The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 6 (September 1, 1936)
Mr. J. H. Hartnett, of the Signal and Electrical Branch of the New Zealand Railways Department, is the first Wellington man to win the gold medal presented by the Cablemakers’ Association of Great Britain to the student gaining highest marks in the examination for electrical wiremen. The medal is one of eight so far awarded to New Zealand electricians. The presentation was made by Mr. G. H. Mackley, General Manager of Railways, at a function held in Wellington on 5th August. Mr. S. G. Anderson, representing the Cablemakers’ Association of Great Britain, occupied the chair, and, in the course of a pleasant speech, explained that the medal was donated bi-annually by the Cablemakers’ Association of Great Britain, to the students gaining the highest marks in the theoretical and in the practical examinations for electrical wiremen.
In making the presentation, Mr. Mackley said it afforded him great pleasure, as General Manager of Railways, to tender to Mr. Hartnett bis heartiest congratulations on his achievement. Not only is it a reward to his diligent work and his ideals of improved knowledge and efficiency, but an incentive and an example to the Service as a whole, and all the other members of the Railway Service joined with him in extending congratulations to Mr. Hartnett. “I am particularly indebted to the Chairman and the Association for affording me the opportunity to be present, and for the honour of being requested to present the medal. This action is specially appreciated, because the winner is a member of the Department and is attached to the Signal and Electrical Engineer's staff,” said Mr. Mackley.
“Mr. Hartnett is an old boy of the Kaiwarra School, which has much in common with the Railway community who reside there, and Mr. J. M. McLean, Chairman of the Kaiwarra School Committee, and a prominent member of the Railway service has requested me to extend to Mr. Hartnett the congratulations of his old school. Mr. Hartnett's school is pleased to have an ex-pupil who has the distinction of being the first student in Wellington to succeed in winning the medal. It is gratifying, also, to learn that of the eight occasions on which the medal has been awarded, members of the Department's Signal and Electrical Engineer's staff have been successful on two occasions, Mr. Harold Stringer having been awarded the medal in September, 1935, as a result of his success in the theoretical examination.
“I feel I must take this opportunity to congratulate the Cablemakers’ Association of Great Britain on their efforts to encourage improved quality in the workmanship of those called upon to install their equipment. Good workmanship in conjunction with finely made equipment makes for efficiency, and this is specially desirable in railway operating from the signalling and interlocking point of view. I am pleased to say that the Cablemakers’ Association is aiming at that ideal of high standard, and it is ably seconded by its New Zealand representatives, as evidenced by the interest the New Zealand Association and its Chairman take in the affairs of the parent body.
“It may be of interest to mention that the wiring work in the Signal and Electrical Branch includes not only electrical work on all voltages up to 33,000 and the maintenance and erection of overhead lines for all purposes, but also practically every variety of apparatus. It is not surprising, therefore, that on joining the Railway Department, men trained as electricians in normal electrical wiring work have to be further trained before they are capable of installing or maintaining the apparatus used in the various phases of the application of electricity for railway working. Wiremen trained in ordinary wiring work require considerable additional training before they have acquired sufficient knowledge to enable them to carry out the electrical work required in railway operation.
“The Department has recently decided to appoint electrical apprentices, and four have been started. These young men will be trained not only in ordinary wiring work, but also in the specialised application of wiring for railway purposes. This will ensure that in the future a staff of fully trained men is available, and it is to be hoped that these apprentices will be present at future similar gatherings to collect their gold medals. At a meeting last evening, a wellknown authority stated that the Department's apprentices were being trained in a manner and in an atmosphere second to none in New Zealand.