Bill Walker

Interviewer: Ian Hansen

Bill Walker was born and bred in Exeter, one of the the western suburbs of Adelaide. He attended LeFevre Peninsula Primary School, and like many boys of his age in the early 1930's, he was captivated when a friend showed him his Meccano set (with a working model steam engine) and an early valve radio. Even while still in Primary School, he built and experimented with crystal radios, different types of antennas; earpieces and coils - always looking for better results.

Bill's High School years saw him advancing his hobby to include more complex crystal set designs, and finally - he discovered the powers of a Philips 9volt double-grid valve and started building his own 1-valve regenerative radios. Soon he added a lead/acid accumulator to power some of his experimental radios. He was fascinated with the nature of radio - electricity - broadcasting - transmission - and reception of radio signals.

After his school years, Bill joined the "Adelaide Electric Supply Company" (ADALEC) which later became ETSA. He started as an an electricity meter reader and studied part time at the SA School of Mines on North Terrace. He worked his way through the technical side of supplying monitoring of electricity supply but always maintained his interest in radio transmission, and its growing importance into the 1940's.
During World War 2, Bill had become very involved in the development of infrastructure around "Air Radio Communications" and had joined the Post Master General's Department (PMG) which was the authority for administering and implementing all aspects of radio and broadcasting legislation.
With the bombing of Darwin in 1942 it became clear that communications infrastructure needed to be moved south from the city to relative safety, to lessen the disruption to both military and civilian communications so Bill was heavily involved in this very secret and physically demanding work.

After the war, Bill's career principally remained with the PMG's Department and as a Senior Technician and he worked all over SA maintaining assets. When the Olympic Games were held in Melbourne in 1956 there was another explosion of technical development and installation of broadcast transmission technology - this time including television signals.
Bill's career was long and distinguished - you can listen to the rest of Bill's story here. (DURATION: 1hour 39 minutes.)

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