Vol 10

Page 6




Neil Hunter (right) maintains a site (www.raaftelstechs.au.com/) [yep—that’s it] which is dedicated to ex RAAF Telstechs. [Have a look]. He recently ran a couple of funny stories about a real character called Ron Lipman who was a Telstech in Darwin many moons ago, and who a lot of blokes and blokettes who were there at the time would most probably know, so we’re repeating them here.


“One day the Darwin telstech workshop was to be inspected by some officer from command and everyone was expected to "do their bit"  It was a Sergeant I think who asked Ron to paint a bench. Ron replied that he didn't know how to paint and therefore could not do the painting.


The bottom line was that he figured that as a TelsTech painting was not part of the job description.  No matter, back came the retort to Ron, "Paint the bench Ron" or words to that effect. Ron came back with something like, "But Sarge, I don't know how to paint". In a heartbeat the Sergeant said "Paint the effing bench and that is an order".


Well those of you who knew Ron will know that that was not the way to get on his best side.  Without another word Ron walked over to the shadow board got a steel rule and screwdriver and walked over to the large tin of paint.  Using the screwdriver he levered off the lid and set the screwdriver down very gently and picked up the ruler. At this point we all thought that he was going to stir the paint with the ruler before starting the job. To everyone’s amazement, Ron picked up the very large tin of standard issue paint and upended it on the bench and proceeded to spread it out with the steel rule. He carried on as if this were normal while everyone else stood there like stunned mullets with their mouths open - including the Sergeant.  I am not sure how long it took for what had just happened to sink in but eventually the Sergeant said something like….. "What the f... do you think you are doing" !!!!  To which Ron replied in that innocent tone he could put on so well,  "I told you I couldn't paint".  As I recall, he got away with it.”


Another time he was posted south. I believe he had some items he wanted as part of his removal, something like a small bar fridge and few other bits and pieces he kept in his room.  Being a single guy I think he was told that he did not have any entitlement and that he would have to pay for the items to be relocated but anything he could get into packing cases would be removed to his new posting gratis.  As I recall, he got a number of tea-chests and duly filled them with ordinary house bricks, sealed the cases and marked  them “Handle with Care”. The Air Force had them all picked up and shipped to his new posting.  I heard later that all the bricks turned up in good condition with not one broken in transit. I don't know what happened to the bricks after that.


And….as you know, back in the seventies trying to get anything electronic fixed in Darwin was just about impossible so the custom was that we could fix "foreigners" in the workshop in our spare time for which the fee was usually paid in booze.  Anyway, one day the boss comes in with the SMO.  I  think it was Squadron Leader Thomson who is now a distinguished sports medicine specialist I believe.  Ron was asked to have a look at his TV and see if he could fix it.  Now while I have no doubt whatsoever that Ron could fix this thing he was never going to do it. 


I am not sure if it was the boss or the Doc that said he wanted it back the next day.  Wrong thing to say to Ron. So it sat on the bench until the next day.  When the Doc turned up the next day to collect said broken TV somebody demanded to know why it was not  fixed. Without a word Ron reached for a screwdriver and then went to the medical cabinet and got two asprin.  He quickly undid the top few screws of the back cover and threw in the two asprin.  He did the screws back up and said to the Doc with a deadpan expression on his face, "If it's no better in the morning bring it in again and I'll fix it for you."!!! Turned around and walked out. 


Ron had previously been to see the MO when he really was quite crook with the flu and was told to take two asprin and if it was no better to come back the next day.  Eventually the TV was fixed I think.  I never met the person who ever bested Ron,  he was very bright if a little ecsentric and his logic was always impeccable and he had a great sense of justice.


Ron?  He was my hero”.


Ah….the good old days.









Margaret and Geoff Mayhew and Ross and Diane Ginn at the reunion dinner at the Booky’s Club in Brisbane,  March 2001.






Not so long ago we were on the Pacific Highway between Brisbane and Sydney, and we stopped at a little town called Uranga which is about 30 klms south of Coffs Harbour. For those that haven’t driven the coastal route for some time, it’s now time to give it a go as there has been a heap of work done on the road, and the Brisbane/Sydney coastal trip is now fast and enjoyable. The worst stretch is between Murwillumbah and Brunswick Heads, a stretch of about 30 klms, but once you get to Bruns it’s a good run, with heaps of passing lanes, divided roads, and a divided highway now from Taree right down to Sydney.



Anyway, when ever you go through Uranga, make sure you’ve got a few minutes to spare and stop at the fruit shop next to the Mobil servo on the right hand side going south because it’s owned by one time radtech Dave Tottenham. Totters as he was known to one and all, did a stint in Vung Tau in 1969/70, then jagged a posting to Radschool as an instructor. Down there they found he really couldn’t do much so they gave him a commission, and posted him to ARDU where by the simple process of keeping out of trouble he eventually made Sqn Ldr. He was posted to AWA to oversee the manufacture of the sonobuoys, but as Totters puts it, “they knew what they were doing, so I left them to get on with it”. (Trained by Nick Carter—obviously…). We wanted to know if he still had the bug eyed Sprite with the EH Holden motor, but he said that died ages ago.












Totters, Vung Tau 1969.


Totters studied farming stuff during his last years as a RAAF Sir, and when he got out bought a farm in the Bellingen area of NSW (behind Coffs). Initially the farm grew bananas, and he kept at it for a few seasons, but as he says, there are just too many people growing bananas these days, and there is no money left in it. Some time ago he switched to avocados, which he says are a lot easier to grow, not as demanding to harvest and much easier to pack and transport and more importantly, you make more money out of them. He’s been there now for 6 years, and when we last spoke he had plans to put the business on the market as he reckoned it was time to take things a bit easier. He plans to keep the farm, jam in a manager, and head off overseas for a while to “bum” around the UK for a bit.


We believe he’s still there at present, so next time you’re on the highway, drop in and say g’day.



"I'm always amazed to hear about people being so badly mutilated that they have to be identified by their dental records. What I can't understand is, if they don't know who you are, how do they know who your dentist was?"







Official wine taster for the 2001 reunion dinner, Graeme Benthien, shown here sampling one of the red’s….. “mmmmm Good stuffff….”







L-R:  Wayne Smith, Fred Young, Dave Muir-McCarey, Geoff Renshaw, Terry Houston and Col Aston at the reunion dinner.





Two blokes playing golf were at the 8th tee when a funeral went by on the road beside the course. One bloke who was just about to tee off stopped, removed his cap, and stood to attention while the hearse went by. The other bloke looked and said to his mate, “Mate! - That was the most reverent thing I’ve ever seen”. The first bloke said “Yeah—but she was a good wife for 35 years, it was the least I could do”.




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