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Noel Sutherland – Leaving Telstra

05 Jun 19
Peter Bull
one comments

After 46 years with OTC & Telstra Noel Sutherland has accepted a redundancy and will be leaving Telstra on Thursday 6th June 2019.

42 of his 46 years with OTC & Telstra has been in the Maritime Radio and Land Mobile Radio areas progressing from valve based HF transmitters & receivers through the microprocessor era and into digital TMR technology. He looks back on an amazing journey with many career highlights, major network builds and technology changes.

His career would not have been as rewarding as it has been without the many friendships he has made along the way with great work colleagues, suppliers and customers.

He started with OTC in the Technical Officer in Training Class of ’73 and after graduation moved into OTC’s HF Radio Services later renamed OTC Maritime then Telstra Maritime before this amazing team was split apart and destroyed by Telstra.

There have been many highlights that he has had over the years and here are only a few of them:

  • VHF Auto-Seaphone Network
  • Fleetcoms National Trunked Mobile Radio Network
  • Victorian State Mobile Radio Network (VicSMR)
  • Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Radio Network
  • South Australian Government Radio Network (SAGRN)
  • SANTOS P24 Trunked Radio Network
  • Queensland Government Wireless Network (QGWN)

He considers that he has hiked, flown by helicopter or battled his way via 4WD to the top of most of the mountain ranges in Australia to maintain, install or find new radio sites for OTC/Telstra. He thinks that it is time he actually slowed down and had a better look at the scenery.

He still remembers the words from the Senior Technical Officer in the OTC Paddington Telex Exchange given to him when he decided to move into HF Radio “Radio is a dead end job, Telex is the future”. He soon had to eat those words.

He is not sure if he will slip quietly into retirement. He has plans in place for the next 6 – 9 month with trips to the UK & Europe, down to Tassie and to WA in his caravan but he may consider returning to the industry in the future just to keep his mind active.

He wishes you and your families all the best for the future.

He will to try to keep in touch but if anyone is coming near Bribie Island they are always welcome to drop in and say hello.

George Maltby – Passed Away – Thursday 30 May 2019

30 May 19
Peter Bull

Sadly George passed away in the early hours of this morning.

George was born on 31 January 1928 so he was 91 years of age when he passed.

George had a great impact upon OTC and many of us who worked for that very successful organisation.

George will have the honour of being the only CEO/Managing Director of a company for whom the staff went on strike when he was sacked. It hasn’t happened since and will never happen again, I am sure!

George will be greatly missed by many who he mentored and many more who knew him.

May He Rest In Peace.


Details of the funeral service for George are:

Friday 14 June 2019 at 12 noon

South Chapel, Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park

12 Military Road, Matraville


There will be light refreshments afterwards in the Condolence Room at the Memorial Centre.

OTVA Newsletter – June 2019

29 May 19
Peter Bull
No Comments


Ray Hookway – Passes Away Saturday 18 May 2019 – Aged 89 Years

20 May 19
Peter Bull

Ray was born 24th November 1929.  He was 89 years and six months when he passed.

The stories that some of the OTC Vets have provided that were passed on to Fazeley, Ray’s partner, and Janelle, Fazeley’s nice, were apparently greatly enjoyed by Ray in his last days. The family thanks you for making his last hours so memorable for all concerned.

Ray’s funeral service will be held at 2:30pm on Wednesday 22nd May

Camelia Chapel

Macquarie Park Crematorium

(Cnr Plassey & Delhi Rds)

Macquarie Park NSW 2113

An afternoon tea will be held on site after the funeral service to celebrate Ray’s life. There will be an “open mic” at afternoon tea for anyone who wants to share a word or two.

The below was found in the August 1994 Transit on the occasion of Ray Hookway’s Retirement

After almost fifty year’s in the international telecommunications business, MS&RS Technical Services Manager,
Ray Hookway, decided it was time for a change. This month he starts a new, full-time career – fishing, cross-country skiing and bush walking!

Ray started his career in 1945 when, at the age of 17, he worked as a telegram  messenger for AWA (Amalgamated
Wireless Australasia). Two years later saw the beginning of OTC’s operations (through the merger of AWA, the Coastal Radio Service and the Australian arm of Cable & Wireless), and Ray became a Circulation Clerk in Sydney’s city district.

He subsequently went ‘semi-rural’, moving to the Pennant Hills radio station workshop to assist in the manufacture of transmitters and ancillary equipment for the new Doonside and Bringelly stations. The workshop was transferred to Marrickville in 1953, prior to the Pennant Hills radio station’s relocation to Doonside.

Ray stayed at”, the Marrickville Workshop until 1958, when he was promoted to Technical Assistant in the Operations Group. Since then he has held positions of Technical Officer and Manager Doonside, before taking up his Current role as Manager Technical Services for Mobile Satellite & Radio Services (fOlwerly ‘Maritime’).

Tremendous changes have taken place in the communications industry over the past 50 years, and Ray said there have been many memorable moments. ‘Helping to commission the Seacom cable to South-East Asia was interesting’, he recalled, ‘as was working on the modernisation of radio stations such as La Perouse (NSW) and Rockbank (Victoria) – and maintenance of the OTC Cable System.

‘When I look back over the year’s, I feel a great deal of satisfaction knowing that – in some small way – I have made a
contribution to modem-day communications.’

Daryll Smith, General Manager of Telstra Mobile Satellite & Radio Services, paid tribute to Ray’s career and said he came from an environment of submarine telegraph cables and Beam Wireless building blocks for today’s ‘information super highways’.

Like his peers, Ray was a pioneer for many of us’, said Daryll, ‘and we that follow him salute his efforts’.

Ray will continue to ‘dabble’ in communications during retirement; he plans to expand his amateur radio facilities and, in so doing, keep in touch with old friends. In the short-term, however, he intends to do a lot of leisurely travelling.

Mary Ebert – Passed Away Aged 95 Years

06 May 19
Peter Bull
No Comments

John Ebert, one of Mary’s sons, advised that Mary passed away last week.

A funeral service would be held for Mary this coming Wednesday (8 May) at 1:30pm at Holy Family Church 214, Maroubra Road, Maroubra NSW.

Mary’s husband, Tony Ebert, was a Shift Controller in SOR in his later years in OTC and he passed away in 2004.

Tony started his career in AWA as a Messenger Boy before joining OTC.

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.