Brave new radio world
THE boy scouts of 1963 made friends all over the world when Gympie's two scouting groups, Nashville and Gympie (St Patrick's), took part in the Jamboree-on-the-air.
Former Gympie Times' editor Nev McHarg remembers the occasion well, when 4GY announcer and technician Eric Chippindall demonstrated the latest in hi-tec communications technology.
It was a time of world-changing progress, as the earth acquired some of its earliest artificial satellites, the beginning of a space and telecommunications revolution which continues today.
Scouts were introduced to the latest radio gear, much of it updated from the Second World War.
War surplus equipment put the technology within reach of ordinary people for the first time.
The same war surplus gear was being used in Britain to develop the ancestors of today's music synthesisers.
It was an exciting and optimistic time, threat of nuclear war notwithstanding.
And the boys of Gympie were able to contact 57 other scout groups across Australia, New Zealand, Solomon Islands, New Guinea, Philippines, Hawaii and the US.
Mr Chippindall and fellow-radio ham Barry Bestmann provided the gear.
"They used to be able to listen to the first American astronauts and the Russian cosmonauts as they circled the earth," Mr McHarg recalled.
He remembers some of the people who appeared in the picture above with him, first published in The Gympie Times on October 22, 1963.
"Bevan Douglas still lives in Gympie, at Southside, I believe.
"Dan Atherton went into real estate and did a heap of other jobs.
"Graeme MacDonald became a police inspector.
"Ian Runge went into mining. His grandfather was one of the original owners of The Gympie Times.
"Paul Turner's father was a Church of England minister.
"Ian Wilbraham became a vet, I think."
The picture was later republished on the cover of Amateur Radio magazine and radio enthusiast Tony Van Lysconk was keen to identify the people in it.
Mystery solved, thanks to fellow radio buff Allan Blackman and The Gympie Times.