Jonboy [Jonathan] Walton
Greetings from 'down-under'.
Site currently under re-adjustment - SEPTEMBER 2013
A History of an Naval & Amateur Radio Operator
Created & arrived April 1939 at Latimer Street Sheffield, West Riding of Yorkshire - house destroyed during storm early in 1942 when a barrage balloon broke loose & damaged quite a large area of Crooksmoor and where I was born by its massive chain. Fond memories and the hair on back of my neck still rises when an air-raid siren [these days fire alarm siren] is activated. Moved to Blackrock Dublin where Dad was employed by Irish Govt. so most of my formative years were spent in the Dun-Laoghaire, Blackrock, Seapoint areas. Marvellous place, marvellous country in spite of its religous clashes - being a Pom in Southern Ireland at the end of WW2 & upto 1953 wasn't very funny. Still it gave me a great appreciation for the Celts, their language, traditions, customs, humour & in particular their ability to enjoy a good craic. Cycling to school 7.5 miles [Irish miles too] to and from daily, in all weathers meant that in time cycling around and visiting the River Liffey & the boats going to/fro was a great relaxing time. Befriended one of the crew of the "Lady Gwendolen" (- SEE PIC CLICK HERE) one of two specially constructed Guniness boats that daily sailed from Dublin to Liverpool with the good oil - "porter". No Irishman worth his salt would ever refuse a glass & must admit some 70 plus years later a good porter is a welcome drop at the end of the day. It was that plus fooling around with crystal sets and an old RAF WW2 receiver - an R1155 - which gave me the interest in the morse code and Amateur Radio. Dad had played around with it in the 1920's but hadn't taken it further so a chance meeting with a mates's Dad who was a Radio Officer, on leave put the idea into my head about going to sea. About that time too 1953, Coronation year Mum/Dad decided to return to England and finally decided on settling at Salisbury, Wiltshire - famous for its cathedral and its 404 foot spire, not being too far from Stonehenge, Southampton, finally all the family had moved by March/April 1960.
British Merchant Navy: 1955 - 1968
"I started in Radio in the UK having studied at the North Eastern School of Wireless Telegraphy, Bridlington Yorkshire 1955, joining the Marconi Radio Company doing my first trip on the "Irish Hazel" (- SEE PIC CLICK HERE) before going to "Charles H Merz" (- SEE PIC CLICK HERE) and then to the "Wavebank" (- SEE PIC CLICK HERE) of the famous Bank Line from 1958 until December 1960 when we visited Brisbane in 1959. By the way, Charles H Merz (1874-1940), was a pioneer in the field of electricity generation and railway electrification and who was heavily influential in the 1920s in the setting up of the National Grid. Every time you turn an electrical appliance on in your house, you should remember Merz because his vision helped in no small way to make electricity the universal service it is now. Tragically, he was killed in an air raid in October 1940. Incidently thanks to the ex.G7SV boys who have since contacted me and updated their experiences - good to hear from you, some after a very long time.
In 1960 I then joined the Elder Dempster Lines of Liverpool sailing between the UK/Europe, West Africa and the USA/Canada with a stint of their passenger vessel "Aureol" GMGJ (- SEE PIC CLICK HERE) remembering when we sailed from Las Palmas, Canary Isles the evening JF Kennedy was assassinated - that night's press run was hectic to say the least. I sat the UK City & Guilds Radio Amateur Examination # 55 and became G3PLQ - the hobby and work becoming synonymous with work interests. Recently caught up an old pal Paul Hughes G3OSR married a publicans daughter in Fleetwood Lancs.- lots of catching up to do - Paul was on "Eboe" when I first met him. Good to catch up again mate. Left ED's in 1965 as I wanted to do a radar maintenance course at Bristol's Brunel University. Prior to its successful conclusion I then joined the P&O Shipping Company as a Radio/Electronics Officer sailing on oil tankers eg "Kent", (- SEE PIC CLICK HERE) - Bulk carriers eg "Grafton",(- SEE PIC CLICK HERE) passenger/cargo vessels and doing dock staff work on such liners as "Arcadia",(- SEE PIC CLICK HERE) "Oriana",(- SEE PIC CLICK HERE) "Chusan" (- SEE PIC CLICK HERE)etc - see the picture gallery. I left P&O in 1968 and joined Portisheadradio; [NB sadly BT Internet have withdrawn support for the site;] - and remained ashore until 1971 before coming to Australia.
Portishead Radio [GKA]: 1968 - 1971
This was a marvellous experience partly because for many years I'd been in contact with Bob Purdam G3NOO who was working at GKA and who lived in the Burnham-on-Sea area along with John Davies ex P&O but along with Gil Elks,
Rick Edmonson G3YEC had been at The North Eastern School for Wireless Telegraphy, Bridlington, East Riding [Yorkshire] in the mid 1950's when training so, having also been in regular contact with this station during my Maritime career
thus far, [was known as "little Paddy" then] it was a pleasure to catch up with them again plus make a myriad of new friends. These included Ray Stevens, Dave Holman [readers of "Heritage Railways' & "Steam Railway" magazines will
recognise David's superb photographs of steam locomotives]. Mike G3UOF now GW3UOF whom I'd met later when at Sydneyradio VIS. Tremendous change in work loads, including shift work but a great esprit d'corp exisited then and in many ways is 'noticable' on the Portisheadradio link. Refer to the "Links" page
and check it out including all it's associated sites - most interesting. Still trying to come to terms with the fact it and so many other Maritime Coast Radio Stations literally NO LONGER EXIST. Many of us still feel that putting all
'the eggs in one basket' with regard to satellite communications is still fraught with danger. Carrington Flare. - Only time will tell though I can almost guarantee many ex Coast Radio & Maritime Radio Officers will agree with me. Several photographs
will be added to the "Gallery" as and when they are located. Amazing when you move how 'dis-organised' you again become even though ''but I put it in box 'xyz'"!!
Coast Radio Service Australia: 1972 - 1979 and 1991 - 1994
Radio Surveyor [Brisbane] for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority [AMSA] 1994 - 2001
Around March/April 1994 - received a telephone from Glenn Dunstan VK1XX then head of the Radio Inspector at AMSA [Australian Maritime Safety Authority] at Belconnen, Canberra if I would consider an
appointment as the Radio Communications Inspector based in Brisbane.
Amateur Radio History: 1961 - present date and still going strong
Interest in Amateur Radio commenced long before I was actually licenced. As mentioned elsewhere having an old RAF R1155 receiver and power unit, in marvellous condition purchased from the UK, morse code
was very much the order of the day in all spheres of communication. Ships went to sea and "Sparks" - the Radio Officer/Operator - was the lifeline to the outside world until the vessel arrived at its destination having regular
'skeds' (schedules) with the National communication station eg for the UK it was Portisheadradio GKA, for Germany Norddeichradio DAN, for Holland it was Scheveningenradio PCH, for Sweden it was
Goteborgradio SAG etc.. Out of this and the fact I was meeting various local Radio Amateurs in both Ireland [EI] & England [G] and had always enjoyed Geography at school, everything went into the 'melting pot of life'
and I realised a career in the Navy was for me.
Another link to that time, again thanks to Bob is Pepperbox Hill. - often used this site for my 160m mobile QSO's with Bert G2FIX plus good QTH for 'fox hunts' etc.,
naturally, the 160m interest really got its kick start from these activites. Its historical significent is interesting especially with my maritime links - thanks Bob for the 'reminders'!.
LAMB ISLAND [NGUDOOROO]: 1987 - 2001
Lamb Island is located in Moreton Bay at 27 degrees 37.7 minutes South 153 degrees 22.7 minutes East - Maidenhead Locator Reference: QG62qi, that is approx. 55Km SouthSouthEast from Brisbane, South-Eastern Queensland.
It is one of the 365 Islands of Moreton, the main Islands being the famous Moreton Island and sand Islands of North and South Stradbroke Island along with Bribie, Coochiemudloo, St.Helena, Peel, Russell - infamous for the DP or drainage problem blocks of land sold to Southern State personnel in the 1960's which accounts for that islands present low population levels in comparison with it's neighbours of Karragarra, Lamb and Macleay Islands !
Lamb obtained it's name, we assume from Admiral Lamb who was a prominent member of the Royal Naval Board assigned to take care of the penal colony of New South Wales which Queensland was originally part of, and also famous in Royal Navy circles for "Lambs Navy Rum" - this incidently is conjecture!
The Island's native name is Ngudooroo or 'peaceful place' which is exactly what it is!
The Island is 2Km long by 1Km at its widest point and least less than 400m at the narrow neck.
Total population is now in excess of 250 families though this is swollen during the holiday periods as many people have holiday homes on the Island and a constant changing population of itinerant personnel attracted to [or what was] the low rental facilities.
The Island possesses a single store currently run by the McCarragher's who are magnificent - you name it and they will - within reason - attempt to supply same, nothing is too much trouble.
It also has the original farm house - called "Progress Hall" built in 1924 and recently extensively renovated by the local Council. This also houses the local Library and the hall is used by various groups as a meeting area.
Close to the hall are the tennis courts - first laid in the 1920's - a recently built Medical centre through the hard efforts of the Islands Ambulance Officer - Svend Raleigh & resident Nurse Dawn Thompson. Memo - Svends' daughter Charmaine Tilley sent a cheery message 13AUG.2010 thanking me for the acknowledgement of her fathers work.
The Island and its surrounding waters where part of the Moreton Bay Oyster Company whose leases have long expired. Oysters, crabbing and fishing are still popular pastimes though the fish and crab stocks have been depleted by the Bays general growing popularity and the local Councils stupidity of environmental vandalism at the Raby Bay complex off Cleveland - hopefully the recently passed declaration by the State Government will arrest this behaviour.
Another couple that moved onto the Island in 1993 were Ray and Nola Cowie. Ray and Nola had served and attempted to get the Peel Island leprosarium recognised as a museum. Both managed to get a good array of items used from the bush. Iron beds, early phonographic discs, wood-chip stoves during their early years on the Island and stored them for future display/usage. Both became known as the "Protectors of Peel Island". Sadly, all their efforts fell by the wayside even though the Federal Government's one Nation package provided a $225,000 grant to stabilise the lazaret buildings. To administer this grant, the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage took over the Island in 1993. Even though the buildings etc are classified as Heritage listed, Peel Island cannot be gazetted as a National Park because of an aboriginal land rights claim. Even now as far as I can trace, this state of limbo still exists. Both Ray and Nola often fondly talked about their years on Peel. Ray never really recovered from that ordeal. He was wealth of knowledge about the Islands too.
Islands became a series of farms, eight in all, one of the sons of the original groups still resides here along with Peg Saunders who has lived here for over 50 years - her knowledge of the both the fauna and flora is staggering.
The Islands became the garden basket of Brisbane, slowly declining as the farms where sub-divided further until 1973 when the Redland Shire Council took over the management of the four Islands. That brought the power and to the remaining 'originals', a lot of the present day problems - can see their point - European "progress" is very costly.
Lamb is now classified as residential "A" island and becoming more developed as the years pass - the constant influx of cats and dogs has put paid to the quail, bandicoots, stone curlews to name a few - unknown to most Europeans and non-Islanders, the MAJORITY OF AUSTRALIAN NATIVE BIRDS ARE GROUND NESTING - this means the cats especially are destroying local wildlife at a very alarming rate - the Moreton Bay Strategic Plan, HOPEFULLY - will reverse this situation. Native bird life is still wide and varied - people are encouraged to grow native trees and the majority of Islanders are conservation minded - they have to if we want to retain some semblance of what was.
Access to the Island is by water taxi and/or vehicle ferry from Redland Bay and in case of a major emergency, you could get lifted out by the helicopter from the emergency helipad close to the Progress Hall.
In the six years I've been active as Lamb Island's only Radio Amateur, Lamb Island has been put on the Amateur World Map by my activation of the IOTA [Islands Of The Air] award - OC.137 - standing for Oceania Island Group 137 encompassing ALL the Moreton Bay Islands. I've now contacted in excess of 300 Countries have the unique postal address which goes back to the period when mail was delivered to the Community Mail Bag area but curtailed by Australia Post owing to complaints from some Islanders on non-delivery. Alan, our resident mail man is a regular visitor with my mail and countless QSL's from some exotic places, so I'm doing my part in promoting the Islands of Moreton Bay and hopefully, playing a small part in encouraging Tourism for the local area.
This information is usually mailed with DIRECT QSL's to those people who request a little background to Lamb Island - the comment usually being: where is Lamb Island? - not on my map???
I therefore trust this resume of Lamb Island will be useful to you. Since all this was compiled, the changes have been immense and so have the people and attitudes, sadly for the 'worst'.
NB - One of the many Nets I joined was with Horace ZL3WE of Christchurch, NZ. We recently re-connected in 2011 and this brought back to mind the various characters with this marvellous net. The regular contacts with the "ZL3WE Net" on 15m/21MHz. We talked with folk from all over the world and some interesting contacts too. One which really stands out was when a Radio Amateur in Kota Kinabalu popped in and said he'd sighted the "Patanela" - a 19m schooner with a crew of four that was last heard [by VIS Sydneyradio] on 08NOVEMBER.1988. Working within the Maritime Industry at this time and remembering the "Patanela" incident at VIS and Keith McLennan - the OTC operator and a work collegue from OTC days, I contacted the AMSA Canberra Search & Rescue section and forwarded this data. Sadly, it turned out to be one of several false sightings. Mind you, the sighted vessel in Kota Kinabalau at first sight looked 'similar' - Interesting!.
Do you require a QSL for IOTA OC-137 Lamb Island? Did you work me? If so, providing you are 'in the log' for the period mentioned & provide postage, this card can be yours.
BRIBIE ISLAND : 2008 - 2014
Bribie Island is the northern most Island located at the head of Moreton Bay at 27 degrees 10 minutes South 153 degrees 12 minutes East [approx.] - Maidenhead Locator Reference: QG62ow based at Woorim, that is approx. 70Km due North from Brisbane CBD, South-Eastern Queensland.
2001 - present date: Retirement.
Moving from Lamb Island my first stop was at Redland Bay before heading to the Northern Suburbs of Brisbane. This was assisting the Roze Bros. build a house at Burpengary which, when at the 'lock up' stage was home for approx. 4 months. Next stage was moving a 'few blocks' away to another Roze Bros. property which was to be refurbished prior to sale.
When completed, I assisted in obtaining a reasonable sized property at Moorina, again with the Roze Bros. remaining there until April 2005. A further move was made to Dakabin, near Alma Park Zoo which concluded circa September 2007 following an understanding of a flat at Beachmere which sadly didn't come to fruition so in late January 2008 I ended up at Sandstone Point. Thence to Woorim or Ocean Shores on the Eastern side of Bribie Island [November 2009]
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