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The First 50 Years – Part 3

Posted by ken On February - 3 - 2010

Continuing the West Australian newspaper’s TVW 50th Anniversary supplement…

Courtesy of WA Newspapers

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Dennis Cometti remembers the glory days of WA footy, and how the right people helped the channel bind itself to a sporting community.

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Over 50 years, Channel 7 in Perth has understood better than any other station in the country how to bind itself to the community

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Newsreaders Susannah Carr and Rick Ardon have been working in tandem at the news desk of TVW for half of the station’s life.

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Today Tonight’s Mario D’Orazio tells of pride and pitfalls in public affairs TV.

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Richard Ashton, Gordon McColl and Ken McKay have a passion for recording the history of WA television.

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A collection of characters has entertained kids over the years. Captain Jim, Seaman O’Doherty, Taffy, Percy and Fat Cat. And with them Carolyn Noble, Trina Brown, Sandy Baker, Judy Thompson, Debbie Allanson, Alison Carroll, Gabrielle Hammond and Sharon Dale.

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Producing, presenting – and placating Eartha Hitt – were among the many talents of the ‘first lady’ of WA television Coralie Condon.

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Television veteran Peter Harries looks at 50 eventful years.

Dr Peter Harries PhD

In 2005 Peter was awarded a PhD for his thesis on the history of commercial television in Perth, WA.

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First Telethon in 1968

Johnny O’Keefe, Graham Kennedy, Bobby Limb and Stuart Wagstaff, shirtless on the first Telethon in 1968.

Madcap antics, international stars and a host of top local and national entertainers has made Telethon the success it is today – but at its heart is a commitment to the WA community.

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elethon cracked the $1 million mark in 1980.

Michael Jackson, Telethon 1985.

Sir James Cruthers cuts a seven-tier cake at the opening of Telethon 1980.

Dame Edna Everage and Stuart Wagstaff, Telethon 1986.

John Farnham sings live at Telethon in 1989.

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Stevie Wonder at the 1987 Telethon.

Mary Coustas, in character as Effie, in the phone room at the 1990 Telethon.

Ernie Dingo at the 1991 Telethon breakfast at Fremantle.

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Correction to Telethon Table on Page 39

19 & 20 Oct
18 & 19 Oct
31 Oct & 1 Nov
29 & 30 Oct
21 & 22 Oct

World changing technology…

Posted by ken On January - 31 - 2010

When TV began in WA the equipment was primitive by today’s standards. Almost everything was thermionic valve driven, bulky, power hungry and in constant need of adjustment and a higher maintenance risk. Each time TVW took the PYE image orthicon cameras out on an outside broadcast there was a high likelihood of component faults. TVW’s original RCA TRT-IB videotape machines required constant server alignment as did each videotape played.

The smaller, less power hungry germanium transistors were trialed in 1947 with the first silicon transistor produced in 1954. It then took a while before they were in widespread use, replacing valves. The transistor is considered by many to be one of the greatest inventions of the twentieth century and is the key active component in practically all modern electronics. The next advance in miniaturisation was the printed circuit boards followed by integrated circuits… where not only transistors, but other electric components such as resistors, capacitors and diodes could be made by the same process.

Since the 1960’s, the number of transistors per unit area has been doubling about every two years. This fantastic progression of circuit fabrication is known as Moore’s law, after Gordon Moore, who introduced the concept in a 1965 paper. He being one of the early integrated circuit pioneers and founders of Intel Corporation. This has had a profound impact on most walks of life and in particular the entertainment industry. For the capabilities of many digital electronic devices are strongly linked to Moore’s law: processing speed, memory capacity, sensors and even the number and size of pixels in digital cameras.

Everything is being impacted by ever increasingly more powerful equipment and the dramatic cost reductions which result from the high consumption of these products. In the 1960’s a person could comfortably retire on the money it took to purchase the early videotape machines and studio cameras. Now much more superior cameras that record can be purchased by the householder which feature widescreen, high definition and long duration recording capacity in a battery driven, hand held device.

No more visible is this revolution in equipment than in consumer devices such as the recently announced Apple iPad, which has the potential to reshape how we entertain ourselves and how we interact with computers. Much of this will not become apparent until the full range of software and products are available for it.

It has a good chance of success in the market place as it not only feels like the future, but it is sure to appeal to the existing 75 million iPod Touch and iPhone users.

It will open up new opportunities for publishers including books, newspapers and magazines, the entertainment and games industry and software developers.

It is thin, portable, has an excellent screen, intuitive to operate, fast to turn-on and an incredibly speedy device.

It will reinforce the notion of watching TV shows and movies on a device other than a TV set. The Apple iTunes store is filling with all manner of content for the people who want to see a show now, rather than later when it is scheduled. Its expected that the new Apple iBook store will open up another market for publishers and the Apple Apps store will soon offer third party developed software for the iPad, which will fill the many fans with glee and add to the 140,000 apps already available. New applications and new games will also attract eyeballs away from the TV sets.

People can handle the iPad like a book. Just sit in a chair and hold it the same way, except that this thin device can also hold your entire book library.

The content and software shown at the Wednesday January 27, 2010 launch demonstrated how the device can be manipulated with simple hand gestures, rather than mouse and keyboard.

In the early days of computers the user had to learn a wide range of text commands and type them in. Now with the iPad, typing is reserved for actual data entry whilst virtually everything else can be controlled by gestures. Very reminiscent of the futuristic Tom Cruise science fiction drama Minority Report (2002), set in Washington, DC of the 2050s, where hand gestures were the interface to equipment which predicts future crimes, allowing prevention before they happen.

We are probably witnessing the future too, as this form of interface is likely to overtake all previous forms. There will be less need for convoluted software manuals, where in the early days each program had a different feel. Gestures bring added consistency to the interface and can be easily learnt by enthusiasts and the ever curious younger generations. Even the old and ingrained should have little difficulty if they are willing to try.

By release date more software will be available, though the the launch examples gave only a glimpse of the devices full potential.

We were shown web site and email access, viewed photo albums, watched movies and told that it was the best experience, as it felt natural, like a book in your hands, being both fast and fun to operate. A book reader was introduced with an associated online bookstore.

It was pointed out that it will also run all the iPhone applications and it’s anticipated that developers using the new software development kit will expand the scope even more. This includes the extremely low priced iWork productivity applications – Keynote, Pages and Numbers – which will be sold at $US9.99 each. That’s a tiny fraction of the equivalent Microsoft prices for similar functionality, except Microsoft has to catch up on the user friendliness of these products.

So in summary, books, movies, maps, newspapers, television shows and videogames will be distributed through the iPad. Many of the applications that you can download to the iPhone, iPod Touch and now iPad are games, which cost between US$0.99 and $US9.99 ($A11.17). These Apple hand held units have brought a new look to computer games because they have an accelerometer inside that lets people control the action by turning or tilting the device. So it’s a whole new world in many ways and with a starting price of $US499 it’s going to be a better experience than the current crop of Netbooks and more affordable than a Laptop.

Ongoing Media Challenges

Posted by ken On January - 24 - 2010

The media is constantly undergoing transition ever since the invention of paper and the Gothenburg printing press took over from monks in an abbey, each working with ink, paint, brush and pen. This was an important first step towards the democratisation of knowledge.

The invention of photography, the telegraph, telephone, motion pictures, radio, television, satellites, computers and the internet have each revolutionised their eras too.

Those of us who have worked in the media have in some way felt the impact of new technology.

Radio was challenged by television, then reinvented itself to survive. The cinema was also challenged by television, video outlets, home theatres and internet downloading, whilst each step it had to innovate with colour, widescreen and 3D, to still be with us. Free-to air television now has to compete with Pay TV, home recorders with time-shifting, computer games, the internet and program downloading and streaming. The printed media replaced hot metal letterpress equipment with modern offset printing equipment making many of the trades obsolete. Now with competition from the internet, newspapers are feeing the pinch too with falling sales and greater challenges when soliciting advertising.

Trends in News Sources.jpg

In many ways there has been a merging of the technologies as computers, the internet and digital technology reshapes the landscape. Younger generations no longer have a connection to the printed word that their parents experience. Emailing replaced letter writing, then social networking, online chat, forums, blogs, twitter and SMS messaging revolutionised communications.

Who would have thought a few years ago that the twisted pair copper telephone lines would be capably of carrying images, quality audio and vision, as it does now through the humble ADSL internet connection. This will be transformed further once fibre-optic cable reaches each household, whilst others will receive the same services by wireless technology.

High definition television quality is now so good that it can provide a superior viewing experience in the home compared to the 35mm cinema projectors. No wonder the cinema chains are changing over to digital projectors, which not only provide a brilliant image but save on film copying and distribution costs.

Digital terrestrial television in Australia homes commenced on 1 January 2001, in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. Digital services are now available in most areas, however parts of Western Australia, and Central Australia have yet to begin transmissions.

Digital broadcasting has a number of enhancements, primarily higher-quality picture and sound, additional channels, datacasting (news, weather, traffic, stock market, and other information) but also video program guides and high definition.

In Australia we have 5 major free-to-air networks that broadcast digital television; ABC, SBS, Seven Network, Nine Network and Network Ten. These networks broadcast to major metropolitan areas, while various regional affiliates cover rural areas. Principally Prime, Southern Cross and WIN. Though WIN also has a metropolitan presence in Perth and Adelaide.

It is anticipated that between 2010 and 2013, Digital will replace Analogue PAL transmissions.

Meanwhile more than 200,000 Australians in regional and remote areas will be given access to the same number of television stations as city dwellers under a $160 million Rudd Labor government plan to establish a satellite television facility to deliver the digital service. Under this plan, remote viewers will have to purchase a satellite dish to receive the signals before the abolition of the analog service.

Australian Television Broadcasters


The Australian Broadcasting Corporation transmits its free-to-air television services, ABC1, ABC2 and ABC3, as digital services (ABC2 and ABC3 are only available in digital). See also the Introduction to Digital TV on the ABC website.



The Special Broadcasting Service launched their digital channel SBS TWO on 1 June 2009. SBS TWO’s programs include world film and drama, documentaries, international news and sport. SBS TWO will also screen some shows from SBS ONE at different times.


Seven Network

Channel 7HD is a whole channel broadcast in High Definition. Seven Network launched free-to-air digital channel 7TWO in November 2009.


Nine Network

Channel Nine currently broadcasts digital to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Darwin and the Gold Coast. Nine introduced GO! a digital-only channel in August 2009.


Network TEN

Network Ten launched their digital High Definition channel, ONE, in March 2009. The new channel broadcast a number of sports programs, including prime-time AFL matches. The new ONE channel is also available in Standard Definition.


Prime Television Network

Prime HD was launched early January 2008. The Prime Network includes Golden West Network (Western Australia). Its licensed viewing area covers the regional locations of Northern and Southern New South Wales, Victoria, the Gold Coast area of eastern Queensland and all of regional Western Australia. In the eastern states of Australia the broadcast signal is branded as PRIME. In Western Australia the broadcast signal is known as GWN.


Southern Cross Broadcasting

Southern Cross Broadcasting is one of Australia’s leading cross media companies. The group’s television services broadcast throughout the regional areas of New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Northern Territory.


WIN Television Network

WIN Television is the world’s largest privately owned regional television network reaching more than 5.2 million viewers across Australia.



Golden West Network (GWN) is a subsidiary of Prime Television Limited. It covers the regional locations of Western Australia.


NBN Television

NBN’s market stretches from Central Coast in the south to the Gold Coast, Queensland in the north and west to Moree and Narrabri.


Imparja Television

Imparja Television offers satellite services to regional locations across Australia and currently reaches approximately 454,000 viewers


National Indigenous Television (NITV)

NITV is a 24 hour, 7 day a week service that reaches around 220,000 Australians through 150 terrestrial transmitters in the remote areas and free-to-air satellite from the Aurora satellite platform. It is also available on digital free-to-air Channel 40 in Sydney and the basic tier of all subscription TV services. It began transmissions in July 2007.



FOXTEL is one of Australia’s subscription television providers. On 1 February 2007, FOXTEL announced that it was 100% digital.



AUSTAR is one of Australia’s subscription television providers. All of the channels on AUSTAR are broadcast in digital.


Community TV broadcasters

The licensed Community TV channels are represented by the Australian Community Television Alliance (ACTA). For information about Community TV please refer to the channel in your area. The Community Television channels currently operating are
Adelaide (, Brisbane(, Melbourne (, and Sydney (

Community 31.jpg

To cope with the many challenges our broadcasters will need to innovate and embrace other delivery systems as the various media converges…

In the past 12 months, The ABC has produced a new iPhone application, launched a childrens’ television channel (ABC3), rolled out plans for digital radio, detailed plans for new regional broadband hubs, and unveiled a commentary and analysis website (The Drum).

ABC App on iPhone.jpg
ABC App on Apple iPhone

The ABC is pushing hard to embrace the various opportunities thrown up by the digital world.

ABC Island is a PG rated location in Second Life created by ABC Innovations, a division formed in early 2007 as an incubator for digital development across the ABC. Second Life is a free 3D virtual world where users can socialise, connect and create using free voice and text chat.

ABC Island.jpg
ABC Island on Secondlife showing the Central Broadcast Tower, Amphitheatre. Eco House, Melbourne Laneways and Sandbox in the background

ABC NOW is a small, downloadable desktop application that combines the ABC’s television, radio and news, sport and weather “Really Simple Syndication” (RSS) feeds. This benefits internet web readers who want to subscribe to timely updates from many sites and aggregate them into one place.

ABC iView is a video player offering full-length programs as seen on ABC TV. Videos of the selected programs are published on iView after they have appeared on TV. Usually they will appear the next day. Programs are added every day; most programs are available for 14 days.

ABC TV and Sony Computer Entertainment Australia (SCE Aust.) are now delivering ABC iView via the PlayStation®3 (PS3) game console. This is the first in a series of developments to extend ABC iView to a wider audience through access on other platforms.

ABC content is also available on the Australian version of Apple’s iTunes store

As far as TV programs go on iTunes, there’s Australian content from the ABC, Nine Network and TEN Network along with US-produced programs from The Walt Disney Company’s ABC Studios, Disney Channel and MTV Networks all now available for purchase and download.

Meanwhile Seven has Plus7 which offers video streaming of full length episodes as seen on Seven, 7TWO and other content partners.

Aust iTunes.jpg
Typical Australian TV programs for sale on Apple iTunes store

In addition, Australian & New Zealand residents and iTunes users can rent or download movies from major film studios including 20th Century Fox, The Walt Disney Studios, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. Entertainment, MGM, Sony Pictures Television International and Lionsgate.

These are available from the iTunes Store in Australia ( and the iTunes Store in New Zealand (

The pundits are now predicting that Apple is keen to reshape businesses like classroom textbooks, books in general, magazine and newspaper publications in much the same way that the Apple has revamped the music industry via iPods, home computers, the Apple TV, the Apple iPhone and iTouch. The last two are slick and stylish devices that combined the power of the Internet with the simplicity of Multi-Touch technology. Both are essentially hand held computers, that are not only small multimedia centres, but capable of performing all manner of tasks, courtesy of the many applications made available through Apple’s iTunes store. The mobile power of the iPhone means that it not only a smartphone but can emulate other products, such as a GPS, or what ever the apps developers dream up.

Apple has plans in the works which may cause a revival of traditional publishing, which has been hard hit by the global recession.

Great saving can be made by using digital distribution, rather than the printed form, particularly if costs can be substantially reduced in printing, ink, paper, transportation and labour.

Reports from The Wall Street Journal on January 18, 2010, and other sources indicate that Apple has been in negotiations with publishers to port their content. The Journal reports that HarperCollins Publishers has been negotiating with Apple to make e-books available for sale on iTunes and Apple equipment. It’s an open secret that Apple has been courting publishers, encouraging them to prepare redesigned content for a possible forthcoming tablet device. (Please see the Sports Illustrated demo below.)

They also suggest that Conde Nast Publications and News Corporation were approached by Apple for content-related discussions, along with television networks such as CBS Corp. and Walt Disney Co., which owns ABC, for a monthly TV subscription service.

Somewhere between the iTunes model and the iPhone applications store, where people pay for music, movies, TV programs and applications that make their life better or simpler, there may be a model for print.

If so, then the whole media landscape is likely to undergo changes even more dramatic than the centralisation of broadcasting services, resulting from satellite and computer automation technology.

Conventional printed newspaper and magazine distribution is already shrinking in the same way record store sales have been impacted by downloading activities and both may eventually disappear as we now know them.

Free to air TV may also be under treat if overtaken my alternate means of program delivery, with programs being available on demand and not subject to the decisions of a television scheduling executive.

Cinemas are addressing the current challenges by introducing digital and 3D projection and luxury viewing facilities with food and beverage catering. Though 3D widescreen equipment for the home is already in the pipeline, so there is now a consistant pressure on all media forms to adapt or perish.

TVW Reunion Recap

Posted by ken On January - 21 - 2010

A collage of images taken during the TVW Reunion held at Seven’s studios on Sunday October 18th, 2009.

Content courtesy of Nigel Felangue, Gordon McColl and Seven News.

ABC to launch a 24-hour TV News channel in 2010.

Posted by ken On January - 21 - 2010

ABC 42:7 News.jpg

The ABC will launch Australia’s first free-to-air 24-hour television news channel in 2010.

The news channel will be launched on the ABC’s HD channel, adding to the range of services offered by the broadcaster on ABC1, ABC2 and ABC3. Further details of the new channel, including the program schedule and launch date, will be outlined in coming months.

A continuous news centre with a new state-of-the-art studio, will be located in the foyer of the ABC’s Ultimo headquarters in Sydney.

The ABC can draw on newsrooms in every state and territory, 12 international bureaux and 60 regional newsrooms. It will broadcast continuous local, national and international news and current affairs, and will be up and running in the second half of this year. New programs are being developed in world news, national politics and business, while existing television news and current affairs programs will also feature.

Audiences in 44 countries will also benefit from the new channel via the Australia Network. This ABC international satellite television service is aimed at the Asia-Pacific region

It seems Sky News is opposed to the idea according to a statement by Sky News’ Angelos Frangopoulos.

The Rupert Murdoch owned Australian Newspaper reports that Sky and the ABC have been at odds over their respective roles in recent months. The two broadcasters are battling over the $94m contract to run the Australia Network, originally Australia Television and later ABC Asia Pacific. The free-to-air international satellite television service is operated by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and funded partially by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, as well as some advertising.

The new ABC 24-hour TV news proposal is a free-to-air service while Sky News is a Pay TV service.

The ABC had originally proposed establishing a news service 15 years ago with the introduction of pay TV. It was called Australian Information Media (AIM) and was to be partnered by Fairfax and Cox Communications, but this was shut out by Optus Vision and Foxtel on the grounds that the price tag was too high. Instead Foxtel introduced Sky News.

Sky News, CNN and the BBC’s own 24-hour news operation BBC World is available only to pay TV subscribers. Sky News Australia is jointly owned by PBL Media, the Seven Network and Rupert Murdoch’s British Sky Broadcasting. Sky News draws on the television news operations of Seven and Nine, plus BSkyB, ABC America, CBS, Fox Business Network, Reuters, APTN as well as its close relationship with News Limited newspapers across the nation.

The three main Pay TV providers in Australia are Foxtel, Austar and Optus. However, through numerous content-sharing deals made over the years it is Foxtel which provides a lot of content to all three.

ABC News in 90 Seconds ABC News World in 90 Seconds ABC News Business in 90 Seconds

ABC Sport in 90 Seconds ABC News Weather in 90 Seconds ABC News Entertainment in 90 Seconds

Australians will be able to tap into news from the national broadcaster when they want it and where they want it through the new 24-hour news channel and also from services like ABC News Online, ABC News Radio and ABC Mobile.

Seasons Greetings

Posted by ken On December - 25 - 2009

A Merry Christmas and

Happy New Year to All

May 2010 bring you

Good Luck,

Good Health



-00 Greetings.jpg

ABW Channel 2 – 50th Anniversary

Posted by ken On December - 24 - 2009

On Saturday May 7, 1960, ABW Channel 2 in Perth opened.

Broadcasting began with radio and when moving pictures were added it became television. Both started as wireless but now are delivered by an ever increasing variety of means. Analogue broadcasts have evolved into high definition digital signals being delivered terrestrially or by satellite, and in different forms through the internet and mobile phones.

The principle national public broadcaster is a comprehensive service provider known as the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), which operates four national radio networks – ABC Radio National, ABC Classic FM, triple j and ABC NewsRadio – as well as 60 Local Radio stations around Australia, and three internet music-based services, dig, dig jazz and dig country. Dig and dig jazz are also available on free-to-air digital and subscription television platforms. The ABC also operates an international satellite television service aimed at the Asia-Pacific region and a commercial division composed of ABC Retail, ABC Consumer Publishing and Content Sales, as well as ABC Resource Hire. The Homestead & Community Broadcasting Satellite Service (HACBSS) which started in late 1985. Rural viewers with a 1.5m dish could get two TV Channels, ABC FM stereo, ABC Radio National, and a State base ABC Regional Radio. The digital Remote Area Broadcasting Service (RABS) replaced the analogue HACBSS in late 1998. Now rural Western Australians receive ABC-TV, Regional Radio, Radio National and Classic FM via the RABS. Triple J and News Radio are also broadcast in various rural areas.

Broadcasting in WA dates back to 1924 when Western Farmers Limited (Wesfarmers) began operating radio station 6WF from the top floor of the company’s Wellington Street building. Wesfarmers also manufactured and sold the ‘Mulgaphone’ radio receivers.

Westfarmers Building in Wellington Street, Perth

Following a Royal Commission in 1927, the Commonwealth Government took over all the principal radio stations in Australia. It also nationalised the Australian Broadcasting Company which had been created by entertainment interests to supply programs to various radio stations.

In 1929, 6WF was taken over by the Australian Broadcasting Company and moved from the Wesfarmers building to the English, Scottish and Australian Bank (E.S. & A.) building at the corner of Hay and Milligan Street, Perth. The ABC set up its operation on the first floor, which was an empty space that was partitioned for the use of offices and contained toilets to the north of the building. In 1936 the ABC offices moved to 936 Hay Street, whilst the studio remained on the first floor above 938 and 940 Hay Street. Former Sydney radio 2BL announcer and sports commentator Basil Kirke moved to Western Australia in 1929 as manager of 6WF. 2BL started off as a commercial but later became one of the ABC’s inaugural radio stations. Kirke was full of energy and drive and attracted listeners with daring antics such as broadcasting from the seabed off Cottesloe and from inside Yallingup caves.

ABC Hay Street.jpg
First WA located ABC studio was on corner of Hay and Milligan Streets, opposite the Melbourne Hotel

On July 1, 1932, the Australian Broadcasting Commission Act was passed, following which The Australian Broadcasting Commission took over the premises and the 6WF transmitter was relocated to Wanneroo (now called Hamersley) by the end of that year. Basil Kirke moved to Victoria in 1936 as manager, before filling that same role in New South Wales.

The ABC moved to the Supreme Court Gardens in 1937
Old ABC Building st georges tce 001.jpg
Broadcast House viewed from the air with Supreme Court in the background

In 1937 the Commission moved its studios and staff to the Soldiers’ Institute in St Georges Terrace, which they took over from the Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League of Australia (now known as the RSL), after they moved into ANZAC House in 1934. This temporary building was constructed in 1916 as a rest and recreation centre for sick and wounded sailors and soldiers returning from the First World War. It was located on the edge of the Supreme Court Gardens, next to the Government House Ballroom. The building was renamed ‘Broadcast House’ and used for 21 years before a multi-studio complex was built in 1958, on the former site of Rose Hill House, at 191 Adelaide Terrace. ABC radio moved to the new facilities in 1959, whilst work continued on the television building on the lower part of the site, facing Terrace Road. Much of the credit for the new building goes to Basil Kirke, who returned to Western Australia as manager in 1953 and lobbied tirelessly for new offices and studios. He fell seriously ill in 1957 and died in 1958, before the move to the new premises took place. In 1961 the large orchestral studio 620 was named in his honour.

The Rose Hill Adelaide Terrace site used between 1959 and 2005

In March 1960, the ABC State manager Eric Scholl headed an auditioning board to select three TV announcers from 50 applicants, who were short listed. Meanwhile the Bickley transmitter was nearing completion and the studio taking shape under the watchful eye of experts from the British suppliers. Vital equipment included EMI electronic studio cameras and PYE telecine 16mm film transmission facilities. With only two months to opening night the ABW Studio 61 was a frenzy of activity with cable laying, lighting battens and curtains being installed and camera tests underway. With one month to go senior technician Warren Jacobs wheeled the first black and white EMI studio camera into the studio and fired it up for technical producer John Cahill’s critical eye.

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The EMI OB van arrives in Fremantle, which was used to cover the 1962 Perth Commonwealth and Empire Games at Perry Lakes Stadium

On Tuesday April 19, 1960, ABW Channel 2 trade transmissions began from 1pm to 10pm every day of the week, broadcasting the test pattern and music at full strength.

On Saturday April 23, 1960, ABW’s EMI outside broadcast van was deployed for the first time with three cameras and a 22-man team. It was sent to the Bayswater Oval, to cover a soccer match, as a full-dress rehearsal for future sporting events. Mike Altria was one of the first outside broadcast technicians who later became Head of OB Operations. The OB was monitored back at the studio by supervising engineer David Hirst and supervisor of production facilities David Moore. Staff then decided to substitute the live OB for the test pattern and music, to the surprise of householders who were watching the test transmission. Viewers quickly responded by ringing the station to report excellent reception. Not a bad effort considering the OB van arrived six weeks earlier.

ABC producers of that era included Jock Millett and Bryan Todd. Jock was a former BBC man who came to Perth from ABV2 in Melbourne where he concentrated on documentaries, talks and sporting shows. ABW planned to place the accent on live shows, sport, variety and interviews.

On Saturday May 7, 1960, Opening Night, there was 15 minutes of speeches from dignitaries 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 then followed by the station’s only western, Tales Of Wells Fargo, then the madcap US army based Phil Silvers Show. At 8.30pm the BBC series Portraits of Power, then the British courtroom drama Boyd, QC. Next at 9.30pm was a live twenty minutes studio show followed by a sporting session. The first night concluded with a prize winning ABC documentary titled ‘Up With Guba’ which was the story of New Guineas’ development. The station closed at 10.35pm.

ABW2 Opening Night Show.jpg
Reg Whiteman (left) was not only in the dance troop for TVW’s opening night, but also appeared in ABW’s opening night variety show.
Reg is now fondly remembered for his long stint playing Fat Cat. (photo courtesy of Reg)

ABW placed the accent on live shows, sport, variety and interviews.

  • Roundabout was a half-hour magazine program at 9.30pm on Thursdays which included interviews, live variety and music.
  • Woman’s World was a half hour session broadcast at 4pm on Wednesdays.
  • Sports Cavalcade on Wednesday evenings, Sports Preview on Friday evenings and Sports Review on Saturdays. Outside broadcasts of sport each Saturday.
  • Perth Pictorial a 15 minute interview show on Tuesdays.
  • Focus a five minute talks program with a different guest speaker each week on Wednesdays.
Ian Beatty, James Fisher and Earl Reeve.jpg
Ian Beatty, James Fisher and Earl Reeve

Early on-air staff included…

  • First ABC TV Newsreader in Perth was Jim Fisher
  • First on-air presentation announcer was Ian Beatty
  • Sandra Harris – On-air presentation announcer
  • Diana Ward – On-air presentation announcer
  • Clive Hale – Newsreader and on-air presentation announcer
  • Jenny Edwards (married to Hugh Edwards of ship wrecks fame) – On-air presentation announcer
  • Jennifer West – On-air presentation announcer
  • John Treffry – Weather presenter and To Market to Market
  • Jim Fitzmaurice – Sports
  • Peter Harrison – Sportsview (Saturday Afternoons) Presenter
  • Geoff Walker was the first television newsreader in WA on TVW but later rejoined the ABC as a Newsreader, Weather and on-air presentation announcer
Former ABW Terrace Road.jpg
The former studios of ABW Channel 2 in Perth 1960-2005

ABW Channel 2 occupied the site at 191 Adelaide Terrace for 45 years and ABC Radio for one year more. The building was designed to accommodate more than 700 people, including the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra (WASO). The level of local production justified the employment of a host of professional and trades people, including carpenters for set design and metal workers for electronic chassis and console making, graphic artists, circuit draftsmen, OB truck drivers, scaffolding riggers and air-conditioning mechanics. There were creative people such as musicians, dancers, writers, announcers and actors, some on the permanent staff whilst others were casual or contract, such as transient performers. There were producers, programmers and many support staff. There were reporters and journalists who working in the News, Current Affairs and Talks departments. There was a need for highly educated people with enquiring minds to break new ground in the fields of investigative reporting and current affairs. Like the BBC, the ABC was a pioneer in nature and history documentary making too. The news bulletins were straight reporting of stories that were accurate and impartial, whilst This Day Tonight, Four Corners and other shows of that ilk were probing, often controversial and ground breaking for the day. There were academics and former school teachers in the Education Department. People with agricultural degrees and knowledge of meteorology in the Rural department. There were even people conversant with theology in the Religious department. Administrators, accountants, clerical staff, human resource people, and a property and despatch departments serviced the needs of the organisation. There were qualified and trained engineers, technicians and operators. Receptionists, telephonists, typists and tea ladies. Cadet journalists, announcers, technicians and operators were trained and the ABC had its own training department, which conducted courses of study and examinations for technical staff. The down side was that the ABC became a popular recruitment area for technicians and engineers, thus robbing it of skilled people who gained qualifications at the corporation’s expense.

Local television and radio presentation was very labour intensive. TV needed specially trained staff to work the telecine, videotape, continuity booths and master control areas, with others busy filming stories, editing and sound mixing. In both mediums, people needed a good sense of time and an ability to work under pressure, so that any pending on-air disasters could be averted. They also needed to stay cool should there be a disruption and calmly restore services with out the event being overly apparent.

It was a different era than today. The trend was against employing married women and the organisational structure was more formal and rigid. Each person had clearly defined roles and there was much less multitasking. The spoken word was delivered with a voice approximating the British accent, for in those days the BBC was the model the ABC emulated. Many commercial announcers auditioned for the ABC, but few came up to the ABC’s high standards. A television presenter also presented radio programs. For if any role involved multitasking, then it was the announcers. Not only did they need an immaculate voice with wonderful breath control, but their pronunciation needed to be perfect, their knowledge of current events had to be considerable, and they needed skills in presenting everything from popular music to the classics. To appear as an authority on any subject was important, for if ever there was a technical glitch, these skills proved invaluable covering the occasion and drawing the listeners or viewers attention away from the problem. Particularly when commentating solemn events such as a church service, an ANZAC parade or a Royal Visit. Early announcers often produced their own radio programs, but in later years there was a trend towards employing producers and journalists as presenters when programs moved away from pure entertainment into telephone talkback, interviews and story chasing. The traditional announcers migrated to news reading, whilst less trained voices took over the airwaves, often with an Australian accent.

There were also some very quaint aspects to the ABC in the earlier decades. Pioneering announcers wore formal wear, even though they were not seen by anyone other than visiting guests, other staff and management. There were two entrances to the ABC when the studios moved to Adelaide Terrace. Concierges had to meet visitors and staff at both the Adelaide Terrace and Terrace Road entrances and senior management were chauffeur-driven.

It was a vast site with a large multi-story administration block facing Adelaide Terrace, another vast building housed the radio network and production studios. The radio studio numbering was to change a number of times over the years. Studio 620 was the Basil Kirke WASO studio, 621 was a chamber music studio often used for rock band recording or social functions, the studio originally designated 612 was a music studio for smaller productions, 611 was first a talks studio then later a network studio and 610 was dedicated to radio dramas complete with all sorts of sound effects paraphernalia. On the other side of the corridor was a massive record library, and next came the network studios with 601 for the northern regionals, 602 was the original 6WF studio before given to 6WN and later renamed to once again house 6WF when it became known as 720. 603 was the original 6WN studio, then became the 6WF studio with sporting panel facilities to finally be renamed and become the Radio Regional studio. 604 served a number of purposes, with the earlier years being a Southern Regionals program source, after the remote regional studios staff went home for the night. The television site was down the hill on the river end of the block. It was a long trek from TV land to the canteen, which was located near the radio studios. The film staff also had to trek down to telecine for their product to be broadcast. The ABC in Perth did not own a film processor, so the cine cameramen had to deliver their newly shot news film to an off-site processing laboratory, then twenty minutes later it would come out of the machine needing urgent delivery to the film editors back at the ABC. In comparison, TVW owned their own processor and could work to tighter deadlines, though the ABC had the advantage of broadcasting the television news later in the evening.

Layout of former ABC site in Adelaide Terrace, Perth

The most recent building on the former ABC site provided a home for radio and television News and Current Affairs. The ground floor housed a splendid sound recording suite for film production. The first floor accommodated the cine cameramen and later editing for electronic news gathering. The second floor housed the radio newsroom. The third floor contained a board room and at one point TV management. Prior to electronic news gathering, all news and current affairs programs used double system film production techniques, where the image was on a separate 16mm film to the 16mm sprocketed magnetic sound recording. It was not uncommon for the news film to be edited until the last moment, requiring a flurry of activity in the minute before the News at 7pm. Film required a count down and videotape content a roll in time, for it to stabilise before broadcast. This complicated the logistics of presentation, but at least the ABC did not have to worry about commercials. Eventually the ABC embraced the use of short promotional recordings between programs, which then avoided the need to show filler material to keep the schedule running to time.

These were the halcyon days of constant local production… as satellites, coaxial cable, fibre optic or microwave links to the eastern states did not exist. Everything had to be made locally or air freighted in. Though ABC Radio did have land lines to the east, the quality was often problematic. National programs arrived by courier with special departments to facilitate the despatch, handling and issue of these prerecorded shows. Later with the microwave link over the Nullarbor, some programs were recorded in Perth as they were broadcast on the east coast. Radio’s audio tape recordings were then replayed here to suit western standard time. Next development was satellite program distribution, and finally digital delay machines. This resulted in a considerable shedding of staff as much of presentation no longer needed to be duplicated.

This has decimated staff numbers at the commercial TV stations too, compared to the years before dramatic technological change.

The ABC in Perth has adapted rather well to change now that there are only 250 staff members. New shared facilities have been built to bring radio and television closer together. Though the new Perth ABC building is on a smaller block at Fielder Street, in the technology and media precinct of East Perth, it is more modern, compact and flexible with an open plan.

New ABC.jpg
The ABC’s new Perth studios on the corner of Fielder and Royal Streets, East Perth

Current State Director, Geoff Duncan, said that the new $50 million building in East Perth was a big investment for the ABC. One of the highlights is the new 600 square metre production studio that ranks alongside those in Sydney and Melbourne. Western Australia can now compete for big productions on an equal facilities basis. Ideal for both large TV shows and film making.

The commercial stations now rely heavily on the ABC for the hire of OB facilities. Since Seven’s Studio One has been mothballed, the big OB van dispensed with and the annual Telethon moved to the Perth Convention Centre, its necessary for Seven to hire the ABC’s modern outside broadcast facilities. This makes good economic sense when few large OB’s are being regularly scheduled by the commercials, other than the football. This trend for hiring facilities is more so in the eastern states where a number of Channel TEN productions are made at the ABC’s Ultimo studios.

Since the ABC became the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in 1983, it has evolved considerably and in the process embraced many new concepts. The ABC has pioneered an online presence to now have one of the most popular web sites in the country. The corporation now gains revenue from the sale of books, music and television programs. Viewers have the on-demand option of watching programs online rather than being constrained by the dictates of programming people. There is also a trend towards narrowcasting rather than have one outlet that tries to cater for all tastes. The ABC covers everything and every demographic from pre-school, children’s, teenage rock, popular, contemporary and classical music to news, comedy, variety, drama, sport and religion. There’s sure to be a program to suit every taste which it delivers by an ever increasing variety of means. One never knows where next the ABC will pop up… once someone invents it… the ABC is sure to be there using it first… from podcasts to digital radio.

Tribute to Robbie Snowden 1948-2009

Posted by ken On December - 16 - 2009

Sadly Robbie Snowden passed away at 10.10 am on Tuesday morning December 15, 2009.

Born 10/10/1948 – Died 15/12/2009
Robbie Snowden at the TVW Reunion on October 18, 2009

This no doubt will come as a shock to the many who recently watched him perform on stage at the TVW Reunion on October 18th.

Little did the reunion attendees know how ill he was…

It was only on Monday December 14, 2009, that we were to learn from Australian Pop legend Normie Rowe that he was in palliative care at the Pindarra Private Hospital, on the Gold Coast in Queensland.

This sad news was conveyed to Johnny Young by Normie. It was John and his band who provided the backing for Robbie on the day.

Normie went on to say,

“Rob, has lived a good life and one that should not end in this way at such an early age. But we can’t pick our time, I guess.

As some of us may have been aware, Robbie had been in remission from an earlier cancer. He went to hospital last Saturday with a suspected bowel blockage, but the bad news came soon after.

Sorry to be the bearer of such sad news.

Make each day an important one.

Love to all


This video extract is taken from the TVW 50 Years Reunion Commenorative DVD

Johnny Young fondly remembers that…

Robbie started as an office boy at AJ Williams advertising, in the same building as 6IX where I was the office boy .. so Robbie and I had crossed paths early I went on to form my band Johnny Young and the Strangers and Robbie became assistant to Bruce Wishart the Account exec for Coke and Gest, sponsors of Club 17 at AJW.

Bruce W. was actively involved in the production of The Club and apart from assisting Bruce, Robbie also mimed and danced on the show.

It was only after I had recorded my fist hits at Clarion records that we discovered Robbie had a voice .. His first hit was the Wanderer then two more “No one really loves a clown” and “Sheila.”

Robbie was never really comfortable in his Popstar roll. He was a very humble kid more at home promoting and supporting others even though the Fans loved him .. great looks .. Bobby V type voice (hear him sing on you tube (no one really loves a clown ) short in stature Clean-cut and cute.

Robbie worked at 4GG on the Goldcoast and at the Goldcoast Bulletin in later years .. and also a long stint as a cruise director .. he looked great in his white uniform.

Robbie kept in touch with all of his mates .. Keith Bales and myself from the early TVW days. Normie Rowe, Ronnie Burns et all. His looks never changed and at the TVW7 reunion when he got up sang his hits it was like a time warp (see Robbie sing on the Reunion video) you would not have known he was so ill.

Rob made a lot of show business friends over the years even though he stopped performing in the early 70s. Of course we will miss him.. a genuine fella and proud West Australian with no EGO and happy to see his mates succeed..

Lovely bloke Robbie Snowden… its a mystery to me that the old saying “Only the good die young” is often so true it certainly applies to Robbie Snowdon.

Popular singer Ronnie Burns has emailed his condolences. Robbie was a prominent artist during the formative years of the Australian music industry and former lead singer of the Melbourne band The Flies and former member of Cotton Morris & Burns. Ronnie’s biggest national hit, “Smiley”, was written by Johnny Young.

From: Ronnie Burns
Date: 16 December 2009 5:42:33 PM AWST

Robbie – we all love you – and [together] we wish to bring you an enormous
amount of love and respect at this time.

We are all holding hands around you – to ensure the way ahead is illuminated with the compassion that you continued to show everyone who came to know you. That, never changed – never wavered …

Life calls to you, existence calls to you, and there is beauty, cooperation and purpose for you to delve into in this time of transition. Because when one is in the depths of Initiation, it is not always easy to move the energy and to understand the power of greater forces. But they are present – and so are we. Because, in the end, we conserve only what we love; and, through the inner journey and higherknowledge, we love only what we trulyunderstand.

Keep the love alive and awake within your heart my friend – keep that smile upon your face. For as the landscape changes, you will know what to do – it is all a matter of choice. And you can call upon friends you have not seen for some time.

For each one of us, will, in time, come to re-frame what we think is happening, as we reconfigure our life’s journey – and the heart’s we have touched along the way. We take that precious love with us – as you now are aware.

All my love Robbie ..


Ronnie’s earlier email….

From: Ronnie Burns
Date: 16 December 2009 5:21:19 AM AWST
Subject: Re: Robbie Snowden

Normie advised me of Robbie’s condition yesterday.

He has always been a gentle soul – and will be grateful of the support being offered to him for the transition time ahead.

We met up [again] a few years back, when he came to see
‘Burns, Cotton and Morris’ perform on the Gold Coast.

I appreciate you keeping me in the loop …


Ronnie Burns - ‘Senior Tasmanian of the Year 2009’ Appin Hall Children’s Foundation – Director & Co-Founder


In 1998, Ronnie and his wife Maggie (a former dancer whom he met on the set of the ’60s pop show Kommotion) founded Appin Hall Children’s Foundation, a refuge for orphans of war and children with chronic illness.

Entertainer and singer Marty Rhone echoed everyones sentiments in this email to John Young…

From: “Marty Rhone”
Date: 16 December 2009 8:14:57 AM AWST
Subject: RE: Robbie Snowden

Hi John

Very sad indeed. As you may or may not know Robbie & I were flat mates in Melbourne back in those heady days of the mid to late 60’s. Robbie was there when I met and courted my wife Rosa, so very fond memories. I have kept in touch with Rob ever since and saw him when I was on the Coast last April.

Ironically, I was in Tweed Heads last Saturday night for a show unaware of his swiftly deteriorating condition and only learnt of his imminent passing when I received an email from Normie Rowe yesterday morning. I was shattered and rang the hospital to try and speak to Rob. His wife Lol put the phone to his ear so I could say goodbye on behalf of my wife and I. Rob couldn’t speak but I heard his breathing become heavier and more intense and respond to my words. His wife said his eyes were fluttering in response. My wife said her goodbyes asking him to give her a beautiful smile with those flashing white teeth he had. He passed away an hour later.

He will always be in our memories.

Kind regards




As a singer, Jeff Phillips shared the TVW Reunion stage with Robbie Snowden and Johnny Young on Sunday October 18th, 2009.

From: Jeffrey Phillips
Date: 16 December 2009 1:22:35 PM AWST
I am so sad to hear of the loss of my musical friend Robbie Snowden. Luckily we both sang at the TVW7 50th Reunion this October and we were able to laugh and reminisce about our musical beginnings.
Please share my thoughts with his many friends in Perth and Surfers Paradise.
Thank you for letting me know. He was a gentleman at all times.
Jeff Phillips

Jeff Phillips appeared on TVW Channel Seven during his early singing career and became known as an Australian TV show host/personality and pop singer of the 1960s to the early 1990s. Jeff took over as compere of Club 7 Teen, following Johnny Young’s move to Mebourne and National fame. Jeff too was to enjoy national singing and hosting fame and appear on British variety television shows.

Former managing director of the Surfers Paradise radio station 4GG Barry Ferber, had these kind words to say about Robbie…

From: Barry Ferber
Date: 16 December 2009 1:33:38 AM AWST
Subject: RE: Robbie Snowden
Robbie worked with me at GG for over ten years and remained the best of friends he and Lol stayed with me in Vages last year for his 60th, Lots of pics back stage with Frank Marino and The Cast of Mamma Mia also Lol has shots of Rob with Impersonators Cher, Little Richard and Elvis I organized a dinner with them as a surprise. So sad I am still in shock have done apiece for the service Let me know what you need Barry.
Lol is Robbie’s lovely wife Lolita…

Barry Ferber kindly provided these words of farewell…
Robbie at 4GG.jpg
Robbie Snowden during his period working for Barry Ferber at Gold Coast Radio Station 4GG

Robbie Snowden Farewell.

I don’t believe there was a single person who didn’t like Robbie Snowden. Those of us fortunate enough to be his friend loved him.

After his career as a pop star came to a close he came to me for a job at 4GG. How could I not hire him, a guy in the business with a happy disposition and a willingness to work?. I liked him immediately. The only job I had was in promotions a kind of “no hour’s” job to which he said no worries, and it never was.

I told him if he did the right thing by the station he would be rewarded. Three years late having worked his butt off, with events like sand modeling Beach Girl quest and countless other promotions that were thrown at him, I surprised Rob and Loll with new car. They were thrilled but more importantly, so were the staff that loved him and were happy for him. Robbie was a role model for all other staff to follow.

I treasure his friendship and the times we spent talking shop or music over a few coldies.

Robbie Snowden was the epitome of loyalty and everything one wanted in a friend. Robbie always knew he had picked a winner in Lol. They were two peas in a pod.

I am so glad to have spent time with them in Vegas as recently as last year when they stayed with me for his 60thbirthday bash. They both loved Vegas. I took them back stage after Mamma Mia where Robbie delivered some Cherry Ripes to the leading lady.

Previously I set up supper after the show of Legends in Concert as a surprise, and there was the old rocker in the company of look-a-likes Cher, Little Richard and Elvis. Great memories.

If all of us could leave the world surrounded by the love and friendship Robbie Snowden attracted throughout his life we would indeed be proud.

I loved him as a person as a workmate but most of all as a friend, one who never changed and would always be there.

My heart goes out to Lol, the love of his life, who today stands tall as we celebrate the life of that wonderful man she married. We will all miss him but Lol will carry the biggest load as well as the biggest joy of living her life alongside our friend Robbie Snowden.

Farwell my friend, safe trip I will miss you.

Lolita Elvis & Robbie in Vagas.jpg
Robbie’s 60th birthday bash in Las Vagas: Wife Lolita, Elvis impersonator and Robbie were guests of Barry Ferber

As a young DJ spinning vinyl for top Australian radio station 3DB in Melbourne, Barry Ferber was the first Australian DJ to play the Beatles song “Please Please Me” on the air. He was a 19-year-old announcer for 3DB in 1963 when he began receiving tapes from an unknown group out of Liverpool. Barry Ferber went on to management, first at 4GG at the Gold Coast in Queensland when it first went on air, and later at Radio Fiji. More recently, he’s filed columns from Las Vegas for the Gold Coast Bulletin. Barry Ferber was honored with an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) medal for his work in broadcasting.

Condolences from Marcie Jones, who has appeared on every national TV variety show in Australia over four decades…

From: “Marcie Jones”
Date: 16 December 2009 6:20:10 PM AWST
Subject: RE: Robbie Snowden

Thank you for letting me know, we are a dwindling lot. Robbi was always such a darling he will be missed. Marcie Jones

Marcie Jones started as a teenager in the early ’60s. Performed with Normie Rowe’s band The Playboys and appeared on the “Go-Show”. She released five singles from 1965 to 1967. In 1967 Marcie teamed up with the Cook sisters, Margaret, Beverley and Wendy, who were performing as “The Cookies” to become the top female singing group in Australia. In 1968 they toured Australia as support act for overseas artists such as The Monkees. That same year ‘Marcie and the Cookies’ were presented the “Best Female Act for 1968″ award by national pop magazine Go-Set and were awarded the “Critics Award” for the top Australian vocal act. During 1969 and 1970, ‘Marcie and the Cookies’ toured extensively throughout Asia and Europe and toured the United Kingdom with Cliff Richard and the Shadows. On returning to Australia, Marcie resumed her solo career releasing an album and five singles between 1973 and 1976. Marcie has toured with The Seekers, The Monkeys, Cliff Richard, Tom Jones and supported Gene Pitney on five national tours. Marcie continues to perform in stage shows, clubs, concerts and tours supporting major overseas artists until the present day. In mid-2008, Marcie became a presenter on 100.7 Highlands FM, a community radio station based in the Macedon Ranges in Victoria.

TVW Promotions Manager Jill Glass also conveyed the sad news…

From: “Glass, Jill”
Date: 16 December 2009 9:16:04 AM AWST

I’m sure you’ve already heard this news. This is from today’s MediaWeek Morning Report.

The Gold Coast lost a proud local yesterday with the death of Robby Snowden, 61, former rocker and promotions man, report The Gold Coast Bulletin. Snowden was known around the Coast as The Gold Coast Bulletin promotions manager and relentlessly cheerful man about town. Long before that he was a rock star from Perth with a gaggle of groupies, thanks to hits such as “The Wanderer” and “No One Really Loves A Clown”. Snowden died at 10.10am in Pindara Private Hospital where he had been since his recent diagnosis with aggressive stomach cancer. The Bulletin’s managing director, Steve Howard, said: “He was a long-serving and loyal executive at our company and will be missed, not only by friends and former colleagues, but the wider Coast business and media community.”

Jill Glass

Promotions Manager  | Channel Seven Perth

Former TVW Channel 7 Managing Director Kevin Campbell paid this sincere compliment…

From: “Kevin Campbell”
Date: 16 December 2009 9:40:03 AM AWST
Thank you Jill for the early notice and Ken for both passing it on and for handling the post.
Another sad loss to both the industry and humanity.
Kev Campbell

Former TVW senior producer/director Keith Mackenzie was shocked to hear the sad news…

From: “Keith Mackenzie”
Date: 16 December 2009 3:44:59 PM AWST
Thanks Jill, I’m really shocked to hear the news, especially seeing him so recently. Regards, Keith.

Keith directed the Club 7 Teen period when Jeff Phillips was the host. (Gordon McColl directed the Johnny Young period, whilst Max Bostock directed the Gary Carvolth period).

Back in the 1970’s, Annette Grennell (nee Purvis) was a young performer on STARS OF THE FUTURE and other shows. Later Annette worked in the TVW Publicity Department.

From: Annie Grennell (nee Purvis)
Date: 17 December 2009 6:22:10 PM AWST
Subject: Re: Robbie Snowden
Dear Keith and Ken,
I couldn’t believe it when I opened your email….how tragic… wern’t we the lucky ones to have been blessed with the pleasure of his company in October at the reunion. He has given us all such great memories of our youth….he is now in “Rock & Roll Heaven”..

Noel McGrath’s now out-of-print Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop notes that Robbie Snowden was born in the UK but was raised in Australia since infancy. He started out recording advertising jingles for a Perth agency and appeared on Johnny Young’s TV show Club 7 Teen on Perth’s Channel 7. Signed to Clarion Records, he had a #1 in Perth 1966 with a version of Dion’s “The Wanderer” (which was also #7 Brisbane) and relocated to Melbourne in 1967.

Release Date Songs
Sep. 1966 “The Wanderer” “Take Your Time”
Feb. 1967 “No One Really Loves A Clown” “Talkin’ “
June 1967 “Sheila” “What Do You Want To Make Eyes At Me For”
Oct. 1967 “Sunshine Rides On A Trolley” “Do You Want To Dance”
Feb. 1968 “Surrounded By A Ray Of Sunshine” “Just A Little”
July 1968 “Freckles” “I Can’t Stop”
Robbie Snowden in 1966 with the Channel Seven Dancers singing “The Wanderer”

Janet Boyd (nee Ladner) who was one of the Channel Seven Dancers (seen to the left of Robbie in above photo) was also shocked to learn the sad news…
From: “Boyd, Jan”
Date: 16 December 2009 8:19:02 AM AWST
Subject: Robbie Snowden


Robbie’s death has really shocked and upset us, he was such a sweet person.

Please ask Johnny to pass on our condolences to his family.


Jan Boyd

Robbie Snowden interviewed by Garry Meadows on the TVW Channel 7 “Seven is Seven” anniversary show in 1966

In the 70s, after leaving the music industry, Robbie Snowden became a Cruise Director on cruise ships, then went to work at a regional newspaper in Queensland. You can listen to two of Robbie’s numbers on YouTube by following the below links…

Robbie Snowden – Nobody really loves a clown

Robbie Snowden , Talkin’

Gold Coast Tribute to Robbie Snowden

The Gold Coast Bulletin’s managing director, Steve Howard, said: “He was a long-serving and loyal executive at our company and will be missed, not only by friends and former colleagues, but the wider Coast business and media community.”

Originally from Farnborough, England, Mr Snowden grew up in Australia and after finding fame in Perth, then touring for six years on cruise ships, he settled on the Gold Coast.

He embraced the city and lifestyle and quickly became one of its most loved locals.

“He loved the Coast, he enjoyed what the Coast had,” said Mr Gordon.

A memorial service will be held early next week for close family and friends.

Tribute to Frank Moss 1920-2009

Posted by ken On December - 9 - 2009

TVW Foundation Company Secretary (TVW 1959-1978)

Frank Archer Cecil Moss – 1920-2009

Frank Moss Sketch.png

With great sadness report that Frank Moss passed away peacefully with his family at his side on Tuesday 8th December, 2009.

Frank Moss Notice.jpg

Franks Funeral.jpg

Channel Seven Folk Paying Respects to Frank Moss

Frank is fondly remembered by many former TVW staff….

It is with regret that I have to advise that Frank Moss passed away today. He was a great bloke and will be sadly missed. – Ken Kemp

Just learned of dear old Mossy’s departure to other climes. To me, he’ll be remembered for a deep compassion for his fellows, a rare honesty and a great sense of humour. May he rest in peace……and leave the door open, there are a few of us old buggers to follow! - Brian Williams

I hadn’t heard the news and am saddened by it as will be all who worked with him. – Elaine Tranter (Hoskins)

What a great loss…… they don’t make them like that anymore. Frank Moss really was one of nature’s gentlemen. – Luise Nelthorpe (Borsje)

It is such sad news of Frank’s passing. I have such fond memories of Frank over many years. He was a fine man and gentleman. A rarity these days. – Linda McHutchison (Brownrigg)

How sad to hear this news. I am one of the lucky ones who worked at TVW during his tenure. A gentleman he was; a long life he lived; what a wonderful legacy he leaves behind. I will always remember his infectious smile. I am proud to have known him. – Jeanette Smith (Ashley)

Thank you for letting me know. I will email the old guard here in Sydney of this terrible, sad loss to the ‘TVW FAMILY”.. I will always remember his wonderful easy going personality and how he lit up the office when he walked in, with his fantastic smile… he always made you feel good… he will remain in our hearts forever. – Annie Grennell (Purvis)

He was indeed a lovely man. – Carolyn Bendall

It was sad to learn of the death of Frank Moss, one of the stalwarts of the old guard.

He was a lovely man who will be missed but not forgotten by the TVW family – Nigel Felangue

Frank was a lovely man and a true gentleman. He was very kind to me at TVW and helped me a lot. I know the TVW family will miss him. - Graeme Plummer

I saw the notice in the West and was deeply saddened. Frank was a nice bloke and a very fair man. Unfortunately none of us can avoid the inevitable but it caused me to pause for a few minutes and reflect on Frank. I agree with Darcy – Frank was one of the unsung heros. Nicely put. - Don Odgers

Thanks for letting me know about Mr Moss I always thought he was a very kind man, sad to know he has passed away. - Kathie Wilson

Frank gave me my first TV paycheck at 7 when I was 17 .. I remember asking if I could have cash. I didn’t have a bank account.. he said no (nicely) so i asked Dad if he could cash it.. he said I would have to wait a week in case it BOUNCED.. funny how those things stick. - John Young

Yes, Frank was a most friendly chap, and I remember him well from my brief time at TVW. I remember borrowing his big car to take John Quick out to the airport. Some ride! - Vic Kitney

I’ve missed the funeral. Just got back from India this morning. I’m so sorry that we no longer have the wonderful Frank among us. - Sue Scrutton (nee Ammon)

The many TVW secretary stories here refer to Frank in glowing terms. Joy Campbell points out that, “…all the girls could tell some stories of Frank’s caring ways!”


The Heweston Twins with Frank Moss. Joy Campbell and Margie Nayler

Joy points out that, In the early days of TVW under Frank Moss, all the secretaries had to be trained in the Accounts department first before they were assigned to a department.


2nd from left: Jill Korbosky then Mignon McCurry, Glenys Andrijasevichl, Frank Moss, unknown and Jeannette Ashley

Frank was also an important part of the Seven Ex group of enthusiastic former TVW employees who engaged in fund raising for Telethon.


Seven Ex

Front row: Janet Gill, Lloyd Lawson, Peter Dean, Phil Salinger and Maureen Demasi (nee Scorer)

Behind: Ivy Sucich (nee Fryzop), Linda Page (nee Brownrigg), Joan Dye (nee Cohen), Joyce Nisbet (nee Shepherd), Frank Moss, Margie Nayler (nee Heweston), Joy Campbell (nee Heweston), Audrey Long (nee Barnaby) and Dorothy Lee (nee Whitely)

Jocelyn Treasure said, “I have many fond memories of this lovely and dignified man, very much a part of the original TVW ‘family’ and at the ripe old age of 40, affectionately considered the ‘old man’ of the group.”

John Cruthers said, “Dad will be very sad to hear the news. He and Mossie were very close, in fact we all went on fishing trips together and I can remember swimming in shark infested waters off Barrow Island with Frank and Graeme Moss, off the back of our fishing boat, as my Dad blithely cleaned fish and threw the innards over the side. I always felt Frank, Graham and I were lucky to survive that fishing trip! I was about 12 and a tiny boy; Graham was 14 and already on his way to being a champion ruckman’s height.”

Greg Byrne reports, “Frank took Judith and myself and our 4 sons plus his son Graham for a nice Sunday trip to Rottnest on his lovely launch… only problem was Frank managed to hit a reef at Longreach Bay and bent the propeller shaft! We limped back to Fremantle – end of a lovely day!”

Keith Spice said, “Sad news. Frank was a true gentleman, great company and a regular attendee on our deep sea fishing trips (Exmouth Expeditions) in the 80’s. Rest in peace Frank”.

Frank Moss – Fishing in Exmouth – 1985
Gerry Swift, Keith Spice, John Peters, Frank Moss, Rudi Gracias, Peter Dean and Chris Hope

Work History

After five and a half years in the R.A.A.F. as a signals officer, Frank Moss did a Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Scheme course in accountancy and cost accountancy. Then followed eight years as factory manager and company director of David Gray and Co.

▪ 1939 Royal Australian Air Force – Pilot Officer Signals

▪ 1950 Assistant Secretary The Western Australian Chamber of Manufacturers

▪ 1952 Secretary Director of David Gray & Co. Limited

He was appointed secretary of TVW in January of 1959, and soon after became deeply involved with the business affairs of the embryonic television station, making payments as the building went up and equipment was purchased.

▪ 1959-1976 Foundation Company Secretary

▪ 1976-1978 Executive Director, Finance and Administration

Darcy Farrell points out that Frank Moss was an unsung hero of Channel Seven, and should be recognised for his humanitarian role with in the organisation.

The success of TVW in the early years owes much to the sacrifices key people made meeting deadlines and keeping facilities going under often stressful situations. Most managers were pushing themselves and staff to the limit, and had little time for counseling those in need.

It was always Frank Moss who had a sympathetic ear to people under stress, and his help and advice was a most significant part of the operation, keeping it going when other people were often too busy with the job demands.

A retirement dinner was held at the Sheraton Perth Hotel on Thursday, September 20, 1979, to commemorate Frank’s valued service to the company. In attendance were the following members of the Board, management and colleagues… as shown in this group photograph taken by Douglas Joseph Burton.


Back row, from left: D’arcy Biesot, Darcy Farrell, Greg Byrne, Dick Ashton, Kevin Bicknell, Max Bostock, Syd Donovan, Rolf Lindsey, Bernie Roddy, Wally Staniforth, John Hunn, Jan Vermazen, Alf Binks.

Front row: Bill McKenzie, Joe Sweeney, Jim Cruthers, Frank Moss, Jack Donovan, Ken Kemp, Charles Hugall.

Frank Moss Gallery

TVW Reunion Photos courtesy of Nigel Felangue

Posted by ken On December - 2 - 2009

Nigel Felangue was one of the first still photographers at TVW Channel Seven. Joining the company when it was still in its embryonic days at WA Newspapers, before the studios were completed at Tuart Hill.

Nigel Felangue and Coralie Condon

Coralie Condon in 1959 – photo by Nigel Felangue

Nigel took many of the still photographs of Seven’s earliest programs, pioneering staff and presenters.

A collection of early images taken by Nigel Felangue between 1959 and 1960

Fifty years later Nigel, along with the many veterans, attended the TVW reunion on October 18, 2009. If it was not for Nigel’s incredible collection of images and memorabilia, much of the artwork and photos would no longer exist. His keenness for capturing history is demonstrated again by the many fine photos Nigel took at the reunion.

Coralie Condon, Sir James Cruthers and Carolyn Tannock (nee Noble)

Coralie Condon was the first lady of television in Western Australia. Coralie’s contacts within the theatre fraternity, writing and production skills proved invaluable to the fledgling station. Sir James Cruthers was the first General Manager who along with Brian Treasure and the many hardworking and enthusiastic staff, built the station into a powerhouse of local production. By the time Sir James retired, the company had diversified into many fields from cinemas, radio stations, a lion park, the Perth Entertainment Centre and many other enterprises. The company operated the most popular television station, had a healthy cash flow and paid generous dividends to the shareholders. Carolyn Noble will be remembered as a popular personality who started with the children’s programs and became involved with the woman’s shows and the Logie Award winning Stars of he Future. A hosting role also shared with Trina Brown and Sandy Baker.

Gary Carvolth interviews Sir James Cruthers

Another very popular presenter was Gary Carvolth, who acted as Master of Ceremonies at the TVW Reunion. Gary started with Seven in 1960 and worked with many local, interstate and overseas personalities who appeared on the station. Gary was involved with everything from newreading, children’s and woman’s programs to teenage and night time variety shows.

Coralie Condon and Audrey Long (Barnaby)

Audrey Barnaby has enjoyed a close and continuous relationship with Coralie Condon from the 1958 stage production of Coralie’s musical comedy ‘The Good Oil’ to the establishment of the make-up section and on-air presentation for the woman’s programs. It was Audrey who created the successful ‘Shopping Guide’ which continued for many years, later being presented by Stephanie Quinlan.

Darcy Farrell, Audrey Long (Barnaby) and Coralie Condon

Darcy Farrell was also pivotal to Perth’s first television station, with responsibility for establishing the newsroom as News Editor. A role that earned TVW many accolades for news coverage and Darcy a high respect for nurturing and fostering many prominent journalists in the field.

David Farr and Bill Mather-Brown

TVW’s first appointed on-air personality David Farr was also at the reunion, as was Bill Mather-Brown, the first switchboard operator at seven, who like David started there before the station opened.

Athol Thomas

Athol Thomas also started at Seven in 1959 and was engaged in a variety of roles from Publicity Officer, News, Discussion Chairman, Golf Commentator to Documentary Producer.

Reg Whiteman

Reg Whiteman had a long association with Seven from its opening night, appearing in ‘Spotlight’, to decades later being an integral and important part of the children’s programs.

Photos on display at the TVW Reunion which were taken by Nigel Felangue and feature the opening night variety show called ‘Spotlight’


Gai MacLennan (nee Spillman), Jan Urquhart (nee Cooper), Shirley Halliday and Jan Boyd (nee Ladner)

Members of the Channel Seven dancers with Shirley Halliday. Gai’s mother was Dulcie Spillman, who also taught dance. Gai’s daughter Tammy was also one of the Shirley Halliday Dancers, as were Jan Urquhart’s daughters Jodie and Taryn and Jan Boyd’s daughters Belinda and Darrylin.


Gai Spillman added a Scottish flavour to Children’s Channel Seven in 1962

Dance has always been a part of Channel Seven from Reg Whiteman, as part of the Guys and Dolls, in the early ‘Spotlight’ variety shows produced by Coralie Condon to the many children’s shows that relied heavily on the Shirley Halliday Dancers. Most dancers over the years have had a connection with Shirley, including the Channel Seven Dancers and their children, right through to the many Telethons and Channel Seven Christmas Pageants. Noted choreographers to follow Shirley include Kevan Johnston, Danni Harford and Brian Smith.

Patricia Strange (nee Boyle), Olive Barrett (nee Shearer), Geoff Wallace, Pearl Astlley (nee Davies) and Carol Wallace (nee Davies)

Film department staff in 1959 included Patricia Boyle, Olive Shearer, Geoff Wallace and Pearl and Carol Davies.

Olive Shearer, Nigel Felangue, Greg Byrne, and the Davies twins in 1960

Nigel has kindly provided an extensive range of photos taken at the TVW reunion. We have tried to identify as many people as possible and request your help in making the missing names known. The National Film and Sound Archive is keen to keep a permanent record of the historical information and photos being collected for this web site. Your assistance in making our record of events complete will be greatly appreciated. We think it is important that all worthy participants in the industry be recognised. Feedback can be provided through our contact page. Thanking you in anticipation.


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