Jack Filsell

Interviewer: Ian Hansen

Jack Filsell sounds like he was quite a character! Here he is talking to Ian Hansen and Cliff Moule about his early days in radio and how he began his lifelong passion in radio and radio engineering.

1928 - As a 10 to 12 year old, Jack remembers the local baker who made and sold crystal radio kits for kids in the northern suburbs of Adelaide. These were OK for a while but Jack wanted to increase the amplification and range of these radios. Soon after, he discovered a depot of the PMG's Department on West Terrace in Adelaide that was selling surplus telephones. Soon Jack and his friends were combining their crystal set knowledge with these telephones to make communications devices strung between the houses, much to the annoyance of neighbours. There were a few "hits and misses" with their experiments - but it was here that his love of radio and communications equipment was born.

1932 - Jack went to work at Colton's as an office-boy/trainee. In his spare time he was building his own broadcast radio receivers and was selling them around the neighbourhood for 10 to 12 pounds each!!

1933 - Jack moved on and joined Harris Scarfe & Co. in their radio department building, repairing and selling radios. In the early days he was an "on the road" technician just doing repairs but later, was mainly based in their city workshops. As he gained experience he took more responsibility in building radios that Harris Scarfe sold in their stores. It was here that he rubbed shoulders with workers from other companies who also assembled receivers with many brand-names of the time. He recalls working with colleagues from Ernsmiths, Cox Foy's and the development of many brand names such as Saxon, Eclipse Radios and Scharnberg Strauss.

1930's to 1950's - As car radios began to appear on the market, he developed an interest in these models as miniaturisation had begun with smaller and more compact designs appeared. Jack was still heavily involved with building, selling and repairing radios and radio equipment. During this time he developed lifelong friendships with people like Cliff Moule, Bill Walker, Graham Phillips and Bill Bland. Even though they were often competitors commercially they were pioneers in many ways of the retail market in South Australia……but by the late 1930's they could all see that war was coming and began to prepare for the future.

War Service - Jack had begun his formal training certification in the late 30's so he could work in communications - he had no desire at all to be a "foot soldier". Jack trained as a professional radio operator, undertaking the part-time course at the AWA Radio School so that by the time that war was declared, he was ready……

You will have to listen to the rest of Jack's story yourself to find out what happened next!

(Interview Duration: 46 minutes)

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