DCA RTS Revisited

Waverton Nov 1971

These photos were taken in my last months at the Dept of Civil Aviation Regional Training School (DCA RTS) at Waverton. For many years I caught the 389 bus from Paddington into town and then caught the train from Platform 3 at Town Hall Station to Waverton. In my final year and a half I bought a car and managed to cut my travel time to 1/3. The school is no more and the buildings are gone, but the memories are strong and these photos are the last of a time long gone. It was the class of 71.

The class(es) of 1971 were a mix of DCA and OTC Technicians in Training (we were known as TITs)

The first photo above was actually from Aug 1970. I seem to remember that the instructor was Thompson and he liked sports cars. I can’t see who is directly in front of me, but the guy with the long sideburns and his head turned was Will Toms and he was talking to Viv Makila. They were DCA.trainees.

The rest of the photos are from Nov 1971. Garry Cearns (above) was always the top of the year. He was a hard worker and I really liked the guy, but for a number of personal reasons he left OTC a few years after graduating and returned to his family home in the southern alps of NSW. Gary always beat me by half a mark each year. It served me right for being lazy and not studying hard. He was such a great guy and I hope that things worked out for him. After graduation he went to MRS on the 4th floor of Paddington.

I have never been good with names, but numbers were my thing so excuse me if I do not remember the names or the spelling. Above, instructor Bob Williams is talking to  Paul Davies (OTC). In front with the beard is Carl Vigilanti (dark tee shirt) and I think that was muscle man Jerry Versallo (DCA)? Paul joined me at ITMC Paddington, as did Carl, after graduation. Carl was always posing in front of a camera!

Above instructor Bob Williams in class. No whiteboards or smart-boards back then!

Above in the orange shirt is Mike Battelina?(OTC) and smoking on the right is Jim Gould (OTC). Mike ended up in ISTC and Jim eventually  made his way to ITMC – both at Paddington.

Instructor John Dryden, above,  giving it all in the last period of the day.

The only other person above that has not been named and shamed is Laurie Keegan (front right) who ended up in ISMC at Paddington I believe. I did some gliding with Laurie up at Warkworth near Cessnock and soloed at that field. The guy with the long hair and blue shirt is Stuart Melville (DCA). If anyone wants to correct my spelling of memory for names, please comment away! If you have other photos or memories of the place or tall stories, let me know.

11 thoughts on “DCA RTS Revisited

  1. Hi Robert,
    Just looked at your photos………….boy do they bring back some memories.
    Carl Viglianti rang before lunch and told us about the exciting news so we’ve been on having a look. Still in contact with Viv Makila on a regular basis.
    Great to see the old photos. Thanks for sharing.
    Helen Shallick ( Stuart’s girlfriend).

    • Hey, that is great. I would like to get back in contact with the DCA team from out year and organise a get-together. My email is:
      homepc at rbrand dot com

      Send me you contact details. Is Viv on leave at the moment?

  2. Thanks for the phone call it was great to touch base agai.n What a blast to see all the photos, brings back memories of the great time we has during those years. I’ll let the guys I’m still in contact with know about the site (Peter Gardner, Col Sainty, Phil Brown). It would be great to see if we all could get together some day.

    Thanks for doing this site Bob

    • I will suggest some time after the long weekend in October giving us time to organise as many people as possible and for nice weather. I am chasing down Dave Rowe, but it would be great to assemble a full list with contacts so that maybe I can co-ordinate the arrangements. It would be great to make this a family affair so that partners and any kids can come along. My girls are old enough to look after themselves, but my son is only 10 and may even find the tall stories and true interesting. He is into radio, electronics and computers.

      If anyone else has any photos of the good old days, send them to me with some words and I will add them to the site.

  3. Interesting indeed! I wish I knew where to find some of my old trainee photos.

    I started out as a TIT with the PMG in 1966, spending about 6 weeks at their training school in Albert Rd Strathfield before being transfered to their other school in Huntley St Alexandria. At that time there were also a few DCA and OTC trainees in our class. I have plenty of stories as well but will leave them for another day when I’m not rushing out the door…

    I left Telstra in 1996 after working 30yrs in Transmission operations and maintenance, and took up an IT position with OTC Maritime (MS & RS) after they moved from St Leonards to Auburn. My last job was working in Gnangara cutting over new IT systems there for the Telstra/Station 12 JV company before I was made redundant in 2001. I am now semi retired doing itinerant IT projects and assisting my son with his property maintenance business.

    I just stumbled across Garry Cearnes photo above which was a pleasant surprise. We both volunteer for a charitable organisation and have been collaborating together over the last few years on IT projects. I knew Garry was ex OTC and was just about to give him a ring when I saw someone had already done that.

    Robert, thanks for your efforts in putting this site together. I’m certainly getting a kick out of it and will post some stories later.

    Wal Pearce

    • Wal, Nice to have you on the site and I look forward to getting some stories from you. There are a lot more to come and with a few other people posting, I thing we will get some good representation from all areas.

  4. Hi Bob,
    Nice to see the old photo’s. Caught up with Viv yesterday and he told me about the site.
    You probably don’t remeber me. Phil Brown ex DCA.
    Would be good to catch up some time.

    • Oh, I remember you and have tried to find you on the web. Interesting times at the moment. Heavily involved in space missions and having fun. Lots of radio stuff to play with! If you have a contact phone number send it to homepc (at) rbrand dot com. Thanks

      • Phil, or others

        You were on of my close group at DCA Training. I remember you very well as I said. We should organise a get together of a few people for the end of year and giver everyone time to organise the date. What are your thoughts? call me on 02 9789 2773

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