News & Views

4th July 2016

From gas lighting to fibre optics…

04 Jul 2016

2016 is a landmark year for NECA as we head into our second century.  The first NECA Chapter – called the Electrical Traders & Contractors Association, opened its doors to Victorian members in 1916.  And the first NECA President was appointed in 1917. 

As a result, we will be celebrating our centenary over the next twelve months.  The first major event in the celebration will be the Victorian Excellence Awards on Friday 5th August, 2016 and the things will conclude with a Gala Dinner at the next Australia-wide Industry Conference – towards the end of in the second quarter of 2017 at a date to be confirmed.

“Things have certainly changed since those ground-breaking days when Australian cities were making decisions around voltage, and even underground cabling a hundred years ago,” says NECA’s CEO, Suresh Manickam. 

“Interestingly by 1918 the first Commissioners were being appointed to regulate and investigate the supply of electricity in Victoria and New South Wales.  And the wonderfully named Electrolysis Board was established in 1921 – only five years after NECA was created as the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, in response to reports around damages to gas, water mains, and underground telephony lines.  Headings like Leakages of Electricity were already starting to appear in the press, so it was certainly an interesting journey,” Mr Manickam added.

A timeline of NECA's history

1916    -           Electrical Traders & Contractors Association

1921    -           Electrical Federation (Contractors & Retailers)

1928    -           Electrical Federation (Contractors Section)

1940    -           Electrical & Radio Federation (Contractors Section)

1957    -           Electrical Contractors Federation

1992    -           National Electrical & Communications Association  

The highlights of our history are captured in a new book written by Brian Seymour, available at the end of July. Brian is a NECA Life Member and well-respected industry commentator.  He has done a fabulous job in collating this story – and we are very grateful to him.

We hope you will join us in celebrating our centenary over the next 12 months.




Media enquiries and interviews

Barry Jackson – National Marketing and Communications


D 02 9962 6904

M 0457 767 328


Notes for editors


  1. NECA is the peak industry body representing the interests of electrical and communications contractors Australia-wide.
  2. NECA is run by electrical contractors, for electrical contractors.
  3. We have 5,000 contracting companies as members – and they in turn employ over 50,000 people Australia-wide.
  4. NECA employs almost 350 people across its seven chapters (Queensland, New South Wales, ACT, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia).
  5. The chapters provide NECA members with a range of services including: Industrial Relations, Health & Safety, Legal, Technical, Training, business-support services, product discounts and advocacy representation in Canberra with Government, Industry bodies and Training bodies.
  6. NECA wholly-owns its Legal firm, Group Training and the NECA Colleges (in WA) and EcoSmart Electricians – and has joint ventures with a superannuation company (NSW) and one of the national cabling registrars (ACRS).
  7. NECA also employ around 2,000 apprentice electricians and provides training to a further 2,000.

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