Vol 6

Page 3


20 Radio Appy.

10Jan66 - 15Aug68


This photo from Doug Pankhurst’s collection shows a bunch of proud young blokes who have just completed 2¾ years at Laverton on 20 Appy.


Back L-R:   Ken Edwards, Ray Browning, Greg Cashmire, Wal Williams, Sam Norman, Doug Pankhurst, Ian Laidlaw, Chris Kowalczyk, Geoff Gleeson, Deitmar Kraemar.


Middle L-R:   Fred Rinaldi, Hans Horikx, Terry Cox, Blue Skewes, Brian Napper, Jack Jackowski, Greg Black, John Riebelt, Dane Whitworth, Phil Witty, Owen Walsh.


Front L-R:   Charlie Kerr, Bill Blackson, Alan Chiesa, Ray Morris, Mick Christensen, Ralph Dries, Tas MacArthur, Dick Lovett, Bill Malkin, Nigel Stevenson, Phil Baldock, Ian Holland, Keith Collins, Geoff Cuff, John Aitkin.


Sadly,    Charles "Charlie" Kerr, died 22 Feb 1970 and Stefan "Jack" Jackowski, died 14 December 1970.


Stewart Deans.


This photo was pinched from the 19appy web site, and shows a younger Stewart Deans on the family farm in the Maleny (Qld) area in the early 60’s where he lived for 10 years. (Is that an old Hillman or a Humber Hawk?). Stewart says, “When we needed a new work outfit on the farm because the last one was either outgrown or had disintegrated, Dad would go to the Brisbane City Mission and collect a heap of whatever they had. Then all the prisoners (us kids) gathered around and tried to find something that almost fitted. There was always a shortage of suitable belts and on more than one occasion I was forced to use rope instead. For reasons that are too complex to go into we went through a process of purchasing a "new" (second hand) car. The first, and most memorable, was a little Hillman which had strategic pieces of the ring-gear missing so that it needed the engine rotated on to a compression to allow the starter to engage”.


Stewart eventually escaped from the “prison farm”, and joined the RAAF as a radio brat. He was posted to 10Sqn in Townsville after appy-land, and worked on the old Neppies from 1967-71. (Weren’t they easy to get around and work in) From there he had a short stint as a depo-doggie at Amberley as a Canberra fixer, then to Willy-town and the Mirages in 73. From Billsville he went to Butterworth, for 2½ years, then they realised he’d been enjoying himself so they sent him to Canberra where he stayed until he pulled the pin. He now works on the New Submarine Project where he did some work on Projects for which Al George was the customer. His current responsibilities in the Submarine Project Office cover Periscopes, Electronic Support Measures (ESM), Communications (External and Internal), Shore Facilities and a thing called the Simulator/Data Monitor.


Stewart and wife Dianne still live in Canberra and both are keen bush walkers. Stewart’s hobby is gardening, perhaps a hang-over from Maleny days,  and he grows giant pumpkins (see Vol2). His record to date is a whopping 204.5 kg monster. He now intends to get serious and grow a proper one.



A man walks into a psychiatrist's office wearing only underwear made of Cling Wrap

The psychiatrist says, "Well, I can clearly see you're nuts."



20 Appy blokes

On camp at Ocean Grove in 1966.


Another photo from Doug Pankhurst’s collection.


L-R:   Ray Morris, Nigel Stevensen,  Roger Durbridge,  Geoff Gleeson,  Ian MacArthur and Brian Napper.



Ocean Grove.


Each year, the Radschool Appies would spend their Easter holidays at the small Victorian beachside resort of Ocean Grove which is situated on Bass Strait, on the western side of the entrance to Port Phillip Bay. Normally they would spend the day at RMIT, but as it was closed for the break, the RAAF would “treat” the brats to a few days “at the beach”.


To get to Ocean Grove from Laverton, you travel down Geelong Rd, through Geelong, and then out towards Barwon Heads, about 1½ hours on the bus. Each year the 1st and 2nd year Appys would load into chartered buses and travel down to the Ocean Grove camping ground under the watchful eye of 1 officer and a bunch of DI’s. A PTI was also on the bus as it was his job to keep the lads occupied and to ensure they were ready for the sack at the end of the day.



They pitched their own tents (remember this photo from Vol5), all right dressed of course, and set about deciding who was going to sleep where. The tents were the old ex-WWII variety, slept 2 blokes, were as hot as blazes, but at least they didn’t leak. The officer and the DI’s had their tents set up a small distance from the lads, but there was always one DI rostered on to make sure none of the lads slipped away on an anatomy fact finding mission. The camp lasted for about 5 days, with most days being occupied with a mix of lectures on a variety of topics such as general service knowledge, first aid, fire fighting, etc, etc, and organised sport.  


Cooks from the Airman’s Mess accompanied the troops, and they set up a small field kitchen in the centre of the camp and fed the lads 3 squares a day—much to the envy of the other campers.  Even so, the blokes with a few bob would slip off to the local take away for fish and chips, though all things considered, the food served up in camp was pretty good.


The second year Appys usually had a lot of fun at the expense of the first year lads. There was a section known as “Frog’s Leap” which was a gap in the sand dunes with a 20ft drop in between. The senior blokes would line up their younger mates and “run” them through Frog’s Leap. Quite a few didn’t make the other side and ended up with a face full of sand. At other times they would swim the younger blokes out along the sub-marine cable which was supposed to hold Tassie in place. If you’ve got memories of Ocean Grove—we’d love to hear from you.




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