Trevor Housley

Housley, Trevor Alfred (1910–1968)

by George F. Maltby

Trevor Alfred Housley (1910-1968), public servant, was born on 31 October 1910 at Gympie, Queensland, fifth child of native-born parents William Frank Frederick Housley, painter, and his wife Eva Alice, née Carroll. Educated at Gympie High School and the University of Queensland (B.Sc., 1941), Trevor joined the Brisbane office of the Postmaster-General’s Department on 15 October 1926 as a junior mechanic (in training). He later worked as a clerk in the personnel and accounts branches. 

At St Joseph’s Catholic Church, Kangaroo Point, on 16 February 1935 Housley married Susan Maureen Reilly. In the following year he was promoted engineer. During World War II he established telecommunications systems in Papua and New Guinea for the armed services; after returning to Australia he installed radar equipment in warships. In 1946 he transferred to the Department of Civil Aviation as supervising engineer; he rose to chief airways engineer and took a prominent part in the Professional Officers’ Association.

Appointed assistant to the general manager of the Overseas Telecommunications Commission (Australia) in February 1951, Housley directed the development of the commission’s radio facilities, including the building of major transmitting and receiving stations on the outskirts of Sydney, at Doonside and Bringelly respectively. He was also responsible for preparing O.T.C.’s services to handle the large volume of international communications associated with the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne.

As O.T.C.’s general manager (from 1956), Housley led an Australian delegation to London in 1958 for the Commonwealth Telecommunications Conference which recommended the construction of a ’round-the-world’ telephone cable system. Following the 1959 Pacific Cable Conference in Sydney—at which he again headed the Australian delegation—he became convener of the Commonwealth Pacific cable management committee, comprising representatives from Australia, Britain, Canada and New Zealand. The committee supervised the building of a high-capacity telephone cable between Australia and North America; the COMPAC service opened on 3 December 1963 and was probably the most important milestone in Australian international telecommunications since the landing of the first telegraph cable at Port Darwin in 1871.

Housley’s leadership transformed O.T.C. into a rapidly growing and highly profitable business, gave Australia ample facilities for telephone and data communication with the rest of the world, and made him an international figure in telecommunications. In 1961 he was appointed C.B.E. Next year he was chosen as Australia’s representative on the management-committee for the South East Asia cable project which was to link Australia to the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, and to Guam, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia, with connections from Guam to Japan and the United States of America.

In 1958-64 Housley helped to renegotiate financial and operating arrangements between Australia and British Commonwealth countries, and between Australia and other countries with which it conducted substantial telephone business. From 1964 he represented Australia and O.T.C. on the interim communications satellite committee of what was to be called the International Telecommunications Satellite Consortium.

Housley was a gifted telecommunications engineer, an outstanding executive and a brilliant negotiator, particularly at the international level. Six ft 4 ins (193 cm) tall and large framed, with a shock of prematurely white hair, he had a genial personality and a down-to-earth manner. His speech was laconic and drew on a stock of Australian expressions, such as ‘up a dry gully’ and ‘chasing a rabbit while it will run’. He dressed untidily, rarely wore a coat in his Sydney office and had the habit of placing his pipe, often still warm, in the top pocket of his nylon shirts which led to burn marks and holes through which the stem protruded.

Members of his staff called him Trevor. He knew them all by name, and recalled details of their families and interests without effort. Despite incessant overseas travel, he spent much time visiting O.T.C. stations and branches throughout Australia, talking to, socializing with and enthusing his colleagues. Housley built up corporate morale and encouraged his employees to respond to challenges. He drove people hard, but no harder than he pushed himself, and he remained calm and thoughtful when under pressure.

On 9 December 1965 Housley was appointed director-general, posts and telegraphs, based in Melbourne. A body vastly different in size and culture from O.T.C., the Post Office had considerable industrial and organizational problems with which he had to contend. He died of an intracranial haemorrhage on 10 October 1968 at Kew and was buried in Boroondara cemetery; his wife, son and three of his four daughters survived him.

Select Bibliography

  • E. Harcourt, Taming the Tyrant (Syd, 1987)
  • OTC, Transit, 4, no 1, Feb-Mar 1951, 17, nos 3 and 4, Sept-Dec 1965
  • Australian, 12 Nov 1965, 24 June 1967
  • OTC and Australia Post archives (Telstra Corp Library, Paddington, Sydney).

With thanks to the Australian Dictionary of Biography.

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15 thoughts on “Trevor Housley

  1. Trevor Housley was a frequent visitor to the OTC Paddington Terminal and was well respected by the technical staff. Probably his technical knowledge endeared him to the staff.
    Jim Keenan ex Paddo.

    • Thanks Jim. I only arrived at OTC in 1968 and spent most of the next 4 years at the DCA RTS so by 1972, his name was not even being mentioned. It has been great to find this stuff.

  2. Interesting article. His greatest legacy to me was his son, also Trevor, who’s Data Communications course in maybe 1976, lifted me out of circuit switched telephony into packet switched data comms. I loved that Housley course and still use the text book after nearly 40 years.

  3. ‘gifted telecommunications engineer’

    Yeah, suspiciously, in what way…. hhhhmm!

    This guy clearly studied some kind of geomantic subject.

    Both the original OTC sites at Doonside and Bringelly appear to have been constructed on Ley lines running through these sites that are common along a single axis. One reason what the orignal ‘Bungaribee homestead’ was plagued by hauntings.

    The original designers WERE freemasons!, and knew EXACTLY where to build.

    I am curios to find more out about this individual and to hear of any unusual pheomena that may have take place at the original OTC facilities

    Cheers

    • I see that you are a practitioner of one of the seven “forbidden arts”. Ley lines? Single axis? I need to know more. Where are the documents explaining the common axis of the Lay Lines? I would love to see the proof here.

      Somehow I don’t think that Trevor Housely would have had time for the black arts let alone the forbidden ones!

      Also which form of geomancy do you subscribe to? Arabic? African, Egyptian, Korean? It is important to understand what you are interpreting.

      Personally I did not know Ley Lines and geomancy had anything in common, so please explain why they do not contradict each other…

      • I see that you are a practitioner of one of the seven “forbidden arts”. Ley lines? Single axis? I need to know more. Where are the documents explaining the common axis of the Lay Lines? I would love to see the proof here.

        The bungaribee homestead appears to have had its entire alignment superimposed
        upon these lines.

        Forbidden arts are only forbidden for sheepish idiots.
        Why ban a machine gun and not a toy cap gun?
        Why are the laws against the explicit practice of witchcraft – if such a thing was ineffective?

        If such an art did not work successfully, the why did the governments of the previous
        centuries ‘forbid’ such a thing. They knew that such arts were effective and accurate
        in their results. These same governments used the same arts and stiil do even to this
        day, to control the planet and its human masses.

        Somehow I don’t think that Trevor Housely would have had time for the black arts let alone the forbidden ones!

        From the brief understanding I have on this person. That may have been the case. He in fact
        has no idea whatsoever of the concept of geomancy.

        However from overall understanding of how government funded sciences work from my
        own general research is that gifted scientists are often taught forbidden knowledge and
        enticed to not disclose the fact. Especially when certain political interest are involved.

        No doubt the man would have least been given the history of the Bungaribee Homestead
        and would have heard about its reputed hauntings.

        I studied Electronics years ago and have a deep interest in Occult electronics, I think
        that its possible this man would have considered that this area had an odd energy about
        it. Did he ever visit the site and see the homestead when it still existed?

        Research a guy by the name of Bruce Cathie – The Harmonics of the interplanetary grids.

        Also which form of geomancy do you subscribe to? Arabic? African, Egyptian, Korean? It is important to understand what you are interpreting.

        Where or even when you come from doesn’t really seem to make much difference. Its
        to a degree true however that different cultures have a different method of achieving
        the same results regarding Dowsing and Geomancy. The chinese called the energy lines
        of the earth – Dragon Lines. You can even be physically blind and still effectively be
        a geomancer.

        “Personally I did not know Ley Lines and geomancy had anything in common, so please explain why they do not contradict each other…”

        The don’t contradict each other at all, the operate in conjunction with each other.

        Ley Lines are an integral part of the concept of Geomancy. The lines themselves are merely
        energy lines of EM or possibly Scalar waves of a standing wave nature. Their origins are attributed to being of celestial origin, ie.. sun,moon and other sources from space.

        Humans tend to construct buildings and found transportation trails on such lines. Learn more about ‘Australian Aboriginal Song lines’ these have been apparently proven to move across
        areas with known Geomagnetic anomalies. How could a “dumb coon” discover such a thing?

        The Power elite, ancient societies, Military scientists in black budget projects have researched
        and have know about these Lines for a very long time. The Knights Templar were rumoured to have perfected the study on this topic and built temples on Ley lines. Often Military complexes and even power stations have been built at intersection points. A mere coincidence? – maybe.

    • The hauntings at Bungaribee are explained thus:
      The homestead had a (or two maybe?) round rooms. As the other rooms were rectangular, there were some internal voids in the walls. These voids were open to the roof cavity, and occasionally possums, which love living in roof cavities, would fall in and be unable to climb out, despite multiple attempts at scrabbling up the walls. The scratching noises from the desperate possums, perhaps coupled with grunts and cries, were what lead to the stories of the house being haunted.

      • Chris, I had a house in Wollahra that had possums and they made for some pretty strange housemates. The house was from the mid 1800s and was not built like today’s houses and the possums where near impossible to keep out. The noises and sounds where amazing and I agree that I think that there are logical explanations for these things.

  4. Google Geomancer, plenty of info there on wiki etc.. Looks like 5 unit tape was derived from these principles.. 🙂

  5. But obviously, 7 unit tape has more arcane origins? LMAO at myself because I get the 5 unit joke. N1 Graham.

    @ G.Omancer, I think Ex-OTC a conspiracy-free zone, perhaps you should deposit your aluminium-foil cap liner at reception before entering. Rhombic Aerial arrays are necessarily geometric, and have defined and deliberate alignments, but these are based on maximizing RF gain to the intended destination, rather than any sinister underlying master-plan. For example, if you extended a line along the axis of the UK array, it would pass through London. Surprise surprise!

    If you’re referring to Ley Lines EXTERNAL to the OTC Doonside site, but including that site (and/or Bungarribee House), I would also be interested to hear what other locations or facilities fall on the suggested alignment, and what significance or basis you propose to explain the co-incidence?

    If, on the other hand, you were subtly alluding to the prevalence of Masons within the early PMG (which pre-dates OTC), perhaps it is better to leave some secrets unspoken, lest a stranger with a lambskin apron…. History is, what it is.

    Your contribution has raised another point, however, which is of personal interest, as I grew up in the Blacktown area. The ghosts of Bungarribee House were a common part of local folklore, although the structures were substantially demolished before I was ever riding through the land surrounding (but not including) the OTC Doonside site. Unfortunately, OTC’s stewardship of the site failed to recognize the historical significance of the Bungarribee structures:

    http://www.heritage.nsw.gov.au/07_subnav_02_2.cfm?itemid=5051257

    For more information about Bungarribee House, including historical photographs, see:

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bungarribee-House-resting-place-of-a-king/192249967461389

    As it is highly relevant to this thread, I note that Trevor Housley has {perhaps unfairly) been singled out for criticism in that context:

    Perhaps former residents of the OTC Staff cottages, just north from the Bungarribee House site, may be able to contribute their own stories about Bungarribee ghosts? Some of the OTC families are named in the following post:

    http://wikimapia.org/988933/Former-O-T-C-Residences

    Remember, if it’s not White Blue Red Black, it’s probably not your problem. Let Install/Eng. Branch worry about anything involving BOGBS+WYBVR.

    • Good one VonDog, I like the depth on your thoughts. I actually never realised that there was a haunted house on the property until G Omancer commented. Seems I missed a lot. Enjoying the comments from all “angles”.

    • As I understand it, in the early days OTC did allow the local historical society extensive access to the area around the old homestead, so they did appreciate it’s significance.

      I worked at Doonside occasionally, but I knew nothing of the old homestead until years later when I was looking for a birthday present for my sister, who’s a bit of a history buff. I picked up a book about historic houses and found it had a whole chapter on Bungarribee. I bought the book for her. I’ll have to see if she still has it.

      Completely coincidentally, I have a friend in Sydney who’s a geophysicist, and he was recently involved in a survey of the underground remains at the Bungarribee site.

      • Interesting debate… never heard of the Mason’s angle. The Bungarribee site or geology reputedly has high conductivity. Beneath the farm plateau spring water pools. Various electromagnetic phenomena occurred over a ten year period, possibly as a result of the severe 1890s drought (long before OTC). OTC had briefly considered the old house as a manager’s residence, but was ruled out owing to cost. Even demolition was not in the budget. It was the 1950s, modern was “in”, and OTC staff wanted every mod-con. Old was essentially rubbish. No interest was shown in the house, just the roofing materials, which OTC gradually removed. Inclement weather followed, whereby the house became rundown but still generally intact. The only interruption was The National Trust’s desire to lease the property, in negotiation with the Dept of Interior and OTC. However, OTC ensured this wouldn’t eventuate. In late 1956, when NT found a tenant to sublet the house and make the house watertight, OTC objected to the arrangements. No roof came. Within a few months, the house went from ruin to a wrecked shell. No vandalism was reported, only memos requesting OTC staff not to remove anything further. By early 1957 every item of joinery, door and window, had been kicked in or ripped asunder. Historically there was nothing left. Upon seeing this, NT had to end leasing negotiations. One demolition tenderer pulled out because there was nothing left to salvage. OTC hadn’t liked being questioned about their intentions towards the house, and records show they intended to demolish the house from the beginning, and stuck to this. Cheers, Bill

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