Author Archives: Peter Bull

Photos of Ceduna SES Taken June 2017

21 Jun 17
Peter Bull
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Many thanks to John Iacus-Pisco for supplying these:

IMG_2382 IMG_2385IMG_2408 IMG_2394

Bernie White 1973

Bernie White – Passed Away Monday 19 June 2017 – Aged 93 years

21 Jun 17
Peter Bull

Fellow Members of the OTVA

Bernie and his wife, Evelyn, have been living with their son, Laurie and his wife, Noelene, for some time now but had relocated to a nursing home prior to his passing.

Bernie has been a great contributor to and supporter of the OTVA for many years and will be well known to many of you.  He was a Life Member of the OTVA and an active member of the OTVA Executive for many years until 3 years ago when he started to experience some health & well-being issues.

Bernie’s Working Life

  • Joined AWA in 1938 as a messenger at 14 years of age and gained experience as a telegraphist until he was appointed as a Ships Radio Officer in 1949.
  • Joined OTC in 1957 as a “Island Room Operator”
  • Seconded to Papua New Guinea Telegraph from 1960 to 1964 as the Radio Officer In Charge
  • Returned to OTC as a Radio Officer, CRS in 1966 where he worked in Sydney Radio and Darwin Radio
  • Appointed in 1967 to the position of Pay Clerk & Administration Officer in Operations Branch until his resignation from OTC in 1976 to take charge of his own accountancy business.

Funeral Service:


Monday 26 June 2017

United Church,  70 Kitchener Pd, Bankstown NSW


Robert (Bob) Kraal – Passed Away 11/6/17 – Aged 73 Years

15 Jun 17
Peter Bull

It is with great sadness that I relay to you the passing of Bob Kraal.

I worked with Bob in the Paddington ITMC in the 1970s. He was a character that I will never forget. Bob also worked at Ceduna Earth Station & Scoresby Exchange. If you would like to send a Tribute to Bob’s family please send it to me and I will pass it on and with your permission also include it on the OTVA web site.

Thanks to Ed Willingham for passing on the details of his funeral service which are:


Robert Willem Kraal

31/8/1944 – 11/6/2017


Funeral:               Lilydale Memorial Park Chapel,

126 – 128 Victoria Road, Lilydale

When:                  Monday 17/6/2017 @ 10am.


Peter Bull

ISTC Paddington

08 Jun 17
Peter Bull

I did not work in ISTC at Paddington but I did work in the building from 1975 to 1991 and these photos did bring back a few memories and a few names:

  • Tony Batoni
  • John Hodgson
  • Jack Creswick
  • Neville Farrar
  • Phil Ryan
  • Peter Skinner
  • John Newlyn
  • Jack Orton
  • Chris Stanley
  • Ian Campbell

How many others can you remember?

ISTC-1 ISTC-2 ISTC-3 John Grosbard, at work OTC, Sydney. Feb 1964


199 Broome OTC signage

Broome Radio

18 May 17
Peter Bull

Jim Harte recently returned from a trip to Broome where he took the below photos at the town Historic Museum that may be of interest to those with a HF/CRS background.

197 Broome CRS transmitter




196 Broome historic photo


Below are some photos taken by Ernie Wan when he visited the same museum in Oct 2005.

A story about the closing of the CRS and its history.

Ernie commented to his wife, Trish, that he used to work on similar HF transmitters in AWA to which she replied that maybe he should be posted with it  as two museum pieces. How unkind!Broome PlaqueBroome Plaque continuedBroome Historic Photo

Phil Chapman – Passed away in Mid 2000s

18 Apr 17
Peter Bull
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Sandra Smith (nee Beatson) asked:

Do you know if Phil Chapman is still alive.  I remember working for him when his Secretary went on long service leave.  A character to be sure.  He was Manager of the Coastal Radio Service and he had stored in his office lots of ships logs of sailing ships that sailed around the horn.  I remember him dictating the report (I think weekly) which noted all at sea events i.e. Man overboard etc.  I can see me sitting outside his office bashing away on an old typewriter.  Had to be a good typist in those days as there was no correction facility on the typewriter.  That was one of the more interesting relieving positions that I held.  He was what made it interesting as you never knew what he was going to say next.  Not always politically correct and not seen as an issue in those days.

Did a search on him as I remember him telling me about his days in Darwin during the war.  Not sure if you have seen this.

Interview with Phil Chapman (When the war came to Australia)

ID number F04049
Collection type Film
Title Interview with Phil Chapman (When the war came to Australia)
Object type To be confirmed
Date made 21 February 1991
Descriptor Betacam SP/Colour/sound
Description Mr Phil Chapman was a member of the Coastwatchers and was stationed at coastal radio station VID Darwin Radio. The Coastwatchers were set up by the Royal Australian Navy by Commander Falt. The Navy supplied a radio transceiver to volunteers- missionaries, planters, etc. There were eight hundred coastwatchers in northern Australia and Pabau New Guinea. Mr Chapman describes the bombing of Darwin on February 19 1942, his station was attacked before the raid on Darwin. He notes that the authorities in Darwin didn’t act on the information to hand. A Royal Commission was held six weeks after in Darwin to examine the events surrounding the bombing. Mr Chapman discusses many events which occurred during those eventful days: Bathurst Island station being attacked; the hospital ship Manunda being hit, the ammunition ship Neptuna being hit. He comments that while there was a general panic and rout, certain defence force units remained and did a magnificent job defending Darwin. He mentions the 10 American Kittyhawks returning from Java, which the RAAF Operations mistook for the “huge flights” referred to by McGrath the coastwatcher. These aircraft fought the Japanese and were all shot down. Mr Chapman recalls a number of individual coastwatchers, many being missionaries. He describes coastwatching as a dangerous job-considered spying and treated as such by the Japanese. Mr Chapman describes Darwin before the raid- militaristic appearance, busy shipping-100 ships in port the week previous to the raid; only 40 when the raid took place. He discusses coastal shipping conditions in Australian waters and the convoys used by merchant ships. Mr Chapman says that Darwin was his worst experience in the war, and survival directly after the bombing was very hard- food was scarce, and looting took place.

Arch Barry – Passed Away Circa 1999

18 Apr 17
Peter Bull
one comments

Subsequent to a question from Sandra Smith (nee Beatson) as to the whereabouts of Phil Chapman, Brendan Quirk asked whatever happened to Phil’s ever-present sidekick, Arch Barry.

Tom Barker has advised that Arch died soon after Tom left Telstra in about 1999. Tom wanted to go to his funeral but his family (NZ) insisted it be private.

Gerard Francis McCarthy – Passed Away Monday 3 April 2017

10 Apr 17
Peter Bull
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McCarthy – Gerard Francis
Passed away peacefully, surrounded by family at R. M. Begg Kyneton Aged Care on Monday evening.
Sadly missed by Maureen, all of his loving children and grandchildren.

A life well lived ended with grace and dignity

Requiem Mass for the repose of The soul of Gerard Francis McCarthy will be offered at St Joseph’s Church, Westbourne Grove, Northcote on Monday (April 10th) at 11.00am

A private Cremation will follow.

May He Rest In Peace

Fashion Parade – 1970 to 1975 – Can you put names to the faces of the ladies present??

04 Apr 17
Peter Bull
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Sandra Smith (nee Beatson) was going through her old photos and came across several that she though might be of interest to ex-OTC personnel.

Below is a photo of a Fashion Parade held in the Martin Place office during lunch hour.  I cannot remember why this was held.  I think it took place on the 5th floor lunch room in the early 1970s.



I have included this photo because of the faces of the ladies present.  All OTC(A) office staff.  I notice most of your photos are of men which is the norm for the industry at that time.  I cannot put names to any of the faces.  Maybe some of the other members can.

The below version includes me doing the modelling).



I look back on those years as a great learning curve that was lots of fun and it have me great opportunity to work with a large variety of people across the organisation.

I started as a Typist, moved to Stenographer, then Secretary.  Working at relieving Secretaries on annual leave, maternity leave or on long service gave me valued experience which I put to good use in later life.