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Paddo Stories

06 Jan 09

The Overseas Telecommunications Commission of Australia’s international terminal at Paddington was full of colourful characters involved in many memorable events. This blog is about stories of Paddo, so if you have an interesting or amusing story to submit we invite your comment on this blog. Happy Blogging ….


  1. Peter Bull January 6, 2009 at 4:22 am

    Well I remember the time in about 1978 when about 8 of us were in the Level 1 lunchroom. Jim (Knocker) Neylon was in the middle of the table adjacent to the window with his back to the door talking to Jimmy Gould who was opposite him. Jimmy had just been telling a funny story about his flatmate who had a pet brown snake that had somehow escaped from its enclosure and was roaming around the flat much to the concern of all therein. Bob Rawkins who was Station Manager of Paddington at the time walked into the lunchroom. All of us stopped talking to acknowledge Bob’s entry which caused Knocker to turn around to see who had entered his inner sanctum. When Knocker saw who it was he turned back to the table and said “Speaking of 6 foot brown snakes, how are you Bob?” It took a lot of restraint for most of us to not burst into hysterical laughter on the spot. Bob Rawkins knew that there was very little that he could do about Knocker’s comments and simply raised his eyebrows, shrugged his shoulders, turned and walked out of the lunchroom. Knocker’s irreverence had that impact on a lot of middle management types in those days before he became one himself.

  2. Chris Bull January 11, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    Ok I’ve got a few fading memories of my days working in the ISTC at Paddo. I think most of us would agree we always thought OTC(A) Techs were a cut above our Telstra brothers. It wasn’t that we thought we were smarter (well maybe..) just more dedicated and at times quite resourcefull. This story demonstrates just how resourcefull some of our ranks could be when challenged…

    I recall the staff protest against the new card reader security access system installed in the Paddo building. We were issued with white credit-card size plastic swipe cards to restrict our access to unauthorised workplaces. The staff were very concerned Big Brother would now know their every move, and as we sometimes took leave of the building in the evening for a few beers while dinner was being picked up from the local shops, this new security system could severely impact our lifestyles.

    Well after the system was installed it didn’t take long before a certain TO2 Terry Hulme thought he might try to use a magnetic tape viewer to see what might be on the cards. He found a series of columns and rows of round magnetic dots obviously forming a code. I’m not sure if Terry actually cracked the code but he did figure out how to re-program the cards and could easily copy cards with higher access levels than our restricted access. As word of his success spread more and more cards were reprogrammed with his jig made from old relay solenoids powerful enough to reset the magnetic dots on the cards with a given sequence.

    Well Management finally got their new system working however Terry had them guessing for quite some time. For a while they thought the access system had bugs as sometimes the same card was seen accessing different doors at the same times. I don’t recall our lifestyle changing too much after the introduction of the system, maybe Management accepted it sometimes took 2 hours to get dinner from a shop only 50 metres away.

    Looking back they were great times, every day was a challenge and most days you went home having achieved something new. That’s a good recipe for long-term enjoyment and employment, maybe that’s why I worked for OTC(A) for 18 years.

  3. Peter January 12, 2009 at 11:01 am

    This is rather coincidental as I was talking to Robert Brand about this very incident last Friday.

    I was working at Paddington in those days and one of the tasks that I performed in addition to my real job in the ITMC and INMC was to support Henry Cranfield, the then Manager Paddington, through the day-to-day operation and maintenance of the security system. I clearly remember Denis Grant coming to me on his first day as acting manger of the Paddington terminal. Dennis wanted to know if I had a feel for how long it would take for the “guys” to get over the novelty of the new security system and their desire to show “big brother” that they had ways of defeating authority. I did not understand until I ran a security check on Dennis’ access card and found that he had gone in and out of the building 79 times over the preceding weekend. It appeared that Dennis’ card had been cloned in the week prior to him receiving it.

    I think that Dennis saw the humour in it but it certainly showed the high technical ability and rebellious nature of the Paddington staff who were always being compared less favourably against the A team at the Broadway terminal.

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