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17th of August 2020
Vale Graeme Sunderland
by Tim Wilson
It is with great sadness that we note the passing of Graeme Sunderland earlier this month. Better known as 'Sundo', Graeme was a much-loved staff member at Narrabi who made enormous contributions to many facets of Observatory life. Graeme joined CSIRO in 1987 and worked on the site works and construction of the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA). Over time, Graeme became the essential all-rounder, with a broad range of skills including trenching, concreting, welding, metal fabrication, painting, carpentry, building maintenance, mowing, operator of the cherry picker and Hiab trucks and, as illustrated above, snake catching! In each of these, he showed great skill and professionalism, and displayed a sense of pride in his work, which will live on in many areas on the antennas at Narrabri, Parkes and Mopra. There isn't a gate, latch, doorway, cover, bracket, motor, gearbox, compressor, section of pipework, or concrete that doesn’t bear the hallmarks of Sundo’s handiwork. In addition to being a great source of wisdom and knowledge for 'undocumented features' from the construction and early days, Graeme chalked up an unparalleled 497 reconfigures of ATCA. He recently claimed that he couldn’t recall the very first reconfigure but did remember 'every time we stuffed up since!' A stalwart of the Staff Club Committee, Graeme held each position for a number of years and maintained a high level of enthusiasm and commitment to organising social events such as Christmas parties, bonfire nights, BBQ’s and and other 'dos'. His efforts over 33 years brought together not just staff and visitors but also generations of their families and friends and made Narrabri a more enjoyable place to work and live.

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