OTC Trainee Tool Kits 1968

The Right Tool for the Job

by Robert Brand

Seems that there would be few of us exOTC people with a pretty good intact OTC tool kit that was issued as far back as 1968. Well, say hello to three of them! The big one I was issued as I started work in 1969 as a Technician in Training at the DCA Regional Training School at Waverton. The other two smaller kits were picked up from ITMC Sydney staff that left and their tool kits were not collected from them.

The reason I collected the extra kits was that there were tool kit checks and you had to produce your kit and it had to have all the tools or you had to replace them. The other two kits were considered by me as donor kits as tools often went missing through no fault of your own. Tools strayed when you had a large job and a few people were involved. I do not expect that they were intentionally taken, but accidentally.

For that reason I also had 2 lockers. On the occasional locker check, no one ever asked to check all the lockers – you just took them to yours and they opened the one that you indicated. I forget precise details of the checks, but I seem to remember that one was part of the police investigation into all the missing construction items that was later found to have been taken by the MSS security guard. Anything I did not want to have seen was always in the second locker. It was a big loophole in a rather tight system of checks and balances. No one had their names on the outside, so it was easy to pull off. On the check sheet it was assigned to a project – whatever I had in the works.

There were also two tool rolls provided with my first tool kit and I also still have these. They are extremely useful. Many of the tools are still etched with my tool kit number “AT64”. It is interesting to see the “lamp puller”. Rarely used these days, but still useful on some old equipment.

These are Telstra’s property and if any one from Telstra with an official collection note would like to come and get them, I would be happy to return them. They were at my home when I was terminated from my job before the 4 weeks notice was up. I believe that I was the first TO that did not serve their full 4 weeks because of competitive issues with OTC.

Although there are a few extra items of modern origin in the kits, most items are original – the red oil can, the tool rolls, the cable strippers and the old Stanley knife are a few of the original items visible in the kits.

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6 thoughts on “OTC Trainee Tool Kits 1968

  1. I still have my pair of toolboxes, the large and small green ones shown in your photos. I also have quite a few of the original tools but the lamp puller may be gone. Mine were issued to me in 1966, so the 3 of us are looking forward to their 50th birthday in a few years time.

    • Jim, Good to see that you are well organised too. I have to love the whole concept of having my original tools. I actually love the old tool rolls most of all. I have not seen anything as robust at these. They just keep on keeping on. Yes, you beat the age of mine by two years. Nice.

  2. Tool kit? Luxury! Being in the first experimental group of full time trainees at North Sydney Technical College (66/67), we were never issued with tool kits. I still have the small blue screwdriver I bought with my own money in 1967 at the hardware shop (Isenberg’s?) across the road from Paddo terminal when I was posted there on a stint of field training.

      • Yes, I eventually got an Engineering tool box in about 1979 when posted to Paddo for the AKE project – the last analogue international telephone exchange. I handed it back (complete) when I moved back to an office job a few years later.

  3. It makes me think of when I transferred from SOR to Telephony on 18MLC, I was shown to my desk, as I was to be the TCDP Clerk, a newly created position, having previously worked as a Telegraphist. The first thing I found in my desk was a pair of Sidchrome side cutters, which I still have, which i have used over many years for jobs for Optus, Visionstream etc
    When I went to Network Development I had to supply my own tools, they would not supply the clerk with a tool roll. It was easier for me to do this than constantly having to borrow someone else’s tools.

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