TVW Female Staff Uniform – Modesty Issues
Well before the bikini, the two or even one piece swimming suit there was a more stringent attitude to the morality of dress and how much skin could be shown in western society.
Morality or modesty seemed to also to be the issue during the early years at TVW Channel 7 in the manner the female staff were to be attired.
In 1981, Gary Carvolth had the opportunity to reflect on this topic and the company policy during the mini-dress era. It required the girls to kneel so that company secretary Frank Moss could measure the hemline height above the knee. Jean Hunsley was one lady to object and was finally given dispensation. This reminiscing took place at the send-off for Sir James Cruthers on his retirement, and includes a look back at the uniforms of yesteryear. This was best illustrated by a fashion parade, most aptly described by Stephanie Quinlan.
TVW Female Staff Uniform Issues
WA TV History
The video is a small excerpt from the Sir James send-off and contains a couple of references to the many occasions Bob Cribb was suspended for various misdemeanours. It was a running joke on the day, for Bob was one of the real characters working at Channel Seven, who was both revered as an outstanding journalist and found to be a constant challenge to management when it came to complying with strict company procedures.
In the early 1960s, the girls were dresses in pleated navy blue dresses with light blue tops.
At times the female uniform included a ruffle in an attempt to hide any hint of a large bosom, as worn here by the lovely Jan Bedford, seen talking to Bon Maguire. Jan was an Australian gymnast who competed at the 1964 Olympics in all artistic gymnastics events. Her best individual results were in the floor and balance beam. Jan appeared mainly on Children’s Channel Seven as a hostess.
Gary Carvolth and Jan Bedford dressed as astronauts for Children’s Channel Seven, on one of the theme days. It was difficult for either Jan or Carolyn Nobel to keep a straight face when ever Gary appeared on the show.
As pointed out by former cameraman Dennis Livingston, the studio floor crew uniforms in the TVW colours back in the mid 1970s were.yellow shirts, black ties, black pants and black shoes.
The TVW netball team in 1973 was also dressed in those colours.
“We did win the best dressed team if not a game, and not due to Glenys Gill’s fine coaching, but probably due to the late Friday nights drinking with the crowd after work”, reports Maureen Iustini (nee Burgwyn).
Jean Hunsley was one lady who objected eventually to wearing the TVW uniforms. Here is a rare photo of Jean in uniform .
Jean Hunsley started in ballet before going into production, and worked up to be a program director. Later Jean was involved with good friend Coralie Condon and Frank Baden-Powell in a series of successful theatre restaurants. Jean’s brother was a dress designer and Jean herself was a skilled dress maker. The well liked and respected Jean stuck to her guns when it came to wearing the less than stylish TVW uniforms and after a long resistance, was finally given dispensation.
In a way this demonstrates the change of attitudes, as no doubt that practice would be considered sexist in the present age of political correctness.
At worst the gents would have considered it a bit odd and many girls may have wished to side with Jean Hunsley, though job security would be a factor in an era when married women had to leave the workforce. Fortunately that aspect of discrimination has now gone. Some think Sheila Cruthers may have played a role in the hemline issue? For she was known to take a keen interest in various aspects of the station. Making constant suggestions to improve the children’s show, determined by how much the content grabbed the attention of her children.
The staff loved Frank Moss and he was most protective of his girls. He did take time to look after staff needs when they were under great stress working long hours to establish the station. Many personal sacrifices were made at that time, with wives often being alone while their executive husbands were called to duty. The first six months of the station were most worrisome, until the company began to make a profit.
Now that the old studios have been demolished, the last remnants of a different age has now gone. The Seven Perth infrastructure of today does not resemble what the veterans remember. Seven management has also changed a number of times with each its own culture. Stamped by the personalities and philosophies of those at the helm.