How I came to work at Tidbinbilla:
I was on leave from my Job with STL Liverpool, NSW.
My wife Jean, baby daughter Christine and I were travelling through the bush in an old 500cc Fiat Dopolino.
I had used a six penny petrol station map to navigate and had intended to take a loop around Bathurst to Taralga, but the red dot on the map that I took to be a town turned out to be a single house with no Hotel or Motel. I headed for the nearest town marked on the map, Cooma. After one night there we turned north to Canberra. Whilst looking around the Capital my wife into conversation with a shop assistant in the David Jones store. Jean told me that we were near to the tracking station at Tidbinbilla (35 miles), would I like to go out and take a look? Of course I would an ambition since boyhood.
I was unshaven and dirty from being in the bush. We were admitted to the tracking station and somebody was kind enough to show me around. I asked some technical questions and I was taken up into the antenna to see the answers. My guide was John Heath an ex Goonhilly engineer and he was in charge of the MASER at Tidbinbilla. Apparently this clamber up over the Hour Angle Shaft was a test to see if I could handle the heights and the structure to gain access to the equipment. Then John said that I was just the sort of person that they needed would I like to take an interview for a job. I was introduced to his boss Keith Brockelsby (a graduate Engineer from New Zealand, he was later responsible for Animal tracking transmitters), the Antenna Engineer Jack Rothwell (ex Jodrell Bank). A short interview with this panel of Engineers secured a job offer subject to my passing the Department of Defence security clearance. That was completed in three months and I began working at Tidbinbilla for Spacetrack, (a consortium of three British companies) as a Space Tracking Technician A, assigned to the Microwave section. The first mission that I was engaged in tracking was Pioneer and very shortly afterwards Mariner IV and the Close Encounter, Photography, and Occultation Experiment, of Mars.