Peter Hill at the old Queens Domain console
Photo: Mark Watson

Radio Operators

Over the years, many people have volunteered their time and expertise, and this support is invaluable to the on-going development of TMR.


A Tassie boy who recently retired from Telstra after 42 years, Jan worked mainly in the customer service area, most recently the NBN transition and managing Priority Assistance for vulnerable customers. Now seeking something meaningful to do in retirement, volunteering with Tas Maritime came as a suggestion from a colleague.

Jan is the father of adult daughters who both now live interstate and is a long-time member of the Lenah Valley RSL where he helps out whenever he can.


A Launceston lad, and product of the 50s, most of Paul's working life was in telecommunications, with Telstra predominantly, then M2, and finished with Vodafone in 2018. He is an avid bushwalker, starting with a school trip on The Cradle Mountain - Lake St Clair Overland track in 1968, and has bushwalked all over Tasmania ever since . He moved to Hobart in the 80s, and started sailing and racing on a 30' Vanderstat Serenity out of Bellerive Yacht Club for some years. Married, with three boys, a long time member of Lenah Valley RSL, Paul heard of a volunteer opportunity with Tas Maritime from a fellow member. He is enjoying the challenge and providing a valuable service to all those on the water.
Jennifer Birch

Jennifer Birch

Jennifer has recently retired after many years working as a procurement manager both within the university sector and the Queensland government. After raising her two daughters she moved to Hobart from Brisbane to take up a new role at UTAS. However, her main motivation was the pure, clean environment and the sublime Tasmanian landscape. Jennifer is a keen gardener, apiarist, bushwalker and TFS volunteer who also is struggling to learn to become a fly fisher woman and better photographer! Jennifer is a keen sailor and has been racing keel boats for more than ten years and is a member of the CYCT and the DSS and Kettering Yacht clubs. After cruising up to Flinders Island last year and relying on Tas Maritime Radio Jennifer decided to volunteer as an operator.

Andrew BOON

Andrew is a member of the technical support team and occasional operator. He is married to Judy, became a grand-father in 2008 and lives in New Town (15 minutes walk from the Domain). As a communications engineer he worked for PMG/Telecom, in his own business as a consulting engineer and then with Telstra Mobiles. Since 2006 he has been semi-retired. He is currently a member of the CYCT, DSS and GBBC and enjoys cruising in his Hallberg-Rassy 382 Juliet (RG713).

Tony DIX

Tony sailed dinghies in the 50s and 60s, his first cruise being on the Sir Winston Churchill schooner in 1966. He went to university in NZ in 1967, worked on cray and fishing boats in the early 70s, tried journalism, worked oil rigs in the Suez and North Sea, married in the UK and had son Rowan, and then worked as a Careers Officer until he returned to Sydney in 1981 and to Launceston in 1983.

After that diverse background, Tony settled in Hobart in 1991 and entered the Public Service and studied for a Graduate Diploma in Environmental Studies and was seconded to Environment and Land Management as Derwent Estuary Community Liaison Officer and later to the Alcohol and Drug Service.

Now retired, Tony sails Merlin which he bought in 1992.
Jeremy Firth

Jeremy FIRTH

Jeremy has been messing about in boats for all his long life. He started sailing competitively in Tamar Class dinghies in the 1950s, then managed to win a national championship in OK dinghies in 1971. After a stint in Canberra at university and in the public service, he returned to God’s Little Island in 1979 to build Rosinante (with considerable expert help); she is a steel Adams 40 with a centreboard.

In 1998-2001 he sailed Rosinante around the world, including the great capes of the Southern Ocean, through the French canals and as far north as the Baltic Sea. Since his return, Jeremy spent one winter circumnavigating the South Island of New Zealand and many others traversing Australia’s south-east coast.

He has acted a Communications Officer on Rosinante as the radio relay vessel for 9 of the last 10 Van Diemen’s Land Circumnavigation Cruises. He edits the Tasmanian Anchorage Guide, and for the last 6 years has been editor of the quarterly newsletter of the Ocean Cruising Club, a northern hemisphere-based but worldwide organization for those serious about crossing oceans in small boats.

For most of the time since launching Rosinante in 1989, he has subscribed to the various incarnations of Tas Maritime Radio. Now, after 14 years living in Dover, he has returned to Hobart and can repay years of using TMR by assisting its operations, as well as crossing an item off his bucket list.


Nick recently retired from the position of Sailing Operations Manager at the RYCT having worked there for seven years and with a membership of 36 years. With his wife Sally he owns a Beneteau Oceanis 423 called Little Bear (RG854), and is an occasional cruiser and regular race officer for events on the Derwent.

Nick claims the pleasure of being a 'former' lots of things in sailing including Commodore of Sandy Bay Sailing Club, Board Director of Yachting Australia (now Australian Sailing), Chair of the YA Youth Committee and delegate to ISAF (now World Sailing) for the Oceania Region mainly for youth sailing.

An International Race Officer, race and regatta management remain Nick's hobby which includes training race management personnel for yacht and sailing clubs in Tasmania and occasionally interstate.


Born and bred in Tasmania, Mike has had several careers, beginning as an electrician, then broadcast technician with the ABC radio station at Lauderdale from 1965 till 1989. A break from 1969 till 1974 as a lighthouse keeper, serving at Tasman Island and Eddystone Point with short relief periods at Cape Bruny and Swan Island was slotted in during this period. Following that, he was Tasmania's softest debt collector for 8 years, and in the final years before retirement, a call centre operator with Vodafone.

Boating experience commenced in 1975 with an 18 foot Hartley which was converted into a mini motor sailer, beginning a long association with Margate Base/Tasmar/Coast Radio Hobart/Tas Maritime Radio. Progressing to a 43 foot ketch rigged motor sailer, bought in Townsville in late 89 and cruised home to Hobart, he lived aboard for 10 years. On retirement in 2010, home became a 38 foot Hartley South Seas motor sailer for about twelve months till meeting his third (and final) wife!

Mike has been an active amateur radio operator for 53 years and is now a TMRs home operator.


Born and bred in Tassie at Ouse in the Derwent Valley, Rob spent 27 years as an Infantryman in the Army, including a stint as a UN Observer in Iran in 1989/90. On discharge from the Army he went to work at the AMC in Launceston for 8 years before returning to Hobart in 2005 as Faculty Manager of the Faculty of Health at UTAS.

Rob enjoys fishing both coastal, in his 17ft tinnie, and inland, as well as bushwalking, gardening and time with his family, as well as volunteering with Legacy Hobart. On retirement Rob was looking for another volunteering interest completely different to his other activities and after hearing an interview with a volunteer at TMR felt that being a Radio Operator would fit that bill.


Born near Dartmoor (not the prison) Graham arrived in Australia in 1960 on the Fairsky. His career included Marine Radio Officer on several ships and later joined QANTAS as aircraft maintenance engineer, then moved into IT, mainly radio work, followed by project management, IT/Comms. In 1973, Graham drove a Sunbeam Rapier from London to India.

Graham's hobbies are Trad Jazz (he plays Tenor Banjo) and wood turning. He retired to Hobart with Judy in July 2004 and enjoys getting away in the motor-home.


Born and Bred in Hobart, Tim started as a Bank Officer (for 15 months) then moved into IT for 38 years, working initially managing and programming the big mainframes at the Bank. When the Bank was taken over Tim moved to TT-Line (Spirit of Tasmania) in Devonport, managing their IT systems, including most systems on the Spirits (except the specialised navigation and engineering management systems). This included setting up the systems and networks when Spirit 1 and 11 came to Tasmania, then later similarly for Spirit 111 for the time she was run by TT-Line.

Tim's yachting interest started in the Sea Scouts, then sailing a Heron dinghy at Lindisfarne for several years. He then got the opportunity to sail on a 46 foot harbour racer and sailed on her for several years before moving to Ocean Racing for two years, but found 24 hours racing was enough so did not do any Sydney-Hobarts. He then moved back to Harbour Racing but then needed to move to Devonport for work. While there Tim was on call 24x7 and so could not do any sailing (bit difficult to get off a boat when needed at work - usually did get called on weekends).

Tim came back to Hobart in 2013 for work (IT at Parks and Wildlife) and volunteered at the Maritime Museum - mainly on the Reception Desk. Retired early in 2019 (38 years in IT is more than enough!) Tim looked for volunteer opportunities - continuing at the Maritime Museum, and joining University of the Third Age - ( helping them with AV and IT), Ten Lives Cat Centre, Rotary, and now at Tas Maritime Radio.


Having spent a total of 10 months on Tasmania’s weather-beaten Maatsuyker Island as a volunteer caretaker and weather observer, Robyn was so inspired by Tas Maritime Radio’s volunteer service to mariners that on her return in early 2017 she asked if she might train as an operator. Robyn is no stranger to big seas and wild weather. She has summered and wintered at Antarctic stations as a research field assistant and, for several months of each year, she co-leads adventure tourism voyages to the polar regions. During her time on land, Robyn writes and teaches creative writing. She is author of the novels Wildlight, set on Maatsuyker Island, The Nature of Ice, set in Antarctica, and co-author of the young readers’ Epic Adventure: Epic Voyages.
Sheenagh Neill

Sheenagh Neill

Sheenagh has been a sailor for many years. She started as a youngster and eventually bought her own yacht 8 years ago after crewing on various yachts around Tasmania and further afield. She has explored the east coast of Australia and as far afield as Vanuatu. Her favourite places are remote islands around Tasmania where the TMR weather skeds were a welcome part of the day. As a skipper of her own yacht, she has always appreciated the support of Tasmaritime radio.

She recently sold the yacht to concentrate on visiting family around the world. She hopes to buy another yacht with her partner in the future, most likely in the Pacific, and sail it back to Australia. Sheenagh runs several online support Cruising groups and is also the Tasmanian administration member of Women Who Sail Australia, a sailing support group for women with over 6500 members across Australia.

Sheenagh is passionate about our marine environment and ensuring its uniqueness is cared for future generations to enjoy.
Craig Proctor


Craig was born and raised in Melbourne but moved to Hobart in 1987 (after 8 years in Adelaide) for a 2 year position at CSIRO as a fisheries scientist. He retired in 2020 after 33 years with ‘the firm’. Craig has since kept in touch with the marine science community through his volunteering with Print Radio Tasmania; a fortnightly program Vibes Under The Sea, for which he interviews Tasmanian scientists and other ‘marine flavoured folk’ about their lives and work. He also enjoys being on and under the water himself, as a keen kayaker, fisher, snorkeller, and player of underwater hockey. On the rare occasion Craig is lost for something to do, he turns to his very long list of unfinished renovation projects for his old weatherboard home in West Hobart. He hopes volunteering for Tas Maritime Radio will give him yet another excuse for not picking up the paintbrush!


A born and bred Tasmanian. Bryan has spent nearly all of his life living and working in the greater Hobart area. A carpenter by trade but worked as a glazier for about 40 years as proprietor of Jones and Rumley Glass in Moonah. During this time Bryan soon become acquainted with many of the personalities that were involved with boats and general boating activities. His first boat was a 14' plywood dinghy and he soon graduated to a 19' Huntsman which was used extensively for cruising the Channel areas and as far north as the Schoutens. He then graduated up to a 32' Cresta (Waireka) which was used extensively for game fishing and further cruising around to such areas as Port Davey, Wineglass etc. The final upgrade was to a DeFever 44 Motor Cruiser (Waireka II) used mainly for cruising. This vessel was sold only a couple of years ago after 20 years of cruising and exploring this beautiful island we all live in.

Bryan has been a member of the Motor Yacht Club of Tasmania for over 30 years and was a Past Commodore of that club. He has also been a member of the Geilston Bay Boat Club for 35 years.

These days Bryan keeps himself busy playing Lawn Bowls, a bit of kayaking and volunteer work mainly around the bowls club and now at TMR.

As an original member of Tas Marine Radio or Margate Base as it was known back then, Bryan takes pride in the fact that he has been a continuous member since that time and has over the years been able to assist Barry McCann and Les Collis by volunteering when needed.


Alan was born in Melbourne in 1953 and moved to Tasmania at the age of five. After completing his education he left the Island in February 1971, heading for Woomera SA with his parents. He spent 37 years in South Australia working for the Commonwealth Civil Service and running a couple of small businesses with his wife who he met in Woomera. Alan joined St John’s as a volunteer ‘ambo’ in 1980 and eventually took it on as a job in 1985. He left the SA service in December 2007 and joined the Tasmanian service in January 2008.

Now retired Alan is looking forward to some boating, motorcycling and visiting his daughter who is an archaeologist working in the UK. He is a TMR home operator.


A Mainlander whose wife recently convinced him to live in Hobart, Craig has worked as a technical officer in the federal public service for over 30 years split between Defence and Foreign Service. Right now he is on a career break keeping an eye out for opportunities in electronics engineering and geospatial science in Hobart. His hobbies include SCUBA diving, Scouting leadership and being a maker of all sorts of things.


When he was 11 Jiri's family emigrated to Australia from Czechoslovakia after the Russian invasion of 1968. They settled in Hobart where Jiri undertook the majority of his education including an Honours degree in Geophysics Graduate Diploma of Education.

Jiri taught Senior HS Mathematics and Computing at Alice Springs, Geelong Grammar School and an International School in Kilmore, Central Victoria. Later Jiri gained a further Graduate Degree in Computing and worked as a Product Manager/Trainer for a specialist software distributor in Melbourne.

In 1997 he purchased the technical software branch of the company to distribute and support mathematical (Mathematica) and simulation (ExtendSim) software in Australia. As Managing Director, he ran the family-based business until 2015, when changes to software distribution and growing family support needs, necessitated relinquishing the business.

Together with Christine, his wife of 40 years, Jiri is towards the end of the process of moving back to Tasmania, renovating a Bellerive unit and dreaming of fulfilling the dream of sailing through the many magnificent waterways around Tasmania. After much searching for the right live-aboard sailing cruiser, they purchased Sequester, a 40' Zeston (built by the Buizen brothers in 1984). Despite the pandemic Jiri undertook a number of sailing-related courses including short- and long-range radio operator’s courses.


Mark is a Sydneysider born, bred and mostly resident on the Northern Beaches apart from stints on the NSW Central Coast and in Melbourne. He moved to Hobart in October 2013 for a sea-change.

Originally a secondary maths teacher he has since worked as a technical trainer and documenter, computer systems manager and national data/voice manager in a large insurance company that’s no longer there. Most recently he’s been doing web work: online courses, web maintenance and Tas Maritime's web applications.

Mark has always had an interest in mucking about in boats, mostly of the skiff variety, starting with Sea Scouts. He supported 3 sons who raced B14s from the ages of 14 upwards by towing the boats hither and yon and sitting in an 8-foot rescue rib on Sydney Harbour most Sundays (which can be most exciting at times). The highlight was taking one boat and a 15- and 16-year old who competed in the World B14 Championships at Falmouth in Cornwall in 2007.

Retired Operators

Tas Maritime Radio fondly acknowledges the dedication and efforts of our retired operators who have turned up week by week over the last four decades and more to stand watches, keeping Tasmanian mariners safe.

Len Bonnitcha (RIP)Doug Bonnitcha (RIP)Rex Griffiths (RIP)Bob GeevesGreg Johnson (RIP)
Robert Wright (RIP)Bill LushGus Vans ColinaElaine StokmanMalcolm Campbell
Ted Thorne (RIP)Tom StrangAdrian Burns (RIP)David BlakneyMike Hooper (RIP)
Laurie FordKeith KirkhamRay JohnstonJohn HensleyJoe Blake
Jenni Boss- WalkerCol TigwellPeter Woolford (RIP)Robin RetchfordSuzanne Hedgecott
Bruce EyersRobyne ChawnerGeorge LattimerGraeme DennePeter Muir
Neil HuttonMichael BowermanColin JohnsonTony O’BrienGlen Pears
Derek Blair (RIP)John Parsell (RIP)John MearsColin CrowderPeter Hill
Craig RichardsonKaren NelsonKevin Williams