John Allen

Interviewer: Ian Hansen

John Allen was a Riverland boy - born and bred in Renmark, S.A. about 1911. He finished his schooling in 1926 and immediately went into the workforce in Adelaide as a young technical tradesman. Like many of our 10 others in this Oral History series, he too got "hooked" on building crystal sets through Science at High School. Initially, he wanted to be an architect, or a draftsman but due to the effects of the great depression, a technical trade had more appeal.

John had an amazingly diverse career, from his early days as a salesman for a company selling pianola rolls in Adelaide, to building; selling and repairing radio receivers for various retail outlets across SA, to frontline research and development during WWII - specifically with the development of lightweight air-borne radar units and installation of ground-based radar stations around Australia as the threat of invasion and air attack became very real.

One of the features of this interview is John's ability to add context to his, and other stories. It's interesting to listen to why things happened because of what was happening around him (and others) that shaped his life and his career. His ability as a problem-solver is very evident and gives a clue to his intelligence, personality, talents as an engineer, and team member.

We hope you enjoy listening to his story.

(Interview Duration: 58 minutes)

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