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Part 2 – Tribute to Coralie Condon (1915-2014)

Posted by ken On January - 22 - 2015

    An important phase in Perth theatrical life was the period of the Playhouse Theatre in Perth, which opened on Wednesday 22 August, 1956, with the production “The Teahouse of the August Moon” written by the American playwright and screenwriter John Patrick, and directed by Nita Pannell. The cast included James Condon, James Kemp, Michael Cole, Penelope Hanrahan, Garry Meadows and Frank Baden-Powell. Coralie Condon was on the theatre company’s management committee, whilst also conducting her own school of speech and drama.

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The Playhouse in 1956

    The Playhouse was originally designed to facilitate television coverage of the stage performances. Ian Stimson was a lighting man for the theatre and has clear recollections of the stage extensions that would enable this. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but was never put to use. Later many of the actors would find work, no matter how transient, performing on television. Meanwhile, the new National Theatre Company at the Playhouse presented opportunities for actors to earn money, compared to the days of the amateur based Repertory Club.

    The top local actors had always depended on work with ABC Radio Drama to supplement their income. Though this era finally came to an end in 2012 when the ABC axed radio plays after an 80-year tradition.

    The Playhouse Theatre closed in 2010 after 54 years, and operations shifted to the State Theatre Centre in January, 2011. The theatre was demolished in 2012.

    Frank Baden-Powell (1929-1992) was to play a significant role in Coralie’s life as a business partner, whilst Garry Meadows became a star of radio and television both here and in the East, before his untimely death at 42.

    The paths of Coralie and Frank crossed many times. Frank was active as a youth in the Therry Society, a Catholic dramatic group, that was active along with many others around the 1950s. Such as the Repertory Club, Theatre Guild founded by Colleen Clifford, Patch Theatre founded by Edward and Ida Beeby, South Perth Dramatic Club founded by Constance Ord (now Old Mill Theatre), University Dramatic Society, Garrick Club and Independent Players.

    When unsuccessful in seeking employment with The Company of Four, Frank spent five years overseas gaining theatre directing skills. Whilst in England he married the actor Joan Bruce and returned with her to Australia in 1955 to stage manager the tour of Sir Ralph Richardson, Meriel Forbes, Dame Sybil Thorndike and Sir Lewis Casson. They began their tour at the Capitol.

    In 1956, Frank starred in the Coralie Condon produced ‘Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime’ at the Repertory Club. After he appeared in the opening production at the Playhouse, Frank became the Stage Director of the theatre from 1956 to 1959.

    Coralie first met Audrey Barnaby (now Long) in 1956 whilst she was adjudicating country drama competitions of one act plays, presented by clubs from Narrogin, Bruce Rock and Corrigin. The judging was conducted in Corrigin, where Audrey was appearing alongside Frank Evans. The reaction Audrey gave to the kiss in the play left an impression on Coralie, who instantly made a note about the girl in the green dress. Audrey was most impressed by the kind nature of Coralie, which left an indelible impression.

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Audrey Barnaby with Barry Michael in 1960

    Meanwhile, in 1957, Sol Sainken produced a play titled ‘Small Hotel’ by Rex Frost, which starred Garry Meadows and Frank Baden-Powell. Then in December of that year, Coralie produced ‘As Long as They are Happy’ by Vernon Sylvaine, a British musical comedy starring Margaret Ford, Ken Brougham and a cast of ten.

    In February 1958, Coralie produced ‘George Washington Slept Here’ by George Kaufman and Moss Hart, which starred Ron Graham, Joan Bruce and a cast of seventeen at The Playhouse.

    In 1958, Coralie’s musical comedy ‘The Good Oil’ was staged at the Playhouse. It was produced by Peter Summerton and the cast included Gerry Atkinson, Janice Beilby, Joan Bruce, Don Burgess, George Burns, Paula Cantello, Ron Graham, Philip Porter, Roland Redshaw, Neville Teede, Bert Shaw, Judy Schonell, Dorothy Wilson, Ron Barnaby and Audrey Barnaby. A person who in some ways influenced the story line was a gentleman who worked in Fleet Street named John Byrne. Coralie first met him during her stay in England during 1950. Coralie wrote the book, lyrics and music for this production, which was also performed on ABC Radio in Melbourne.

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‘The Good Oil’ was staged at The Playhouse in 1958

    Ron and Audrey Barnaby were selected for ‘The Good Oil’ cast for the high level of dance skills the pair possessed. They were experts in the Jive and Charleston, and created great audience interest when they performed at venues such as the Charles Hotel.

    In early 1959, Coralie was offered a job by the late Brian Treasure, the newly appointed Sales Manager of TVW Channel 7, but without it being firm she went to Sydney to pursue her own interests by working for the ABC in Sydney, as a writer of children’s TV programs. Three weeks later a telegram requested that she meet the newly appointed TVW Programme Manager Lloyd Lawson at the Australia Hotel in Sydney, and during this meeting she thought “there’s no place like home”, so Coralie returned to Perth and agreed to work for TVW.

    Coralie was the first producer appointed by Channel Seven, doing all initial auditioning (with others) for announcers, on-air personalities, musicians, actors and newsreaders for that station.

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Coralie Condon, Beverly Gledhill, Lloyd Lawson with script assistant Penny Hoes auditioning television hopefuls at Newspaper House in St Georges Terrace, Perth

    She selected, trained and groomed presenters and comperes and wrote publicity material and promotion scripts for on-air programs.

    From 1959 to 1960, Coralie assisted Rolf Harris with the production of the first Children’s program – Children’s Channel Seven. She then trained and established a kindergarten program with Carolyn Noble as compere, and guided her career thereafter.

    In October 1960, Coralie produced ‘The Gondoliers’ for the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of WA, with Earle Nowotny, a musical director for a number of the Society’s productions, who also appear on Seven in the program ‘Lets Build an Orchestra’.

    In the 10 years Coralie worked with TVW on a permanent basis she devised a woman’s session called Televisit, which began in 1960 and ran for seven and a half years of her time there. She also compered this show for four and a half years, conducting interviews with overseas visitors and local dignitaries, and anyone or any subject that was of interest, not only to women viewers, but to all viewers. Audrey Barnaby’s Shopping Guide was also a segment in the show. Shopping Guide then appeared as a stand alone program on Thursdays, and during Lloyd Lawson’s ‘Today’ show.

    Audrey Barnaby (now Long), who enjoyed a close and continuous relationship with Coralie Condon over many years, was at Coralie’s urging involved in the establishment of the make-up section at Seven. Coralie also tricked her into auditioning for on-air work in the woman’s programs. In 1960, all on-camera staff were asked to come up with program ideas, of which Audrey devised Shopping Guide, which proved to be an excellent introduction for new clients to television advertising. It was most affordable at only 15 pounds per minute. Other than national film advertisements, local advertisements were presented live from 1959 to 1962, until videotape replays became popular.

    It was a pioneering time not only for television in Western Australia, but also for women who were fulfilling many important roles. Beverly Gledhill directed the opening ceremony of TVW Channel 7 and the live segments that night.

    Sex discrimination was not a factor in the early days at Channel Seven, other than woman had to leave once they married, and there was a strict dress code where the company secretary Frank Moss would measure the height of each uniform above the knee, for each woman was required to wear the standard company uniform, that had a light blue blouse and navy blue pleated skirt. Enforcing this became an issue when fashions moved on to the mini-dress and the ladies made efforts to raise the hemline. This necessitated many girls having to line up to be remeasured. Something no doubt Mossy would have enjoyed. Rumour has it that this dictate came from the bosses wife, Sheila Cruthers rather than the men?

    Carolyn Noble will surely confirm that Coralie was a mentor and a mother-like figure to her. Carolyn too wore the regimental uniform till she changed into her emblazoned tee-shirt and Mickey Mouse ears for the Mickey Mouse Club segment. Others like Audrey Barnaby and the late Jean Hunsley not only worked with Coralie at Seven, but became close friends and worked with her in the theatre restaurant business too.

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Carolyn Noble in 1960

    Jean Hunsley proved her competence in the production field, rising from film librarian to script assistant, then on-air program coordinator to studio director. Her successful stand against wearing the obligatory uniform will be remembered by people of the era. Her brother Neil was a costume designer and Jean herself excelling in making dresses. Eventually Jim Cruthers, the General Manager, capitulated, announcing this fact on the notice board, that Jean was free to wear what she liked. Being a lady of style, her attire was always of good taste and in fashion.

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Jean Hunsley, Coralie Condon, Penny Hoes and Carolyn Noble

    From 1962, Coralie was called on to advise the outside broadcast director on church procedures for Easter and other religious occasions. Coralie told an amusing yarn about this period, concerning TVW colleague Richard Ashton during an outside broadcast of an Easter service from St Mary’s Cathedral. As Richard was not familiar with the Catholic rites, Coralie gave him a running description as he directed the program. Gordon McColl was mounted high on a camera in the cathedral as Richard was calling the shots. One of the priests was walking down the aisle swinging incense, which Richard described via a Freudian slip as ‘incest’ causing Coralie to nearly fall off her chair and Gordon to be audibly heard chuckling from high in the rafters.

    To make things worse, a button popped out of the vision switching panel, to disappear somewhere in the van. That left Richard with only two of the three cameras available to him. Fortunately, Paul Kinna the technical director jumped to his aid with a pencil as a substitute for the button, so Richard successfully continued the broadcast using the pencil to switch camera one. Otherwise poor Gordon would have been stranded high in the rafters with his camera taking no further part in the proceedings.

    Seven repeated that Easter service recording each year, until it got to the point where Coralie noticed that many shown in the congregation had died. Concerned by this, she raised it with (Sir) Jim Cruthers, the then General Manager of TVW. The station was being very frugal during the early years, until revenue built up steam, hence Jim was less than excited to find that another outside broadcast was required to correct this anomaly.

    Coralie proved to be the actors’ friend by offering work at the station whenever there was a program that required local talent. On the opening night she engaged Phillip Edgley, Brian Card, Dianne Briggs, Judy Schonell, Dorothy & Bert Shaw and Reg Whiteman, which became a weekly half hour variety show written and produced by Coralie Condon, directed by Beverly Gledhill and compered by Phillip Edgley.

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Compere Phillip Edgley with star Frankie Davidson and the cast

    Other performers on Spotlight included Frankie Davidson, Colleen Clifford, Rolf Harris, Rhythm Spinners, Rhythmaires, The Four Notes, Bob & Shelda Wrightson and vocalist Maureen Corless. The Harry Bluck Band provided the musical backing.

    Many local musical talent gained work at Seven for the 1961 special, ‘Do You Remember’, a trip down Memory Lane of Perth in the 1920’s, which was directed by Brian Williams.

    By 1962, Brian Williams was busy making an ambitious special called ’Songs of the Wars’. It was a cavalcade of songs and music sung and played by Australians in conflicts from the Boer War through World Wars I and II. The studio sets were life like, representing realistic trenches of the French campaigns. There was a large troop of Coralie’s theatrical contacts engaged in its making. But as this complex effort was taking so long, Brian Treasure teamed Coralie up with Brian Williams, to hurry up the production and bring it to fruition. Coralie mused later that they were calling it, “Songs of the Bloody Wars”.

    In 1963, an elaborate dance special was mounted at Seven, this time in the newly built Studio One. “Invitation to the Dance” was produced and directed by Brian Williams, with Sam Gilkison as his associate producer. The script was by Coralie with the narration by Lloyd Lawson. This costume extravaganza engaged dancers from all the dance studios in Perth, who performed the various European styles, as they evolved over the centuries to the modern form.

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Invitation to the Dance – 1963

    Meanwhile, the Anglican Church began their Drama Department in mid 1963, with a Drama School operating from 1964 to 1968. Coralie, though a practicing Roman Catholic, supported their efforts and following the request of their Drama and Education Consultant, Anthony Howes, Dean James Payne appointed her Principal of the St Georges Cathedral Drama School. She supervised the teaching program and small staff of three professional actor-lecturers, and the productions staged by pupils. Dean Payne and Anthony Howes had a great relationship with the Playhouse with Dean Payne being a very effective unofficial chaplain to the theatre folk.

    Interestingly, Anthony first met Coralie during his final year at school. She spent a good hour talking about the theatre and television career opportunities for him when he left school. She introduced Anthony to Colleen Clifford – by telephone – and, that led to him joining her Theatre Guild of Perth’s drama school, in the following year. Coralie kept in touch, and gave Anthony his first professional job (while still at the Theatre Guild) as a ‘puppet voice’ in “Children’s Channel 7”.

    In the midst of full time employment at Seven, with extra curricular activities helping the Anglican Church and others, Coralie found time to direct “The Mikado” at the Playhouse Theatre in May 1964.

    Back out at Seven that year, they were making the television version of Coralie’s musical comedy ‘The Good Oil’, which starred Jill Perryman and husband Kevan Johnston with top-line local artists, who included: Margot Robertson, Vic Hawkins, Bill McPherson, John Chalton, Neville Teede, Philip Porter, Joan Bruce, Gerry Atkinson, Veronica Overton, Danni Harford and the Channel 7 Dancers – Jennifer Hayden, Karen Obbs, Janet Ladner, Adrienne O’Meara, Gay Chandler and Clarice Page. The production was directed by Max Bostock with the choreography and male lead performed by Jill’s husband Kevan Johnston. This was broadcast in 1965.

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Coralie on The Good Oil television set in 1964

    Coralie produced several night variety shows and several editions of ‘In Perth Tonight’. The first series ran from 1965 to 1966 with Gary Carvolth as the host. Talent included Lloyd Lawson, Bon Maguire, Eric Walters, Janet Prance, eastern states stars Graham Kennedy, Stuart Wagstaff and Mavis Bramston, and a host of other guests. It was first directed by Brian Williams, to be later directed by Richard Ashton and Max Bostock. A second series was hosted by Garry Meadows and Joan Bruce with Keith Mackenzie as the director. Meanwhile, Coralie employ her old theatre and musical pals Frank Baden-Powell, Max Kay and Harry Bluck as judges for a children’s talent quest.

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1966 – PerthTonight

    Coralie also directed the odd play for the Playhouse and other theatres, mostly during the latter years of her period with TVW 7.

    In 1965, Stephanie Quinlan took over the Shopping Guide role, and later became the presenter of Televisit when Coralie helped Frank Baden-Powell to create the Old Time Music Hall in 1967. It did not take much persuasion when Frank, by now 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 same year, she co-produced with Frank the last show presented in the Capitol Theatre in 1967. It was called Tenderloin, and was a musical in which the cast could let their hair down and have a ball.

    Coralie remained at Channel 7 on permanent staff from July 1959 to August 1969 and then on a casual basis from 1969 to 1973.

    Former TVW Enterprises Managing Director Sir James Cruthers described Coralie Condon to Dr Peter Harries as,

“…a very important cog in the TVW wheel… She was responsible for almost all the production we did, one way or another… quite unusual that a woman should do this in those days.”

    Earlier in September 1964, Frank Baden-Powell had formed The Hole in the Wall Theatre, on the corner of Newcastle and Stirling Streets, North Perth, in partnership with John Gill. David Hough kindly advised that this evolved out of a theatre company Frank formed in 1961, to perform ‘alternative theatre.’ This was called “theatre ‘61”. Frank said that the small theatrical ‘t’ was intentional — “to stop us getting up ourselves.”

    Running simultaneously with The Hole in the Wall Theatre was The Hole in the Wall Club next door.

    This club was a sly grog shop, cleverly avoiding the liquor laws by serving beverages brought in by the patrons, with the half consumed contents left on a shelf with the patron’s name plastered over the label. Much of this was a subterfuge as drinks could be obtained by well known and reliable clients. To keep the riffraff out, Frank turned it into a key club where members were issued with keys, distinguished by a clover leaf emblem.

    Frank was a pioneer fighting the bureaucracy over rules and regulations with everything from liquor laws and hours to other business limitations. The old style wine saloons did not have a good reputation and were known for attracting men who were chronic alcoholics or derelict. Frank revolutionised the notion and made such venues trendy and popular with the provision of food. He opened Henry the Eighth in Main Street, Osborne Park (which was managed by former TVW Studio Supervisor Mike Brand). Frank also opened the Pink Pig in Hay Street, West Perth, which later became the Bangalore Bicycle Company.

    Murray Jennings kindly alerted us to the fact that in 1969, Frank wanted to test the Sunday trading laws by illegally staging a local play for four consecutive Sunday nights.

“He chose my play ‘Devil Take the Company’, which started out as a three-act, but which Brian Hayes (a Perth amateur actor and the producer of the morning talkback shows on 6IX) and I reduced to a two-act.”

“Frank started to direct it, then handed the reins to Brian and we ‘workshopped’ it with the actors.”

(Andrew Burke stage managed it.)

“The play ran to pretty good houses for the four Sundays, thus breaking the law, but gave Frank the means to having the law changed.”

It even got a favourable review from Donna Sadka (1926-2010) who was the theatre critic for ‘The West Australian’. Donna was the daughter of Albert Kornweibel (1892-1980), the journalist and music critic who wrote under the pen-name ‘Fidelio’. It is from his reviews that much of Coralie’s early work for this tribute is drawn.

    In September 1967, when the Hole in the Wall Theatre was unable to get the rights to a play, Frank Baden-Powell and John Gill decided to put on a music hall production instead. They asked Coralie Condon to write the script. Coralie and Frank devised, wrote and directed the show at the Hole in the Wall Theatre, which became Perth’s first Theatre Restaurant. They decided to present old time British style vaudeville as a Christmas attraction. Something that had disappeared from Perth with the closure of the Tivoli in James Street, North Perth, many years before. It was planned for an initial 8 to 10 week season and was called the Old Time Music Hall. No-one dreamed the experiment would turn into a multi million-dollar money spinner.

    The show consisted of a chairman or master of ceremonies and an assistant whom they described as the captain of tables. These two staff members greeted the customers as they arrived and socialised with the patrons for the first three quarters of an hour.

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Old Time Music Hall cast

    The Old Time Music Hall shows ran for approximately seventeen years with such quirky names as, “Eliot Mess and the Unmentionables”, “Murder, Mayhem and Motherhood”, “Plastered in Paris”, “Regimental Christmas Dinner, 93rd Foot & Mouth Regiment”, “Curse You, Snidely Despard”, “Eskimo Nell”, “The Great Russian Coconut Plot.”

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A Music Hall was also opened in Fremantle

    Its popularity and earning potential soon gave it a higher priority over staging plays in the small hall, so to accommodate this, the Hole in the Wall Theatre was relocated to a converted warehouse in Southport Street, Leederville, in August 1968 (later the theatre moved to the new Subiaco Theatre Centre in 1984, which was part of the Subiaco Civic Hall. In 2005 it was refurbished and renamed the Subiaco Theatre Centre.)

    Over the next decade they opened and ran successfully in Western Australia, ten theatre restaurants, a wine-tavern and a wine bistro.

    Diamond Lil’s Wild West Saloon, Island Trader, Mexican Fiesta were three theatre restaurants that operated at the Old Civic Theatre site.

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Full cast of Diamond Lil’s.
L-R ‘Cecil the Sexy Sheriff’ – Ivan King, Harry Driver, Sue Ammon (now Scrutton), Joan Sydney as ‘Diamond Lil’, Carter Edwards, Christine Mearing. About 1972

    In 1970, they conceived the format for Dirty Dick’s Bawdy Banquets, and in 1972, then opened in Sydney and Brisbane. These were followed by Melbourne, Los Angeles, Adelaide, and finally in 1981, Auckland. The initial floor show revolved around a jester and three wandering minstrels. The format was loose at first, but formal shows slowly evolved around medieval themes.

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Serving Wench at Dirty Dick’s

    As patrons entered they were given a bib and a name for the evening, with names like: Nora Knoboff, Romin Hans, Charlotte the Harlot, Disappointed Dottie, Ben Dover and many more.

    The appeal lay in the fact that the patrons were allowed to do all the things people at a restaurant were normally not allowed to do. The could eat and drink too much. They could yell out, laugh and sing. They could even carve their name into the dinner table.

    There was a gigantic barrel of red wine where patrons could freely fill up their mug from the tap.

    Patrons could also have their photo taken, which was then inserted into Dirty Dick’s key rings.

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Coralie with Jean Hunsley, a cast member and Frank Baden Powell

    In Sydney, they expanded to three other theatre restaurants – a Polynesian one “Beachcomber Island”, a bogus Roman orgy “Roman Scandals”, and a variety show “The Golden Garter.”

    Then there was “Your Father’s Moustache” at the East Perth Pub on the railway end of Edward Street. This venue was popular for old time dancing where Rita the wife of the licensee, Bill Hammond, sang regularly on Friday nights. It was also common for Music Hall and Dirty Dick’s performers to join in the festivities.

    For those who preferred a German beer house theme, there was the Hofbrauhaus Pub on the corner of Newcastle and Beaufort Streets at the former Beaufort Arms Hotel. The patrons clinked beersteins there and sang German Songs.

    Dirty Dick’s Holdings became the parent company of all their group of companies, with Coralie responsible for the production side. Coralie wrote most of the scripts with Frank Baden-Powell. Coralie also play-doctored other writers’ scripts to tailor them to their needs. Coralie would audition, rehearse, hire and fire all performers in all States. Once the show opened, the manager of each establishment became responsible to her for the smooth running, and reported to Coralie constantly, supplying her with tapes of the show monthly, so that she may vet the standard.

Coralie had assistant directors in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

    She would travel overseas as often as possible to keep in touch with changing trends in audience reaction, audience participation and music.

    Meanwhile, Coralie appeared on STW 9 over three years as a judge in “The Entertainers” and “Perth’s Young Entertainers” – both of these were talent quests.

    Frank Baden-Powell died of a heart attack in Hunters Hill, NSW, on 16 May 1992, whilst in the midst of a back manipulation operation.

    Frank was given the posthumous award of the Medal of the Order of Australia in June 1992 in recognition of service to the performing arts. The following year, Coralie was granted a similar medal.

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Coralie awarded the Order of Australia

Dirty Dick’s Perth restaurant closed after a final performance on 31 December 1996.

    Coralie maintained contacts with her friends from Channel Seven through a group called the Seven Ex, who along with social activities, collected money for Telethon.

    Coralie loved to throw parties which were attended by many from not only her theatre days, but also television veterans and folk from her theatre restaurant days.

Coralie Condon’s 99th Birthday

WA TV History
Rick Hearder and friends organised a party for Coralie Condon on Sunday May 18th of May, 2014, to celebrate her 99th birthday.

    Coralie had to move from her South Perth residence following an attack on her premises one night by an unruly bunch of hooligans. Such activity would happen from time to time when the drunk and disorderly patrons left the local hotel in her street. Richard Ashton, who lived across the road from Coralie, would witness similar incidents of vandalism taking place regularly from his balcony. People jumping on cars and smashing letterboxes, in what was otherwise the very civilised suburb of South Perth.

    This particular night, the hooligans destroyed the power box on Coralie’s house, leaving her in the dark. Her eyesight was already impacted by macular degeneration, so on rising in the morning and unable to see, she fell down the stairs breaking a number of ribs. There Coralie lay for some time before being discovered by Rick Hearder, who called an ambulance.

    Carolyn Tannock (nee Noble) was instrumental in getting Coralie into the nursing home at Castledare. It was only recently that Coralie sustained another fall, which broke her hip. Sadly, she quickly deteriorated from that point on.

   Coralie and her many friends were eagerly looking forward to the opportunity to celebrate her 100th birthday. For she loved the party celebrations and being surrounded by family and friends, of whom there was always a plentiful supply, as she had touched so many of us during the many wonderful facets of her most active life.

    Coralie died peacefully at the Castledare Nursing Home on 24 December, 2014, aged 99. Only a few months short of her birthday on May 16th.

    The Funeral Mass for Miss Coralie Condon of Wilson, formerly of South Perth, will be celebrated in St Patrick’s Basilica, 47 Adelaide Street, Fremantle commencing at 10:00am on FRIDAY (23.01.2015).

A Cremation will take place privately at a later time.

CONDON (Coralie Grace):
Loving sister of Terry (dec) and Jimmy (dec). Much loved aunt and friend to many. The family wish to sincerely thank all the Staff at Castledare. Special thanks to Audrey and Rick.

The following are a number of condolences that have been forthcoming…

Coralie, a great friend for many years in the old Rep, Music Hall, Dirty Dicks and Island Trader. “Our revels now are ended”.

Many happy memories. You’ll be sorely missed. Much love, Rick Hearder.

Dearest Coo, what a joy and privilege it was having you in my life. Our 57 years of friendship I will always treasure. God bless you.

Audrey, Marc, Deb and family, Brendan, Leisel and family and Fiona.

Our dear friend and fellow judge, how we enjoyed those years working together. You lived a fruitful life totally dedicated to your profession, bravely fought over the last few years. Sadly missed. RIP dear friend.

Norma and Max Kay

A standing ovation for a leading lady of the theatre world. With love and fond memories from two friends Jill and Kevan Johnston

We have watched our old home gradually fall to pieces over the last few years. The loss of Coralie seems the final “fade to black.”

Probably much of our production & talent would have taken a different direction without her guidance. Stage production was in her blood & it rubbed off on us.

I will always remember the GOOD OIL.

With love & respect

Max Bostock

Thanks for everything Coralie. I will never forget your kindness, guidance re my early days at Channel 7 and more. Gary Carvolth.

I find the passing of Coralie as being so sad…Coralie helped me obtain a position at TVW when I was a young man…I was also in a few plays which she produced.
Last Friday, I received a lovely Christmas card from her.
Not a nice beginning to the Festive Season …..I will never forget her

Graeme Plummer

A simply wonderful lady and so talented. Sister-In-Law Anne Haddey and brother James both in Neighbours in the mid 80`s. Strangely I always had the feeling she loved the Dirty Dicks time best, but I could be quite wrong.

Bill McKenzie

My earliest memories were of Coo visiting our house in Nollamara. I must have been about 4 yrs of age. I would not forget such a vision. Engaging and statuesque with that incredible shock of black hair. Then, how lovely to work with her later when I was in my early 20’s. In about 1992 I was having coffee in Soho and couldn’t believe my eyes… Coo was walking past at quite a pace on her way to see a friend in a West End musical.
So glad that we got to enjoy and celebrate her 99th birthday.

Damien O’Doherty

Ring down the curtain, dim the marquee lights, there will be no more encores. A bon vivant, talent extraordinaire, on the boards and across the table. We rejoice half a century of wonderful memories, and mourn the loss of this towering wit, intellect and spirit.
Her final bow taken. Akermans and Coles

Aunty Coralie, you lived a very long and enriched life. It was fun listening to your repertoire of tales about your travel and business adventures. Thanks for the fond memories.
Love Tonia and Dominic.

Darling Coo..since I can remember you have inspired, encouraged and enthralled are unforgettable and your spirit will remain with us, as does our darling Dad, {James} forever..All Our Love from Susie, Barry, Tashi, Jamie and Tiana..xx

Curtain down on a wonderful lady. It was a privilege to know you. Rest in peace dear Coralie. Love Elizabeth and Paul.

Great friend and mentor for many years. A gifted lady full of wit and wisdom. It was a rare privilege to know and love you Coo – what fun we had!
Viv and Gordon Poulton

An inspirational lady who will be sadly missed but always remembered.
Buschi on behalf of Jill and all the family in England

In loving memory of Coralie’s long and fulfilling life. Thank you for the opportunity of playing Emily in our town all those years ago. God Bless you. Dixie

Coralie will be remembered for a long time for her amazing achievements, and her very full and active life. A wonderful person. May she now rest in peace. Derek Bond

Always remembered as a dear friend to my late Uncle, Bill Austin. Your eulogy at his funeral in 1995 still remembered. Resting in the wings.
Sandra Playle

The most amazing lady of her time. She knew you could even if you did not. One of a kind. Now directing choirs in Heaven. Always in our thoughts.
Michelle and Phil

Loving memories of a beautiful lady and friend. Sadly missed by Joan, Debbie and Aaron.
Peace at last Coo

I admired you from afar, what an asset you were to WA Theatre.
Colleen Ingle

Heaven had better watch out can see you and Dad taking over the big productions with mum, Jim and Annie starring . What a celebration you will all have up there. Thoughts are with the family much love Jane Roberts

“We shall not look upon her like again”. Barbara/Marjorie

We would like to thank Audrey Long, Rick Hearder, Colin Nichol, Anthony Howes, David Hough, Colm O’Doherty, Murray and Rosalind Jennings, Sue Scrutton, Richard Ashton and Gordon McColl for their much valued help in assembling this story.

Some related links on our WA TV History web site…

It was only on the 14th of February of last year that her dearly beloved brother James passed away aged 90 years.

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