Alan Gilchrist

(Original Article by Alan Gilchrist)

About Alan Gilchrist
I was born in 1936 and I’m the youngest of four (two sisters and a brother). They reckon being the youngest means you were spoilt rotten – could well be true, maybe, I admit to nothing.

(Alan has now passed away)

My schooling was as follows…..

  • 1941-1947: Kaikorai Primary School.
  • 1948-1949: Macandrew Intermediate.
  • 1950-1951: King Edward Technical College. Class E1a (1st year electrical) and Class E2e (2nd year electrical).

Early recollections of leisure hours: Probably the most popular and well remembered times were those messing with bicycles and later of course several motorcycles and many cars (not all at the same time – of course).

I do remember my first bicycle was a collection of parts, gradually collected with the final ‘missing’ bits like good tyres being supplied by my father. The paint also came courtesy of my dad. In those days we must have travelled ‘miles’!!!! We thought nothing of riding our bikes down the gravel Kaikorai Valley Road to Brighton on a Sunday afternoon. On the odd occasion a canoe ride up the estuary at Brighton was an added bonus. If Brighton was decided as being too far on any occasion the old Caversham tunnel from Burnside was always a good thing to do, using either a battery cycle lamp or none at all and mostly getting at least some water on us from the many puddles on the tunnel floor. The problem was, you had to do it all again to get back to the ‘valley’ road or face a long hike up the hill to Lookout Point then ride down to Burnside.

Music: With one of my sisters being a piano teacher it was thought that I should take up this instrument and follow an already established family tradition of music. Within the family I always was one to buck the trend, or be the first to do something, or NOT do something. I managed to wangle out of the piano eventually but did play the bugle in the Kaikorai School Band and a cornet in the ‘Tech’ band for two years. That went no further but subsequently the guitar was my instrument of choice with many hours of enjoyment being had.

Warning: Next follows quite a few employment experiences in my working years plus a few of the hobbies I’ve tried..!

  • 1951-1957: Apprentice Automotive Electrician with Wooff & Salvesen (Dn) Ltd. where I learned to drive their old 1928 Chev truck to cart rubbish to the tip.
  • 1957: Tried rabbitting in Omakau Central Otago – outdoor job.
  • 1958: Filled in truck driving, Kanes Transport, Alexandra, then…
  • 1958: Started truck driving for Crust & Crust back in Dunedin
  • 1959: 6th April joined NZ Police in Dunedin. Left in 1964 and joined Radio-TV trade.
  • 1968: 1st August moved to Cromwell (Alan Gilchrist – Radio & TV Service).
  • 1968: Founder member of Central Otago Stock Car Club.
  • 1973: Appointed Civil Defence ‘Area Communications Officer’ for Upper Clutha.
  • 1976: Took up flying at Central Otago Aero Club – Alexandra.
  • 1977: Sold up business – 24th April moved back to Dunedin.
  • 1977: 20th June joined Group Rentals TV Service in Dunedin.
  • 1977: Completed flying training and passed Private Pilot Licence.
  • 1978: Passed Amateur Radio Operators Certificate examination, callsign ZL4PZ.
  • 1980: 2nd August transferred with Group Rentals to sunny Hawkes Bay (Hastings).
  • 1982: October moved to be Service Manager in New Plymouth.
  • 1984: 2nd May opened new service branch for GR at Hawera, South Taranaki.
  • 1986: 31st March left GR and started up on own as Television Services (Hawera).
  • 1988: Opened retail computer shop – name change to Computer Concepts in 1989.
  • 1990: 6th July – sold out and moved back to Dunedin.
  • 1999: September – created purpose-built “Commodore Home Computer Museum (NZ)”.



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