From time-to-time people associated with ATA contact with further information. The whereabouts of employees; who have left us and more.

Recently a contact provided the History of ATA prior to 1977 and this is important so it is added here.

This information in no way detracts from the ATA I met from 1977 onwards. In fact had Ken not invented DART and registered ATA, together with his subsequent association with Lindsay, we would never had a Life in Australia.

This History is assumed to be provided by Kenneth Gillam and I relate it as divulged to me in emails. I am assuming this is valid but documents provided are somewhat irrefutable.

Ken Gillam the inventor of ATA; DART; that Lindsay Knight brought to our World.

In 1954 Kenneth Gillam was developing a pop-up target mechanism for live-fire training.

Ken is proudly the president, and one of the founding members of the Rats Of Tobruk Association.

When he went to fight in New Guinea though, he saw some terrible things. One thing that stuck, was the enormous waste of Australian life due to inexperience and a lack of proper training in jungle warfare.

Ken was a crack shot, a signaller during the war but utilised a great deal for his skills with a rifle. In his years after the war he was the inspector of rifle ranges (about 260 of them), helped coach the Australian shooting team at the Melbourne Olympics (and designed a new scoring and communication/signalling system for them while he was there - which was immediately adopted by various countries and used in further Olympic and international events) he captained the Australian team at the International Shooting Championships in Moscow, and also won the Queens Prize as the best shot in Australia.

His skills with wireless sets and radio signalling, plus his intent on proper training for troops, led to DART - the Disappearing Automatic Retaliatory Target system.

He had the idea in his mind for many years before finally designing and building it at home, starting in 1954. He demonstrated the equipment at the Jungle Training Centre in Canungra and was then sent to Northern Command to reproduce a version of it in the Army Design Establisment workshop (with a team from Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers – RAEME to assist him).

He lodged a patent under the title of 'Automatic Target Aparatus' in 1959. The patent and Australasian Training Aids company were all registered in his wife’s name, Valis Gillam.

Ken originally intended to simply give it to the Australian Army, but they tried to ‘bar’ him once they had several working models set up and tried to claim is as an Army invention. An investigation ensued and £500 was offered as a 'reward' to hand over the patents and he was to walk away.

This upset him quite a bit and Ken decided to make it a private venture so they couldn’t just take it from him.

He then needed more money for development and allowed Lindsay to invest in Australasian Training Aids.

Lindsay’s name was added to the patent in 1961 as they had become business partners.

Ken eventually sold his share of the ATA business to Lindsay after 9 years so that he could continue his work with the Army, as ATA was expanding and he couldn't focus on that and the Army at the same time anymore.

As Lindsay had been working the business so well, Ken was sure Lindsay would take it further than he ever could have.

Which Lindsay did, developing and supplying state-of-the-art livefire training equipment Worldwide.


The Start UK Office Albury Factory
Post Iran days Receiver Cometh Belvis days
HUB days DART days ADI days
The History of ATA