Four-wheel truck ascending Mt Boulder during challenging weather conditions

If you've ever been through a major weather event and you still have access to phone coverage, that's our people.

The story behind how this happens is often dramatic, but at its heart is a group of people dedicated to getting the job done, no matter what the obstacle.

Recently this was exemplified by field technician Phil Heeney, who, working with Telstra Queensland Government Wireless Network team technician Caleb Slattery, showed the kind of client focus that is a feature of our essential telecommunications services offering.

Mt Boulder, located in the beautiful Woondum National Park in Queensland, is a very scenic spot and popular with hikers. During the heavy rains that impacted southeast Queensland in February, the mountain turned into a much more treacherous location. Atop the mountain sits a telecommunications tower that services the local area. 

Mt Boulder landscape impacted by flooding

The heavy rains in February 2022 created challenging and unsafe conditions on Mt Boulder.


Whenever severe weather impacts around Australia, our field technicians are often some of the first people out in the field once it is safe to do so. Once on site they take to restoring and repairing the telecommunications network to impacted areas. 

This takes many forms but includes technical fixes as well as restoration of power solutions at major sites. During this weather event, Phil was tasked with an urgent generator deployment at the Mt Boulder telecommunications site. 

Getting to the top of the mountain 

Phil and Caleb accessed the site via four-wheel drive, through a circuitous route that ensured the safest journey. 

Safe at the summit, Phil hooked up his generator, bringing the equipment back online following the mains power failure, while Caleb ran a separate generator to hold up additional network equipment. With weather closing in the duo were required to shelter at the site (which they were prepared for) spending three days up the mountain, sharing fuel, food and water. 

Ventia vehicle by the telecommunications tower at Mt Boulder

Phil Heeney and Caleb Slattery ran generators to bring equipment back online and hold up the network equipment at the Mt Boulder telecommunications site.


As is process for these situations, Phil was regularly in touch with our Network Operations Centre (NOC) to update journey management, along with his own managers on his status and location. 

Making the descent 

With the potential for an immediate safe descent via vehicle unlikely, Phil made his way on foot down one of the hiking trails where he knew the Maranatha Recreation Camp was located. There he was embraced with open arms by the camp's caretakers. Setting off back up the trail he shared the good news with Caleb and the pair descended the hill again, arriving at the camp, with muddy pants, to a delicious (and somewhat obscure) meal of soup and Doritos. Always with an eye to fixing things, the pair quickly repaid the kindness by helping the caretakers to fire up the onsite generators. 

Checking in with the NOC again to update his status, Phil then received a call that a Queensland Fire & Rescue chopper was heading their way to retrieve them.

Not to end their hiking there, Phil and Caleb were required to hike a mile to the landing spot, crossing creeks and bushland. Once safe in the air, the extent of the water on the ground became apparent to them and the pair were extremely happy to land safely at Maroochydore airport a short time later. 

After three days sheltering at the Mt Boulder summit to ensure network connection, and without the possibility of safe descent on the road, Phil and Caleb were brought back by a Queensland Fire & Rescue chopper.


Phil was happy to return home.

I had dinosaur breath, my clothes stank, and I hadn't showered in days, but my wife was still pleased to see me!

As has previously been the case during floods, fires and cyclones, Ventia is fortunate to have people who can rise to the occasion when necessary. Phil is an excellent field technician who understands the dangers inherent in any situation. He always respects the conditions around him and knows how important it is to carry spare clothing, food and water. He was extremely grateful to be on that mountain with Caleb Slattery, the two of them working in unison throughout. 

It wasn't just the shared supplies, it was the knowledge that they could rely on each other, which ensured the time on the mountain made a positive difference to the customer. 

Ventia employee Phil Heeney in front of a Ventia vehicle

Phil showed dedication and the kind of client focus that is a feature of our essential telecommunications services offering.