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Valued stories from the rank and file

Posted by ken On June - 21 - 2009

Since starting the WA TV History web site, we have found one of richest sources of photos and information to be that held by former TVW staff members. Much unique material and memories that only they possess. It’s not just management, producers, directors and personalities who are in the know, as often the rank and file support staff were the ones who carried out directions and decisions to make things happen. Whether that be a set designer and builder, electrician, technician, studio floor crew member, news team, sales staff, secretary or production assistant. Often they have intimate knowledge of how things happened.

Bob Cribb was a colourful character

There were also the pranksters, mostly in the form of good natured jokes and mischief. We’re keen to document the many amusing anecdotes before memories fade. There were a number of colourful characters, some were even fired to be later reinstated after misdemeanors. Such was the case when Bob Cribb recorded the news four hours before it was due to go to air and sent the staff home. Bob himself had gone off to a party. This and many more tales are told in Darcy Farrell’s tribute to Bob at…

We have also received much correspondence either by email or submitted as comments on the web site. A lot of valuable information has come to us in this form, much has been acted upon, with some yet to be followed up. There’s an enormous volume of data to process and people we have yet to interview between now and the TVW anniversary and reunion.

The following gives a glimpse of some of the valued TVW related feedback we are receiving…

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Peter Goodall

Peter Goodall

Cameraman/Production 1959-1967 & 1979-1985

Dear Ken…….

(Further to Nigel Felangue’s report on Keith (Dig) Milner, which can be found at… )

The West Australian reports the air crash which took the lives of TVW’s Keith Milner and WA Newspaper’s Owen Williams

Thanks so much for the images of Dig and that terrible day back in 1960…..

God … nearly 49 years ago !

I can remember vividly being in the newsroom at 7 on the Monday when news came in saying that there had been a crash……First report said all were OK but there were some injuries….Then we heard that two had died …but didn’t know which !

Reports later from observers on the beach said that the circling aircraft was lower than the top of the mast of the wrecked boat….and that it had stalled into the water.

Both Dig and Owen were on the same side of the aircraft getting their pix…..and were the ones who didn’t survive.

From memory I think the pilot was a “Comp” (compositor) from the West, who had a private licence …but didn’t have enough experience for low level flying and stall-turned it into the water.

This incident was to change for ever, throughout Australia, the way chartering of aircraft would always be piloted by an experienced commercial pilot.

Also TVW didn’t have insurance for crews flying on assignment like that and that situation very quickly changed throughout Australia.

When Dig died….he left a young wife and two children.

TVW7 set up a trust fund for the children’s education and made a large payout to Dig’s wife to help overcome the lack of insurance.

It is something I’ll never forget.

Thanks……Peter G.

(Peter’s web page: )


Darcy Farrell

Darcy Farrell

TVW’s First News Editor 1959-1976


Bill Mather Brown, the Paraplegic Olympian, was our first switchboard operator. I don’t think I saw his name on the roll call.

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John D. Brown was an early Channel Seven program director and presentation coordinator


George Baker shown here on the boom and Colin Gorey were hired in 1959 by West Coast Electrical for electrical installation work, then in August 1959 both joined TVW to work with Alex Stewart in Audio

John D. Brown, Alan Bateman and George Baker were all originals. George and Colin Gorey were electricians wiring the new studios and switched over to become TVW employees.

David Low

David Low, former TCN 9 and famous Movietone voice over, replaced Eric Walters reading our news.

Bruce Buchanan, senior journo and ultimately eminent ABC current affairs producer.

Roger Dowling (news cameraman at TVW7; now feature film cinematographer including plenty of major work with the South Australian Film Corp).

Steve Thompson, junior news camera assistant and ultimately news cameraman; now runs his own film company in Melbourne.

Jon Noble……early cameraman with our news and went on to run Jon R Noble Film company in South East Asia and still operating in the ES.

Steve Robertson, Vietnam vet with US forces, came to Perth and worked as a journo in our Newsroom.

Don’t forget some of the board members.

J.E.Macartney, managing director of WA Newspapers, instigated the move to set up TVW.

Geoffrey Friend, former Postmaster General State manager was first chairman. Others were Mel Fry and Roy McCarter (deputy Tax Commissioner).

I didn’t notice Perry Moss in your list.

She replaced Judy Copley (McColl) as Jim Cruthers’ secretary in the early days.

I saw Dorothy Whitely up in Mundaring the other day…is she on the list?

The late Frank Bird was co-compere of Sport at Seven and other sporting programs… and when he left Ted Edwards replaced him.

Well, at least Aggro doesn’t smoke anymore…..right now he’s working in the office next to me …. and he’s thought up a few other names such as Greg Milner and Mike Van Rens.

And Harvey Deegan is in the other office….you’d better include Harve as well. he read the news headlines quite a lot in those days, in between his IX stuff.


Don Hanran Smith

Have you got Don Hanran Smith, the news cameraman on the list?

Just a couple more:

Patricia Naismith (nee Bolt) was newsroom sec/assistant No 2

Des O’Dwyer was our first fulltime sales rep in Sydney (before Stan Fildes went over there).

Frank Benedetto is an American who worked in telecine/videotape etc. He lives in Florida and we exchange emails occasionally. He’s coming to Perth next year and his trip may coincide with the anniversary..

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Photo of Frank Benedetto taken in 2008…. Email Message… Hi Ken   Great to hear from you…..sounds like you are a very busy guy and things have changed a bunch at TVW 7 in the past years. I am retired now and have been for a while. I keep busy have a lot of hobby’s, soaring, mountain biking, kayaking and lots of other stuff. I will be a grandfather in about three weeks….. first grandchild….. very excited. I am in the planing stages of a trip down under some time in August or September of 09. Hope to start in Perth and drive across the top through Darwin and around to Brisbane. I hope to call in on Bruce Sutherland in NZ. I have included a few recent picks of my self and girlfriend. Ken can you drive across the top now?   Regards Frank

(Cafeteria manager) George Briggs’ wife also worked in the cafeteria. (Foly) She was the main cook in the first days.

Rob Garnaut is, in fact, Rod Garnaut and his wife Peta (can’t remember her maiden name) worked in graphics

Ken Kemp was Supply Manager.

Steve Jeffrey’s father Stan was 2 i-c to Ken Alexander in Film Editing.

There was another long-time film editor who went to live and work in TV in Texas and his name was Brian Hooper.

Brian died in the ‘states not so long ago.

The Davies twins had a sister, Jean, who was also winding film in the very first days; Jean is Jean Dwyer and lives in Mandurah.

The above is off the top of my head so over the holiday period I’ll try to find some old files which may be of help.

Kind regards

Darcy Farrell

Stuart Joynt

Journalist 1970-1983 (with gaps)

Keith Flanagan (beautiful voice, one of Weary Dunlop’s mates on the Burma railway)

Terry Spence (6ix) (when TVW took over 6IX)

David Dallimore (6ix)

Dick Tombs (went on to front Today Tonight in Perth and Queensland)

Ian Cook (went on to vice president of news, Nine News in Sydney, then Skynews in Britain and back to Seven network news boss, then back to Nine recently)

Eoin Cameron (6IX, then newsreader on TVW)

John K Watts (sport and comedy)

Frank Sparrow, Percy Johnson, Jack Sheedy, Steve Marsh and Marty McDonnell


Marty McDonnell, Steve March, Mick Cronin and Jack Sheedy


Harry Kelly addresses the World of Football panel

(Darcy will remember more of sporting guys)

Gary Davey (became Rupert’s number one TV news man in the world, setting up Sky in London, Star in Hong Kong with expansion into China and India and currently in Spain)

Mike Edmonds (6ix news editor)

Jo Ledger (publicity/promotion, marketing)

All of MAB’s female acquaintances (big, tall and taller)

Tom Blackburn (newsreader, transferred across from SAS and now Sydney’s leading Queen’s Counsel)

Sue Contos (ask Jeff Newman)

Garry Meadows

His red-haired mate (Skinner I think)

Peter Meakin (now head of news of Seven Network, long-time head of Ten and Nine news on east coast)

Paul Fay

Tim O’Dea

Joe Danko Human Resources

Bill McKenzie (programming, general manager, then managing director of ATV for Rupert in Melbourne and finally managing director of Perth’s New Ten when it opened – has a lot of historical fact at his fingertips)

Sir James Cruthers

Clyde Palmer (first publicist along with Athol Thomas)

Ron Christie (In Perth Tonight) producer


Ron Christie was the former producer director of Ernie Sigley’s Adelaide Tonight Show

Danny Mackay (In Perth Tonight and entertainment centre)

Noel O’Connor (Newsreader, publicity, entertainment centre, pageant) from SAS

Rhonda Fletcher (sister-in-law of David Mott (assitant Prog Manager) and now hoodoo guru of publicity for major shopping centres and a cuppla Sheiks in Dubai) Telethon Manager

Personal notes:

Stuart Joynt holds the record of news director at most capital city TV stations (TVW7, SAS10, ADS7 and founding news director at NEW10).

Hartley Joynt went on to become editor-in-chief of Community Newspapers

An incredible number of Darcy Farrell trained journalists went on to dominate Australian TV news (eg Ian Cook, Peter Meakin, little Stuie, Vaughan Gentle on 60 Minutes (reminds me, Sharon Baron-Sullivan married Richard Carlton).

Hope this helps.

Don’t forget the amazing live crosses from Eucla to both Adelaide and Perth for In Eucla Tonight, with Stuart Wagstaff, put on to celebrate sealing of the Eyre Highway (Keith Spice will recall the astonishing achievement). Lots of good stories about the broadband going only one way at a time, cutting off most of WA to get pictures in from Carnarvon for one of the Ali fights, the Rome Olympics, the Empire Games in Perth, the Westgate bridge collapse, the Gough Whitlam sacking, booking the bearer years in advance for Wimbledon, Test cricket, the Melbourne Cup, sending youngsters all round the world to come up with new ideas etc etc. Tell Ken or Pockets to give us a ring if they’re interested in more background.


Stuie Joynt

Keith Spice

Engineering & Operations 1970-1989

Hi Ken,

Preceding the telecast of “In Eucla Tonight” was a doco I think was made by Keith McKenzie and Bill Meacham called “No More Bulldust”. It was the history of the Eyre Highway up to the day of the sealing of the road. The actual sealing ceremony was recorded earlier in the day (around midday) and the tape sent back from our Eucla base (where we had microwave comms to the Telstra broadband tower) for Tx that evening. Let me go through my pictures and old files and things and see what I can find and remember.



Richard Ashton

Camera, program director, special events, promotion, publicty, film processing, stills photography. 1959-1999


Thinking of the treck to geraldton it reminded me of the Bomb tests. It might be fun to get Doug Burton’s album of pictures of the A Bomb tests. It shows the elaborate prep and establishing of the camp up north Jim Cruthers, Doug and others to get the first pics of the Atom Bomb going off and sending them round the world.

If you have a mind to look at…

The second pic is the one Doug Burton took. The first pic is the one the bomb was set of from Inside the ship HMS Plym. Peter Dean was up there in HMAS Junee when it went off as part of his Nasho’s. When asked about it, he used to say…”nothing the matter with me…burble burble burble”

(Endurance walk to Geraldton… )

Greg Byrne

Sales Manager and Managing Director 1960-1992

I have been in contact with Sadie Purser and given her quite a bit of interesting history.

My wife and I created Fat Cat and that in itself is quite a story and we feel happy that we have given so much pleasure to so many children over the past 30 years. We have the thank you letter from Jim Cruthers and I have a lovely poster “…to Fat Cat’s Dad ! “

I have many anecdotes about the early days of live commercials before the introduction of videotape but I am not sure how to pass them on if any one is interested in some very funny occurrences.

Re the Baird commercials – do you remember the crane camera being unmanned on a Sunday night and taking off and heading straight at Gary Meadows who hurried the 30 second live commercial at break neck speed and jumped out of the way as it came at him !!

I have so many stories of the early days but not sure what do with them.

My wife Judy Oxer was a freestyle champion who held every title in W.A. 100, 200, 400 and 800.

She swam in the era of Dawn Fraser and was selected for Commonwealth and Olympic teams but due to budget restrictions they took swimmers in those days who could double up on backstroke or breast stroke

You may like to let me know how best to be part of your 50th anniversary collection.


Greg Byrne

William Drewe

National Sales 1972-1983

Your TVW Roll Call omits the many staff who were involved in national sales from about 1969 to about 1985 located in Sydney and Melbourne.

I was employed as a sales representative in the Sydney office in 1972, became Sydney Sales Manager of TVW7 in 1976 and Sydney Sales Manager of both TVW7 and SAS10 Adelaide in 1978. In January 1980 I established the Melbourne sales office with the title of Melbourne Manager TVW Group, with the responsibilities for TVW7, SAS10, 6IX Radio Network and The Western Mail newspaper. I left the company in September 1983.

Martin Trevor

Set Designer & Workshop Manager 1979-1988


I was a Set Designer with TVW 7 from 1979 to 1988.

I have the following which may be of interest.

- Concept sketches for the Miss Universe 1979 set designs

- some drawings & photos of other TVW 7 production set designs

- Various news paper articles

- Sketches & plans of Disney/TVW 7 co-produced stage productions, such as ‘Snow White’

- Original Christmas pagent sketches & construction drawings

- Lots of other stuff which I’m sure will come up if I hunt around.


Martin Trevor

Jan Maher (nee Swift)

Graphics 1983-1989

There is one video clip on “you tube” of the studio camera guys & floor manager (Donny) doing a “mock-up” punk band called the “Glasgow Enemas”…….It was done for a christmas tape (I think) & probably not suitable for your project……but have a look anyway.

-it’s a bit full on & was done as a joke of punk rock music. Shane Street (director at 9, melb now) is the young guy with the chain from ear to nose. the vision belongs to him. Might be fun at the reunion ball though.

Will also have a look for anything from 7 as we are actually cleaning out the garage at the moment…….I might have some old artwork (hand done) -then later we were using computer graphics..

I can’t think of anything we have…….but will defiantly have a search for you. Marty might have some of his show-reel from promos…….will send it over if I find anything. And will look for some photos……

I will also pass this email on to a few people I keep in contact with…….you never know what might turn up!

cheers Jan

Jan Maher

Sharon Schoonraad


Hi, do you have contact email addresses for everyone? Have just moved back to Perth after being overseas for 10 years and would like to get in touch with a few people, if possible. Thanks, Sharon (now Singleton).

Phil Booth.jpg

Phil Booth

Phillip Booth

Cameraperson TV Director 1963-66 & 1972-1994

It will be nice to see old friends….what ever condition they are in…..

Steve Marvin

City Theatres – Disney – NBC – Disney – PEC – City Theatres 1968-1990

Hi there love the site. It ws good to read the section on Disney too. I was a spot operator and projectionist at Perry Lakes for 1971 tour, and again in 1974(?) for the next Disney at the PEC when I was the Audio chief, which included projection in my department. For the 1975 Peter Pan tour for NBC/TVW/Disney I was the Audio chief again, and for the SE Asia tour as well. Please can you keep me informed about the reunion dates etc as I will fly in from Scotland to catch up with all the old comrades. Thank you for the great site.


Tom Creamer

Tom Creamer

Operations/Technical Director 1965-1996

I’ve been looking through the website and have noticed a couple of anomalies :- In a couple of photos of floor crew the same person appears as Trevor Eastlake and Trevor Kerslow. His name is actually Trevor Kerslake. There is also a photo of the Family Feud crew listing Garry Meadows as presenter. Tony Barber was the presenter, Garry was producer.

It’s a great site, keep up the good work!


Anthony Reynolds

Technician July 69 to Jan 70

I was employed as a junior tech, I used to work with Hymie Miller, John Quick was cheif engineer who employed me and Geoff Mortlock was deputy (I think). I later went on to run two AMIC TV stations at Newman and later Leinster. Also helped establish MCTV in Mandurah. Now engineer at 45 South TV Oamaru. New Zealand.

Great times at Channel 7. Tony Reynolds.

Gayle Adams

Camerawoman, Today Tonight 1998 – Present

Hello there!

Only just came across your site….very interesting reading for us industry insiders! Found out a whole lot of new stuff.

Being a TV employee of 25 years, and three networks, I’d be really chuffed to be included on the TV Station Roll Calls. Here’s the relevant info:

1983-1989 ABW 2 Production Ops Trainee/Camerawoman

1989-1998 NEW 10 News Camerawoman

1998- Present Day – TVW 7 Today Tonight Camerawoman

Cheers and thanks…look forward to seeing the exhibition!



John Katavatis

Engineering 1989-1997

My name is John Katavatis. I commenced as a trainee in 1989 and worked in Engineering until 1997 under Geoff Mortlock and Tim Odea. Initially I was involved in installations then moved onto Studios, News, OB’s and Master Control until being recruited by Sony Australa and moving to Sydney.

Jacqueline Lang

Seven News reporter 1989-1990

Hi I noticed I wasn’t on your list! Somebody forwarded me some pics today. I was at Seven as an on-camera journo in 1989 and the first half of 1990, before I moved to Sydney. David Christison was the news ed who employed me and I walked alongside Alan Carpenter, Neil Poh, Ali Fan etc etc.

Please keep me in the loop as though I’m based in Sydney I’ll try to get back for your reunion.


Jacqui Lang

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Sharon Dale

Sharon Dale

Presenter 1987 to now

Hi …Just wanted to add my name to the very long list of people who have and still do work for Channel 7 Perth ! Kind Regards Sharon Dale

Patti Brook

Newsroom Directors Assistant 1985-1990


I would love you to add me to the roll call! I loved my days at TVW 7 in the 80s.

I have quite a few photo from when I worked in the TVW 7 newsroom from 1985 to 1990 – so I will dig around and have a look for them.

Patti Brook

Gary O’Keeffe

Cameraman/Producer/Director 1986 – 2001

Hi Ken,

Gary O’Keeffe is my name and I recently saw this e-mail.

I worked at TVW as a Production Cameraman and then Producer/Director from 1986-2001. My father (Kevin O’Keeffe) was in the Sales department from 1976-1982.

All the best for the celebrations

Kind regards,


Gary O’Keeffe

Senior Director – AFL

Ian Teasdale

Journalist and Children’s Host 1972-1978

Dear Ken…

Lesley Bradford referred me to your site and I notice some missing names…

Russell Perry (Management/News)

Greg Parker (Production/Percy Penguin)

Reg Whiteman (Fat Cat for many, many years)

Marie van Maaren Presenter – children’s host – I don’t know where Marie is.

Ann Sanders Presenter – She reads news with Channel 7 Sydney.

and Sandy Baker (nee Palmer).

6 Responses to “Valued stories from the rank and file”

  1. Rowan McGregor says:

    I worked in the TVW offices in Sydney under Stan Fildes from 1978 to 1986. I notice Bill Drewe has posted a few comments, another of my old bosses at TVW Sydney. In that office worked a few characters including Geoff Hill and David Farr, and we also represented SAS 10 Sales. Great Days. Predecessors in that office included John McAlpine and Ian Gow, later to become industry heavies in more ways than one. I eventually moved to Perth and worked for GWN with the Bendat family, and then was a founder member of the NEW 10 team. Bill McKenzie, Stuart Joynt, Jo Ann Ledger, David Fare, Ken Donnachy, Ian McRae were a few of the names that were ex Seven. I live in the UK now, so won’t be able to be there. Have fun.

  2. Jan Newland says:

    Wow — Dick Dallimore told me about this last night and I have just been trawling through all those names from the past. What a great time I had there. Has anyone got a pic of those uniforms we had to wear? The hem had to be 4 inches from the floor when kneeling and do you remember the no mistakes policy when typing – all the girls had two garbage bins for all their mistakes. And, can anyone remember the handsome wage we were paid? Sorry I can’t be there to say hello.
    Cheers, Jan Newland

  3. Quentin Hall says:

    A story that I was told by my late father (Tom Hall) was after shooting the footage of the Dwellingup fires in January 1961 , he raced it back to Tuart Hill, made up a wooden frame up, got into the darkroom and wound the 16mm exposed film around the frame and then processed to hand develop the footage. It was put to air without any edits as the news was already “going to air”. I wonder if the footage still exists?

    It was family connection time out at Channel 7 in those days as my uncle and aunt worked the canteen (George & Folly Briggs).

  4. Julius Re says:

    For 2 years I turned up at the world of sport to give the soccer news. Harry Kelly had promised to give soccer 10 minutes and very Sunday there was some reason why I would miss going on the show. I became a bit of a joke with all the rules men. After 2 years and not 1 monment on the so called world of sport. I gave it to Big Al Newman he got 10 minutes very other Sunday. Al was sports sub at the Western Australia. it gave me the chance to meet a lot of people I would have met. It got me on to the Sportmens Assocation board so it did some good.
    Julius Re

  5. Sue Contos says:

    I have only just come across this website and amusing stories from my time with 7 flashed back. The first two header News, Tom Blackburn and myself….Whilst reading the News it was known as the comedy half hour! Sam Kronja laughing off camera, and at times on the sidelines trying to grab our attention whilst reading from the prompter. I am now working in Kenya, I have a school here and it has become my iife My daughter Sarah, who I was pregnant with whilst at 7 is now 34 years, goodness where has the time gone.
    Thank you for the website, every now and then I often think…whatever happened too..?

    Thank you for the opportunity to say hello to all.

  6. Stewart Richmond says:

    G’day Everyone. I was Director of Sports at TVW back in the early eighties. Also helped out in News for Ruddy (John Rudd) and produced several weeks of State Affair.
    Terrific site and opporunity to see what everyone is doing.
    Stewart Richmond
    now Director of News STW and WIN WA

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