<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> Overseas Telecommunications Veterans Association (Australia) - Home

About Us

The Overseas Telecommunications Veterans Association (OTVA) was formed in 1956 after a group of like-minded veterans saw a need for an organisation which would organise annual reunions to maintain valuable friendships forged while working in the telecommunications industry. Today the association has some 255 members with a wide range of skills and experience and a common desire to preserve the history of international telecommunications in Australia. The association holds an informal reunion each year, organises visits and trips to places of interest, and mails out a quarterly newsletter containing interesting stories of times gone by. The organisation welcomes new members and has an objective to attract younger veterans of the international telecommunications industry to join this illustrious organisation.

Highlights from OTVA’s History [ With thanks to Gordon Cupit ]

  • 1956 OTVA founded on 19 July with the adoption of its constitution and election of officers. First social function 14 December in the form of a “Buffet Tea” held at the “State Ballroom,” Market Street, Sydney.
  • 1957 Victoria Association formed in Melbourne. R. Freeman elected as President and Charlie Carthew as Secretary.
  • 1971 OTC GM Harold White offers support to Vets. National Secretary position proposed but rejected by Victorian Association.
  • 1972 National Secretary position approved and Charlie Carthew elected. Gordon Cupit commenced OTVA’s “Newsletter” as editor and publisher.
  • 1973 South Australia Association formed in Adelaide. Members history sheet produced for record of service.
  • 1975 Queensland Association formed in Brisbane.
  • 1976 It was agreed that spouses be invited to social functions.
  • 1980 OTVA’s 25th Anniversary functions held, with 118 attending in Sydney and 88 in Melbourne.
  • 1985 AWA Retired Officers form their own Association.
  • 1988 Australia’s Bicentennial Exhibition at OTC Paddington Terminal much assisted by veterans acting as guides and loaning material.
  • 1992 CEO Steve Burdon approves production of five OTC History booklets covering OTC’s foundation and services; these distributed to all staff and veterans.
  • 1996 Telstra cancels OTVA funding support and use of their facilities.
  • 2000 No Spring or Autumn Socials due to 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.
  • 2002 OTVA participates in “Centenary of Pacific Cable Opening” celebration at Southport School, Queensland, in October. Items from OTC collection lent to Museum, together with cable samples.
  • 2004 Life memberships awarded to Gordon Cupit, Jim Anderson, Pam Helps (NSW), Derek Walker (WA), Robert and Elaine Hall (VIC), Max Lang (SA).
  • 2005 OTC collection of nearly 400 separate historical items stored at La Perouse identified, listed and tagged. This included material from the 1988 Bicentennial Exhibition at Paddington. These were all added to “The Telstra Collection” for showing (on loan) at Museums around Australia and remain permanently owned by Telstra.
  • 2006 OTVA’s Golden Jubilee! Celebrations held 17 November in NSW Bowlers Club, York Street, Sydney. In celebrating our “Golden Jubilee” today, OTVA pays tribute to all those people who commenced Australia’s international telecommunications on 22 October 1872 with the opening of the first Telegraph service between London and Adelaide, and to those who accepted the challenges of telegraph cables, HF and ship to shore radio, satellite, fibre optics and other technologies to bring us to the present day. “They followed not the well-worn path, but made their own, so that others may follow.”


The OTVA has some 255 members with a variety of backgrounds and experiences in the Telecommunications industry. The following members are life members:

Mr J Anderson Mr J Collister Mr G O Cupit
Mrs J Hall Mr R Hall Ms P Helps
Mr M S Lang Mr D B Walker Mr B White
Mr T Barker Mr H Cranfield Mr K McCredden

New Members

Are you interested in joining the association? Membership of the Association requires a person to have been or to be currently engaged in International Telecommunications. (No minimum period is required).

Simply print out and complete the Application Form and mail together with a cheque for $10 to Bernie White, Unit 805 41 Meredith St, BANKSTOWN, NSW 2200.

OTVA Committee

The OTVA has an 12 member committee responsible for defining the aims and objectives of the association and coordinating the various activities for the benefit of the members.

President Peter Bull
Vice President & Secretary Will Whyte
Records Allan Hennessy
Treasurer Bernie White
Editor Bob Emanuel
Webmaster Chris Bull
Functions David Richardson
Archives Ray Hookway
Committee Henry Cranfield
Committee Colin Kelly
Committee Robert Murray
Committee John Eades

The Incoming President's Message to Members
from Peter Bull

Thank you to those of you who bestowed upon me the honour of replacing Henry Cranfield as President of the OTVA for the year 2007-2008. The OTVA has a long history of excellence in recognising the efforts of OTC(A) and other organisations engaged in international communictions.

The members of the current OTVA Executive are representative of the virtues that the OTVA has extolled over the years since its origin in the mid 1950s. The OTVA ended the last 12 months on a high with the success of the Golden Jubilee Celebration. The celebrations stimulated interest in the OTVA amongst our own membership as well as providing access to some potential new members who are associated with members who attended the celebrations and would not stop raving about the occasion.

I look forward to leading and supporting the members of the Executive to provide value and service to the members of the OTVA in a year where we will endeavour to attract younger members by creating greater incentive to join our illustrious organiation.