Ivan Hodder (1899-1993)

Ivan Hodder joined the Civil Aviation Board as a Radio Inspector months before the formation of DCA in 1938. This was the year in which Qantas Empire Airways (QEA) changed over from the "stick and string" DH86’s to the mighty all-metal Empire Flying Boats.

Left: Ivan Hodder at the time of his retirement from DCA in 1964.

Even then, Ivan had been involved with radio for some years. His training began in 1916 at the Stawell (Vic) School of Mines where he was instructed in Morse code and radio theory. Following a stint as a Bank clerk and a period in the Armed services in the closing stages of the First World War, Ivan obtained his 'ticket' to go to sea as a ship’s Radio Operator.


Above: Ivan Hodder at home in Stawell, Vic, in 1916 with his ham radio setup.

Back on land nine years later, he became a member of the RAAF Wireless Reserve, which provided radio communications during Australia’s first air race from Sydney to Perth in September 1929. Following the secondment of the RAAF Director of Signals, Squadron Leader C S Wiggins, to DCA to establish a civil radio ground organisation, Wiggins offered Ivan Hodder a job with DCA as one of four Radio Inspectors.

Ivan’s early work in DCA was an important role in building and developing the initial Aeradio (later Flight Service) network in 1938, by conducting acceptance tests of the stations built by A.W.A., and by assisting in the construction of smaller stations throughout northern and central Australia, such as Karumba, Groote Eylandt, Darwin, Daly Waters, Alice Springs, etc. He also supervised the installation of a radio station at Dilli in Portuguese Timor in 1941, to coincide with the inauguration of the Qantas Empire Airways flying boat service on that route. Click here to read more about these activities.

After the War, Ivan Hodder joined the DCA's Flying Operations Division and was responsible for setting standards for aircrew operating radio communication and navigation equipment in flight, and ensuring that they followed correct international procedures. When Qantas applied to DCA for approval to remove their Radiotelegraph Operators from overseas services in favour of telephony operations by pilots, it was Ivan’s task to travel on the Super Constellation flights across the Pacific to check out both the operator procedures and the radio installations on the islands along the air route. This led often to being 'stranded' on islands with sandy beaches and nothing much to do until the next flight a week later!

Ivan retired from DCA in 1964. He is best remembered by his contemporaries for three things; his skills as a 'Mr Fixit' Radio Inspector, the man who put many Aeradio Operators through their paces with morse code tests, and his skills as a photographer. A number of his photos now reside within the Civil Aviation Historical Society collection.

Ivan Hodder died in Melbourne on 20th November 1993 aged 94.

(Photos: Ivan Hodder/CAHS collection)

Back to the main Departmental People index


If this page appears without a menu bar at top and left, click here