|N. J. McCay was the third "Head of the Laboratories". He was promoted to the position of Supervising Engineer, Research, in 1953. Mr. McCay had had extensive experience, both in the Department and in the Army, in long line equipment aspects of telecommunications.|
Born in 1896, Mr. McCay joined the Department in 1913 as a Clerk, in which capacity he served in a number of positions until the First World War. He then joined the Army and after a period of five year's war service during which he rose to commissioned rank, he returned to the Department as an Engineer-in- Training in the Electrical Engineer's Branch, Victorian Office. He subsequently successfully qualified as Engineer, gaining the degree of Bachelor of Science from Melbourne University.
In the early 1920's, Mr. McCay was one of the first engineers
to install Western Electric Type B 3-channel carrier telephone systems in Australia
-between Sydney and Melbourne, and thus began his first associations with Mr.
Witt, who was also involved in this work. Mr. McCay also participated about
this time in the task of installing the co-axial trunk system between Brisbane
and Southport, and in the extension of the 2-wire route to Tweed Heads by the
installation of a carrier system.
In 1931, Mr. McCay transferred to .the Transmission Section at Headquarters, and was subsequently promoted to Divisional Engineer in 1934 and to Assistant Supervising Engineer of the Section in 1938.
In 1942, he re-joined the armed forces as Lieutenant Colonel in
the Australian Corps of Signals. His responsibilities were those of "Civil
Communications" which, inter alia, included liaison with the Postmaster
General's Department. The Department's role at the time included the provision
of fixed telecommunications services for the Armed Services in Australia. In
this second period of war service, Mr. McCay was responsible for several major
aerial and cable installations and microwave radio projects in Australia, New
Guinea and other Pacific islands. Returning to the Department in 1946, as Supervising
Engineer of the new Transmission and Long Line Equipment Section, he played
an important role in laying the foundations of the present Australian trunk
carrier network. A short period as Supervising Engineer, General Works, was
followed by promotion to Supervising Engineer, Research,
In 1953 - a position which he held until his retirement in 1960. During this period, Mr. McCay gave his attention to building up the status of the Laboratories and its staff. He represented the Department on a number of scientific and research bodies, and was, for a time, Chairman of the Research and Development Sub-Committee of the Inter-departmental Telecommunications Advisory Committee and a member of the Council of the Standards Association of Australia.
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Last updated: 6 July 2001