Vol 48

The Magazine by and for Serving and Ex-RAAF People,

and others.

Page 19

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  Your say.




The RAM does not necessarily endorse the content of this page.

Any views expressed herein are solely those of the author

and do not necessarily reflect those of the RAM.





We heard from Wng Cdr (ret’d) John Smythe who said, “I've been trolling through the Radschool Magazines and came across the reference to WRRS in Vol 32, Page 12. In case there has been no information supplied to date, the following may help. WRRS stands for Werribee Remote Receiving Station; it was an outstation of Melbourne Telecommunication Unit (MTU Frognall), along with Laverton Transmitting Station. It provided RAAF international radio communication (Teletype) links to Vancouver, Gan, Singapore, and a couple more that elude me at present. During my time at MTU (CO WCDR Reg Moore) in 1966/67 OIC WRRS was FlLt Ivor Rothwell, and WRRS was often referred to as HMS Werribee.


(Thanks John – I’ve updated the site.  tb)




Down the tubes??


Arthur Ellem sent us this.  He says “The real problem is not with Abbott or any other single individual. It is with Australians generally. Australians are living increasingly in Cloud Cuckoo Land and beyond their means, unable to see what is happening. In all the squealing about the federal budget I did not hear a single interest group suggest how money should be raised to fund their particular perceived need. We have Nick Xenonphon and Jay Weatherill telling us that the ASC should build the new submarines for Australia. That’s fine, but first they must explain why the ASC is the most expensive place in the world to build a boat and why it takes longer than anywhere else in the world to do it.


Yesterday, while wandering around the supermarket in Kuala Lumpur doing the shopping, I noticed that apples from Australia were thirty percent more expensive than those from New Zealand, America and South Africa. The baked beans (SPC) were more than double the price of those from England, America, South Africa, and Europe. It was the same for every similar item in the shop. Australia is the most expensive source of food among the developed countries of the world. However, I still purchased much of what I bought from Australian sources as a form of patriotism I guess. The countries that are mentioned above are Australia’s direct competition.


Things are going to get much tougher for Australia. Humes have just built a massive, modern, state of the art cement works in Ipoh and are exporting to Australia. The situation is similar in Indonesia where two massive cement plants are nearing completion to do the same. My task in the Company I was working in was to bring it up to speed to begin production to export to Australia. The cost of our product including freight is cheaper to ship into Darwin than the freight alone to ship the same product from the Australian factory in Adelaide. The same goes for Perth and Auckland. For the rest of Australia it is still marginally cheaper. By the way, our company is paying almost double the going rate for local labour.


Wages in Australia are almost exactly double those in America. We compete directly with America in the world market place. To be on an equal footing with America, the Australian dollar would have to slip to about fifty five U.S. cents. Imagine what this would do to inflation in Australia. It would double the cost of most of non food items that we buy. Fuel would double in price as more than half is imported.


Australians have lost sight of their position in the world. Argentina, fifty years ago, had the highest standard of living in the world. Look at it now, it has one of the lowest and massive debt that it cannot afford to repay. Argentina went down the road that Australia is heading down. It seems that Australians need to go down the road to disaster before they wake up.


A few years ago, an American author wrote of his fellow Americans: “Semi literacy endows its tribe with the surety and conviction of those who do not know what they do not know, rendering them blustering, happy idiots who have not the slightest notion of anything but appearances.”


This applies to a significant percentage of the Australian population too.”



They say that sex is the best form of exercise. Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think 2 minutes and 15 seconds every 3 months is going to shift this beer belly.



Foreigner Fridge.


Sqn Ldr Mick Kelly writes, “Hi There, It is hard to know where to post this but years ago the Radio and other electrical workshops had the best stocked foreigner fridge for TV and video repairs so I am hoping there are a few in here. Anyway my dad is wanting to develop a display for the Amberley Museum on the work Women did as Instrument fitters in WW2. He is after photos of the ladies at work on the benches besides their male counterparts and also examples of the tools they used.  In terms of tools he is specifically after WW2 era Electric Drill, Steel 12 Inch rule, Micrometres, Punches, and an Electric Soldering Iron.


He has screw drivers and spanners from e-bay but is hoping people may know where he can obtain the photos and these tools which are hard to come by. American electric gear is no good as it is 110Volts. Also if anyone knows where a small lathe that they may have been likely to use that would be appreciated too.


This will be an excellent way to showcase the wonderful work our ladies did in this era so any advice or help would be greatly appreciated.


If you know or can pass to anyone who may know of these things and they could pass me the info, that would be great.






ADF Wages.


Peter  Andresen writes, he says “I hope your magazine expends at least a portion of the effort in bringing the present conservative government to task on its total remuneration packages for our serving members as it had done with the previous Labor governments. I left the RAAF and Australia in 1971 after 12 years service and upon my return in 1976 was most surprised to find just how much conditions had improved across the board for our serving members.


My memory of service prior to 1971 was abysmal wages (even for the highest paid groups and officers below SL rank), almost no help when undertaking the enforced moves most did, being treated like a leper when arriving at a new base, many members forced to moonlight, and so on. It looks like those days of conservative government neglect of our armed forces are coming back along with the additional problem of increased numbers of former members suffering from PTSD, primarily because of too long a period under battle stress.


Of course the conservatives fully understand that they will always get the military vote, particularly amongst the lower ranks, no matter how they are treated. The future for our military personnel is far from bright.




Kel Davey


Kel Davey writes,  “Hi to all those I worked with from 1972 until 1988 starting at 1RTU, the Rads, 481 Sqn, 478 Sqn, 1 FTS and 482 Sqn.   After that I met up with some when I was a contractor for HdH at Amberley from 1992 through when Boeing took over the F-111 mods program then from there to Boeing Head Office as a Tech writer on the Wedgetail project.  Now I am back home in Rocky alone but close to siblings and their families.  My ex and kids are still around Brisbane where one daughter owns 2 wineries and has stock in almost every chemist shop in Australia through Dr Red Nutraceuticals.   I am now 70 and still working part time security for Aurizon at their Rocky admin offices (Taj Mahal) near Rockhampton Railway station, and building ride on model trains for rides at the local Heritage Village.  Current project is 1/6 scale Diesel tilt train 12m long filled with electronics, audio, video and sound.   I posted some of my Butterworth pics on facebook on the RAAF Butterworth group.


Regards to All,




Les Ferris


Les Ferris, from 21 Appy writes, “ Hi, my wife was researching places to visit in Viet Nam that was of significance to the Australian Forces during the war. She asked a good friend of ours for some info. Here is part of his reply.


Hi guys , Jude said you were looking for places to visit for a friend travelling to nam The most obvious sites are the chu chi tunnels and long tan. The chu chi tunnels tour is a day trip south of Saigon. It is where a vast tunnel system was uncovered in January 1966, it is widely believed that it was discovered by American forces and is still spoken as an American find.  In actual fact it was uncovered by the Australian first battalion in January 1966 in an operation called Operation Crimp. It was the setting for a vicious and prolonged fight over a period of days which cost 1RAR several killed and many wounded, the Americans were part of that operation but the tunnels were found when the VC fired from a hole in the bank of a dry creek bed and were spotted by the Aussies. In that action 2 medics were killed and four other troops were wounded including an officer. I was in that action and from that we found spider holes leading to the tunnels.


One of our engineers died from suffocation when he entered one of the tunnels that day The amount of weapons, ammunition and supplies we captured was massive and documents found put the VC movement in that area at great risk.


If you think there is a story here and would like to talk to Cliff then let me know and I will forward his details”.


Yes please Les – love to hear from him – tb








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