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Pages tagged "ABC History and People"

From National Broadcaster to the Himalayas

Journalists and broadcasters rightly view a career at the ABC as a professional pinnacle, from which the idea of life after Aunty can seem an unlikely possibility.

After 30 years in journalism, Kirsty Nancarrow became a teacher, businesswoman and author.

That transition took her from an ABC newsroom in tropical north Queensland to the Himalayas with the help of a former child slave who was determined to better his community. Richard Dinnen chronicles Kirsty’s post-ABC  journey

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Dorothy Hallam - Pioneer ABC News Cinematrographer

When ABC’s television service opened in 1956, the news cinematographers were men. But within a few years, plucky women started to break through the barriers. Among the trail blazers was Dorothy Hallam – now a feisty 97-year-old – who began working for the national broadcaster as a permanent stringer in early 1961 and continued in the role for 22 years. Her work may well have fallen through the cracks of history had it not been for an uncanny series of events. Now both Dorothy and her films are being feted in a remarkable renaissance. 

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Vale Leigh Tierney – Production Designer Extraordinaire

Leigh Tierney, production designer extraordinaire passed away on 9th January 2024. He spent four and a half decades at the ABC in Sydney, working in drama, documentaries and news and current affairs. Flamboyant, fastidious and very, very creative, he is fondly remembered by Eric Napper and friends.

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Vale Wendy Borchers – Renowned Archive Producer

It was with great sadness that we learned last week that legendary archival powerhouse, Wendy Borchers has died at the age of 78 years. Wendy spent four decades at the ABC and has left a legacy of some of the ABC’s most important and memorable archive-rich programs. In retirement, she was a strong and active member of ABC Alumni, contributing articles on 4 Corners’ 60th Anniversary and her memories of growing up as an Argonaut. She was also a passionate campaigner for an independent and properly funded public broadcaster.

The ABC Archives Research Group has written this tribute to their former colleague, mentor

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Utzon: Finding the master architect

The Sydney Opera House is celebrating its 50th anniversary this October. It has become an international cultural and architectural icon visited by millions. Yet its Danish creator, Jorn Utzon, never set foot in his completed masterpiece. The construction of the opera house was mired in controversy and bad blood forcing Utzon to leave the project and Australia in 1966. Reporter Anne-Maria Nicholson recalls the world exclusive interview with the banished architect that she obtained for the ABC in 2002.

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An ABC Visionary: Ken Watts

As the ABC restructures and creates a new vision to meet the challenges of an increasingly complex media landscape, alumnus Eric Hunter says there’s much that can be learned from earlier – albeit simpler – times. Here he tells the story of an extraordinary executive whose vision turned ABC TV into a creative powerhouse in the 1960s and 1970s. His name was Ken Watts, and his emphasis was on attracting greater audiences through quality, innovation and experimentation.

Photo: Ken Watts in 1959

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In Solidarity With Stan Grant

The decision by Stan Grant to step aside from Q+A, after being subjected to shameful racist vitriol, is a wake-up call for all in the media. First and foremost are those who wrongfully singled out Stan to continue a long-running campaign of hysterical snipings about the ABC, and in doing so fed social media trolls with an appetite for deplorable personal invective. Then there’s the ABC management which was too slow to come to his defence. Inevitably, this has come at great personal cost to Stan and we hope that his courage in calling out malicious racism and unwarranted personal attack will be a catalyst for positive change.

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Secret Report Reveals Why Government Closed ABC Radio Station

By Alex Butler and Fay Woodhouse

A recently discovered 1970s government report provides an intriguing insight into a short-lived experiment in ABC broadcasting history. Radio 3ZZ in Melbourne, established concurrently with the Sydney youth station 2JJ, pioneered community access and multiculturalism in public broadcasting. But after only two years of operation, on 16 July 1977, the multilingual station was forcibly closed at the direction of the Federal Government, assisted by the Commonwealth police. The closure, according to a group of former 3ZZ staff, was one of the most serious attacks on the ABC’s independence in its history. Now the newly emerged report, kept secret from staff at the time, throws new light on the closure and shows how it was also enabled by an acquiescent management and board (the then ‘Commission’). A significant fallout for ethnic broadcasting was the establishment of SBS.

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ABC 'Methuselah' Robyn Williams Gives a Candid Insider's View for the Alumni

Science broadcaster Robyn Williams has trod the corridors of the ABC for half a century. Best known for his long-running and internationally renowned The Science Show, he combines a fine mix of in-depth and often quirky reporting that attracts old and young alike. We asked this self-described ABC ‘Methuselah’ for his inside assessment of the public broadcaster today, his views of some of the criticisms and what he’d like to see change.

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The ABC of Australian Christmas Carols

Often forgotten in recollections of ABC achievements is the national broadcaster’s role in creating a collection of much-loved Australian Christmas carols. Former staff sound librarian and music collections coordinator Lynne Carmichael was introduced to them while singing in choirs in her 20s and 30s. They’ve formed an important part of her own Christmas celebrations ever since.

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