Eric Percival Wright (1945-1953)
Mr Wright was the second staff member of the original Research Section, joining Mr. Witt on 11th February, 1924, and it was appropriate that he succeeded Mr Witt as acting Supervising Engineer, Research, upon Mr. Witts departure from active leadership of the Laboratories in 1945. Mr Wright occupied the position until the appointment of Mr N. J. McCay in 1953.
Mr Wright was born in 1898 and joined the Department as a junior Mechanic-in-Training in February 1915. By 1918, he had been promoted to Engineer-in-Training, Class F, in the Electrical Engineers Branch, Melbourne Office. On his temporary transfer to the Research Section in 1924, he and Mr Witt were "the Laboratories".
His permanent transfer to the Laboratories as Engineer came in 1925, after the Research Section was formally established, comprising 3 engineers, 1 mechanic and 1 clerk-typist. Mr Wright spent his first years with the Research Section pioneering transmission measurement techniques, establishing transmission standards and assisting in the installation of some of the first voice frequency repeaters in the trunk network - including those on the Perth-Kalgoorlie and Melbourne-Sydney routes. In 1924, he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from Melbourne University after satisfactory completion of part-time studies.
1n July 1927, he was promoted to Divisional Engineer and soon after took charge of the Laboratories for about 3 years, while Mr. Witt was occupied with the Special responsibility of planning the National Broadcasting System. During this period, the work on telephone transmission and instrumentation continued, and the Laboratories entered the field of high frequency radio transmission as an offshoot of the work on the National Broadcasting System.
By late 1937, Mr.Wright had been promoted to Assistant Supervising Engineer, assisting Mr. Witt as second in charge of the Research Section. In this period, Mr. Wright continued his original role as a transmission expert, laying the foundations of the present-day A. P.O. telephone and telephone transmission standards.
Following Mr. Witt's transfer to special duties in 1945 and his subsequent resignation from the Department in 1948, Mr. Wright acted in the capacity of Supervising Engineer, Research, until 1953, when he reverted to the position of Sectional Engineer, Line Communication, upon the appointment of Mr. N. J. McCay as Supervising Engineer.
He later transferred to the position of Sectional Engineer, Radio, in the Laboratories, and maintained his position of second-in-command by regularly relieving the position of Supervising Engineer for short periods. Although Mr: Wright was never formally appointed to the position of head of the Laboratories, he performed the task in an acting capacity for a long period, and this fact, together with his long association with the Laboratories as a hard-working founder-member of the Section from 1924 until his retirement in 1963, ensures his recognition as the second "Head of the Laboratories", and as one who played a major role in their establishment.
Eric Percival Wright died on 25th July, 1973, aged 74.
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Last updated: May 2016