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Dianne and Barry Hodge

Posted by ken On April - 5 - 2009

One of many couples to meet at Channel 7 were Dianne Chappell and Barry Hodge. Dianne was a pioneer in a number of ways, being one of the first two young women to be employed as technical operators at TVW. The first women to enter what was then a man’s domain at the studios in Tuart Hill. Dianne and Jill Whiteland both commenced working in telecine at the age of sixteen. Jill was only to work there for a short time whilst Dianne gained considerable experience in many fields. Starting in telecine, where she operated 16mm film and slide projectors and the massive caption scanner which housed the station clock, the crawl for program credits and two carousels of caption card, that contained artwork for either program or advertising content.

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It was not long before Di tried her hand successfully at videotape operations. Driving a videotape machine was no easy task in the 1960’s. There was no automatic facilities so each machine had to be aligned, adjusted and tweaked for each program or commercial tape that was played. Added to that, the 5,400 and 7,600 feet reels of two inch videotape were not light to lift, which contained either 60 minutes or 90 minutes of program. Di was game to tackle any task, and in due course excelled at them. Operations those days were fraught with errors because of the complexity of presentation, so a conscientious and reliable operator was most valued, as Di proved many times to be.

Dianne also ventured into the field of audio operations, running the mixing consoles that coordinated the sound content and controlled the audio levels. This too required considerable skill negotiating the myriad of sound sources that made up a days television presentation, or a live program involving many microphones.


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Dianne Hodge (nee Chappell) at the controls of TVW’s Studio Two Audio Mixing Unit

Soon Barry Hodge, a handsome and tall dark haired young man would join TVW, and the young attractive blonde and he soon became a couple, and later married. Barry was both an operator and a technician, who at times performed the same tasks as Di and as required, maintained the equipment to keep it in good running order.

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Barry Hodge at the controls of Telecine

TVW underwent a massive expansion in 1968, relocating all the technical and operational facilities in a new purpose built building, to house the recently purchased colour telecine chain and videotape, in preparation for the arrival of colour television in 1975. By that stage, Barry was working in the new semi automated Master Control area.

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Barry Hodge tweaks a vectorscope in the new Master Control Area.

Barry also pocessed a passion for social justice and soon became involved in the union movement. This soon extended into politics, where Barry was elected the Member of the Legislative Assembly for Melville. Next Barry became the Shadow Minister for Health, to then hold that portfolio when the Labor government gained power in Western Australia in 1983. Barry was appointed the Minister for the Environment in the second ministry of 1986, and among many things, fought for the conservation of our old growth Karri and Marri forests. Barry continued to serve his constituents until 1989.

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Barry and Dianne Hodge – 2009

In 2009, Dianne advised that they have two children, “A son who is a lawyer, married with two boys (3 and 16 months) and a daughter who is in public relations and journalism – she too is married and has one son (21 months) – so that makes 3 little grandsons for us…. they are of course a sheer delight. Barry has retired and is currently studying law at Murdoch Uni, I work part time at PMH in admin. Oh, yea – we (Barry and I) are also about to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary – in June.”

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