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Dave Dockray

Brisbane Sub-branch President and author of "TELEPHONE Talk"

About Dave Dockray

My wife, Joy and I are both retired and we have a son, Andrew starting high school next year. I count myself one of the very lucky collectors with a very supportive partner.

I also have four "thirty-something" sons doing their own things and with their own families.

I started with the PMG in 1961 as a Technician in Training at the Townsville School, which closed long ago. After my first year restricted to mainly theory work in the classroom, I returned to Brisbane as a telephone installation trainee. We saw a number of old telephones recovered and despatched to the tip, but I think I only ever held on to a 137 and an old candlestick - I probably still have them somewhere in my collection. I sometimes wonder how some of my telephone collector colleagues could have been brave enough to "squirrel away" some of the very rare and early telephones that I see around. In my hometown, management had strict rules and very harsh penalties for anyone found with "unauthorised equipment".

After 40 years working for the PMG/Telecom/Telstra in the tele-communications industry I experienced some of the enormous technology changes in telephones, exchanges, and other digital networks. I got a lot of personal satisfaction in 15 years as a technical officer working on telephones, PABX and public exchanges. This was followed by reasonable stints in technical support, network design, product marketing and later in my career, sales to corporate customers. Like a lot of technical and engineering people, I then became a Communications Consultant, in my case selling to Corporate Customers' for their voice/data/mobile and Internet networks.

After a satisfying career in an industry that has weathered the worst of any economic roller coaster rides, I'm happily retired. My telephone collection and helping other collectors provide for me, a leisure activity that fills a lot of my spare time.

I have developed quite a fondness for the European phones, and small switchboards, especially those from France.

Some of my collection is on my web site at

I do all of my own telephone restoration work "when it is necessary only", and I've become pretty proficient in most areas - we try to have an "expert" to present sessions at our local meetings in or near Brisbane to improve our skills in these areas.

Just a bit about my book - Because my collection is so extensive, I've been trying to create a subliminal influence on my son, Andrew, who is almost 13 years old - hoping that he might become interested in telephones, how they work and their history over the last 140 years. Maybe he'll even hang on to the collection when I'm gone???

I wanted "TELEPHONE Talk" to be easy to read and understand, not only for 12-13 year-olds, but "something for everyone!" I know that people reading this article are interested in phones, but there is just so much other fascinating stuff - "para-PHONE-alia" and other things that "just happened" because of the phone, and I've included some of that in the book.

I know that there are some very good books around, but I always thought that they didn't really help a lot of people "to understand it all". So, "TELEPHONE Talk" takes quite a different approach to the subject.

My objective though, was to provide a reference book that would allow someone to quickly identify a decade in telephone history and read about a number of the important features of the equipment that was around at that time.

Just in closing, it isn't all about telephones, we've always been near the water and we try to spend about every third weekend on Stradbroke Island - it's no Sydney Harbour, but what a place to relax! We're spending our September school holiday, house-boating on the beautiful Hawkesbury River.

Written around 2005.

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