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ABC TV Perth Celebrates 50 Years of Television

Posted by ken On March - 29 - 2010

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ABC TV PERTH CELEBRATES 50 YEARS OF TELEVISION


On Friday 7 May, 2010 ABC Television in Perth will celebrate its 50 year anniversary. To mark this monumental occasion, ABC Perth is bringing together past and present staff for an ‘afternoon tea’ reunion at the ABC studios, 30 Fielder Street, East Perth on Sunday 16th May from 2.00 – 5.00pm.


The concept of an afternoon tea reunion pays homage to the ABC tea ladies and their role in the daily dynamic of a broadcasting operation. Traditionally, tea ladies at the ABC had the reputation of knowing everyone in the building, the names of their children and often their secrets. The last ABC ‘tea lady’ finished duties in the early eighties.


On ABW Channel 2 opening night, back on Saturday 7 May, 1960, fifteen minutes of speeches from dignitaries were broadcast prior to the official opening. The WA Director of Posts and Telegraphs H.B. Halvorsen introduced the ABC Chairman Sir Richard Boyer, who then handed over to the Postmaster‐General C. W. Davidson to officially open the station at 7pm.


The first ABC TV news bulletin was then broadcast, read by James Fisher. This was followed by Tales of Wells Fargo, and The Phil Silvers Show. At 8.30pm the BBC series Portraits of Power was screened, then the British courtroom drama Boyd QC. Next at 9.30pm was a twenty minute studio show followed by a sporting session. The first night concluded with a prize winning documentary titled Up with Guba which was the story of New Guinea’s development, and the station closed at 10.35pm.


In the early days many programs were produced daily from the Adelaide Terrace studios; news, sport, variety and quiz shows, all supported by an industry of television professionals. There were also metal working and carpentry shops for set building and a cafeteria which all formed part of the large infrastructure which underpinned state based production.


Up to 700 people worked at the ABC during the sixties and seventies, including staff at the West Australian Symphony Orchestra ‐ part of the ABC until 1996.


Over the last 50 years there has been enormous technological change in television as telecasts moved from black and white to colour and from analogue to digital.


The ABC in Perth has adapted well to change. In March 2005 staff began to move to the new shared facilities in East Perth bringing radio and television closer together. The new building in Fielder Street is modern, compact and flexible with an open plan, one of the highlights being the new 600 square metre production studio that rivals any studio facility in the country.


Geoff Duncan, ABC WA State Director said “It’s a tribute to the commitment of former and current ABC staff that the quality of ABC content has remained so high throughout the decades of technological and programming challenges and it’s wonderful that such an achievement will be celebrated at the anniversary reunion.”


Any former or current staff wishing to purchase tickets at a cost of $25.00 including commemorative DVD and afternoon tea should email: 50yearreunionwa@abc.net.au or telephone Bobbie on (08) 9220 2617 or Annie on (08) 9220 2669.



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Former ABW Channel 2 Studio Site



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3 Responses to “ABC TV Perth Celebrates 50 Years of Television”

  1. Denis says:

    Great site. All the original clips and you tube really brings this alive. I saw one for ABS2 in Adelaide and it is a pity that the other ABC sites have not brought out some of the original archive material from when they commenced broadcasting 50 years ago.

  2. John Clarke says:

    This story and others describing the early days of ABW2 are so accurate. I was a trainee technician and cameraman at Studio 61 during the first half of the 1960’s and these pages describe the events of those days with exactitude. They also bring back so many fond memories. I really would like to know who wrote it and whether they were around at that time. And whether any of the ABW2 staff are still around and contactable. I now live in Melbourne and it would be great to catch up with any of the Channel 2 crew from that wonderful era.

  3. Steve Ross says:

    In 1976,Peter Holland and Chris Winters had a show on ABC tv called “Radio With Pictures”.Is there any chance that these programs have been archived and are now available on youtube? They would be greatly appreciated.
    Keep up the fantastic job you’re doing.I’ve been a fan of the ABC since the late 50’s.

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