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“The Western Australian TV Pioneer and philanthropist Sir James Cruthers is the subject of the next AMMPT ‘inFocus’ presentation.

On screen, we will see Sir James Cruthers himself, presenting anecdotes about key events from 1959 until his retirement in 1981. Other early TV personalities will add ‘behind the scenes’ stories to enrich the presentation.

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Sir James Crurhers

Richard Ashton, Gordon McColl and Ken McKay have undertaken a labour of love in researching and organizing the material in this rich vein of WA Television History.

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Dr Sarah McQuade, Roz McHale, Richard Ashton, Kevin Marsh and Gordon McColl at the Battye Library

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Ken McKay and Gordon McColl researching the Cruthers’ Archive

Richard and Gordon were the first studio cameramen at Channel Seven, for the opening night on Friday 16th October, 1959. Each then went on to be studio directors of shows such as “In Perth Tonight”, “Club 7 Teen, “World of Football” and much more. Ken was one of the first videotape operators at Seven, soon after this technology was introduced to WA in 1962.

Please join us on Wednesday 21st August

at the RSL Hall, 1 Fred Bell Parade, St James.

Hall opens at 7.00pm. for a start at 7.30pm

This is an opportunity to gain insight into the halcyon days of television at Perth’s first TV station.

Following the video presentation, there will be an opportunity to mingle with pioneering veterans of the industry, and anticipate an exchange of anecdotes about the era.

In 2006, the Australian Museum of Motion Picture and Television (AMMPT) held a reunion for Perth television staff to commemorate 50 years of TV broadcasting in Australia, since 1956. The function was held at the Italian Club and was attended by veterans from Channels Seven, Two and Nine.

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Sir James Cruthers addresses the 2006 AMMPT function

Key speakers included Channel Seven’s former Managing Director Sir James Cruthers and Swan Television’s former Chairman of Directors Dennis Cullity.

Sir James was at that time the patron of AMMPT.

Sir James Cruthers became TVW Channel 7’s first employee and the inaugural general manager in 1958. He prepared the successful application for Perth’s first television station licence. An application typed by Judy Copely, Sir James’ first secretary at TVW. Interestingly, Judy married Gordon McColl, a key member of our history gathering and story telling team.

In 2009, the WA TV History research team were introduced by Keith Bales to Professor Mark Balnaves, who along with Professor Tom O’Regan of the University of Queensland, are writing a biography on Sir James.

Richard Ashton and Gordon McColl lunch with Professor Mark Balnaves

Professor Balnaves worked with the Battye Library in establishing the Sir James Cruthers media archive at the State Library of WA, and an exhibition titled, “From Papers to PCs: the story of the media in Western Australia”, conducted at the Library from October 2011 to January 2012.

Exhibition from 27 October 2011 to 15 January 2012

The research team has been given access to this vast archive, before much of it has been accessioned, and has assisted Professor Balnaves with additional information.

This presentation is a report on some of the material contained in the Archive, with much of the commentary supplied by Sir James himself, and a number of early presenters and executives of TVW.

Can people wishing to attend this free event please alert AMMPT


so that they may anticipate the numbers.

AMMPT Meeting Venue

East Victoria Park RSL Hall, Fred Bell Parade, Bentley on the third Wednesday of each month between 7 pm and 10 pm.

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