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Postal Address: 26 Davey Street, Elizabeth Park, South Australia, 5113
Tel: +61 8 8252 1637
Welcome to the www.barossa-mail.net web site.
If you wish to read my personal blogs from January 2013 until July 2014, please see my other web-site, http://www.brotherhood-of-man.net. For my personal blogs, up to the end of 2012, please click here.
Read my topic Sleep Apnoea for my reason for populating this web-site. My mind races. If I think about a particular period, then vivid memories slowly surface. Of course, like everyone else, I can't keep all of these memories active at the same time, so I have decided to save them on this web-site, over a period of time, for my personal benefit. Good luck if they're of interest to others!
This site now publishes the autobiographical writings of Clive M. Pearson B.Sc. Special Physics (Lond), C.Eng., retired. I dedicate this site to my family and to my few surviving friends.
I've always thought that writing an autobiography is a narcissistic exercise, but it is also very cathartic. I have been privileged to count several talented achievers as friends, and I urged them to record their experiences for posterity, as part of the living history of Australia. Without exception they have passed away without leaving this legacy.
Deceased in March 2012, was R. W. (Bob) Arstall, a talented engineer who I first met in 1956, when he was a Graduate Apprentice at G.E.C. Applied Electronics Laboratories, Stanmore, Middlesex, UK. Subsequently, Bob and I again met at the G.E.C. Trials Support Facility at W.R.E. Salisbury, South Australia. After we had both moved on - he to the Weapons Projects Division of W.R.E., and I to the Hawker Siddeley Group at Salisbury - we worked together on the IKARA Project, Bob as the W.P.D. Project Manager under Mike Rososinski, and I as the Contractor's Project Manager under Stan Joyner. I introduced the novel procedure of copyrighting full-disclosure offers to the tendering process, and for the first time in the Australian defence industry, having a fully detailed and costed task description, we were jointly able to successfully complete a Supply Department development contract on time and on budget. Subsequently, the Supply Department successfully made use of I.B.M. computerised progressing facilities (using the P.E.R.T. software programme) to replace the manual progress evaluation of contracts. The unique Hawker Siddeley procedure of offering copyrighted full-disclosuire fixed-cost tenders was replaced by the letting of funded design study contracts. Bob was a very innovative person, active in the community, and a true Christian. He is succeeded by two very talented daughters.
Also in 2012, we lost W. A. (Tony) Crosse, a well-known professional musician and educator. Coming from a musical family, as a young man Tony joined the R.A.F. in the UK, and rose to lead the R.A.F. Central Band. Although he was firstly and preferably a player of the French Horn, Tony was responsible for the formation of a bagpipe band overseas, and for the teaching of many other instruments. He recounted how, on one occasion, he performed in a concert as First Horn, while Dennis Brain (the most famous french horn player ever!) sat in as Second Horn. After retiring from the R.A.F., Tony emigrated to South Australia, where for the next 20 years he was an adult music educator with T.A.F.E. In his spare time, and after retirement, Tony helped many musicians by repairing and maintaining their musical instruments. He was an active supporter of several local bands, and played the french horn until shortly before his death. Tony is survived by his wife Pat, daughters, and grandchildren.
For all of my working life I felt that I was in training for some important task, but sadly it never eventuated. Perhaps my career was a series of minor successes. Certainly life has always been exciting. Sarcastically, I would like to publish my memoirs as "My Brilliant Career", but I know that I was beaten at the post many years ago by Miles Franklin, a much more talented author.
I was born in Southampton, U.K. in June 1934. I was brought up in Southampton, London and Wolverhampton, before enrolling in a B.Sc. Special Physics Honours course at Queen Mary College, London University in 1951. Upon graduation in 1954, I was employed at the G.E.C. Applied Electronics Laboratories, Stanmore, Middlesex (now the Marconi Defence Laboratories.) I worked at Stanmore on the production development of the A.I. Mk18 airborne radar system, the last of the U.K. designs of radar for twin-seater fighter aircraft. Subsequently, I was a Project Engineer for the development of airborne countermeasures equipments.
In 1960, with my family, I moved to South Australia, under a 3-year contract for G.E.C., as Team Leader for the A.I. Mk18 radar trials of the guidance system of the Red Top heat-seeking missile, using Sea Vixen aircraft. I was responsible for logistic support in Australia of the radar and missile command system, and for the establishment of a system test and maintenance laboratory at Woomera. However, an ex-R.A.F. Trials Engineer and his family, who had been settled into accommodation at Woomera, became redundant when the Blue Steel stand-off bomb project was cancelled, and he took over responsibility for the Red Top trials. Six months after arrival, when the Red Top system laboratory had been commissioned, I reverted full-time to the G.E.C. Laboratories at the Weapons Research Establishment, Salisbury, South Australia. I undertook the design and construction of a Standards and Instrument Calibration Laboratory, and subsequently managed a design and development contract for trials data reduction equipment for the Maths Services Group of W.R.E.
18 months into my Contract with G.E.C., in 1962, it became evident that involvement in defence projects was declining and that further interesting work was unlikely, so I terminated my contract with G.E.C. by mutual agreement, and become a permanent resident of South Australia. I joined the Australian Projects team of the Hawker Siddeley Trials Support Unit at Salisbury, as a Senior Engineer. When the South Australian operation was handed over to Hawker de Havilland of Sydney, and incorporated as a division of Hawker Siddeley Electronics Australia, I was appointed as Chief Electronics Engineer in South Australia. For the last 18 months of service, I was appointed by the Company Board as the founding Victorian Branch Manager and Commonwealth Market Development Manager.
In 1970, as a consequence of my marketing experience, I was appointed as the S.A. Branch Manager of the Building Materials Division of Gibbs Bright & Co. Pty. Ltd., a re-structured, long-established trading subsidiary of a London merchant bank. While working in the building materials industry, in light of my senior experience in the electronics industry, I was accepted as a Chartered Engineer by the Institution of Engineers, Australia. I also undertook personal studies to keep up to date with technical advances in the electronics industry in semiconductors, integrated circuits and microprocessors. I provided technical support to Panelboard, the Company's particleboard factory at Mt. Gambier; software support to an electronic security subsidiary in Sydney; assisted in the Company's computerisation project; and undertook special marketing and feasibility studies in connection with a proposed company acquisition. In 1977, having recruited and trained capable replacement staff, I resigned from the Company rather than re-locate to the Melbourne Head Office for a somewhat hazy senior staff appointment. As it turned out, only two years later, the parent merchant bank in London was acquired by the Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank and the Australian operations were closed down.
After the hectic activity of the building materials industry, I decided to adopt a more relaxed life style, firstly for 6 months as a Microprocessor Consultant at Hunting Systems, and then for a little more than a year as an Experimental Officer with the Radio Group of W.R.E. Despite their frequent appeals for equitable staffing interchanges between the Public Service and Private Industry, I never found that the Public Service would accept seniority of previous employment in the private sector when employing new staff. I was frustrated by inability even to authorise stores requisitions, or to obtain essential components for my assigned task of instrumenting VLF navigation trials. One day, I was intrigued to see an employment advertisement which offered potentially high returns in a technical management position with high risk, so I applied, in order to satisfy my thirst for adventure and for management responsibility.
For the next 7 years I was engaged in the HF radio communications industry, initially as Manager of Traeger Transceivers Pty Ltd (Administrator Appointed) and then as Chief Executive of Tracker Communications Pty. Ltd., of which Company I was the majority shareholder. At the end of that time, I was persuaded by the two other shareholders to permit a majority buy-out by a corporate raider. This turned out to be too good to be true, and the Company failed, with me as Bank Guarantor, leaving me penniless.
At age 55, I again turned to W.R.E. for employment, this time as an Engineer with the Avionics Group of A.R.L. at Salisbury, South Australia. For the next two years, I led and participated in the electronic and software design of a V.M.E. computer system for the upgrade of obsolescent R.A.A.F. ground radar surveillance equipment. I also pushed through, from scratch, the design and construction, with a 3-month completion requirement, of a microprocessor data acquistion system for towed-target trials. This was during a period when in-house manufacturing facilities at W.R.E. had been largely wound-down. In order to meet completion targets, I had to draw upon the resources which I had developed in the local industry, and to donate my own proprietary hardware and software designs. Since I completed the work on schedule in an unprecedentedly short time, it was rumoured that I must have had a conflict of interest, and I was subjected to a formal disciplinary enquiry. I was exonerated, and I was lucky - in the Middle ages, I would probably have been found guilty of witchcraft and burned at the stake.
With permission, while I worked for A.R.L., I ran a small electronics development team at my home property. After finishing off some residual commitments from Tracker Communications, I secured a sub-contract for the control of a trunk radio system for Indonesian State Rail through L.S.E. Electronics of Sydney. This was completed on schedule, in less than 12 months, and my Company was cashed-up again. Meanwhile, I had been engaged in 6 months of negotiations with the Singapore Meteorological Bureau for the supply and installation throughout the island of a network of 43 automatic weather stations. I believed that all details of the requirement had been finalised and signed a Contract for the project. I resigned from W.R.E., was joined by a young engineer who had been working with me, and set up business in Singapore. As it turned out, the Singapore Government seemed to have a secret agenda of carrying out technology trials at our expense, would not make progress payments for project deliveries, and regularly introduced fresh requirements outside the scope of the original contract. Of course, after 18 months we ran out of funds and had to leave the project to local partners to complete.
Upon return from Singapore, I won an R.A.A.F. contract for the production of a quantity of 11 of the V.M.E. computers which I had previously designed at W.R.E. Then, I hired myself out to Telstra as a Consulting Engineer on the Jindalee Over-The-Horizon Radar project, initially for 6 months but eventually for the next 3 years. Since the home computer market was just taking off, my wife and I decided to open a retail computer sales and service outlet with a shop front in Gawler. It was the first such outlet in the town and was immediately quite successful. We were able to hire a full-time support technician. The income from my Telstra consulting contract covered the basic overhead expenses of the shop. Within 6 months, we were able to pay off all of the outstanding debts from the support of our Singapore venture. The shop had a large carpeted display area on the first floor, which we fitted out with tables, chairs and computers, which allowed us to offer computer training courses. On the ground floor, we installed 4 more computers and an expresso coffee machine, establishing one of the first internet cafes in South Australia.
After I finished my work for Telstra, I suggested to my son, who was a computer systems consultant, that we might equip ourselves as an I.S.P. (internet service provider) which he accomplished in the extraordinarily short time of 3 months. Over the ensuing years, we upgraded our systems as Telstra introduced new technology, installed fibre optic data feed, added satellite receiving equipment as an alternative data service, and opened a branch operation in the town of Kapunda. Finally, in mid 2002, Telstra introduced yet another new internet data service with country-wide dial-up access, but restricted service connection through a limited number of multi-state agents. We were locked-out from this service, and had to purchase contract services from one of these agents, who offered us connection by the end of September 2002. The months went by, still without connection, and Telstra was busily "churning" our internet clients. Acting upon promised deliveries, we accepted clients of a failed ISP from outside the local telephone district and had to absorb the S.T.D. charges which they incurred.
Despite regular promises, late in 2002, we still had no updated facilities. We had to seek an alternative internet services distributor, who promised installation by the end of February. We warned our original suppliers that we would be able to claim damages for Breach of Contract, but advised that we would waive our claim if we were provided with temporary services, free of charge, from their demonstration site until we had commissioned our own installation from our new supplier. This, as it turned out, was a mixed blessing, since the software system of the temporary service did not support password-protected logon, as was quickly discovered by a bright 12 year old boy.
Because of Telstra's delays, we had very little income in the second half of 2002. In January 2003, to satisfy a bank guarantee, we had to sell our home property in Gawler East. We moved to a rented house in Willaston, a northern suburb of Gawler, where we remain to this day.
The installation of our new internet services took place in March 2003, about a month later than planned, and we began to generate enough income to cover our expenses, but we were unable to pay for the new installation. So, by mid-year we negotiated the sale of our Gawler client list to an expanding capital-city ISP, and used the proceeds to pay for our internet installation costs of around $55,000. The sale left us with virtually no revenue, and we had to close our Gawler shop at the end of 2003. The Kapunda operation followed 3 months later, and attempts to continue a smaller computer sales and service operation in Gawler, without ISP services, proved to be unsuccesful. By this time, I was aged 70, and accepted the inevitable decision to retire.
Since then, I have learned that there are never enough hours in the day to satisfy the interests of a retiree. If you're curious, you'll find more on the page An Exciting Retirement.