The initial training
of staff in television began in 1955 at the Royal Melbourne Technical
College. Peter MacGregor wrote of his experiences in the ABC Journal,
Radio Active under the title "Television
- Here We Come"
Later in 1955,
training commenced in Sydney at the St. Peter's Church Hall, situated
opposite the old ABC Radio Studios in Forbes Street, Darlinghurst.
The first Introductory Course was held from November 21 to December
2, 1955. Again Radio Active covered the event as Ten
Days TV. This was followed by Sydney's
First ABC TV Show on Wednesday December 23.
course for Script Assistants (Producer's Secretaries) was held
in Sydney. A photo of four of the attendies appeared in the News
for Women section of the press.
Doug Grant also covered those early
days of Training in his book "Alright Leaving Here"
followed in early 1956 with TV Demonstrations culminating in a Presentation
to The Post Master General, the ABC Chairman and members of the
Commission on February 24. A group
photo of ABC staff and talent (hover
over faces to reveal names)
was taken on 24th February 1956 during this training at St Peter's
Session training programme was also held in St Peter's Church
Hall in the early part of 1956. Pat Pearson together with Athol
Fleming, John Ewart, Gina Curtis and Barbara Frawley were all part
of the radio Childrens' Session in the mid 1950's and were involved
with the transition from radio to TV. A puppet called "The
Muddleheaded Wombat" was used in the ABC Childrens' Theatre,
part of the set can be seen in the background. The presenter, Pat
Pearson, is holding the Wombat
puppet. Pat was also involved with the old Phillip Street Theatre
and was a very talented young actress. Unfortunately the transition
was not smooth and the TV Childrens programs had a very brief appearance
on the few screens in 1956-7.
Television instructors from
overseas (UK, USA and Canada) were employed to train ABC staff.
Radio Active further reported on TV
Training in its July 1956 issue.
from a floorshow at St Peter's Hall. Eddy Berlage on Camera.
Margaret Delves playing the harpsicord in St Peter's Hall. Margaret
became the youngest
TV producer at the start of ABN Channel 2. Her story is told
Training Workshop (hover
over faces to reveal names)
was also held in Melbourne before the Olympic Games involving staff
from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. Ideas
were shared in the lead-up to the games in several joint training
sessions. A training OB at the Melbourne show covered a
Fashion Parade in the Wool Pavillion. Scotts Hotel was used
as a training venue for a Variety
of the website deals with the training issues for 'technician' staff
at Gore Hill. The first advertisment to start a technical training
scheme appeared mid 1957 requesting applications for the positions
Instructors and Trainees.
The first ABC
intake of Technicians-in-Training (known as the TITs) at ABN Channel
2, Gore Hill occurred in the beginning of 1958. Regular yearly recruitment
then followed. The T.I.T. course was four years in duration. At
the conclusion of the course the Trainees were promoted into Technician
The intake of
1958 was divided into two small groups. As one group attended classes
at North Sydney Technical College the other group worked on the
station. However, this was the only year such an arrangement was
implemented - from 1959 the whole group either went to College or
worked on the station.
given an Introduction
to ABC TV Engineering Services a document prepared by John Watson,
their Training Supervisor.
at the Technical College during the early years included Circuit
Theory, Electronics, Laboratory and Workshop Practice.
In those days
'technicians' performed a broad range of work from installation,
maintenance to operational functions such as vision mixing and camera.
Therefore the areas that Trainees were allocated to covered a variety
of functions that included Cable Duties in Studio 21, assisting
with the setting up of Outside Broadcasts, general installation
work, Telerecord Film Processing and Engineering Workshop.
Tech College teachers during 1958 and 1959 included Stan Graves,
Bob Green, Milton Moore.
of some of the graduated 1958 trainees was taken outside the ABN2
Transmitter building with their Training Supervisor, John Watson.
(Click image to enlarge)
A formal Graduation
Night for the 1958 and 1959 intakes of Technician-in-Training was
held in Radio Studio 227 at Kings Cross, where a combined group
photo was taken..
Their Certificates were presented
by Vern Kenna the Controller of Technical Services and the Presentation
Evening was coordinated by John Watson, the Supervising Technician
responsible for the trainees selection and training. Also in attendance
were representatives of the North Sydney Technical College, Gore
Hill and family and friends of the trainees.
in the photograph are:
Front row left
(58), Alan Sheffield (59), David Arthur (59), Artley Pickup (59),
Bruce Watson (58), John Bourne (59), Bob Connor (58)
Rear row left
(58), Jeff Brown (58), John Nixon (58), Athol Adams (58) (partially
obscured), Peter Ollier (59), Peter Lipscomb (59), David Lambert
(59), Richard Carden (58) (partially obscured), Peter Knevitt (59),
Peter Vendrell (59), John Marsden (58), Noel Cantrill (58)
Inserts are of
those absent from the group photograph. They are: Arthur Gray (58),
Bob Sitsky (58), Bob Rose (58), David Brogden (58). Jim Wilkinson
(59 advanced) was also unable to attend.
for technical staff was not available in the fifties. Staff had
to obtain relevant qualifications through self study. However there
was a common thirst for knowledge and spontaneous group mentoring
took place in the workplace.
in those early days of television were : a BOCP for appointment
as a Technician and a TVOCP for appointment as a Senior Technician.
Both these exams had a theoratical component and a practical component.
The exams were conducted externally by the PMG Department. Past
copies of examinations were circulated, and staff used these papers
to assist them in self study.
The main text
books used during this time were: TV Engineering by Chin, Television
Engineering by Amos & Birkenshaw. From 1958, after the appointment
of a Supervising Technician (Training), internal notes became available
on broadcasting topics such as 'The Image Orthicon Tube'.