I feel a bit awkward saying Dayle; remember he was born with a
set of laughing gear that… so we called him "Lubra-Lips". It
was a tuff old school in 1961 at ATS. No regrets, only terrific
The Geoff Geue photo was taken whilst picking apricots
near Loxton, with Chris Gamlin and me during the 1963 Xmas holidays. Chris
lasted 2 days, but Geoff stuck with me (contemplating modulating the water
mains!), while I picked furiously to pay for a new car.
I remember my first day at the ATS. I started a bit
later than some. I was made to sit at the back of Harry Elliott’s room,
(I had just spent 12 months at Radio Rentals), and now had to solder a matrix of
22 gauge TCW with a bloody big 90 watt soldering iron, but I had been thinking
that I would be "put into a room and left alone to invent
I remember Taylor whistling "Oh My Darling Clementine"
through his teeth over and over again. He was driving us crazy and we were
going to kill him, but Harry saved him.
I was quickly sorted out; Francou, a similarly well educated
kid as myself from Adelaide High yelled out "Good-day Sid" and
it’s stuck as my nick-name and has caused confusion ever since.
Remember PT sessions on the front lawn? Peter Ledgard,
"smart bastard", I remember thinking "this fellow could, (if he
wanted), stick his head between his legs and whisper to himself, (if he wanted)…
". Now me, unlucky not to have been preselected for the Olympics (or
was it The Man Magazine?) I was struggling in the back row with Kenny Roberts
looking over my shoulder; "Come-on Muegge, put some effort into it"
and just in front of me are "lily pink legged" Mr Gauss and Bob
Gosling waving their arms around like royalty and they don’t even get a
I knew then that I must have let Kenny Roberts down
somehow. He threatened on three occasions to terminate my
The first was during Harry Perry’s cold chisel lesson.
A tool I now appreciate, good for removing large amounts of metal. We’d
been given a large lump of cast iron (which the selected "goodies" had
pre-cut on the powered hacksaw) on which we had scribed the matrix and were
tapping away with our chisels and hammers when Harry Perry yelled, "not
like that, like this" (Bang, Belt, Wallop). OK OK! So we dug
some grooves in that would trip a horse... must have removed an inch of iron,
but left a bit of a mess. "Now you smart arses, file it flat and
Now having obviously missed the reading of some elementary
rules, I discovered an easy way to achieve this task, holding the file at either
end I had it almost perfect when Kenny occasioned to notice the lad. Well
he marched me by the neck, into his office. Draw filing; bad lad!
(Incidentally, had those crawling chippies created some master pieces in
there?). Mrs Armfield, (from her little window into the fitting shop, knew
every thing as it happened at the ATS), consoled me. She was my only
Another time, it was thought that I’d been in some gang pack
fight. (Irwin and Taylor had refined the art of sharpening their standard
issue pocket knife to the extent that they could sliver slivers of fag paper
sideways). Bored with shaving the hairs off their arms, Niven demonstrated
to me his recollection of West Side Story and accidentally cut through my dust
coat, my John Brown, my shirt and bloody half my arm. I’m back in Kenny’s
office, blood dripping out of my shirt sleeve cuff explaining how I caught my
arm on a sharp piece of chain wire fencing, while "Ha" (Trevor
Williams... he’d have to be going on 70 by now!) spends the rest of the afternoon trying
to find the offending spike!
The third occasion was in my 5th year when I
challenged "Greeny", a boy genius who had graduated with multiple
degrees and PhDs, and now was a Scientific Officer with a whole year's
experience in the real world. He threatened to have my indentures
cancelled because I’d gone AWOL. Back in Kenny’s office. This
time the "good guys", Doc Kildare and Harry were my advocates.
Not only did they win my case, I got my special class endorsement and worked in
that Lab for the next five years.
There were other occasions that would have excited Roberts and
one came to mind not so long ago. I had just staked a 10 berth houseboat
on a submerged giant Murray River red gum stump. As I gazed over the
gunwale to contemplate the issue, I spotted a cast name plate on the aluminium
pontoon that apportioned some credit to Bob Speight. Good natured Bob
never held a grudge, and I relate the following to demonstrate this.
The fitters were learning great skills, imparted to them by
Gordon Speck and it was Bob Speight’s task to make a toolbox with radiused
edges on the lid. This required precise scribing, cutting and
folding. Having a perfect example, Bob took his lid to Wilf Bates’
welding class to have the corner seams welded. Alas, the current welding
class were radio apprentices, and Muegge was assigned to finish Bob’s lid
off. That I did! I can still see the tears running down his cheeks,
and perhaps it was my welding that inspired him, years later, to perfect this
art for himself, but he never complained. (I think his tongue must have
caught up in his sinuses!).
Then there was the incident at Woomera. I remember
coming back from the "Jazza", and the lads with a fetish for the
chrome hoop frame beds had been at it again.