The first AXE Course in Scoresby

Scoresby ( Circa 1986)

This chat was on the ex-OTC group on Facebook. It is great when some of the pictures appear and names are not known by all. This exchange was a community effort to name those in the picture.

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The Secret Submarine Cable


by Cyril Vahtrick

[Ed: This fabulous story of what might have been is from Cyril Vahtrick and permission to reprint from the OTVA. Thanks to both]

The 1956 Olympic Games had finished in Melbourne and OTC was still trying to come back to normal, with new equipment such as T.E.D. (Teleprinter Error Detection)  and T.O.C. (Teleprinter on Cable) to be brought into service. Christmas was approaching when Chief Engineer Bob Long summoned me into his office with some excitement. He had on the table a pink covered document marked “Secret”.  I hadn’t seen an official secret document since my Radar days with the Air Force during WW2 and was intrigued at what this might be about. Continue reading

Cardboard Time Calculators

Overseas Time Calculators (OTC)

Photos Submitted by Roland Cassar AKA Roly

by Robert Brand

It has been a long time since I last saw one of these, but I remember them well. Unlike the more durable plastic, these were large slide rule-like units that took up a fair bit of space. The cardboard and the plastic calculators had the same capability, but the plastic ones were smaller and even wallet size in the later versions. Continue reading

Phone Phreaking via Australia

2VF, the Weak Link

[ Editors Note: I discovered this story on “Phone Phreaking” first published in 1974. I know that my own exploits with the Australian network occurred before International Trunk Dialing was introduced to Australia in 1976 so I do not know if this was before that time. Note that there were others from OTC, but I can’t name them without their permission. Phreaking = Hacking when it comes to making calls via the backdoor. Either cheaper or free – both qualify. Manipulating the phone network. The author of the story below appears to be British but contains some pretty accurate details on 2VF – Robert Brand ]

I find the Australian telephone system much more interesting than American. There are two independent trunk networks Down Under—the (multi-frequency compelled), and the 2VF (two voice frequency), handling STD and operator-originated traffic respectively. Continue reading

The ITMC Lunchroom Phone

Shrinking the Paddington ITMC Orderwire Desk to Size

by Robert Brand

If you have ever been on a 3 person shift and 2 are busy and it is your lunch break and you are sitting in the lunchroom, you just know the phone will ring and you have to hike it out to the orderwire desk quick-smart and answer the phone. The result has been burnt food, lost calls and plenty of annoyance. Continue reading

Paddington Telephone Exchange Hacking

ITMC PaddingtonThe First Australian International Phone Hack

by Robert Brand

In researching the first telephone exchange to be installed at the OTC Paddington terminal, Peter Bull today came across this reference. It is from a very well documented site on Australian Communications. Continue reading