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 about 255 members with a wide range of skills and experience and a common desire to preserve the history of telecommunications in Australia. The association holds 2 informal reunions each year (Mar/Apr & Sep), an AGM in June and a formal Christmas reunion in November. It also 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 persons with an interest in the telecommunications industry to join this illustrious organisation.

A collage of logos from some of the companies where our members were employed.

A collage of logos from some of the companies where our members were employed.

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.”
  • 2015 Produced a DVD library for the entertainment and enjoyment of members seeking to rekindle their memories of OTC

OTVA Committee

The OTVA has a 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 Mick Callaghan
Secretary Will Whyte
Treasurer / Subscriptions Officer Robin Tuckfield
Newsletter Editor Greg Martyn
Functions Coordinator David Richardson
Committee Orm Butler, Kevin O’Brien
Auditors Ken Theaker, Tony Farrugia

The Incoming President’s Message to Members
from Peter Bull

Thank you for re-electing me to the position of President of the OTVA. In accepting the presidency I recognise that your support is a reflection of the excellent work performed by your Committee over the past 12 months.

I congratulate the other members who have been nominated and accepted positions on the Executive. I look forward to working with your incoming committee to respond to the challenges that will confront us in the next 12 months in our task of delivering positive outcomes for the membership of the OTVA.

Your committee will continue to seek your input in relation to what things you want to see as benefits from being members of the OTVA.

A critical ingredient in this task is your input so please email your thoughts with respect to that challenge to president@otva.com

Once again thank you for this opportunity to serve you, the membership of the OTVA, to continue to make the OTVA a worthwhile and relevant part of your lives.