Passion is dots and dashes

Richie Bright demonstrates the rare art of using Morse code. Picture: Bruce Hunt www.communitypix.com.au d405971
Richie Bright demonstrates the rare art of using Morse code. Picture: Bruce Hunt www.communitypix.com.au d405971

Mr Bright is the secretary of The Morsecodians Fraternity of WA, and will soon be keying messages at the Perth Royal Show, showing the younger generation how messages were once sent and received.

He joined the group when it started in 1997, after a device was invented that would allow Morse code to be transmitted via a slow speed modem.

‘We have about 95 members, mostly people who used Morse in the military, in the post master general’s department and railways,’ Mr Bright said.

Before joining the group, he had not used Morse code since he worked in the post office in the 1950s.

‘When I joined the post office in 1949, you had to start off as a telegram messenger and in your spare time you learned Morse which you had to know to get a promotion,’ he said.

‘Once I got up to a certain speed I went to the Perth GPO for training, where I also learned telegraphy and then I was posted to Merredin.’

Mr Bright used Morse for about 10 years until it was declared obsolete.

‘Once you have learned Morse code you don’t forget it. It is similar to learning your alphabet, once you learn that sound you never forget it,’ he said.

Mr Bright has two devices that he can use to send Morse code in his Dianella house.

He happily demonstrates how seemingly complex combinations of dots and dashes can be interpreted into sentences, with numbers and punctuation also included in the tapped out messages.

Mr Bright said he and his family chose to live in Dianella after moving from the country in 1979. Since then he has called the suburb home and now that he is retired, enjoys its proximity to shopping centres, public transport and the Yokine Golf Course.