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Denis Chambers – Passed Away 29 January 2019

30 Jan 19
Peter Bull
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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
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Bob Symes – Passed Away 15 December 2018 – Aged 75 Years

17 Dec 18
Peter Bull
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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
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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.

Doug Peter – Passed Away 21st October 2018

01 Nov 18
Peter Bull

It is with sadness that I wish to advise that Doug Peter passed away at his Melbourne home on Sunday, 21st October after a short battle with esophageal cancer.

 Doug worked at OTC for more than 20 years & left on the day of the merger with Telecom. For a number of years he held the position of Manager Human Resource Planning & was responsible for providing data which helped OTC decide on the number of staff it would require into the future. 

 After leaving OTC Doug managed a lucerne  property at Mudgee. Doug was originally from regional Victoria & settled in Melbourne when he retired.

 Doug was a good athlete & ran in the first few City to Surf races. He was a member of the OTC Space Racers running group & mostly ran with his good mate Ray Baty. On occasions Ray would run from our city office to his home in St Ives & Doug would run home to Eastwood.

 I have always kept in touch with Doug & would see him every few months. I will miss him very much.


Fred Kannard

Grace (Anne) Dale – Celebrates Her 100th Birthday

01 Nov 18
Peter Bull
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Grace (formerly known as) Anne commenced work at O.T.C. (A) in the Phonograms/Printergrams Section in  Lonsdale Street Melbourne and also at Collins Gate Counter Office in Collins Street Melbourne  in 1971 and retiring at age 64 in 1982. Anne previously worked at the PMG for a number of years.

A party for Anne was celebrated on Sunday 28th October 2018 at her daughter Jill and son-in-law John Caulfield’s home. John was also a former OTC  Commercial Branch employee.

There were about 30 in attendance Anne’s 3 daughters and son and extended family and OTVA members Robert & Judith Hall, Gary & Debbie Kelly.

Anne received  commendations from the Queen, Governor-General of Australia Sir Peter Cosgrove,  Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison MP , Jenny Macklin MP and many cards & gifts from friends  and family.

Anne is very insistent about her independence and still lives at home with the assistance of Home Welfare and family members.



(from Robert Hall)





Brian Woods – Ex-OTC Field Training Officer – Passed Away Saturday 20 October 2018

25 Oct 18
Peter Bull

Brian was well liked and respected by all of those who knew him.

We lose another of the great OTC characters.

Details of Brian’s Funeral Service:

WHERE:                       Simplicity Funeral Parlor in Woy Woy

WHEN:                        9.30am on Monday 29 October.

Brian retired from OTC on 13th May 1988

This photo is  of Hazel Collister Brian & wife Pat -barbecue at Brian residence Forestville NSW in January 2000

This photo was extracted from Sep 1986 Transit on the occasion of Joe Collister’s retirement.

If you have any better photos that I can upload to the OTVA web site please email them to me.


Mike Debenham – Passed Away Sunday 7 October 2018 – Aged 75 Years

09 Oct 18
Peter Bull

John Barker has advised of the passing of Michael Debenham. Mike’s ex-wife, Louise, had passed on the sad news to John for relay to his ex-OTC friends and colleagues.

Funeral Service details:

WHEN:             10 am Thursday 11 October 2018,
WHERE:           Tobin Brothers Funerals, Sunbury, Melbourne, VIC.

I knew Mike when he was in the OTC training School from the late 70s until he was appointed to Manager Norfolk Island in 1993 where we remained for 3 years after which he travelled to Scoresby to take on the Manager role there.

Mike was a true gentleman. He was liked by all who knew him and as far as I am aware was well respected amongst the technical ranks in OTC.

He and Steve Corrigan were a pigeon pair when it came to many of the training courses that I attended where they were the instructors. Mike had the training knowledge and Steve had the technical knowledge. They complimented each other very well and I am sure that each learned from the other over time making them a very effective team.

May He Rest In Peace

OTVA Spring Reunion – Held @ Noon Thursday 20 September 2018

21 Sep 18
Peter Bull
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WHERE:  Red Room, Level 1, Club York (99OnYork), 99 York Street, Sydney

Those present enjoyed the vast array of food that was available along with a beverage or two.

There was lively conversation and many stories from our experiences in bygone years. There were a lot of laughs and a lot of memories of ex-OTC persons both living and passed on.

Many thanks to those who attended and made the luncheon so enjoyable.


  1. Allan Hennessy
  2. Bob Anderson
  3. David (Dave) Coutts
  4. David (Dave) Scott
  5. David Waterhouse
  6. Dean Veverka
  7. Greg Martyn
  8. Jim Simpson
  9. Mick Callaghan
  10. Neville Hainke
  11. Orm Butler
  12. Peter Bull
  13. Robin Tuckfield
  14. Steve Percossi
  15. Tom Barker
  16. Will Whyte
  17. Special Guest Appearance from John Currie