Author Archives: Peter Bull

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.

The Opening of the OTC’s Second International Communications Terminal at Broadway – February 21 1974

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.

This photo depicts the Whitlams being introduced to Board members at the official event celebrating the Opening of the Broadway Cable Terminal.  To the left of Whitlam is Sir Arthur Petfield, who was Chairman or Chief Commissioner at that time.

“I worked for Richard Christoffersen when this event was held.  Richard was Director (Secretariat) and his role was to deal with the Commissioners and the General Manager Harold White.  I loved my job and Mr. Christoffersen was great to work for.  It was during a period of great change and Mr. Christoffersen was at the forefront of the work associated with OTC(A) and Parliament.

I remember how very tall and impressive the Whitlams were when they walked in the door.  It was great moment for me to be up close albeit hovering in the background of this photo

The below photo is of the secretaries from Martin Place office who acted as hostesses at the event.  Our role was to assist those arriving with name tags and to find their seats.  This was quite a large event and I remember how impressed we were with the ice OTC cutout on the food table.  Very Posh!



I cannot remember the names of the ladies.  I am hiding behind the large C.  The only other name I can remember is Marilyn at the right hand end.  I think she used to work in Public Relations.


Can YOU name the ladies in the photo? From left to right: Lady#1, Lady#2, Lady#3, Sandra Smith, Lady #5, Marilyn ??


Moree SES – 50th Anniversary of Opening and 30th Anniversary of Closure

30 Mar 17
Peter Bull
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Moree officially opened on 29th March 1968 and officially closed in September 1988.

Moree OpeningMoree 1 was OTC’s first satellite earth station built specifically to convey public communications traffic; it opened with a two-way Australia/Japan broadcast via the Pacific Ocean Intelsat 11 satellite on 29 March 1968.

Since that time, Moree 1 (and more recently Moree 2) has been Australia’s primary earth station for conveying public and private communications traffic to Asia, Canada, the Americas and Pacific region nations.

Moree 2 became operational in 1982 to cater for increased traffic demand. The dish and associated equipment was dismantled by OTC riggers, engineering and technical staff, and re-erected at Sydney earth station (to become Sydney 2) earlier this year.

The last communications traffic to pass through Moree did so in August via the original earth station, Moree 1. Since that time, the complex has been wound down – in terms of both equipment and staff.

Much of the equipment is now operational at the new Sydney earth station complex – with staff transferred to Perth, Ceduna, Melbourne and Sydney.

The Moree station is being sold to a private developer – possibly to cater for the tourist trade as a hotel/health spa complex. A skeleton staff will remain at the station until all details are finalised and the complex is handed over.

The transfer of operations from Moree to Sydney is a further development in OTC’s capital city earth station program – made possible through the application of modern technology which provides for improved frequency interference protection.

Locating earth stations close to major customer centres provides improved service quality and more cost-effective operations. Such is the march of progress.

Hailed in 1968 as a major breakthrough in Australia’s international communications network, Moree has provided reliable, high-quality service via a succession of Intelsat Pacific Ocean  Region satellites for more than two decades.

In a series of functions held mid-August, Moree staff, families, and the local community, bade their farewells.

Such was the interest shown by other staff involved with the station at various times over the past 20 years, a coach was provided to take them from Sydney to Moree for a ‘farewell’ weekend 13/14 August. Others arrived under their own steam from as far away as Queensland.

It was a nostalgic weekend tinged with sadness for many, but with enthusiastic anticipation of future transfers for most.

Executive Manager, Planning, John Mattes, was responsible for commissioning the original station. ‘I was here at the beginning’, he said. ‘So it was good to have the opportunity of being here at the end – it’s a trip back through time.’

The last word went to station manager, Ed Willingham, after several hours of nostalgia and ‘There we were’ yams (instigated by Regional Manager Europe, Dennis Grant): ‘That’s it folks’, Ed
announced sadly. ‘It’s over.’

Aerial View of Moree 1988













OTC donates Rolls Royce to hospital

OTC Donates Rolls Royce Diesel Generator
As a parting gesture to the local community, Managing Director George Maltby (seen in photo) handed over ownership of a Rolls Royce to Ron O’Mullane of the Moree District Hospital. The Rolls Royce 375 KYA diesel alternator will be installed in the hospital to provide emergency power. The hospital’s present generator can only support the operating theatre and some emergency services and facilities during a power failure. With the donation of OTC’s alternator, which has recently undergone a major re-build, the hospital should no longer face inconvenience to patients and staff during blackouts.


Extracts of both the Contact article announcing the fanfare around the opening of the Moree SES and the Transit article heralding ‘The End of an Era’.



Other photos of Moree:

Moree15 Moree14 Moree13 Moree16 Moree12 Moree11 Moree10 Moree07 Moree08 Moree09 Moree06 Moree05 Moree04 Moree03 Moree02 Moree01

Derek Walker – 14/12/1930 to 03/03/2017

06 Mar 17
Peter Bull

Dec 1989I think the Subject line says it all. It is with great sadness and relief that I need to let you know Dad died at 11.06 Friday 3rd March 2017.

The three of us were with him. I think that is why he was hanging on.

For anyone that saw Dad, especially over these last few months you will understand the relief part. He fought one hell of a battle against this disgusting and cruel disease. As some of you may know Dad has been unconscious since last Thursday and to go for as long as he did with no food or water had everyone absolutely amazed, but Dad never does anything the normal way.

Now he can be back with Mum as when we lost her it was terrible for all of us, especially Dad, am sure she is there with Lucie, a Guinness for him and champagne for her just waiting for him to join her.

It was peaceful as much as we could tell, certainly hope it was for Dad. Must admit we all feel a tad numb at the moment but that is to be expected.

The funeral will be this Friday, 10th at Pinnaroo East Chapel at 10.30am with tea, coffee and snacks after at Pinnaroo.

Thank you to everyone for all the well wishes, visits and anything else over these last nearly 15 months.

Will keep in touch.


Judi, Ian and Sandy

Rockhampton Radio – Closure 1992

06 Mar 17
Peter Bull
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Chris Alger has provided the below photo is recognition of the 25th Anniversary of that event.

Closing of Rockhampton Radio 1992

Dave Profile Picture

Dave Coutts – Retires

06 Mar 17
Peter Bull
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After 23 years with Verizon Dave Coutts has retired.

Dave (Seniority 18.8.64) served OTC with great dedication and technical ability for 30 years before leaving to join Verizon in 1994.

We wish him well in his retirement. He has earned it.

Below is a picture of a younger version of Dave in 1988 when he worked at the Broadway Exchange – nice tie. Maybe he got it from Mike Saberton for the photo op?

1988 Dave at BWY