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Al Salmon Turns 80

02 May 19
Peter Bull
one comments

Age catches up all with us and it finally has for an Engineering Branch legend, Al Salmon.

I think many would agree that Al influenced the careers of so many technical staff in the halcyon days of Engineering Branch in the late 1960’s and the 1970’ until he took leave to establish his own very successful Marine business in Sorrento, Victoria.

Al had the ability to turn a blank canvas into a work of art. Guam Cable Station at the Northern end of Seacom is a great example of this.  But Al did not do things on his own and it was his ability to relate to and mentor his team members that was amazing. Al did not own the job, his team did.

Although I had known Al for a number of years, in about 1973 I was assigned to work as one of his TO 11’s at Broadway alongside Jeff (Harold) Hatchman and editor Mick (Mouse) Callaghan. After having been in Head Office until then, a stint in the field was what I needed to develop and who better to have as my boss than Al. I loved my time at Broadway and, to this day both me and wife Robyn see Al regularly.

Life for Al is never dull and for many years since his retirement has contributed generously to various aspects of the Noosa Classic Car Club.

Al will celebrate his 80th birthday with his family and friends at his home in Buderim on the Queensland Sunshine Coast.

I would like to think that all of us can wish Al a very Happy 80th Birthday. Hip hip hooray!

Rob McAulay.

Mick Russel-Clarke – Passed Away on 2018 – mid to late 80s

15 Apr 19
Peter Bull
No Comments

On Sunday 14 April 2019 John Lilley met Mick’s daughter who told him that Mick died last year after a series of strokes.

When John started as a boy technician at Rockbank in 1960, he had the good fortune to be partnered with Mick for a few weeks. Mick taught John the ropes before he began shifts there on his own.

Mick was not only knowledgeable about short-wave radio; he also had a strong interest in the arts, as his wife was a concert pianist. Mick brought an audio amp and turntable to work on night shifts and those on shift with him passed the hours listening to quality classical music.

Mick spent a year on Willis Island (probably 1957 or 1958) as the radio operator, with two other people, one of whom was a meteorologist. Willis is about 450km ENE of Cairns, and was a hurricane warning outpost. Mick had the amateur callsign VK4IC and was a highly sought-after contact on CW, as because of its distance from land , Willis Island was classified as a separate country for radio amateur purposes.

Mick left OTC in 1961 or so, for Collins Radio, who were opening an office in the outer Melbourne suburb of Croydon.

John last saw Mick in 1978 when he was the Supervising Technician in charge of radio installation, maintenance and repair for the Victorian Country Fire Authority.

R E BRANSON of Maroubra, aged 90 years

13 Apr 19
Peter Bull

Wallace Donald has advised that there was a Death Notice in the Sydney Morning Herald on Thursday 11th April 2019 for:

R E BRANSON of Maroubra, aged 90 years.

Roy Edwin BRANSON was the Chief Draftsman at OTC for many years and at Telstra (presumably) and all of his drawings carried his initials REB.

The Funeral Service was held at 12 noon Friday 12th April 2019 at St Jude’s Anglican Church located at 106 Avoca St., Randwick NSW.

If you have any tributes to Roy that you would like to share with his family please send to me and I will pass them on.

May He rest In Peace

Peter Bull, President OTVA

OTVA Newsletter – March 2019

08 Mar 19
Peter Bull
No Comments

George Maltby – 91st Birthday – Thursday 31 January 2019

02 Feb 19
Peter Bull
one comments

David Richardson reminded the Committee that George Maltby turned 91 last Thursday.

I have heard from Kate Schober who organises the care that his son, Chris, provides for George and Mary

They both still live at home, their apartment at Double Bay, with 24/7 Carers. Mary has Alzheimer’s and George has Dementia.

George was such a huge influence on OTC and the lives of those of us who had the pleasure of working under him so it would be nice to be able to celebrate this event with him albeit a bit belatedly. Kate said that she will give us an update on George and Mary in coming days.

The below photo was taken of George on the occasion of Phil Harris’ retirement in 1987.

Denis Chambers – Passed Away 29 January 2019

30 Jan 19
Peter Bull
one comments

Denis Chambers – formerly of OTC Melbourne –  died peacefully in his nursing home bed in Rosebud, Victoria on 29th January 2019. He had a blood disorder that worsened rapidly in the past few weeks, and he did not have to endure a prolonged passing. He was mentally alert and enjoyed visits from all of his family members over his last two days – a fine farewell. His story began in Yorkshire in the UK in 1926 and moved through service with the British Army in India and Palestine during (and just after) WW2, emigration to Australia in 1949, marriage to Alva in Melbourne in 1952, and a long career with OTC, before retirement to the Mornington Peninsula. He had two sons (Ian and Neil) and one grandson (Henry).

Service History:

Sept 1949 to December 1949  Traffic Assistant
January 1950 to January 1960  Telegraphist

February 1960 to September 1977 Phototelegram Officer /Senior International Telecommunications Officer

September 1977 to December 1986 Training Officer Melbourne.

Denis contributed in many roles over the years as:

1993 President OTVA (VIC)

30th May 1980 to 15th May 1987 Treasurer OTVA (VIC)

Several roles of the OTC(A) Staff Social and Sports Club Melbourne, Canteen, Wagga Cricket Club and OTC(A) Provident Fund Melbourne over a number of years.


Please pass the message on to the members of the OTVA

Thanks, Ian, Kath & Henry (Chambers)

The below photo was one taken on his 90th birthday in 2016 featuring sons Neil & Henry and grandson, Henry, together (his favourite picture from recent years).

OTVA Newsletter December 2018

17 Dec 18
Peter Bull
No Comments


Bob Symes – Passed Away 15 December 2018 – Aged 75 Years

17 Dec 18
Peter Bull
No Comments

Robert James (Bob) Symes passed away peacefully at Deloraine Aged Care on 15/12/2018 aged 75 years. Loving husband of Cynthia who passed away 8 years ago, great friend of Steven, Amanda & family and the residents and staff of Deloraine.

Bob was Senior Clerk, Customer Accounts (Melbourne) and the Coordinator OTC Outreach Program in the mid-1980s as well as the developer of the Cryptic Crosswords that became a regular feature of the Transit magazines during the 1980s.

OTC OUTREACH was a self help program designed to provide support for current and retired staff members who were suffering from a life threatening illness, or who had family or close friends suffering from
such an illness.

Bob Symes from the Melbourne Office – a cancer patient and trained
OUTREACH counsellor with the Peter MacCallum Institute in Melbourne – introduced the program to Sydney-based staff and outstation managers at a series of seminars in August 1986.


OTV (WA) AGM – 20 November 2018

11 Dec 18
Peter Bull
No Comments

The West Australian branch of OTC veterans held their 44th AGM on the  20th of November 2018. President Rod Pernich welcomed 27 fellow WA Veterans; Andrew Shaw, Andy Hemus, Brett Driscoll, Bruce Weber, Colin Benporath, David Dean, David Benzie, Denham Dunstall, Des Kinnersley, Don Charles, Ian Briggs, Jim Keenan, Joe Edgecombe, Keith Darwin, Kevan Bourke, Kevin Hills, Mike Cadd, Neil Smith, Paul Phipps, Peter Forrester, Peter Lalor, Reg Jones, Rolly Morin, Ted Wraight, Tom McKnight, Tony Belts and Asokan Nallasivam.

Apologies for absence had been received from Jim Congdon, Bill Dunn, Ray Parkinson, Ken True, Les Bateman, Bob Smallwood, Gerry Tacey, Andrew Monka, Tore Boe, Leif Akslen, Mark Roberts, Bill Comerford, Gavin Kerr, Bernie Clark, Martin Cavanagh, Mark Brockman, Graham Watts, Kommer Springvloed, Wal Perryman, Matt Saunders, Geoffrey Goddard, Tim Dalton, Cliff Wilkinson, Bill Kay, Neil Atwell, Mal Kerwin, Barry Whittle and Leon Jurgielan who were unable to attend the meeting.

One minute’s silence was held for the Veterans who had passed away in the period since the last AGM, the formal part of the meeting was held and Denham Dunstall gave a presentation on the current status of the Carnarvon Space and Technology Museum. The 2019 meeting will be held on Tuesday the 19th of November.

Photos courtesy of Mike Cadd & Kevan Bourke.

Andrew Shaw, Mike Cadd & Tony Belts

Andy Hemus & David Benzie


Brett Driscoll & Bruce Weber

Brett Driscoll & Joe Edgecombe

Colin Benporath & Kevan Bourke

Colin Benporath, Kevan Bourke & Jim Keenan

Des Kinnersley, Kevin Hills & Andrew Shaw

Don Charles. Asokan Nallisivam in background.

Keith Darwin & Asokan Nallisivam

Keith Darwin, Des Kinnersley & Kevin Hills

Neil Smith & Joe Edgecombe. Peter Forrester in background.

Paul Phipps & Andy Hemus

Peter Forrester & Ted Wraight

Peter Lalor & Jim Keenan

Reg Jones & Don Charles

Rod Pernich & Jim Keenan. Dave Dean & Denham Dunstall in background.

Rod Pernich & Keith Darwin

Rod Pernich, Jim Keenan & Des Kinnersley

Rod Pernich, Jim Keenan & Des Kinnersley. Joe Edgecombe in background.

Tom McKnight & Roly Morin

Tony Belts & Neil Smith

Meeting underway

Dave Dean & Denham Dunstall





Colin (Ned) Kelly – Passed Away 2 December 2018 – Aged 65 Years

03 Dec 18
Peter Bull

Ned passed away late last night (Sunday 2 December 2018) at home surrounded by members of his family.

He had lost his fight with cancer that he had been waging since we first found out about it in May 2018.

The below photo is of Ned taken at our 2014 XMAS Social Function at the Bowlers Club in York St, Sydney.


A small funeral service will be held with close family and friends in attendance.

Ned’s wife, Carmen, has advised that if anyone would like to send flowers and/or letters of condolence they can be sent to:

610 Barranjoey Road, Avalon Beach NSW 2107

The family would be most grateful to receive tributes from any of Col’s ex-OTC friends and work colleagues.

Carmen, Ashley and Stephanie would like to invite you to join them from 3 pm Thursday 13th December 2018 to celebrate and farewell Colin (Ned) Kelly.

The family will hold the celebration of Ned’s life at his favourite sailing spot, Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club located at 16 Mitala St, Newport NSW 2106.

The family asks those who will attend to avoid suits and dark colours to match Ned’s colourful personality.

The parking will be tight as it is a sailing day. Those who are driving can drop off at the club but will probably need to park in the car park in Crystal St and walk up to the club. See map attached below.

If you would like to send me a tribute to Col that you would like to share with the wider group please email me at and will circulate it via email. Also indicate if you would not like that tribute to be uploaded to the OTVA web site for sharing with Ned’s family.


Peter Bull

Below photo supplied by Kevan Bourke.

This photo was taken in Centennial Park in 2004 when we had a reunion  to celebrate 30th year’s on from our first meeting.

Present were Ray Pow, Kevan Bourke, Colin Kelly, John Smith, Harley Vague and John Robinson at the rear, Mark Roberts and Bruce Mayberry at the front.