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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.


  1. Peter Bull May 30, 2019 at 2:32 pm

    George was a dear personal friend and I shall miss knowing him ‘not around’ any more.

    Me and my wife’s (Delphine) deepest sympathy go out to Mary and son Chris.

    George was Mr OTC through and through and all who served with and under him will honour and hold his memory with warm affection.

    Kind regards.
    Len Wylde

  2. Peter Bull May 30, 2019 at 3:25 pm

    I am one of the very many – thousands – of people who were privileged to work for George, and who prospered under his corporate leadership.

    George led OTC in one of its greatest and most influential eras, but his career was drastically cut short. He was very harshly treated by the Government for trying to do the right thing by his staff in defiance of the inflexible “Accord”. George was genuinely courageous and, I guess, was also “courageous” in the “Yes Minister” sense.

    He was full of fun and laughs and deeply cared about the OTC “family”. I first worked for George in Martin Place when he headed Commercial Branch and spent many (most?) lunch hours over at the CTA Club. He taught us some bad habits which we had to unlearn to build our careers. George of course already had his career mapped out and was no doubt way under-utilised as Head of Commercial in the early 1970s.

    George had big plans for OTC and as his influence grew as a senior executive he drove the internationalisation of the sales arm of the business by championing the opening of multiple sales offices around the world. I was fortunate to be the first offshore sales MD when we opened the New York office. George and Tom Barker formally opened the office in November 1984 and attracted a big crowd of “heavy hitters” from the prominent US long distance carriers and other international carriers operating in the US at the time. I found the event pretty intimidating but George was really in his element. Many other overseas sales offices followed. With the advent of the global satellite system in the 1970s and the new transoceanic cables of the 1980s it was an exciting time to be at OTC.

    George was a very big part of OTC’s expansion and ambition and clearly loved his work. His enthusiasm and drive were shared by all those who worked for him.

    To prosper, organisations need people like George Maltby, people with exceptional talent.. The country needs them.

    Vale George Maltby.

    Trevor Duff

  3. Peter Bull May 30, 2019 at 5:10 pm

    A sad day and one to remember from our great past.

    I remember well that day at the new Head Office on Elizabeth St when George stood among us to tell us the news about his sacking.

    Outrage and shock!

    He was one of us… a true leader…

    Yes, we will remember him!

    Peter Tuckwell

  4. Peter Bull May 31, 2019 at 7:52 am

    I, like so many, am deeply saddened at our loss notwithstanding George’’s underlying illness.
    I am currently travelling in the United States so will not be able to attend his funeral but be sure that I will be there in spirit with all my ex OTC colleagues when it is time to say good bye.
    As most would know he was my boss for two very special years and George (and Mary) had a profound impact in my career at OTC.
    Rob (Bob) McAulay.

  5. Peter Bull May 31, 2019 at 8:03 am

    Thank you Peter, that’s very sad news, the passing of an era. I recall the day that he was sacked well, I was involved with the PREI at the time, and was asked to escort him down to the ground floor at the Elizabeth street building. He was a remarkable man.

    Thank you and regards,
    Steve Corrigan

  6. Peter Bull May 31, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    I started working for OTC towards the end of George’s tenure .. but even in that short period of time I recognised his genuine desire to support the people around him, and not just in technology but in providing an opportunity for them to grow as individuals and to give them an opportunity to understand life matters outside of work.

    As a young engineer I remember being asked to write a short essay by him (essentially a book review based on the failed Challenger space shuttle launch).

    Having worked the subsequent 33 years since that time I have not come across another Chief Executive of the same calibre as George.

    Please extend my condolences to his surviving family.

    All the best, John Crea

  7. Peter Bull May 31, 2019 at 5:16 pm

    As an OTC wife and mother my life was also entangled with George Maltby. My first encounter was standing beside a man at the annual Santa/Christmas party (I think at Bringelly) in the blazing heat, he was watching his grandchildren, Alf was with our son and daughter in the queue to Santa.
    This man, who introduced himself only as George, was friendly and we stood and chit-chatted for quite a long time.
    He collected his little ones and moved on and Alf eventually returned to me, I was put through a third degree, and told that I had been talking to the GM.
    This didn’t phase me as we were just two people chatting, but of course was a worry to those at the bottom of the OTC ladder to have the big boss casually talking with their wife, wondering what might have been said.

    After this meeting whenever we went to OTC functions George would graciously seek me out and we would have another of those “worrying” conversations.
    Later on it was George who mentored Alf through various stages to where he was at his retirement after 38 years service. I can also remember just how much he was upset when George was “sacked”.

    Alf always respected George and considered him the driving force that put OTC right up there into world class international communications, especially the Space programme that everyone was involved in – my memories of George are that of a kind, considerate, interesting gentle man.

    Best remembrances to all the old OTC crew

    Marjorie Ricketts

  8. Peter Bull June 2, 2019 at 3:41 pm

    George championed the rights of skilled employees within OTC. His attempts to give us a fair salary will not be forgotten.

    Andy Hemus

  9. Peter Bull June 3, 2019 at 8:12 am

    Your sad news of George’s passing has reached us here in Paris by way of Greg Sachs.

    Both Jan and I have fond memories of our time in OTC with George. He was without doubt the best leader that we can recall during our careers.

    Please pass on our condolences.

    David YOUNG and Jan TITCOMBE.

  10. Peter Bull June 5, 2019 at 5:43 pm

    I’ve known George since I was eight years of age. In February 1951 my father, Trevor Alfred Housley (TAH), took up the position of Assistant General Manager of OTC(A) when the office was in the AWA Building at 47 York Street Sydney.

    The precise detail in the following may not be absolutely correct but the general thrust of the story is. George told me that, when TAH moved into his office, George was working in the general office outside TAH’s office door. George must have impressed TAH because it was not long before he told George to relocate his desk to right outside TAH’s office door and George became one of TAH’s right hand men.

    Over the years, as AGM, and, from 1956 onwards as GM, TAH spent an enormous amount of time overseas negotiating interworking arrangements with other carriers such as C&W, KDD, BT, COTC, AT&T, Western Union International etc., and George accompanied him on many, if not all, of these trips. Perhaps the most notable of these negotiations led to the installation of COMPAC, which revolutionised our international telephone services, followed by SEACOM and also the International Satellite Consortium which eventually led to the formation of Intelsat.

    A very young George mixed with the very top people in the world’s telecommunications carriers. What an opportunity for a young man to be able to participate in the meetings of the members of the consortia established to bring revolutionary new telecoms services to the world. If anyone remembers the pre-COMPAC days of HF communications, to make a phone call to, say, London, one had to book it days in advance and, when the call was established, the person on the other end was likely to sound like Donald Duck! Submarine cables and Satellites brought capacity and crystal-clear communications with on-demand calling and George was right there at the beginning of this revolution as far as Australian international communications were concerned. TAH clearly had immense confidence in George’s ability and I know that he always placed great value on George’s input.

    George had always regarded TAH as his chief mentor.

    George and TAH attended Cable and Wireless, London, together in 1962 during one of these negotiating sessions. These meetings were not quick; George and TAH would often be overseas for three months or more with possibly only a couple of months in between. I imagine an Archivist, if there is one, could establish more exact times and dates. (All I know is that my Dad was overseas a lot and often took Mum with him so us kids had to be baby-sat, typically by OTC families. My younger sisters would stay with Jack Hansen while Charlie Raecke and his wife or Ron Knightly and his wife would move into our house to babysit me, even though I was about 16 or 17.)

    I would see a lot of George because TAH used to entertain visiting dignitaries at home typically with a “Ham Party” which consisted of having a whole leg of ham and lots of fresh white bread and TAH would put a tea-towel in the waistband of the MD of C&W or the President of KDD or AT&T and, together, they’d carve the ham and make sandwiches for everyone else. The OTC(A) people whom I saw frequently were George, Tom Molloy, Edgar & Erica Harcourt, Jack & Celia Hansson, Cyril & Maisie Vahtrick, Bob & Gwen Long, Graeme Gosewinckel, Athol Brown and many others.

    By the time George became GM or MD of OTC, I was well established in the Communications Industry as a Consultant and Trainer and I saw a lot of George around the traps. In particular, after his sacking by Bob Hawke, in 1988, George became prominent in ATUG, the Australian Telecommunications Users Group, and I saw a lot of him because our firm used to conduct events, from time to time, in conjunction with ATUG.

    In later years, our association with George was more social. Each year, George and his wife, Mary, would host a table at the “Victoriana” event produced by St Pauls College at the University of Sydney. Victoriana was a 19th Century gaslight era vaudeville-style production with songs such as “The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze” which involved an actor wearing a straw boater and a striped full-body swimsuit typical of the era. The audience would sing songs such as “Rule Britannia” and so on. George and Mary liked to invite friends to this black-tie event and my wife, Jocelyn and I were honoured to be invited on two or three occasions.

    A particular thing that George did for our family was that, off his own bat, he developed and organised the entry for my father, in the Australian Dictionary of Biography. That involved an incredible amount of work, research and co-ordination and, for that, we are deeply grateful. George did this out of gratitude for TAH’s role in developing George’s career and, as I said earlier, George had always regarded TAH as his Mentor.

    As Mary developed Dementia, George spent more time at home in Double Bay and Jocelyn and I would visit occasionally. They were fortunate to be in a position where carers were readily available; certainly when we visited there were always carers around.

    When it became evident that George, himself, was developing Dementia, I wrote a brief note to him expressing my gratitude for his presence in my life.

    George Maltby was a great man, a fine man, a caring man who made a great contribution to the Telecommunications Industry and to society as a whole. I will miss him and remember him fondly whenever his name comes up in the future.

    Trevor Housley

  11. Peter Bull October 22, 2019 at 6:57 am

    After being interviewed in 1958 for a Cadet Engineer position and receiving an acceptance letter, George Maltby was the first staff person I had contact with in OTC, as he interviewed me to finalise all the details of my appointment.

    In the interview George was extremely friendly and extremely helpful to me as a “newly minted” Cadet Engineer and the interview left me with a lasting impression of George as an open, amicable and supportive person.

    Over the years I had many dealings with George, both in meetings and in one-on-one contacts in various situations in OTC, and these contacts only enhanced my initial impressions of George as a very human person and as someone who typified OTC’s unwritten values of professionalism allied with friendliness.

    May he rest in peace.
    Guntis (“Gus”) Berzins

  12. Peter Bull November 4, 2019 at 8:26 am

    The link below is to a video produced by OTC Public Affairs in 1989 after George’s resignation at the request of the then Federal Government led by Bob Hawke.

    It is certainly worth a look although:
    1. There is a 20 second delay in the video starting; and
    2. It is best viewed in a smaller window due to quality issues if viewed in a larger window.

    Some of the video quality is poor due to the technology of the era in which the footage was taken.

  13. Peter Bull June 1, 2021 at 8:12 am

    I have recently had cause to acknowledge George Maltby’s contributions to the good government of Australia.

    I knew George when he was at the top at the OTC and I worked as Chief of Staff for the Minister of Communications.

    A couple of years later, when George and I had both moved on, my family would stay at a B&B in the Vaucluse area when visiting from Canberra, and invariably we would run into George tending to his garden. He was very open and warm and now that I realise that his gracious demise from his high office was because he appreciated, much better than Christine Holgate did, that if you head a government business enterprise, if you piss off your Minister and/or the PM, you go.

    He was a wise, smart, owl. (My highest tribute.)

    GC Gourlay

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