This section of the webpage deals with a number of the major and successful projects undertaken by me over a period of nearly 40 years. In many instances, these projects would not have had a successful outcome were it not for the help of some pretty exceptional people. I learnt early in my life, that success requires teamwork and successful teams are comprised of people who excel in different areas of human endeavour and have vastly different personality types. Because of this difference there is plenty of opportunity for friction. To overcome that it is necessary they have a common objective that over-rides personal differences. It is also necessary these personalities, who often are so different they would not normally associate with each other, have a leader who is capable of mediating quarrels, accommodating difficult people where appropriate and firm in requiring that everyone work effectively towards the common aim. My first Warrant Officer, David Hampshire made sure I knew that! If you can team up with people who are different to you but have a common aim, chances are you will achieve a result better than you could ever achieve by yourself.
The physiotherapy table came about because dear friends, Jim and Sandra Campbell, had a daughter, Leanne, who suffered from Cystic Fibrosis. They needed a lightweight, portable, compact table they could take with them when visiting friends and upon which they could administer physiotherapy to Leanne; draining her congested lungs. Once I had made the table in my small garden-shed at the back of my married quarter, they took it to a major hospital in Melbourne and were advised it was patentable. It was they that urged me to patent the table and they encouraged me to appear on the ABC inventors TV show.
When I developed ideas for a new General Purpose Infantry Rifle in my first year at the Royal Military College, it was a RAEME Corporal (whose name I can't remember) who introduced me to the finer points of the functions of a bolt locking. It was the Scientific Advisor, Mr Max Nesbitt, who championed my cause with the Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Daly. At 3 Base Workshop in Melbourne, my first posting after RMC, Craftsman Andy Witt, a National Service fitter and turner, provided me invaluable assistance and advice when making the KAL2 rifle.
When in charge of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Systems Development for the Australian Army in 1980, it was a young Lieutenant, Stevan Vujovic, whose advice and tutoring helped me form my opinions on how Defence computer systems should be organised, that is, distributed, modular, easy to use; not centralised and complicated. These opinions stay with me to this day.
The tray store system and the Calibration Management System could not have happened were it not for two amazing gentlemen, Bob Wilcox and Doug Bonner. They administered the computer systems at 27 District Workshop, Warminster. Initially they were sceptical of my views and efforts but soon came to appreciate the value of what I was trying to do. Without them, my ideas would never have been anywhere near as successful as they were.
At Stradbroke Island, it was John Flynn and quite a number of other talented people too numerous to mention in the space available on this webpage who helped me make the Kounpee Trench Pump and the Urethane-based Trommel Suspension System not only a reality but also an enduring success.
I have spent some considerable time acknowledging the essential contributions of others. That is only the short list. There have been many more to whom I owe a debt of gratitude. The following webpages are as much about the people who helped me to succeed as they are about the achievements themselves.
It is also noteworthy that, with only a few exceptions, all of these projects had their share of naysayers. People who could only see difficulties. People who would say that things had been done before so why "reinvent the wheel" or this or that has been tried before and it had failed. In every instance, by doing things again, new ideas emerged making an old idea better. In the case of things that had failed in the past, they had failed not because the idea itself was intrinsically faulty but because some other factor had come into play causing that past attempt to fail. Lastly, having set out to invent something, I have invariably found that much of what I had originally conceived was not perfect or, in some instances even practical. Ideas and designs changed as I pressed ahead. People provided me with invaluable counsel and I learnt from my many mistakes. Thomas Edison once said words to the effect that invention is, "10% inspiration and 90% perspiration!" and Barnes Wallace held the view that, "The best way to invent something new was not to know much about the subject in the first place!". My father gave me the most valuable advice of all when he told me, "An ounce of persistence beats a ton of talent!". How right they were. So click on the buttons to the left and I hope what you find makes for interesting reading.