Still helping friends and
acquaintances with their computers.