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Coralie Condon

Posted by ken On March - 13 - 2009

THE FIRST LADY OF WESTERN AUSTRALIAN TELEVISION

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Jean Hunsley, Coralie Condon, Penny Hoes and Carolyn Noble


Coralie Condon was interested in theatre from an early age. Even while she was a ledger machinist with the Public Works Dept, she was producing shows at the Playhouse Theatre, Perth in her spare time. She went to Sydney and wrote children’s television programmes for the ABC., before returning to Perth in 1959 where she was involved in selection of staff for the opening of Channel Seven.

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Coralie Condon, Beverley Gledhill, Lloyd Lawson and Penny Hoes select TVW’s first on-air staff (1959)

In the 10 years she worked with TVW on a permanent basis she hosted a woman’s session called Televisit and produced children’s, women’s and nightly variety programs.

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Lloyd Lawson with Coralie Condon


In 1958, Coralie wrote a musical comedy, The Good Oil, and in 1962 was delighted to be able to produce it for television with Jill Perryman in the lead. The production was directed by Max Bostock with the choreography and male lead performed by Jill’s husband Kevan Johnston.

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Jill Perryman & Kevan Johnston (2008)


THE GOOD OIL

Coralie Condon was inspired by the discovery of oil in Western Australia in 1953. This encouraged Coralie to wrote a musical based on the resulting stock market boom, which led politicians and newspapers to claim it could be Australia’s most significant development of the 20th century. However, the euphoria that resulted from the discovery soon faded and the price of shares fell sharply, when successive wells drilled proved to be dry.

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Choreography by Kevan Johnston – Danni Harford lead dancer


The production was first staged at the Playhouse Theatre, and later in 1962, became a television production, directed by Max Bostock.

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Max Bostock directs The Good Oil cast members in the company of Kevan Johnston


Though a producer, writer and director for television, she had always maintained contact with the stage and joined with Frank Baden-Powell to open the Old Time Music Hall in Perth in 1967. It did not take much persuasion when Frank, a well known theatrical entrepreneur, asked her to do the music for a show he was producing at the Hole in the Wall Theatre. It became an evening of old time music which proved very popular.

The full blown music hall concept opened first in Fremantle, and the following year at the Civic Theatre Restaurant (which later became Diamond Lil’s and then the Island Trader) and in 1970 they opened Dirty Dick’s Elizabethan Room, which spread nation wide, with premises in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra and several regional centres. At one time there was even a Dirty Dick’s in Los Angeles. The theatre group also toured extensively throughout the country with a selection of about fifteen shows.

In 1993, Coralie was granted a Medal of the Order of Australia in recognition of service to the entertainment industry.


Coralie was one of the many guests at the October 2009 TVW 50th Reunion…


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Audrey Barnaby has enjoyed a close and continuous relationship with Coralie Condon from the 1958 stage production of Coralie’s musical comedy ‘The Good Oil’ to the establishment of the make-up section and on-air presentation for the woman’s programs.


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Coralie Condon, Sir James Cruthers and Carolyn Tannock (nee Noble)


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Jan Urquhart (nee Cooper) and Jan Boyd (nee Ladner) of the Channel Seven Dancers greet Coralie Condon at the TVW 50th Reunion in October 2009


Other references to Coralie Condon…

Reunion Dinner at the historic Romany Restaurant

TVW Reunion Photos courtesy of Nigel Felangue

Coralie Condon’s Post TVW Reunion Get Together

2 Responses to “Coralie Condon”

  1. Teresa says:

    Where is Coralie now? What is she doing if anything to do with the theater. I saw a brief glimps of her at the Channel 7 reunion on TV an thought she still looked good for her age 97?

  2. ken says:

    Hi Teresa,

    There are lots of references to Coralie Condon on the WA TV History web site. She is still as bright as a button but her eye sight is slowly fading.

    Audrey Long (nee Barnaby) is a close friend of Coralie’s and keeps in regular contact. Coralie still lives in her own home and loves entertaining guests… particularly those she knows from theatre and television.

    Audrey points out that, “…she is only a young 94.”

    Kind regards,
    Ken McKay

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