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Ray Hookway – Passes Away Saturday 18 May 2019 – Aged 89 Years

20 May 19
Peter Bull

Ray was born 24th November 1929.  He was 89 years and six months when he passed.

The stories that some of the OTC Vets have provided that were passed on to Fazeley, Ray’s partner, and Janelle, Fazeley’s nice, were apparently greatly enjoyed by Ray in his last days. The family thanks you for making his last hours so memorable for all concerned.

Ray’s funeral service will be held at 2:30pm on Wednesday 22nd May

Camelia Chapel

Macquarie Park Crematorium

(Cnr Plassey & Delhi Rds)

Macquarie Park NSW 2113

An afternoon tea will be held on site after the funeral service to celebrate Ray’s life. There will be an “open mic” at afternoon tea for anyone who wants to share a word or two.

The below was found in the August 1994 Transit on the occasion of Ray Hookway’s Retirement

After almost fifty year’s in the international telecommunications business, MS&RS Technical Services Manager,
Ray Hookway, decided it was time for a change. This month he starts a new, full-time career – fishing, cross-country skiing and bush walking!

Ray started his career in 1945 when, at the age of 17, he worked as a telegram  messenger for AWA (Amalgamated
Wireless Australasia). Two years later saw the beginning of OTC’s operations (through the merger of AWA, the Coastal Radio Service and the Australian arm of Cable & Wireless), and Ray became a Circulation Clerk in Sydney’s city district.

He subsequently went ‘semi-rural’, moving to the Pennant Hills radio station workshop to assist in the manufacture of transmitters and ancillary equipment for the new Doonside and Bringelly stations. The workshop was transferred to Marrickville in 1953, prior to the Pennant Hills radio station’s relocation to Doonside.

Ray stayed at”, the Marrickville Workshop until 1958, when he was promoted to Technical Assistant in the Operations Group. Since then he has held positions of Technical Officer and Manager Doonside, before taking up his Current role as Manager Technical Services for Mobile Satellite & Radio Services (fOlwerly ‘Maritime’).

Tremendous changes have taken place in the communications industry over the past 50 years, and Ray said there have been many memorable moments. ‘Helping to commission the Seacom cable to South-East Asia was interesting’, he recalled, ‘as was working on the modernisation of radio stations such as La Perouse (NSW) and Rockbank (Victoria) – and maintenance of the OTC Cable System.

‘When I look back over the year’s, I feel a great deal of satisfaction knowing that – in some small way – I have made a
contribution to modem-day communications.’

Daryll Smith, General Manager of Telstra Mobile Satellite & Radio Services, paid tribute to Ray’s career and said he came from an environment of submarine telegraph cables and Beam Wireless building blocks for today’s ‘information super highways’.

Like his peers, Ray was a pioneer for many of us’, said Daryll, ‘and we that follow him salute his efforts’.

Ray will continue to ‘dabble’ in communications during retirement; he plans to expand his amateur radio facilities and, in so doing, keep in touch with old friends. In the short-term, however, he intends to do a lot of leisurely travelling.


  1. Peter Bull May 20, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    Sad news indeed.
    May Ray RIP and his family be safe in this knowledge.
    My kindest regards to all those personally effected.
    Len Wylde

  2. Peter Bull May 28, 2019 at 7:50 am

    There were quite a lot of OTC Vets at Ray’s funeral service. Tom Barker, Jim Simpson, Mike Elliott, Brendan Quirk, Tim Jensen, Bill Breeze to name ones off the top of my head but that’s not the whole list.
    Fazeley noted the closeness of our OTC group & was warmed by our presence.
    Brendan gave the OTC speech & the part about Ray setting the Kimberley Ranges alight on a 35Km front, while working at Broome, brought much laughter.
    Someone remarked afterwards it was really a Celebration of Ray’s Life.
    Ray was certainly one of a kind.

    Neil Yakalis

  3. Peter Bull May 31, 2019 at 12:41 pm

    Ray Hookway came right up through the ranks starting as a 15 year old AWA messenger boy. This was late in 1945 just as World War 2 finished. In his early years Ray moved between operations maintenance work & engineering design with construction which included work at Rockbank Radio. Between 1970 & 1985 Ray was PTO responsible for the maintenance of radio equipment at CRS stations around Australia. He was behind the upgrade of La Perouse, with its new building, opening in 1979.

    In 1985 he came to Doonside as our Station Manager staying until 1987. His purpose was to reassess the replacement of the old analogue radio equipment purchased originally for the 1956 Olympic Games. He went back to head office as Manager Technical Services to explore a modern solution. This new role saw him travelling overseas to view other coast stations & recommend the best solution for upgrading Doonside & Bringelly.

    Whilst at Doonside some trainees noticed Ray appeared to have a very stern manner. He would say something abrupt to them & then walk off. We told the trainees to look carefully at his mouth which would be slightly turned up at the corner. Ray was holding back a smile & was only pulling their leg! However one comment by a staff member really did stir something up in Ray. It was the casual remark “good enough for Doonside”. We often used it jokingly only behind his back not wanting to upset him.

    At Doonside Ray often worked back till quite late. One night I gave up waiting for Ray to go home & started cooking my dinner. The kitchen smell, carried by the air conditioning, drifted in Ray’s office. He came out to investigate & said to me “those chilli beans look like they’re about to catch”. After the huge grass fire at Broome Radio & later at Doonside in March 1985, Ray had a keen sense of smell for anything burning.

    The Doonside fire jumped our slashed fire breaks & destroyed the Maxwell Chemical plant across Doonside Road. With 44 gallon drums exploding 200 feet into the air, it featured on the TV news & even the Hansard Report in State Parliament relating to dangerous chemicals. The damage to Doonside’s burnt out aerial feeder poles took months to replace.

    OTC Maritime moved from St Martins Tower to St Leonards in the late 1980’s & Ray was the only person delighted with the move. Reason was he lived just down the road at Artarmon. During Ray’s time back in head office Doonside & Bringelly got their new transmitters & receivers. Both stations then went remote control from La Perouse at night.

    While at St Leonards I worked again under Ray from late 1992 until he retired in 1994. I often overheard Ray on the phone talking to out station techs about technical issues. “Now don’t you worry about that” Ray would say, a line he took as a send up of Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen.

    On 31st January 1993 McLaren Vale Radio Adelaide closed down. Ray’s Maritime boss refused to fund his trip for the closing ceremony. Ray felt compelled to go so paid for his own air fare across to Adelaide. Photo of the Adelaide closure with Ray in the middle.

    Ray always put his best into everything he tackled & was keenly missed when he retired.

    Neil Yakalis

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