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My first memories as a child in the early 1940's in the inner Brisbane suburb of Windsor were of soldiers, sirens [air raid] and searchlights as we weren't far from the Royal Brisbane Hospital and Victoria Park. My Father would take me round the corner to Northey St where there was a US Depot. I would recite nursery rhymes for small change and still really do have that first dollar note I ever earned [a US series 1938 overstamped HAWAII] and most if not all of the coins. So, I guess my collecting started when I was aged about 3 or 4.

Breakfast Creek did a big loop into what is now Downey Park. It was straightened and the loop filled in with all sorts of War material at the end of hostilities. I learnt the gentle art of "tip-raking" from my father about this time. As the dumps went further out into the suburbs and I grew older, I would ride my bike to them and spend many an enjoyable afternoon scavenging.

I didn't have a very healthy childhood [It turned out I was allergic to cats]. We didn't have a car and so used the trams and trains extensively. Even then as a 5 or 6 year old I had a good sense of direction and on being separated from my parents in a theatre crowd, I once walked home from the city [3 Miles].

My schooling was unremarkable. I was just a middle of the road scholar. I joined the Boy Scouts at 11 and was pretty well the youngest in my school classes and as a P.M.G. Technician In Training [T.I.T.], in my year of 1956.

After doing Scholarship and Junior I worked the holidays as a storeman to save up to go to the 1956 Scout Jamboree in Melbourne, I started on 16/1/1956 as a PMG TIT at Chermside Training School. I was 15. Over the years I was stationed at Central Auto [Siemens 16], and various SxS Exchanges in Brisbane with a 1 Month stint at Surfers Paradise as a 16 year old. In 1960, I was lucky enough to travel round Australia in a 1951 Vanguard with ATCS member Lionel Mundt and his parents. In 1962 he and I went to New Zealand and it was a few months later that I met my wife to be, Kay. We were married in 1964. Coming next was my love of hunting. I hunted deer and feral pigs right up to the late 1980's and enjoy photography and movie making.

As a Senior Technician I was transferred to Brisbane's Central Subscribers Maintenance on PABX's. This became the Fault Despatch Centre [FDC]. Due to boundary changes I was transferred to Metro South [Woolloongabba FDC] in the early 1970's. Here I met all the blokes I still go fishing with. Five of us bought our own 4x4 Landcruiser ute between us in 1975 and fished Stradbroke, Moreton and Fraser Islands. Our last trip to Fraser was in 2005. We still go together on a rented Houseboat in the Jumpinpin area and in our own boats from Bribie Island.

When I retired early in 1994 as an O.I.C., I had over 38 years in the PMG, Telecom and right at the end, Telstra. I then mowed lawns [a lawn doctor] until 2002 and am now fully retired wondering how I ever had the time to go to work.

I was an avid collector of firearms, bayonets, swords and militaria in general from the mid 1950's on and was Vice Pres, President and Editor of the Arms Collectors Guild, Qld. and still find it interesting. I have many classic adventure and boys books including Biggles and still re-read them now and again and even wrote some bush verse in the '80's. I started collecting telephones about 1972 or 1973 and later sold off most of the "guns" to buy my boats. Kay has given me plenty of ultimatums about cleaning up under the house but I just find that it goes against the grain to throw anything away. One of my greatest joys is to fix or make something I need from bits and pieces under the house and it has cost me nothing. I have over 30 fishing rods and enough gear to sink a ship.

My first car was a 1929 DODGE VICTORY SIX touring car I bought from a Great Uncle soon after getting my license after my 17th Birthday in September 1957. I sold it after only having it for two years and bought my first motorcycle in '59. I sometimes still dream about finding the DODGE and owning it again. I had an XY Falcon wagon for 21years and have now had the Suzuki AG bike for over 22 years. I've been driving now for more than 51 years and still do all the Servicing [except auto box].

As a warning to others, I believe the dangerous years are from age 17 to about 22. I survived a vehicle roll-over at age 18 and a land slide in New Zealand at age 21 both with fellow ATCS member, Lionel Mundt.

Kay and I have traveled extensively in Australia and have just returned from our 12th trip overseas. Kay loves planning them and is as good at this as a pro Travel Agent while I plan the Australian ones. We have two daughters and six grandchildren and I enjoy taking them fishing or camping.

Regrets! I don't think I really have any except for smoking up until about age 36. I do however feel grateful for living in wonderful times and I miss the freedoms of being able to ride in the back of utes, driving on beaches without having to get a permit and going fishing and shooting almost anywhere. From my teens on we always had firearms in the house and there were never any problems. How times have changed. In comparison with these violent times, my era of Bodgies and Widgies, crewcuts, flattops and the brush back was pretty safe.

I would say we have had anything but a boring life with the usual ups and downs. Two thirds of my career was in the Customer Plant area from Field Repairman and Tester to OIC and I worked on most of the Telephones I enjoy collecting. I am interested in the technical side of things and while not a fanatic I consider I have a reasonable collection. As an all-rounder I guess I am just interested in so many things that, like my schooling, it isn't remarkable.

Denys Parker
September 2008

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