Compac Celebrations in 2013

Compac 50th Coming Soon.

In November 1963 the Compac cable was opened with a massive fanfare of hope and expectation. Heads of state joined in the event with a conference call never heard of in this and other countries. For the first time, there was clear and easily connected calls that would not fade or suffer from noise interference as did the radio waves. They would also not suffer from lack of privacy as did the HF radio calls of the past. The world changed and Australia became connected to the growing world of modern day telephony. Reliable “high density” data was suddenly possible and the growth in telex and other low speed services was immense.

I believe that the picture above shows the Australia / New Zealand section of the cable being opened. I believe the 50th celebration of that event has already past.

I propose that we organise some very large celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the cable’s completion. That event changed our nation and our very perception of ourselves and our place in the world. I have written to the OTVA to take lead as their status will gain more respect that anything else that can be organised. We have 18 months to easily pull off a major celebration of a OTC in its true coming of age. The OTVA board meets this week and will consider the proposal. I have agreed to assist with the event which I think will get significant international and especially national TV and radio coverage.

I would like to get the Prime Minister to re-enact the call that opened the cable and also have the Minister in charge of Telecommunications present. That would be an easy thing to organise although we have to take into account the possibility of any Parliamentary issues getting in the way, but for something this high profile, it would have to be a big issue. Heads of state will be the easy part and I expect that they will also do a TV hookup as part of that.

There are other opportunities such as these

  • An Australian Amateur Radio event to celebrate
  • A set of stamps in celebration
  • Special events from various Telco organisations
  • Speaking engagements
  • Comms Conference themes
  • OTC (OTVA) dinner – get Telstra to sponsor.

OTVA LogoAll of this will bring OTVA and exOTC people out from the shadows. I would envisage a grand dinner for a massive reunion in Sydney. Possibly separate ones in other states. I would also see that it will be possible to get an OTVA stamp made if we move quickly!

Telstra will do this anyway. We might as well take the lead in these events and get them to come along for the ride and foot the bill.

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11 thoughts on “Compac Celebrations in 2013

  1. I lived in Paddington and was 11 years old at the time of Compac’s opening. Years earlier I saw the demolition of the Paddo movie theatre and other buildings to make way for the terminal. I watched as the steel girders were erected and the building built around the beams and the brick walls were then added to the concrete floors. I then watched as the “new” section was added to the east side to match the style of the older part. The new addition to the building increased the old floor area about 167% of the old floor space. A brass strip was visible on each floor, joining the two sections of building. The building was later expanded around 1980 and extended through to the street behind Oxford street. The facade was made to look like a sort of set of terrace houses, common to the area, but very modern. The terminal was sited to be a reasonable distance from the Bondi landfall of Compac and not too close to the city. It traversed Centennial park. A cable check was done every week. I went on one of them and it was a nice drive from Paddington to Bondi. Any new construction or roadworks in the area was warned of the cable’ existence and the deadly thousands of volts to discourage people from being careless.

  2. I have made representation to Australia Post about a stamp set to be made. I have also accepted an invitation to present my proposal to the OTVA this coming week. I look forward to working on the celebrations no mater what the outcome. It will happen.

  3. I was a jointer on the NZ section of COMPAC, I have a pic of all the jointers at the training school including your Aussie jointers , do you want a copy. will send if I know where to send

    • Ray, I have sent you an email with my address and we would so truly love to the the picture. It would be great to see if we can identify the people involved. Thank you so much for spotting this post and your willingness to help in out celebrations. We are hoping to get NZ involved in a re-enactment of the opening of Compac.

  4. Have not had any luck with photos or info on the land section in NZ, Telecom have not replied yet to 2 requests, will keep trying, will keep intouch.

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