Awarua Radio Staff

This partial list of ZLB staff includes some highlights of their service. Staff who became Superintendents or Managers are covered in more detail on their profile pages (under “People” in the main menu).

See also:

Adamson, H – Officer from 1913 but was under the control of Telegraph Engineer, Mr EH Lawn of Invercargill.

Babington, AM (Alistair) ZL4DW – At Awarua from about 1981. Living in Invercargill (Jan 2007).

Balan, SC (Steve) ZL4GF – At Awarua from about 1981. Moved to Auckland? about 1997. Also held callsigns ZL1NAK, ZL1MY & ZL2BLG.

Barlow, FE (Frank) ZL4JF/ZL4NU – Frank was listed as being at Awarua with the call ZL4JF 1948-1949, then as ZL4NU in Invercargill from 1953. Other calls held include ZL2BB, ZL1AIJ and latterly ZL2NB. Frank died in January 2005. He contributed articles on Awarua ZLB to the amateur publication Break-In in 1992 and 1995.

Barratt, Dex – Seen in 1945 photo below.

Bell, JR – Retired to Invercargill, deceased.

Bonisch, John U ZL4AG – Superintendent, 1 Apr 1958 – 10 Apr 1965. More

Bill Burt of Awarua Radio ZLBBurt, BillSeen in mid 1950s photo

Chalke, Nevile – Was at ZLB off and on from May 1971 until July 1988 and was the first one to take voluntary severance. He lived in the end cottage (nearest the Bluff road) for a couple of years with Bill Eales as a neighbour. He was with Marconi Marine in the Merchant Navy before going out to NZ. Was on secondment to PNG at Rabaul/P2R from 1978 to 1981 and had callsign P29NC. After leaving ZLB he opened up a picture framing business in Invercargill. Moved to London in 1998 and has been back and forth ever since.

Clarke, WRH (Harry) – Officer in Charge, 1 Oct 1914 – 10 Jan 1915. More

Collett, P Joe – Manager, 9 Oct 1981 – 3 May 1985. More

Columb, Patrick J ZL4PK from 1963 while in Invercargill – Promoted to Senior Supervisor Awarua Radio in 1957. Became Superintendent of ZLD. More

Cunnold, (Doug) – Senior operator, later became radio amateur.

Davies, John L – Officer in Charge, 1 Apr 1914 – 9 Aug 1914. More

Dolan James B – Superintendent, 22 Jun 1965 – 15 Aug 1966. More

Dominey, RJ (Ray) ZL4FC – At Awarua from about 1976, moved to Timaru, still there at Jan 2007. (Source: Tony Magon VK2IC).

Dudley, JT (Jim) ZL4JD – Manager, 24 Sep 1976 – 30 Sep 1981. More

Ellenden, E (Ellie) ZL4GP 1947-1949 and ZL4TJ 1990-1994 – Superintendent, 1 Sep 1966 – 5 Mar 1971. More

Emens, LG (Laurie) – Superintendent 18 Apr 1945 – 1 Apr 1947. See 1945 photo below. More

Ernst, RW (Roly) ZL4AU – At Awarua approx 1975-1989. Living in Invercargill (Jan 2007).

Faulkner, DN ZL4FS – At Awarua from 1985. Living in Hamilton (Jan 2007).

Glennie, Charles A – Manager, 4 July 1974 – 18 May 1976. More

Graham, Tony – Started at ZLB in 1980 and went from there to ZLC and then ZLD for 11 years until the station closed in 1993 and he moved to Taupo Maritime Radio ZLM. More

Greaney, AH – Arnold was born in Hokitika in 1901. He went to Awarua in 1929 and retired to Invercargill in 1958. He died on 15 July 1960.

Hampton, James H – Superintendent, 29 Oct 1926 – 19 Apr 1929. More

Hattan, Leigh – Ex Navy and first female operator at ZLB. Began 14 May 1980.

Hay, LAC – First observer when full time meteorology observations began in 1944.

Head, AW (Hec) ZL4AW in 1932 – Superintendent 1 Apr 1929 – 29 Mar 1945. More

Hickford, Eddie – Seen in 1945 photo below.

Hogan, JG (Jack) – Technician. Was one of those responsible for technical installation at new station in 1940. More

Houlihan, John (Probably ZL4OZ 1958-1968 Invercargill) – Superintendent 4 Jan 1955 – 31 Mar 1958. More

Hunt, Frank – Mar 1973 – Dec 1975. More

Johnson, Rex – Technician, from 1967

Kelly, Lou – Seen in 1945 photo below.

Langdale, CG ZL4DY – Appears to have been at Awarua 1932-1935 (approx). He is also listed as ZL4GN from about 1953 in Invercargill but that call was re-allocated in 1958.

Lawn, EH – Telegraph Engineer, of Invercargill.

Magon, TE (Tony) ZL4DE – Awarua 1975-1989, moved to Sydney in the same year. First VK call was VK2CBC, then changed to VK2IC which he still holds.

Martin, Noel – radio operator (obituary in Southland Times, 2013 – no other details)

Mathews, Sandra – First female technician (1970).

McKechnie, Bert – At Awarua radio around 1960. Father of All Black and NZ cricket rep Brian McKechnie. Seen in photos below.

McKenzie, WJ (Bill) “(Bill) was ZL4MG, but did not realise that he had relinquished the call. If he got his full call in 83, then that would have been the time he started at Awarua. He was there from around 1980 until 1989. Haven’t been in contact with him for a few years. He lives in McQuarrie Street in Invercargill.” (from Tony Magon VK2IC). – (callsign was relinquished 1999 – Alan ZL4PZ)

McVicar, RN – In September 1974 (while at ZLD) was appointed Senior Supervisor at Awarua, but in October he declined to take up the position.

Milne, H John – Superintendent 13 Feb 1974 – 30 May 1974. More

Osborne, Henry ZL4RF – technician at Awarua Radio, retired to Invercargill.

Pawley, NC Probably NC (Norman) Pawley ZL4DB 1946-1971 – retired 1968 to Invercargill, deceased. His widow Thelma still resides in Invercargill.

Price, LJ (Lester) ZL4PO – Manager, 16 July 1985 – 30 Aug 1991. More

Ramsay, Keith ZL4FM c1947-1988 – at ZLB until about late 1975, then became an RI.

Robertson, Ken – Supervisor at Awarua Radio around 1980-1982. Died 2010. See photo below.

Robins, GH – Officer from 1913 but was under the control of Telegraph Engineer, Mr EH Lawn of Invercargill.

Ryan, JF (Jack) – Superintendent 24 May 1971 – 18 Jan 1974. More

Sharman, Lew ZL2IC – Seen in 1942 photo

Shearer, David – Seen in 1945 photo below.

Spry, PO – Officer from 1913 but was under the control of Telegraph Engineer, Mr EH Lawn of Invercargill.

Steel, Les H – Superintendent, 21 Jan 1921 – 28 Oct 1925. More

Suckling, P – Engineer. Was one of those responsible for technical installation at new station in 1940.

Taylor, P – Was appointed as the first technician at Awarua in 1940.

Wallace, A ZL4DW in 1932 and ZL4HI Awarua 1953-1956 – Superintendent, 4 Aug 1947 – 5 Dec 1954. More

Whiteman WFC (Frank) – Officer in Charge, 12 Dec 1917 – 14 Feb 1921. More

Willis, ALM (Les) – Officer in Charge, 18 Dec 1913 – 31 Mar 1914. More

Ken Robertson of Awarua Radio ZLB

Ken Robertson, Supervisor at Awarua Radio c1980-1982. Photo: Tony Graham

Bert McKechnie at Awarua Radio ZLB

Bert McKechnie in the Radio Telephone Room monitoring 2182 kHz at Awarua Radio ZLB in 1980. Notice that the microphones were on those black swing arms similar to what the light was attached to. The ash tray and yellow tobacco were par for the course back then and no big deal. Bert was the father of Brian McKechnie, a New Zealand All Black AND Test Cricketer. Photo and words: Tony Graham

Charles Alan Glennie and Bert McKechnie at Awara Radio ZLB

Charles Alan Glennie (in foreground) at Awarua around 1960. The operator in the background is Bert McKechnie. Photo courtesy Alex Glennie ZL4ACG

Operators at Awarua Radio ZLB in August 1945

August 1945: ZLB Awarua Radio operators at work when ZLB had to handle extra traffic due to a major snowfall in Canterbury which took out landlines. Photo courtesy Alex Glennie ZL4ACG. Click photo to see staff names.

Operators at Awarua Radio ZLB in August 1945

Operators’ names from the back of the above photo


Most of the content on this page is from a former website created by the late Alan Gilchrist ZL4PZ, and was republished with his permission.

If you can provide information about, or photos of, former ZLB staff, please contact the webmaster.

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