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The Clock Man

The Clock Man


By Graeme Gardiner

Ken Goold has been fixing chess clocks on a voluntary basis for nearly 20 years. Initially this was for the Gold Coast Chess Club and latterly for Gardiner Chess.

As a young kid, Ken had a fascination of everything to do with electronics, and learned from his dad all about resistors, capacitors, transistors, integrated circuits and transformers. Also other useful skills such as carpentry and oxy-welding.

This great love made it easy for him to leave school at the age of 15 in 1973, and the next day he was on a train to Wagga to take up an apprenticeship as an instrument fitter in the air force.

Skills learned included engine fitter, air frame fitter, electrical fitter, armament fitter and instrument fitter.

He spent 20 years in the air force, during which time he worked on Mirages and Hercules, including a two year stint in Malaysia.  He also worked in Williamstown, before returning to Wagga.

Ken moved to the Gold Coast in 1993, and he has since worked at Dreamworld, Movieworld and the casino on all types of rides and gaming machines. Extra skills learned have included animatronics, pneumatics, fibreglass moulding and casting.

One task that Ken took on in his own time was that of designing and building an important item of medical equipment for the Royal Children’s Hospital.

In the mid-nineties his son Chris played chess to quite a good level in the Gold Coast Chess Club, and Ken took up fixing our clocks.

In the early days it was mainly analogue clocks. As these did not use increments, old fashioned ‘time scrambles’ were common, with players hitting their clocks repeatedly in time pressure. The clocks took a real beating, and needed to be fixed very often.

Since the advent of electronic clocks, the increments mean that time scrambles are rare. Of course, batteries need to be replaced from time to time. There are occasional problems with the rockers, but most problems these days are electronic.

Ken Goold is now handing over the clock repair duties to Rey Jule, husband of Gardiner Chess Office Manager Justine. He is shown in the photo with Rey giving him a few tips. Rey has had a lifetime love of pulling apart and rebuilding all sorts of electronic devices.

Ken is not a bad chess player himself, and he often plays his son, and workmates.

Thanks so much Ken. It is not easy to find someone with the skills to repair clocks, and we are indebted to you. We’ll keep in touch.

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