My Gore Hill Days - Bob Winley


Working in television in the early '60s

 
 


My first year - 1961

The Australian Broadcasting Commission opened its first Sydney television station, ABN 2, in November 1956. It is true that Sir Robert Menzies launched ABC television from the Woolworths Building in Kings Cross but the Station was built across the harbour beside the Pacific Highway at Gore Hill. The PMG run transmitter was on-site where its giant tower dwarfed 'Little Toot', the small initial tower which was kept for things like microwave links.

At seventeen years of age, after highschool Leaving Certificate exams, a Christmas job and a month's holiday, I started at the ABC as a television Technician-in-Training early in February 1961. I turned up at a City building for my induction. In a rushed ceremony in a dingy office, I and a beautiful new office girl were told to promise to obey the Crimes Act and swear on a Bible to make it stick. I was swiftly told to put my hand beside the girl's hand on the Bible and not on top.

Next, I made my way over the Sydney Harbour Bridge by train to St. Leonards Station and then I walked up to Gore Hill. I reported to the Engineering Department secretary, Grace Harvey, who was a very efficient and valuable person there. I can't remember what she did with me but Dave Arthur, an older trainee, was appointed to show me around and find me a locker and so on. He was very friendly and helpful. The impressive television factory he showed me gave the impression it was built to last a lifetime. Next morning I started work in Engineering Stores downstairs under the stern eye of the ex-army storeman. I swept all of the gritty floor in the sloping basement (under Studio 22) on my first work afternoon.

The stint in stores was six long weeks. I was full of curiosity about what was going on upstairs and about people I saw in the canteen. With colleague Steve Jago I reclaimed miles of 16mm sprocketed magnetic tape, looking for damage, yellow pencil marks and hard-to-find splices. Also I painted grid reference letters and numbers high on the walls of the main storeroom and learned the quadruplicate requisition form paperwork routines. Also where a lot of things were kept, from workshop tools to valves, safety clothing (including the insidious asbestos gloves), electronic components and tiny nuts and bolts and so on.

Stored under Studio 22 were some big boxes full of valves, still usable but no longer managing 80% of peak performance due to age-diminished emission readings. I was told they couldn't be given away or even sold because of government regulations to do with taxes and the protection of makers' markets. They would be smashed in the presence of a witness who was qualified to sign for them all. They would be literally written off. There were some universal valve testing machines in the station. They had impressive Bakelite casings. I would soon learn how to operate them. The station relied on many thousands of valves.

The traditions of sending a new arrival to the stores to ask for a 'long stand', a tin of chequered or striped paint or left-handed twist drills were alive and well. The storeman played along. Somebody tried to send me for a 'long weight' but I woke up in time. I remember only one victim being fooled ignominiously. (He wasn't in my group.)

During that time I met my colleagues, the other nine or so "Group '61" T.i.T.s. (Technicians-in-Training.) We met every payday in the Artists' Assembly Room near the front entrance to pick up a buff envelope with our payslip and our cash. The pay was eight guineas ($16-80) a week until my eighteenth birthday which was away off in August. I'd been getting ten guineas per five-and-a-half day week working in a shop before Christmas.

The newly recruited Group '61 assembled to meet the man in charge of training at Gore Hill, the quiet natured John Watson. I remember meeting Paul Ament, tall, wearing a red jumper and I met Alan Boxsell who confirmed with me that my fathers' family and his clan were well known to each other on the South Coast of NSW. Steve Jago was there and Bob Dickinson, Dave Bentham (a migrant from England), Howard Lilley, Bob Thomson, Alex Nicotin. Others came later in the year, I think, Roy Jeffrey (also born in England), Graeme Astridge and Brian 'Joe' Williamson from far off Young. That's all from memory so there may be errors.
We would get tea money and car allowance cash when we started doing shift work. This largesse was dispensed in "The Cottage" up past the transmitter building where the ABC resident architect (Mr Green) and the news film people were housed. Every penny was welcome. We had Staff Association dues and tea money deducted from our pay. Some of us consumed more tea than others during our careers.

Tech began. North Sydney Technical College gave T.i.T.s courses in English, maths, workshop practices, electrical wiring, electronics and radio and television techniques. 'Supertech' John Watson was the ABC TV training chief and taught us some courses at Gore Hill but the bulk of our lectures and practical lessons were done just down the Highway at the big Tech complex which had recently added the TV and radio training studio.

The lecturers we had at NSTC were good men and one, Ron Eyles, had worked at Marconi in England developing some of the very gear that was in use in the studios. Another man was from the British Navy on Malta (a radio and radar man) and the electrician was an old hand from the power supply industry in NSW. For metalwork we had a tough but good man who'd been work-hardened by years of rough-and-ready apprentices. For the one-year course of English and report writing our tutor was an elderly retired clergyman. He really liked my essay on motorcar designers.

My second six week stint was on lighting. In the studios at last. On the Monday morning I went in through the north-western door to Studio 21 and heard two chaps working up above on the centre catwalk.
I stood there looking up, a bit awed, and asked "Are you Mr. Povey?"

One of them said "What's all this Mr. Povey business? I'm Jack. This is Fred. What's your name?"

"Robert Winley."

"Oh Fred! Not another Bob!"

So Jack Povey from England and Fred Bott from Holland changed my name that morning and started teaching me lighting rigging. I met 'pups' (500W lamps), 2Ks, 5Ks, 'barn doors', 'scoops', 'broads', Reyrolle plugs but not the follow-spot or 'inkies' until later on. I think the show that day was "Woman's World" in the home interior set with that huge venetian blind. I met stage hands then. Frank Arnold, Nick Tate and so on. They and most other stagehands of that time went on to have great careers, acting and directing in TV and films.

Then, after our morning tea break, in came the floor manager and the crew, camera, sound, CCU, technical producer, director and script assistant. Those last four mostly stayed upstairs in the control room but the lighting chief, John Hicks that day, I think, walked around the set pointing and focusing the lights we'd put up and plugged in. The cameras were being 'lined up', pointing in turn at a big printed cardboard test chart on an easel standing in the set.

The studio corridors had an unforgettable set of background sounds that changed subtly through the day. They included the ever-whining floor polishing machines on endless corridor vinyl tiles, hammering from the carpenters, the semitone, climbing "cling-cling-cling" from the piano tuner, the strident thousand-cycle test tone and the niggling line frequency whistle (15,625 cycles) of anything that made pictures, the cups rattling on the tealady's trolley and the very low frequency waft of air conditioning which usually had to be switched off in a studio while it was "On-Air".

But walking into a sleeping studio would drown you in oppressive silence. The clanking and squealing of lighting dimmer clutches was trapped in the impressive, though now so primitive, brick and concrete dimmer bank rooms. These days I collect movie projectors so I still enjoy their particular clicking whir quite often. (I can't hear 15,625 cycles now that it's so rarely used anyway but I have high frequency tinnitus to replace it!)

During that first year I went to different duties and slowly learned how to contribute to the making of television programs and maintaining the machinery. My pay increased on my birthday and I was driving myself to work, saving three hours per day, in my first car. My fellow trainees were doing much the same. At Gore Hill we parked in the carpark in front of the main building if we were early enough otherwise by the road around the building or down the hill from the Outside Broadcast Department. Cars were a big thing to most of us then.

My six week turn in the workshop downstairs was an unanticipated highlight for me because, apart from making hundreds of complex little brass components for lighting pantographs and various punched, folded and welded sheet metal items, with the staff's encouragement I made a model aeroplane engine using mainly the Hercus six-inch lathe. The little diesel engine works very well. I did riveting, I did welding, I did sewing. On padded drying rollers for the impressive film developing machine upstairs, with calico and needle and thread I obtained from the Wardrobe Department lady. All useful new skills. For the ABC and for me.
There were four technicians in that workshop. Each had a specialty. One favoured nuts and bolts and machined components, one was a welding fan, one loved pop rivets and the last could do wonders with Araldite. So the guys upstairs tended to choose who fixed each problem according to what they thought was the best method for each case. The system worked quite well in practice. Except when the 'Araldite King' was repairing a Variac control handle and warmed it to make it set faster only to melt the whole wheel. Sad.

I worked on "Six O'clock Rock" dragging camera cables and wrangling lights and microphones and I worked on the various children's programs. I watched while Michael Charlton demolished unworthy politicians in his calm interviews, leading them up the garden path and politely closing the gate on them. There was classical music with the best orchestras and artists in the country, and, more exciting for me, showbands, dance bands and jazz. I began to get to know some of the 'musos'. There was ballet, there were the dancing girls (who did not go unnoticed), popular singers, personalities, authors and dramas with Australia's top actors and actresses and some from overseas.

On the job and at tech we all wore similar clothes, cuffed trousers, white shirt, a narrow tie and, as needed, the ABC grey dustcoat. Pullovers, cardigans and jumpers appeared in colder weather. The Technical Producers wore, almost as a uniform, houndstooth sportscoats, some with leather elbow patches. For some very formal shows the visible crew wore dinner suits. We all wore rubber soled shoes in the studios.

Towards the end of first year most of us had cars. They were all older, cheaper, even pre-war models which were very high-maintenance things indeed so we had to learn quickly how to keep them going. We had some tools and plenty of incentive. Public transport was no luxury and very time consuming. Practical jokes began to occur, mainly at the Tech College. A victim would be distracted while his sparkplug leads were jumbled or his plugs were given a lead pencil line from top to bottom, short circuiting them, or a big firework bunger was wired up to the ignition circuit. At knock-off time the jokers would surreptitiously gather to watch the results, ready to laugh like drains.

These tricks taught me to do rapid under-bonnet checks of ignition components, firing order, foreign objects and to find apple or potato blocking the exhaust pipe. Good, useful training, I realize now. But one night at the studios they really got me. I had a little pre-war Morris 8. A pathetic thing, really, looking back, but my pride and joy then. I was working on something that finished after midnight. The carpark lights were switched off at midnight so I went to my car, or rather felt my way to it, in pitch darkness. I got in and swung my left arm over to put my briefcase on the back seat and hurt my wrist on something sharp. Something that certainly shouldn't have been there. I investigated carefully. By feel.

There was no interior light in the roadster so I had to remove the seventy-odd housebricks by touch alone. I stacked them all blindly on the edge of the garden bed. At last I could feel no more bricks so I got in, started the engine and attempted to drive off. No go. The poor car wouldn't move. The studios and the transmitter were shut down and the place was dead silent. In those days the whole City was pretty silent after midnight. The nearest human was the commissionaire, some distance in behind the locked front doors of the dormant main building, asleep over his desk, his forehead on his forearms. A long tactile investigation found that the car was anchored to a lamp pole by multiple strands of high-tensile fencing wire round the rear bumper and the rear springs. It took me another forty minutes to untie it all because I didn't have a tool that could cut it and the tail light barely lit up part of the massive tangle.

Finally free, I drove off up the Pacific Highway towards home and my overdue sleep. I never mentioned the prank to anyone and nobody asked me anything, even obliquely, about it. Buggers!

First year duties included "cable dragging". The studio cameras moved about a lot during some shows. Though the camera cables were an inch thick they had to be helped along and kept from catching under the metal guards around the wheels of the pedestals and the Vinten camera crane. And of course they could never be allowed to trip the cameraman or run out of slack, tug on the camera and spoil a shot. At the end of a shift the cables were wound onto pairs of wall pegs in a figure-of-eight pattern. The only spoiler was having to wash off all the squashed cake and sticky icecream after all the children on Thursday Partyland had had their messy fun.

When a camera was idle or unattended it had to be "capped up" and "locked off" so it wouldn't be damaged by pointing at a lamp or by tilting or swinging around dangerously. A lot of lore like this was soaking into us.
For some shows we were only busy during setting up and striking so we could sit in the viewing room to watch the proceedings. When a door was left open we'd listen to the director's calls and learn more about the business. I was doing that one day when Isaak Stern was playing violin as only he could and he broke a string. Live. It sounded like a pistol shot. The genius kept playing perfectly by compensating for pitch and rearranging his fingering but the other interesting thing I heard was the alarmed lamentation of his assistant who'd been sitting behind the sound man. He calmed down a bit when he realised that the Maestro seemed unfazed and he restrained himself from running past us and downstairs with the spare string packet waving in his right hand. (I think it was the A.) But only until the piece was almost over.
We weren't supposed to climb over the steel handrailings in the viewing rooms but we were always doing it.

I passed all of my Tech exams, including maths in which I'd stumbled badly at school during the previous year. I'd caught up. I topped in English and in metalwork I'd made a very useful steel toolbox to keep forever. (But seven years later someone stole it.) My circuit wiring was a bit untidy although it always worked but my circuit diagram drawing was pretty neat. I had a good idea how things worked, of the jargon, the culture and the joys of making television by the time my first annual holidays came around. And I liked my situation.


Learning More Ropes - 1962 to 1964

Australia's original rock-and-roller, Johnnie O'Keefe, came back to visit the Saturday evening rock show. He hid behind the set where I handed him an RCA BK 4 Starmaker microphone (ironic, I now see) and, on cue, he popped out to surprise the audience with his ineluctable presence. Sir Charles Moses rang the control room saying "Get him off. Immediately!" because, in taunting his hecklers, yes, there were many, the fading rocker had said "Oh, why don't you go home and eat your Kellogs' Cornflakes!" The rumour was that J O'K was already banned from the ABC but it was the "Kellogs' Cornflakes" that really upset Sir Charles.
Brand names were taboo on Auntie ABC and for the cooking show all the ingredient packets and jars were painted in shades of matt grey by the props guys to hide Mother's Choice, Saxa, Kraft, CSR, Norco, Allowrie and the like from the susceptible housewives at home. I thought they went a bit too far but Sir Charles was a man who made rules that outlasted him.

My second car was a 1934 Riley 9 Monaco saloon. Huh. A bit of a gamble, old, quaint, slow as a wet week and no brakes. There were two tricks I did with it outside the front doors of the Studios. One I did daily was to pull up, rev the engine, switch off and stride through the big glass front doors of the building before the engine came to rest. It had such a big flywheel, tiny pistons and low compression that the feat was pretty easy even if I parked half way to the gate. The other trick happened only once. I'd removed a nut and bolt from the centre of the big shiny radiator cap and driven to work with just a hole there. I pulled up sharply near the front of the building in the presence of half the crew and an impressive fountain, a thin stream of radiator water, spurted sparkling high into the air. The crew laughed themselves silly, gathered round my crazy clown car.

There was a big fuss and ado when "Four Corners" began. People making the show had rooms in "The Cottage" and in the separate building out front where the canteen was housed. I think the program was all done on film for a while but when videotape came along the show was assembled in Studio 21 with the opening film, studio introduction, taped studio interviews if any, filmed story, credits etc. and videotaped right through on Friday nights to air on Saturdays. A full studio crew was provided on the 1400 to 2230 hour (2 to 10.30 PM) shift.

But it didn't run that way. The edited film was seldom delivered to Telecine before 2200 hrs so we always worked substantial extra time, involving overtime, meal and travelling allowances. I remember us finishing later than 0330 on Saturday morning more than once. We whiled away time in the hushed building playing games, chatting and smoking for those hours. We youngsters even took to taking our shoes off and sliding in our socks like portents of future skateboarders on the persistently polished vinyl tiles. The camera tube hours and the overtime bill ticked up relentlessly and we trainees took turns at making big pots of tea in the kitchen along the corridor and around the corner near the TPs' office. The big tea trolley racked up a lot of miles and most of us learned to make jolly good ABC quality tea. Award winning programs can be expensive, I suppose.

We had a dubbing suite. There was a theatrette, bio box, announcer's booth and control room with its control desk for the director, his assistant and the sound mixer. The newsreel companies would have had similar set-ups for mixing sync sound, sound effects, music and commentary for their daily news and for documentary films. The projector and the soundtrack players and recorder up in telerecord were all run off a Selsyn synchronising three-phase generator. (Original sound from quarter-inch Nagra recorders was put onto 16mm tape, still synchronised, for the exercise.) Stock sound effect and music discs were played on the turntables on the control room desk. "Weekend Magazine" was made weekly using this facility.

The narrator's ("voice-over") script was typed in "grabs", paragraphs which each began on a cue from the action on the film. A writer stood behind the narrator and tapped his shoulder on cue to start him reading each grab at the right time. In rehearsal, sometimes words were changed to improve fluency or to change the length of a grab to make it fit the picture better. The end results were always pretty smooth.
The theatrette was used for a while as a stop-motion animation film studio to make a colour cartoon called "Wambidgee" with music by John Antill. In a miniature bush scene, cute puppets and animals were bent and moved by increments between double-frame shots. The colour film had to be sent out for processing. There was great disappointment when in the middle of a long scene one of the lamps blew and to prevent the obvious drop in the background lighting from spoiling things the whole scene had to be done again at the cost of much time and effort and some film stock. Film editor Bill Copland was pleased to be back in his element, editing colour film again as he'd done in England. I heard the series sold overseas. The footage I saw looked brilliant in colour.

One day I was sent to the staging workshop where I was shown a huge shipping crate. I was asked to demolish it carefully from around its contents. I started out slowly, having no real skill at the job. It became apparent I was unpacking our new, huge Mole-Richardson camera crane. Word got around and soon I had many willing helpers. Eventually all that was left was the floor of the monster's box. The next day someone rolled the crane off the wooden base and pushed it to a spot outside Studio 22. There it stayed for ages until the X-ray specialists turned up.

They were looking for a casting fault near the middle of the main boom. They attached a large film plate to one side near the centre pivot and clamped the end of a sort of hose on the other side. The hose ran to a thing that looked like a three-phase welder. It was in fact a lead box with a tiny radioactive pellet which was sent along the hose by compressed air to sit for a certain number of seconds in the end of the hose, exposing the film, before being returned to its box by reversing the air valves. We weren't allowed anywhere near. I think they took several pictures. Rumour had it that the operators wore lead underclothes.

Our crane got the all-clear after a couple of weeks and it moved into the studio under its own special three-phase power to gain a camera and many worshippers… willing volunteers to operate it. It took an extra crewman to swing the boom. It was vastly more impressive than the "old" Vinten crane next door. Of course, it wasn't long before its top speed and braking capacity were explored over the length of the empty studio. (Not by me.)

Videotape arrived and took up residence around the corner past the film striping room in the west wing. Jack Lawler was one of the keepers and Jim Wilkinson was a devotee. The first two machines took up a whole room with their several cupboards-full each of supply and control gear that ran on valves, pumps and relays. There were compressed air and vacuum supplies. The 2 inch tape, with the transverse picture tracks laid and read by four heads on a drum spinning at 21,000 odd revs-per-minute, gave a good sharp picture as long as the correct 'penetration' was used to avoid the dreaded 'venetian blind effect'. The tape had a mono sound track, a timing ('magnetic sprocket hole') track and a cue track. Picture quality, (resolution, grey scale and noise level,) was excellent as was the sound (at over 15 inches a second). Pretty good. Except for the matter of editing or dropping in inserts.

In 1962 the wide, thin tape had to be cut and taped together to do each edit or splice. To keep the pictures stable the tape had to be painted with 'Ediview', a magnetic particle emulsion, to show up the narrow transverse vision tracks and the timing track signal under magnification so the super-accurate splice edge cuts could be made and aligned. This was difficult, time consuming and unreliable as well as rendering tape recycling very uneconomical. I don't think splicing was ever a routine at Gore Hill and not just because of the high cost of the tape. "Why can't we just switch from play to record mode while the tape is running?" people asked.

Good question. Thinking caps were put on to solve the many problems. Jack Lawler, Neville Thiele and others came up with many of the answers and demonstrated switching, during field blanking, from play to record. We'd built Jack a 10 millisecond delay box (using a valve!) to make a monitor scan late vertically to display field blanking mid-screen so replays of the mode transition could be studied. Jack's program was known as "Lawlertec".

Ampex Corporation were supplying the videotape machines which were evolving so quickly that each of ours was different. (For instance, our first had a start sequence logic board that used relays where our second one used large TO-3 style transistors.) The ABC were big agitators for electronic editing of tape. Ampex supplied us with an electronic editing set up, serial number 2, and then by the end of 1963 they announced their "Editec" which allowed accurately timed editing, inserting and even animation to be done on tape, controlled via the cue track. That was, once program directors knew what to ask for. One just had to "copy and paste" to replace the sound track after vision only inserts or animation because subsequently recorded vision ran unchecked across the longitudinal tracks and added a harsh whining "buzz" to the sound.

The first special effect using videotape that I remember was in a light music program featuring Isador Goodman. The great man had been with the ABC on and off since the opening radio program and he was a brilliant entertainer on a grand piano. During the show he played a duet with "his brother George" using split screen and a pre-recorded tape. Of course "George" wore a different suit and played the lower notes. The effect was splendid and the act was very entertaining.

The coming of videotape was a watershed event in any television station. It didn't replace film but things, particularly scheduling, were never the same again. In many ways it was far more significant than the advents of colour pictures and stereo sound.

We were let loose on vision mixing, under supervision at first, then on our own, sitting near directors and instantly obeying or even anticipating their snapping fingers or staccato barking and listening for the scriptos' alerts. I remember a long sequence of still photographs I artily dissolved my way through, pleasing myself and many viewers. As it got underway the director saw it was working and just let me get on with it. Doubly satisfying. I did make a couple of bloopers on other shows, though. They are still heavy on my conscience but I hope I'm forgiven at this distance in time!

In Telecine we ran 16mm film in conventional projector pairs. We showed slides in a double-barrelled changer. It could do dissolves, wipes and other tricks. There was an EMI flying-spot scanner for 16 and 35mm which ran very smoothly but had to run the film at 25 frames a second. I remember Roy Bruce sitting at his control desk patiently for hours patting his tummy with one hand and riding black levels with the other. Telecine was on the north-western side of the building and had big windows furnished with the thickest deep red velvet curtains. On hot summer afternoons even those curtains were inadequate and the normally good air conditioning couldn't keep up so the doors to the corridor were propped open.

We had a processing plant to handle black-and-white 16mm movie film. There was a contact printer next door. That looked a bit like a projector but with six reels and no projection lens. Negative film ran through the gate and unexposed film stock ran through in contact with it and was exposed by a lamp which could be varied in brightness. Obviously, raw, undeveloped film stock was kept in lightproof cans and the room was lightproof and fitted with a dim red worklamp. As many prints as were needed could be made with the printer and the processing machine in the bigger darkroom along the corridor. "Weekend Magazine", for example, was printed at least five times.

The prints were developed, striped with magnetic emulsion, and synchronous sound was recorded onto each copy. Telerecordings were made on two alternating Arriflex cameras shooting a high quality picture tube that displayed only every second field. That allowed plenty of pull-down time but needed "spot wobble' of the electron beam to fill in the missing lines. Sound was recorded on 16mm sprocketed tape, on up to half-hour reels. Telerecordings could be made from a negative picture on the tube to give a direct positive film and, further, if needed, Telecine could project negative film as positive by reversing the polarity of the picture signal. And there was a gamma (grey scale curve) adjustment provided.

Trainees didn't operate the printer but did help mix developing and fixing chemicals and in the cleaning and servicing of the big Houston Fearless processor with its myriad rollers, interruption stations, bath tanks, air drying cabinets and padded rollers. In operation, only dim red light could be used in this room. Once film was threaded through the machine it was normal to keep stapling one reel after another end to end as the processing marched on at a constant (but adjustable) speed and when the last film for the day was entering the labyrinth some stock blank film was stapled on to wind through to the other end, keeping the monster "threaded-up", before the whole thing was shut down for the night or for servicing. Only with just blank film in the machine could the white lights be switched on. A procedure was carried out to recover the by-product, silver from the tanks, a valuable part of the process.

When I arrived for my first six weeks in Processing, the man in charge had a strong German accent and comically pronounced a chemical we mixed as "devver-lopper". He was frequently intently busy taking densitometer readings of test greyscales on developed film or analysing liquid samples for conductivity and potassium bromide levels. Regularly we made new brews. The powders and granules we weighed out or measured carefully went into a big stainless steel tank with a removable lid, a pumping system and hot and cold water taps to supply it. When the pump valves were set to just pump out and straight back into the tank the circulation was sufficient to mix everything well in a short enough time and then the valves could be set to deliver the mix to the appropriate bath next door.

Some of the powders were very dusty and floated thickly in the air around us. I often sneezed and blew my nose. Later I'd find holes burnt right through my handkerchief by the corrosive… substance. I started wearing a grocer's apron. It didn't make me sweat in the hot mixing room the way the official issue grey dustcoats did.

One afternoon there was a sudden need for a batch of developer for a big rush order of processing for something urgent. We started weighing out the list of ingredients using the recipe that was printed and displayed on the wall between the workbench and the tank. I kept getting packets and jars one after the other and adding the magic stuff to the warm water in the tank in the order indicated. Some of the ingredients were required in very large quantities and big bags and bins of stuff were kept in another room down the corridor. While the boss was out of the mixing room fetching them I kept putting into the tank the things I had to hand. By the time he got back something odd was happening in the tank. Little flecks were appearing in the clear liquid and growing and multiplying on their round trips through the pump and revolving majestically in the circular tank. I pointed to them.

"It's flocculating!" he yelled in anguish. "What have you done?"

I told him I'd reached nearly to the end of the recipe except that his scoopfuls of the big quantities were still to go in. He ran his finger down the printed sheet.
"So you put those in out of order!... No wonder!" He looked at the modern artwork in the tank for a few seconds.

I said "Can we save it?"

He whispered "Nein.", hunched his shoulders and opened the valve that fed the whole brew down the drain. He chased it when it was almost gone with a lot of cold water and then started filling the tank again with warm water in order to start all over again. I knew how much time my error had cost but I could only guess how much money the wasted chemicals were worth. That afternoon I stayed back late trying to make amends and we mixed a proper batch of "devver-lopper" to keep the busy rollers turning and I didn't put in for overtime.

One day John Watson cornered me in the corridor and told me very sternly that white grocery aprons were a definite no-no. I should have asked him about corrosion-proof handkerchiefs.

There was some spare room in the Engineering budget one year and because it was the practice to try to spend all of each year's allocation, every member of the department was issued with a hammertone green steel toolbox. Each contained a rubber hammer (used on camera mount wedges), a cable spanner, a soldering iron and a selection of other, mostly Swedish, useful tools. Most of us added more tools because we could take the box home overnight but we each had to have our box nearby whenever we were working. Thank you Dave Tapp or whoever had the idea.

Dave Tapp called a meeting of all studio technical staff. We stood in Studio 22 while Mr Tapp stood on the camera crane platform and berated us. There had been a problem with the wheels on a (five-or six-year-old) pedestal, he regretted, and it was caused by a lack of maintenance. He told us all that none of us was "a technician's bootlace". I thought that was a strange thing for him to say because he himself was in overall charge of maintenance and he hadn't established a proper scheme or schedule to cover the bulk of the studio gear. If he had, the work would have been carried out willingly and with skill and care. And no new schedules were established immediately following that meeting. Very un-ABC, I thought, because at the ABC in those days, chains of command and responsibility were usually very clear.

A couple of years later the Vinten crane was jacked up for chassis reconditioning. The brakeshoes were badly worn. I'd observed that most drivers habitually dragged the brakes. The Supertech said we would have to wait weeks while replacement shoes were requisitioned, approved, ordered and imported from the English makers. Big inconvenience indeed. Bob Clemesha took one look and said they were the same as Morris 8/40 (car) shoes. He got approval straight away to trot them up to Sam's Spares (on the Highway, opposite ATN 7's tower) who replaced them quickly. And cheaply. The crane was back in service next day. Very un-ABC but very effective, I thought.

Ravi Shankar paid us a visit. He brought a small band of musicians with him to introduce to Australian audiences traditional Indian music featuring the sitar and the tabla. Ravi was quietly friendly, a real gentleman, and shook hands with every crew member. We spent a long time in the studio recording a proper study of Ravi's music which he explained very clearly and illustrated very ably. Under the spell of much constantly burning incense we were entranced by time signatures such as thirteen/four and jazz-like improvisations on various exotic instruments. The studio was surrounded by black drapes and groundrow and several things like palm pot stands to hold the incense burners chest-high. There was a pool of light on the huge rich carpet in the middle where the musicians sat cross-legged to play in their accustomed style of comfort and lay down their idle or alternative instruments safely. This was fully two years before the Beatles met Ravi and disrupted his career more than somewhat.

I was rostered to vision mix in Studio 23 on the occasion of Spike Milligan's visit to Studio 22 for an interview. I think it was on "Bob Sanders' People". It was straight after the News and Weather when the word spread like a bushfire and all hands appeared on deck in the viewing room or in the shadows in Studio 22. Most of the staff followed the BBC's groundbreaking "Goonshow" on ABC radio on Sunday evenings. Spike wrote most of the scripts and performed as a Goon. The interview was an anarchic riot with everybody, including the despairing host of the show, all doubled-up laughing helplessly.

Lorrae Desmond's show was a popular one to watch and to work on. She always started by singing the up-beat "I Feel a Song Comin' On" and ended with the wistful "I'll be Seeing You". As the closing song came near the end the camera slowly craned up and back while Lorrae was lit, against black, by just the follow-spot which continued to iris in on her, in her sparkling sequinned gown, until just her distant face finally disappeared at the end of the last note. Proudly, I got to do follow-spot duty on her show.

The memorable George Kennedy, the red headed genius tech teacher, didn't appear till our third year. He'd come from Europe, changed his name, learnt Oxford English and our culture rapidly and taught us superbly while amassing lecture notes which he deftly assembled into textbooks for publishing by McGraw-Hill. He taught with skill, knowledge, wisdom and humour. He quoted Shakespeare in his notes on our report cards. "To work! Perchance to pass!" (Or, rather, misquoted.)

One oppressively hot afternoon we were all half asleep silently drawing circuit diagrams and slowly became annoyed by persistent slow banging from a lone panelbeating apprentice across the road. After an age George mumbled "Ah….Paranoid unwanted complex, eh?" Two beats later we were all laughing our heads off. Towards the end of third year I asked George, who drove a Volkswagen, if he'd give me higher exam marks as I was about to buy a 'Beetle' like his. "Oh no." he said "It's lower marks for someone about to destroy a Volkswagen!"

Note:- My Volkswagen was the first car I ever had that was in better condition when I sold it than when I bought it. By fourth year I'd learned to cope properly, doing most of the work myself including carpeting, improving the radio, installing seat belts (an innovation at the time) and taking the engine out and replacing vital parts.

I worked on Outside Broadcasts sometimes. Lonely link duties beside the Greystanes BMG (Blue Metal and Gravel Co.) quarry helping the operator pick up car races from Warwick farm and send them back to Gore Hill. I was of most use to him for aiming the "dishes". I'd stand on the roof of the van with headphones on, hearing "Down in the mud…. Down in the mud….Three….Three….Seven…." until a signal arose out of the noise on his oscilloscope and peak strength was found with the optimum horizontal and vertical aim of the receiver. The process was repeated for our transmitter, guided by the distant receiver operator's voice on the two-way radio.

Otherwise my duties were lugging and lifting the equipment, keeping an eye on "the donk", (the diesel trailer-generator set) and, through the long day at regular intervals, boiling the billy for tea. There were quiet days on a hill in the bush of Holdsworthy Army area where it was forbidden to go for a walk for fear of unexploded ordnance or unannounced combat exercises. There were just some birds and the donk, droning away in the middle distance. We had to engage four-wheel-drive to trek in and out of there in the loaded six cylinder Jeep wagon with the donk in tow. Sometimes we had to remove tree branches to keep signal paths clear.
It wasn't always lonely. I spent a day of comparative freedom in the pits at Warwick Farm's Tasman Series car races. My idea of Heaven. The director-producer was "The White Rat", Jim Allen and the TV commentators were Bill Reynolds the gentleman racing driver and the young motoring writer, Graham Howard. They were sitting on top of the scoreboard building and had a nearly impossible job seeing anything on their 14 inch picture monitor in the midsummer sunlight. I can't imagine how they covered races there on three cameras, even with the tall scaffold tower near the pond and the long lenses. Cars would have been out of sight so much of the time.

Running cables, I got to clamber around in the stratospheric, pitch dark spooky rafters of the Ex-Elizabethan Theatre in Newtown and see odd nooks and crannies, much pigeon guano and some fascinating sights around the Sydney Town Hall.

In fresher air we covered an athletics day at E.S. Marks Field. I'd heard of many of the competitors. Not being assigned a particular duty I was asked to just look after the various ABC vehicles while the crew were concentrating on televising the events. I was sitting in the "Inter", an International van that carried cables and lights, when a cigarette company rep asked me if he could stow his spare sample case in the cabin for a couple of hours. I said he could. He said "Do you smoke?" I said "No." No problem. Except when some of the crew came back to the truck later. I told them what happened and that the man just picked up his case. "Always tell them you smoke, Bob. They give us heaps of free fags!" So much to learn.

My loneliest shift ever was a solo all-nighter guarding the Marconi OB van which was all set up at the back of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. It was a last-minute posting so I hadn't been able to prepare by taking any snacks, books or a radio so it was a testing experience indeed. The dawn was very welcome. So was the extra pay.

I was intrigued when we and TCN 9 covered the same football match. We'd laid all our cables early and neatly with cable-crossing ramps and geometric precision all the way. Then I saw how the commercial guys did things. They turned up in their famous white OB van while we were having a "crib break" and hurriedly slung the ends of the camera cables, lasso style, over the high stone wall and deployed all their cabling without a straight line or right-angle in sight. Of course they were all set up well in time for the kick-off.

Setting up to do sound for that OB, I was alarmed when the commentator gave me a level test and his microphone sounded badly distorted. Of course, but I couldn't see, he had it right under his nose, anticipating a very noisy crowd around him during the game. The TP suggested, smiling, that I might like to put a 30 Db pad in that mike circuit so I climbed outside and found where to put it in the sound patch panel behind a flap on the side of the van. Don't ask me who won the match. Even who played. But our sound was just fine.

We were covering the Olympic swimming trials at North Sydney Pool which has no roof. While we drank tea after setting up we saw a fierce squall approaching across the Harbour. There was an urgent scramble to get all the gear covered securely before it hit. It hit hard but everything was saved. The whole crew had the spirit of a winning football team, I thought. On other occasions, late at night the drivers of the various ABC vans would race each other over the Harbour Bridge on the way home to Gore Hill. "Put you fooken foot down!" the rigger would urge.

There were some rough diamonds in the Outside Broadcast department. That rigger had a nickname everyone used but it took me thirty years to wake up and realize what it meant. It really was quite rude. I was an innocent during my Gore Hill days. It seemed anybody named Clark became "Nobby" but I still don't know why. I did know, though, that "The Judge" was so called because he was "always sitting on a case". Brian Williamson of our group was always known by his nickname, "Joe". He was from Young, way out in the country. He thought I was English, a "Pom", such was the difference in our accents.

The likeable Joe and I were teamed with Dave "Blue" Whiteman to man a link van. Blue was an old hand in the business. He and Joe were both knockabout, down-to-earth men and got on like old mates. Blue was surprised when Joe told him that all that stuff inside the Raytheon microwave transmitters and receivers was just black magic as far as he could tell. After we'd set up the repeater unit and aimed the big parabolic dishes, Blue offered to try to explain the basics to his new friend. In the afternoon sunshine he opened the side of the transmitter, revealing rows of glass tube valves hard at work, and explained things this way to the attentive Joe.

"These here valves all have a heater in the middle. See, they're all red hot! The thin tube round the heater is the cathode and the electrons in it get all hot and bothered and want to jump out. But there's a wire gate in their way, see. It's called the grid and it only takes a little bit of a voltage change on it to make those electrons either stay put or stampede through it to that metal wall round the outside. That's the plate. We run that at a high positive voltage to give the negative electrons plenty of incentive to have a bloody go. You know how a little kid can open and shut a good farm gate? Well the signal to the gate, the grid, is small compared to the signal all the escaped electrons make reaching that plate. That's how we can amplify stuff."

I'd watched Joe's eyes light up. He nodded firmly and gratefully. What are mates for? Blue, with his kindred language and view of things, taught Joe heaps more stuff. Stuff he hadn't understood in the more formal language of lecture rooms and studios. Joe qualified at the end of the four years of training. He learned, too, how to live well in big cities and soon enjoyed a long period in London among the real "Poms". Last time I saw him, at a reunion, he'd just retired. He'd been back in Australia running Young Shire Council's Aquatic Centre for some years.


Safety Considerations.

There were only a few accidents and injuries while I worked at Gore Hill. A chap had been hit under the chin, thrown into the air and injured badly before I started there. The crew were removing a camera from a pedestal whose column was supposed to be locked down against the upward force from its counterweighting. When the man was leaning over it, handing the camera off, it let go and rose at terrific speed with a bang. After much hospital time, the poor man was back on the job when I joined up but he had a permanent tic as a result of the trauma. We were hounded about pedestal safety. Also we were warned not to drop rollers or pins when attaching lamps to the scaffold tubes from the galleries above Studio 21. Someone did drop a roller once, resulting in a near-miss and a heavy reprimand. We were warned not to ride up on the electrically hoisted lighting battens in Studio 22 for fear of "instant dismissal".

Bob Clemesha was either very lucky or very unlucky when a camera tower scaffold toppled onto the audience seats in the Sydney Town Hall while he was climbing it to remove a big Taylor Hobson zoom lens. Bob survived landing on his back in the seating but received a glancing blow from the camera which knocked him out. The camera assembly had remained anchored to the falling tower by its sturdy turnbuckle but the heavy platform planks speared down and pulverized several seats but missed Bob. He came-to on a stretcher going down a steep, dark, narrow stairwell while his fellow crewmembers complained loudly about his weight. Bob was slim, but he was quite tall, after all. Still is. The crew had to make sure there was no cover-up of that incident.

The other scaffolding failure caused a Marconi camera to fall into the Nepean River while being struck after the Head of the River boat races. It was repaired with the use of gallons of WD40 and lots of soldering and insurance money. The WD40 melted the myriad wax capacitors so they were all replaced with the new PVC type. To the credit of the chaps who rebuilt them, the camera and the viewfinder saw out their full service life. The scaffolding problem was identified, dealt with, and it never recurred.

There were insidious hazards. We were warned not to stand in a transmitter beam and, luridly, what would happen to our… fertility. We were told of some bizarre effects of electric shock and not to just laugh if we ever saw them, but take instant appropriate action and hopefully save a mate. Carbon tetrachloride was used as a general solvent, notably for washing gunk out of projector gates including while the machine was running and on the air. This useful but dangerous liquid was suddenly banned in about 1963 and alcohol was supplied for most substitutions beside WD40 which was touted as the wonder-fluid. (It was very useful in some applications.) There were the asbestos gloves and asbestos in the buildings and in some of the equipment too.

Perhaps the worst hazard was smoking. It was allowed most of the time in the studios but matches and butts had to be kept off the floor diligently so that the cameras felt no bumps. In the control rooms nearly everybody smoked. Cigarettes, cigars and pipes. The ceilings and light fittings steadily turned brown over the years and sometimes the grey fug of smoke was so thick that picture matching had to be done by reading the green waveform monitors rather than the vague view of the bluish picture monitors. Some people made more smoke than others, though I won't name names, Billy, but anyway most of us took up the habit. After all, all the control desks had ashtrays built-in! I'm sure smoking was so common because of the stop-start nature of the job. I imagine there was a parallel situation in the armed forces.

A TP, Les Weldon, lived one street from me in Northmead. Sometimes he drove me to or from work when our shifts were the same and I was without-car. He'd built himself an FM stereo radio receiver and listened to the test broadcasts transmitted from Gore Hill. He liked classical music. He wasn't very happy when the tests stopped. The FM classical music silence lasted about fourteen years!

Another TP, Dick Cohen, owned a yacht which he enjoyed on free weekends. Any hobby, sport or pastime was subject to the demands of the almighty roster. The yacht was high and dry on a rented ramp in Woodford Bay. He needed help to push the work along. He'd nearly finished replacing the cabin roof and was anxious to get the rest ship-shape and painted and off the ramp. He paid me to help him with sanding and other work on a few Saturdays. For my last Saturday's work she was anchored in the bay and we had to row out to her in the little dinghy. I sanded paint all day, working from the dinghy in the afternoon without getting seasick and at sunset we motored, with the little six-horsepower Seagull outboard, very slowly and majestically to a new mooring. Thus ended that tiny chapter of my sailing history.

About that time, after I'd turned 21, I made my first visit to the 729 Club, a club for people working in or on television. The address was in Crows Nest. It moved over the Highway and into St Leonards while I was still in the industry. I wasn't a regular visitor but I met some interesting people and had some memorable times there. I was brought up a non-drinker and non-gambler. I did drink a bit for a couple of years but I stopped when I bought my first racing car. I never put more than a few dollars into the "pokies" at a time, just treating them as a mild amusement. I enjoyed visits to the Club for company and a way to wind down after a high-pressure show.

It was hard for many of us to go straight home and to sleep, still hyped-up in the middle of the night with not even test patterns on TV and the (now vanished) silence in the suburbs. In the near future I'd listen to Howard Craven on the midnight-to-dawn radio and ring him for requests. He always played them for me, "Bob from Chatswood". I'd do some painting or whatever while I listened. It did help me calm down to a point where I could sleep. I'm sure others had their different ways of coping with shift work and hype and "coming down".

A newly formed quartet turned up for an appearance in a variety show. I was on the left-hand boom. Shortly before their rehearsal the Technical Producer told the sound man and me "I'm told this group has perfect internal balance. We can probably just use the boom." They started rehearsing their first song. They all sang, three men and a girl, and the men played instruments, a double bass and two guitars. The BK 5 seemed to be giving the sound man what he wanted. When I lifted my headphones the group sounded great live. Full-bodied and perfectly balanced. They were "The Seekers".

At the end of 1964 we had our graduation night. We gathered in the big perforated-stained-plywood-lined Studio 227 in the Woolworth Building in Kings Cross, all dressed up and escorting elegant girlfriends to receive our ABC Technicians' Certificates from Dr Clement Semmler. He made a speech which I'm sure was very apt but which I just cannot remember after 53 years. The Chief Engineer made a speech assuring us we still weren't proper technicians yet. I do remember that. Others there were Dave Tapp and many other Engineering staff and wives along with our good shepherd, John Watson. He had wisely designed our training to allow us to obtain several non-ABC qualifications with not much extra work.

We all did the Broadcast Operator's Certificate of Proficiency test in AWA's classic radio building in the City in mid-1964. We did a test for our Television Operator's Certificate of Proficiency and our ABC Technician's exams in late 1964. The BOCP and the TVOCP were issued by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board. A couple of our group did some further study and got Electronics and Communication Certificates. We could have passed the Licensed Electricians' exam after adding the study of substations to what we'd already done. A few of our group learned Morse code for another qualification. DCA and the Navy, for instance, still used Morse. I thought it was on the way out so I didn't bother. I think only one of us failed to get our ABC Technician's ticket. He was offered an operational post but left and became a musician.


Out of School - 1965 and 1966.

Straight after training I was made an Acting Senior Technician and because I didn't nominate a preferred duty (camera, sound, telecine etc.), I was given relieving duty, standing in for people who were on annual leave or sick leave. That meant I eventually did every job an acting senior did. I did make a few mistakes. A lens change on-air during Bob Sanders' "People". Another one in a big avant-garde jazz program on Camera 4.
I did some really good things though. I was on sound on Sunday Concert, live on a Sunday afternoon, with a clarinet choir to mike. All the loose microphones in the station were next door in Studio 21 for some huge project like "Jazz Meets Folk". Just two RCA BK 5s hung from the ends of our two Mole-Richardson tricycle platform microphone booms. The musos in the ensemble were Sydney's best classical clarinettists and I managed to find the sweet spot and send good sound to the transmitter that afternoon with what I had. One mike for the announcer and just the other one over the arc of standing musicians. I didn't need to use echo, reverb or move a mike during the show.

I had some trouble doing sound on Thursday Partyland. Reg Quartley played a panto dame called Auntie Flo. He was short and agile and a born clown. He did the Marx Brothers' mirror act partnered by Ron Lee (who was soon to invent "Owly's School" for TEN 10). The act was a smash, wasted on little kids, I thought. But during the regular "Thursday Partyland" party scene, which was a melee, really, Reg would suddenly burst into song right underneath one or the other boom mike. "Around the World" was always his choice of aria. He did it to me and the TP told me the transmitter had shut down for a second, please be careful. Unlike ATN 7, we of the ABC didn't use audio compression. (Weston Baker, the famous sound man from ATN 7, loved it, he told me.) From then on I rode the faders watching Reg like a hawk through the sloping double-glazed window of the sound booth, standing up at my panel to keep a good view of the little rascal.

There were so many wonderful music experiences at Channel 2. Music is very important to me, as it was for many of the technical staff. We had The Magic of Music, Make Ours Music, Four for the Show, Café Continental, The Lorrae Desmond Show, The Brian Davies Show, evolved from Six O'Clock Rock, Sunday Concert, Jazz Meets Folk, Christmas specials, programs of German Lieder or arias, Lindley Evans or Henry Penn accompanying, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Sydney Youth Orchestra, big choirs, jazz quartets like Judy Bailey's. Operas. All kinds of visiting soloists from Isaac Stern to Larry Adler and speed record ace Sir Donald Campbell's lady, Tonia Bern, nightclub singing. I was spoilt rotten musically almost the whole time. Jim Gussey's ABC Dance Band, Eric Jupp's Orchestra. Little gems like hearing "Clair de Lune" on flute and harp. Hiding on the centre catwalk in Studio 21 above a vast valley of massed choirs and orchestras filling the studio tightly and making the most magnificent sound anyone could ever hear. And I was the only person to hear it live at its very focus. "Live" is an adjective and a noun. I mean both.

Master control was often manned by Kevin Tulk. I'll never forget him for several reasons. One, he wanted to sell me his old Riley car. In pieces. Well it did have the larger engine and brakes…. But I was only twenty and my father forbade the deal. Kevin gave me a lift to Parramatta Station once, just once, in his Messerschmitt three-wheel microcar and for the only time in my life I became very afraid of the wheelnuts on buses in afternoon peak traffic. He was famous for answering queries about signal quality from his section with his instant, very loud "It's alright leaving here!" His nickname was "40 Db". He was on the board of the 729 Club.
University students were sent to the station for practical experience. Master Control would often play host. One day a student became restless and left his chair behind the operators and started wandering around amongst the equipment banks. The transmitter chaps called up urgently about loss-of-signal. It wasn't "leaving here" at all. The enterprising student had found the patch panels and thought he'd tidy up. He unplugged and put all of the cords back in a neat row on the wall, all hanging vertically from their slots and leaving the video and sound boards empty and all the video and audio signals with nowhere to go…. After that little lesson, all students were told to sit on their two hands on pain of death until the tea trolley arrived. Then sit on one hand.

After lunch one day I was called up to the electronics maintenance section behind Master Control for a special job. Replacing the filterwheel string in a Marconi Mk 4 camera. All of those early cameras weren't very sensitive and needed a lot of light for studio work. (This called for a lot of electrical energy indeed.) But for outside broadcasts, filters were used so normal lens apertures, between f 5?6 and f 11, could be used so normal depth-of-field was preserved. The filters were installed in a disc which was rotated as needed to "cap up", select a filter or use the empty, no-filter position. It was turned by a string like the one in an old-style radio that moved the tuning pointer.

We could see where the string went and the Marconi workshop manual gave a long set of instructions for what it said was a six-hour job involving taking apart most of the front and half of the right hand side of the camera. The side where the camera tube lives. And on the Mk 4, the lens turret carried the geared iris drive motor. I looked at the thing from both ends, didn't take the instructions too seriously and said "Okay. I'll have a go." The camera was needed. We had no spare ones. They left me with the partially stripped camera and a spool of the specified string. I was a smoker by then. I smoked a Woodbine Export while I looked at the problem.

I trotted off to the workshop down in the basement and borrowed from Merv Somers some lengths 18 SWG steel oxy-welding wire. I trotted (literally) back upstairs and started work. I had to remove a few bits. By that time it was afternoon tea time so I went over to the canteen for my usual mug of made-on-milk coffee. Back on the job I put little loops and hooks on the ends of the welding wires and started to push the string through the bowels of the precious camera without damaging anything and via the correct, critical route.

I had to anchor the string temporarily at various stages as I went until I finally got it round the wheel. I attached both ends of the string using the correct knots and tension. After some reassembly of components, adjustments, testing and refitting of the outer casing, I reported that the camera was finished. The Supertech was surprised and delighted. After I told him how I did it in under two hours, he sent me back to my studio with many thanks. I wondered if Merv's welding rods were assigned 'special Marconi tool' numbers.

About 1965 we heard that the nightshift cleaner in the engineering areas downstairs, a migrant from Europe, a nice quiet chap with not much English, had been working for many years without claiming any penalty rates or meal allowances. Somebody noticed at last and he was helped and brought up to date with a huge lump sum of cash, like a lottery win.
About the same time we heard that the ex-army storeman had committed suicide. He'd drilled a neat hole in his car's bodywork, driven to North Head, connected a hose from the exhaust pipe to the special hole and gassed himself. We were left stunned and puzzled by this news.

One of my most enjoyable duties was a lonely one. I manned a Siemens projector in a small room between Telecine and Videotape and worked my way through a big trolleyfull of cans of 16mm films of various lengths and subjects. "Tech-checking". I would clean the gate in the projector, lace-up a film, project it onto a screen and make notes on a printed form about the qualities of the picture, sound, sprocket holes, splices and so on, seeing if each film was good enough to "go to air". I found some reels boring but the interesting ones more than made up for that.
On one program, a documentary made by Gore Hill film people, I saw a really good shot of my friend Kel Merz driving his classic Riley sportscar through Surrey Hills. Later on I owned that car and it was also the last customer's car I ever worked on in my Amaroo Park workshop fifty one years later. Another series of films that I well remember featured Alice und Ellen Kessler in their variety show from Germany. Oh, yes. Those telerecordings were the best quality ones I ever saw. They got the gamma just right, I thought. I was possibly the first person in Australia to see and hear those talented twins in action.
I was able to adjust my breaks, my trips to the canteen, to best enjoy watching the good stuff and I was sorry indeed when my month of solitary confinement was over. What else was there still waiting in those cans on the "in" trolley? What did I miss?

I was on camera for another four-camera show. (There were only three cameras permanently assigned to each big studio, 21 and 22, and two to the news studio, 23.) It was an in-depth interview of Sydney artist Brett Whitely. It involved ultra-close-ups of lips, eyes, ears and hands lighting cigarettes. We all had the longest lens sets we could fit to the turrets of the cameras. I got a really good shot full of the Marlboro packet and the taking-out and lighting of the Federal match and the cigarette which I then tracked up and down faithfully while woolly-haired Mr Whitely cryptically answered questions between puffs, shedding some light on his eccentricities. The brand names certainly went to air that time!

Another thing happened which involved me being called away after lunch. This time to Studio 22 where Henri Safran was doing tape inserts for some avant-garde drama about which I knew nothing. Still know nothing. A full crew was standing around. There was no action and little in the way of sets. I was ushered to Camera 2 and urged to put on the cans (headset). The Technical Producer was, unusually, down on the floor and he told me they wanted a video feedback effect to videotape for use in the production. On the talkback I asked the Director nervously what sort of movement, patterns, what shape or style he wanted. Henri's English failed him so the unseen Scripto upstairs ventured "Someone running along a street at night."
'Streetlights.' I thought. I pointed the camera at the nearest floor monitor and soon managed to get white spots forming in the centre and streaming outwards to the viewer, expanding and flowing out to the top corners of the screen. Billy Dayhew or whoever was on CCU upstairs was spot-on, helping me with the right exposure and stretching black. I heard "Keep it like that, Camera 2." and "Roll tape."… "Recording." I never found out if or how they used the piece but the TP told me I'd done splendidly. Apparently he'd noticed me playing around with video feedback earlier in the year. I was back at whatever I'd been doing in Studio 23, across the corridor, before it was time for afternoon tea.

Another unusual thing I did gave me a special satisfaction and relates to my subsequent career. Some of the Senior and Supervising Technicians knew that my good friend, Brian Rawlings, was building Bulant racing cars with steel tube spaceframes and that I was helping him. The Outside Broadcast Department was setting up a new six cylinder Jeep station wagon as a microwave link repeater unit. This required, among many other things, a rack unit with a benchtop to hold monitors and an oscilloscope and room for doing running repairs, soldering and such, and means to accommodate tools, meters, cables and spares.
They asked me to design a steel tube frame. I measured-up the back of the wagon and the equipment and got hold of cartridge paper, pencils and drawing instruments from the TPs' office. I drew up a frame. It had to clear the wheel arch and fit neatly, not be too high, and accommodate drawers and shelves with doors. I designed it in one-inch and half-inch square steel tubing and printed neatly beside the drawings all the specifications of the tube, the welding and the paint finish. The sheet was okayed and sent out to a steel fabrication company, probably nearby in Artarmon. A couple of weeks later I was called down to the Outside Broadcast Department without explanation and there, in its beautiful new specified blue-grey hammertone paint, was my frame, just arrived. It was duly installed with its drawers, cupboards and benchtop made in-house and I was assured it fitted the Jeep and all its purposes perfectly. I was a proud young man indeed.

We sometimes heard the phrase "instant dismissal". I don't think it was ever implemented. But we heard that people could be demoted to work on the mail desk in town helping to handle the ABC's plentiful internal mail. I think that did happen on average once every couple of years. There was a character called "Gym Boots" who slept on a pile of sandbags and disused curtains under the stairs in the corner of Studio 22. You could see his gym boots poking out and his glasses glinting. Reliably every weekday for many months he was there, never causing trouble but never doing any work. I think he was assigned to Staging. There must have been a story behind Gym Boots. I still wonder what it was.

The ABC printer (he worked in town) was a happy character, a fellow called Ian "Hutch" Hutchinson whom I ran into at the Sydney Jazz Club. He had a band. I joined and we played New Orleans jazz on Saturday nights (my shifts permitting) in the bar of the Brooklyn Hotel on lower George St. He had a Commer (Hillman) panel van to which I successfully fitted a downdraught SU carburettor one weekend. I didn't drink then so I was popular with the others in the band because when we played riotously and the punters lined up beers for us along the bar, I never claimed any.

A nice chap from New Zealand joined us to be an operator, alternating with the memorable Michael Phelps on the vision mixer in Studio 23. His name was Murray Hill. He asked me quietly where jazz was played around Sydney. I was partial to the older styles of jazz and, after work, happily drove Murray to the Sydney Jazz Club, the York Club and the Jazzmakers Club in turn. Shy Murray didn't say anything but he was grateful. A mystery was comprehensively solved one night when I arrived somewhere to see Murray actually playing.

He was with a more modern outfit, starring on saxophone. He was in the middle of a raging bebop solo about ten choruses long. He played like John Coltrane all night. He'd found what he was looking for and his musical life never looked back. He was a dark horse, so quiet at work but so expertly expressive through his big tenor sax on stage.

Oh yes. Michael Phelps. He was reputed to have supered, during the evening news, a caption. "Will not stand for election." over a picture of HM the Queen.

After Easter in 1965 there was a call for volunteers to work in Kings Cross in a new training studio. I thought it would be a useful experience so I put my name down. The studio was at 50-52 Darlinghurst Road. The multi-storey art deco Woolworth building still wears its pale green tiles. In 1965 it housed a Woolworths Variety Store at street level. Above the shop it was occupied by the ABC. Today there's a brass plaque on the footpath pointing out that Sir Robert Menzies officially launched ABC television there in 1956. The two floors directly over the shop had been the Sydney Symphony Orchestra's rehearsal studio and called Radio 227. Floors above housed the extensive ABC sheet music library and many offices and had a separate entrance on Kellett Street. Stairwells had been blocked off (dangerously, I thought) to segregate sections of the building. When we arrived, the studio had been almost converted into a two-camera TV studio and control rooms: main, sound, telecine and videotape. There was no sign whatever of any remaining radio equipment.
We spent the first months finishing it all off with John Watson in attendance. It needed some more wiring-up and some hardware work. Daily, one of us would pop down the street with a chit and buy screws, conduit or brackets and things from the hardware shop. We had a hard battle with loud hum in the brand new AWA audio desk, which we overcame in the end. I devised a line-up procedure for the all-important video standard "volt". I used the reliable standard reference volt from the new Ampex 2 inch videotape machine. Then we could do some test productions including the taping of our own amateur efforts from the floor. I am ashamed to this day of my wooden acting in a demonstration we made to illustrate sound perspective. The videotape machine was operated by John Jarman. Quite often I operated a camera. The cameras were a pair of lightweight Vidicon ones with zoom lenses and horrid castor tripods. The microphone boom was just a tripod type and lighting control was basic. We had a new man with us fresh from BBC TV, Andrew Fraser, who left us later to help operate radio telescopes for the moon landing projects.

At the time I was living in Crows Nest, sharing digs with Paul Ament and Bruce Hardiman (a T.i.T. of Group 62). I drove my Citroen ID to work each day over the Harbour Bridge, parked in the Forbes St ABC bare-earth parking area opposite SCEGGS playground and walked to the Woolworth Building. There was an ABC canteen in a William St. building and, once I found it, I ate a huge salad there every lunch hour. And pretentiously smoked a cigar. I remember the pop song "It's Good News Week" being a big hit that summer.

The head of the school arrived. He was a livewire director-producer who had worked all over the place especially New Zealand and Britain. His assistant was a woman who'd been a script assistant at ATN 7. She'd worked on Johnny O'Keefe's show and still worshipped him. They were soon followed by the first group of television techniques trainees. These first were about ten keen young Asian men, from as many different countries, training under the Colombo Plan. They were taught about each part of making programs and how to operate the equipment, at least in broad terms, how to write a script with shot lists and directions, how to direct, floor manage, mix sound, record a show and so on, as well as some still film camera photography leading to photojournalism.

Near the end of the course each student gave a performance culturally characteristic of his home country while the others made a program of acts. The segments were assembled into a program by the students. If that tape is still around it would be very interesting to see again. The head-of-school and his assistant called us all one by one into the tea room to assist with the assessment of each student with our observations of their performances throughout the course and they made detailed reports on each one.

During the first part of 1966 a group of young Australian men went through the course and among them were Albie Thoms and Bob Ellis. Both real eccentrics, we found. They had some far-out ideas, some of them brilliant, some just crazy. There were some very interesting comments about them in the assessment sessions but I believe they passed the course. They went on to live interesting lives.

I went back to Gore Hill and real television (and overtime, penalty rates and allowances) during 1966. I was back to my roving duties that kept me on my toes and interested. The original CPS Emitron cameras of Studio 23 were long gone. The last examples of those dear old things were still being used somewhere in South America. No more danger of the ugly "peeling-off" phenomenon they did when flashed by a chance reflection of excess light. The Pye OB cameras were still going strong and Marconi Mk 4 cameras were well established, the last main black-and-white type to serve. Autocue had arrived in Studio 23 with its young lady controlling the roll from out in the scenery runway by watching a split of Camera 1 and listening on headphones.

I learnt the art of getting very good pictures out of the complex Image Orthicon 4½ inch tubes, knowledge that would be invaluable for my next five year career phase. Those Marconi 4½" Image Orthicon camera tubes were indeed complex, delicate and expensive things at about $1,400 in 1966. Each. As much as a luxury car. They were guaranteed to do a certain number of hours, though, and if handled and operated carefully the later ones would do many thousands of hours. Hours were carefully logged for every tube.

When not installed in a camera, each tube was kept face-up in its own, personal, vibration and shockproof Slingpak box with its clever suspension system and no tube was ever allowed to face downwards for fear of any stray debris in the tube, however minute, falling onto the incredibly delicate target and screen. The target glass was so thin it had to be made by blowing an enormous glass bubble and breaking it in a dustless room and then ever so carefully picking up suitable looking pieces and making sure each was absolutely flawless. That process was easy compared with creating the perfect microscopic metal screen that made up each target. They started by scribing… Look. Please take my word for it, okay?

We were a bit agitated by a visit to Studio 22 by some people trying to sell CSF cameras. They set them going and invited us all to play with them, shooting each other on the set we were using that day. The pictures looked good in the viewfinders, particularly for such small and lightweight cameras. But what impressed us most was the wonderful feel of the viscous-damped zooms and pan-tilt heads. We underlings wanted these things now but it was not to be. The ABC stuck with the big Marconis and Vinten pan-tilt heads.

The big transmitter tower, the ineluctable symbol of our enterprise, was hit so hard by a storm one evening that a film cameraman, who stood at the front doors of the studio building, got a shot of the tip of the mast swaying over metre. Another storm sent a lightning strike that exploded an aircraft warning lamp. The big, broken red lens was found in the carpark and brought into Studio 23 to feature on the late news. On my camera.

The tower was re-painted one week. Red and white. The colours of all the spots on so many angry staffmembers' cars. Many of us were lucky and missed out on spots. It didn't take much of a breeze to spread the spatters right across the carpark, such was the height of the tower.

There was a "get well cupboard" in Telecine. Sometimes a component would fail for no apparent reason. When examined carefully on the test bench it would show no fault. Temperature? Humidity? Frustrating. The part would be put in the Brownbuilt cupboard for a long spell. Every year or so when things weren't busy a technician would take a part from the cupboard and put it back in service, on probation, in the least critical machine. If it worked it nearly always kept on working but if it didn't work or soon failed it was written off forthwith.

There came a mystery to Maintenance. A "black box" device appeared on a workbench. A plain box with no switch, gauge, socket or anything on it but a three-core flex and a three-pin power plug. Some fool plugged it in and switched on. The fuse to the bench blew. Measurement showed a dead short circuit between the active and neutral pins of the plug. It was agreed that the device must have been "a Mk 1 Fuse Tester".
There was no mystery about another phenomenon on a workbench. John Jarman was known for many things including collecting Coke bottles and wire coathangers assiduously. One day some wag (I was told his name recently) decided to Araldite a Coke bottle invitingly to the new Masonite-surfaced benchtop near John's work station. John never acknowledged the resulting huge crater that appeared in the middle of the otherwise pristine benchtop.

Beverly Gledhill is probably best known for "The Inventors" but she'd been around the ABC since before TV started and I first saw her directing the weekday 5PM children's programs. I believe the lady is a genius. She had Brian Brown and, I think, Jack Allen copy a marvellous performance of "I Love a Piano" complete with the two concert grands which glided off the set, left and right, at the end, Hollywood style. Rich fare for children, I thought. But my main encounter was when I was in training on Camera 3 doing a multi-set children's drama featuring John Ewart and the gang. "The Gillypops". I missed a transition to the next scene and was caught many yards out of position for my three-inch lens three-shot.

I stopped shuffling my shot cards and got the shot alright, using my eight-inch lens, but Beverly decided to teach me a lesson. "Dolly in, Camera 3." Pause. "I'm on an eight." I whimpered on the talkback. "Dolly in, Camera 3." she insisted, not hearing me. I tried. I tried hard not to let the camera wobble but though the camera and the Houston Fearless pedestal weighed nearly half a ton (~400Kg), the long eight-inch lens showed up every microbump on the studio's cork-and-resin compound floor. Afterwards she never said anything about my lapse and neither did the Technical Producer who'd probably had a good laugh along with Bev, but I'd learnt a lesson. I instinctively liked her and I never forgot Beverly Gledhill.

Joyce Belfrage migrated to Australia as a 'Ten Pound Pom' (her words) from the BBC and came to my notice as the lady who'd thrown a typewriter out of an ABC office window and been fined a hundred pounds for it by a magistrate. The Station had made a Shakespeare play, "The Merchant of Venice", and telerecorded it to send to "The BAPH States" (Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Hobart) on film with magnetic sound. But the middle 30 minute master reel of the soundtrack had been accidentally erased. A disaster. Joyce was there to direct the re-recording of those thirty minutes of sound in Studio 23.

Firstly, the actors spoke their lines again while watching the picture on a monitor to get their words in synch. This was done in short bits and the picture was from loops of film in telecine. Each loop played over and over as the actors got their lines and their lip-synching better and better until Joyce said "Cut!" when she thought they'd got it right and the optimum version was saved for the final assembly. Watching the process was fascinating to many of us. Joyce became less patient as the exercise went on and when the actors were released we carried on with the loops all over again recording synchronous sound effects, footsteps, ambient sound and so on.

Joyce was the first person, male or female, I ever heard yell anything like "Pull your bloody finger out, Telecine!"… I had to ask a colleague what she meant! She swore very loudly too when the sound operator sent a background sound out at low level. She pointed out, with the agreement of the Technical Producer, that it should be sent at zero Db and cut back only during final mixing. (for optimal signal-to-noise ratio.) Anyway the reel of sound was finally replaced at great expense but with noticeably imperfect matching to the others. We were never told the name of the bulk-erasure culprit. And I never forgot the strident Joyce Belfrage.

Hudson Faucett arrived in Studio 23 to produce and direct "In Your Garden". He was a really nice gentleman, an American, with good producing credentials and endearing qualities. He was a laid-back character and looked like a yacht club commodore replete with plimsolls and nautical cap. He loved his "marrr-tinnies" and cheerfully admitted he couldn't wait to finish each program to get back to them. The ABC used producer-directors but he had never directed anything before so the can-do script assistants, who affectionately called him "Huddy", didn't hesitate to carry the man effortlessly through each show, aided by well-practised vision mixers, cameramen and floor managers and so on. Huddy sat back in awe and let it all happen around him and we all loved working with him, or rather, for him.

He did many different shows at Gore Hill and they seemed to go well and smoothly while Huddy, in his rich accent, kept us all amused and smiling with him, anticipating "marrr-tinnies" at the 729 Club. I spotted him again when he was an actor on "Spy Force" a few years later.

A memorable technical man from the Federal Laboratories was Neville Thiele. Leonard (Superman and Homicide actor) Teale's brother. (Yes, different spelling.) Neville is famous for his seminal work on loudspeaker crossover network and enclosure technology and, to us, for burying speaker enclosures face-up in a paddock out in rural Dural for super-accurate response pattern testing. In the early sixties he was based in the Alderson Building at St Leonards and worked on things like acceptance testing of new equipment and he sometimes used the workshop and maintenance facilities at Gore Hill to make his necessary gadgets.

On day I was introduced to the dapper man who gave me very detailed instructions for building a sound filtering network box for use as a testing device in the Station. I used the regulation requisition forms to get all the materials and parts from the Store and started work. He specified 1% capacitors (the most accurate available). The coils were specified to have exact numbers of turns and half-turns of enamelled copper wire of specific SWG sizes, my surprise coming when each coil spool was exactly filled by the correct number of turns the design called for. Naturally, the finished filters were all spot-on specification when I tested them.
I asked Mr Thiele how he did it, designed the coils so accurately for number-of-turns and reactance value. He was unexpectedly vague and just said "Oh, SWG sizes are all logarithmic, you know." As if it should all have been second-nature to me too. But I admired the man and judged him to be a genius.

We made a program called "Snowy" about the Snowy Mountains Scheme. The first all-Australian ballet to appear on television. The studio looked splendid with the whole 270 degree backcloth painted in a surreal coloured sky effect like a dream sunrise and all of the floor painted in brown and orange tones to blend with it. Margaret Barr's dancers told the story to John Antill's special music. We were amused when the dancing surveyor arrived with his theodolite tripod which was portrayed with personified precision by a neat little folding ballerina he carried about on his shoulder.

The climax of the ballet concerns the coming of water to arid land. Camera 3 was carefully removed from its pedestal and put on a low platform with a big metal tray of water in front of it to shoot the scene with its inverted watery reflection as the bottom third of the picture. The effect was just awful and all wrong. We tried adjusting everything with no success until I precociously suggested removing the ugly metal tray and just putting some water straight on the floor.

This worked like magic. The Marconi camera sat, looking out of place, on just sandbags, (the big, stiff camera cable's downward angled attachment position didn't allow the camera to sit flat). The lens was still about a foot (300mm) above the floor but the reflection angle was low. So at the end of the story 'raindrops' (from stage hands' hoses) are seen beginning to spatter and to turn the 'dry ground' into a lake that becomes a mirror when the shower stops, showing the dancers doubly in their celebrations and making a spellbinding picture. I forget the music but not the visual images.

Stan Woolveridge, the stocky ex-BBC Staging Supervisor, was lividly angry about the wet floor but we'd already finished recording and the program we'd made soon won a prestigious international prize. There there, Stan. Nobody slipped over and it was well worth it!

In each studio control room, from left to right, were the script assistant, the director, vision mixer, technical producer, lighting man and the camera control unit operator. In Studio 23 the sound mixer and two turntables were on the director's left on the main desk. In the big studios the sound booth was on the director's left with the sound operator and sometimes, sitting behind him, a music expert to follow a score or a technician to operate a Byer 77 tape recorder. Usually this used the full track of the quarter-inch tape at the top speed of fifteen inches per second. With that speed, the yellow cue marks were accurate to a fraction of a music beat.
For many programs the sound man had a gram operator (from the Program Department) sitting on his right. He had three three-speed turntables on which he played mostly 78 RPM discs of theme music and sound effects. Plug-in pickup-heads had to be correctly chosen, brown for 78s and red for microgroove discs. He could cue-up a record and play an effect with perfect timing by holding the record still with one finger at the chosen spot with the felt covered turntable revolving under it and just lifting his finger off on cue. The gram ops were all very good at that. This was helped by the weight and speed of the 78s as compared with microgroove discs. The effects discs with their music and sounds came from KPM and Chapel (English music firms) and the station bought the rights to them in bulk, so to speak.

The News theme was "Triumphal March". The Weather, "Poppleduffle". Woman's World's theme was "Emeralds and Ermine" which ran exactly 30 seconds. We could hum that silently to use as a pretty accurate mental timing device. I still can. I remember fellows testing each-other's skill at it. There seemed to be only one car crash sound effect available, the same one we'd been hearing on radio dramas all our lives. It's still around! There were discs for peaceful pastoral scenes and rolling ocean waves, taxis pulling up, brief links, dramatic short "stings" and most other requirements for most kinds of productions. My favourite music disc was the steamtrain-evoking "Twentieth Century Limited" (but, so sadly, that's exactly what was playing outside the Sydney Luna Park ghost train when the 1979 fatal fire took hold.)

The Gore Hill telephonists occupied the PABX room upstairs in the southern corner of the building. My locker was right outside their door. One day at knock-off time I came sauntering round the corner to find a stout stagehand busily breaking into it. "What are you doing?" I yelled at him. It was John Dunne "Just doing a favour." "What favour?" I shouted. He said he was getting nuts and bolts to fix the locker beside mine for one of the telephonists who came out, hearing the disturbance, and backed up John's story. "For goodness' sake, pull some other bugger's locker apart, then!" I told him while he helped put mine back together. He mumbled "I thought it was empty." despite my obvious personal padlock.

Gore Hill had a Staff Photography Club. Eddy Berlage, John Watson, John Woods and several Technical Producers were keen members. One Saturday morning we all gathered in John Woods' back yard in Artarmon to film and photograph his pet bird and pup playing together. For an hour and a half we circled the pair under the Hills Hoist, sitting or lying on the lush buffalo turf while the animals refused to do their act. So all we had were some animal portraits, a good camera comparison session and a chat. Oh, well.

I went back to John Woods' home at a later date to install a sound output socket on his big TV set. John's job was making promos and teasers and he needed to record off-air sound on his Grundig reel-to-reel tape recorder. His work area was upstairs opposite Studio 22's viewing room on the south-eastern side of the building, a bit isolated but right next door to the animation/rostrum camera room. I talked with John about a vision special effect and he liked the idea but we were forbidden even to experiment with it because anything resembling strobing was absolutely forbidden by the all-powerful Australian Broadcasting Control Board. The reason, I believe, was a danger of triggering susceptible viewers' epileptic fits. My effect would be permissible now, though. Rules have certainly changed. 'Gone by the Board'.

At the beginning of the sixties the ABC was maybe a bit "male-dominated" and most women still had to leave when they married. To work anywhere in the Children's Department (offices in the City) the minimum requirement was still a Diploma of Education. But by the time I left, there were women conspicuously working as journalists and directing and producing. Shifts in attitudes had begun.

Engineering staff were, at first, fully trained to install, operate and maintain all the equipment in the Station. This meant we learnt about music and many and varied subjects such as make-up and a bit about wardrobe because they concerned how we handled lighting and CCU. Later on, operators were employed to specialise on things like camera operating or vision mixing. The engineering people were still deferred to, however, and not dismissed as second-ranked the way they were after only a decade or so later when accountants, bureaucrats and then lawyers began to assert themselves both in the ABC and in commercial television.

During my Gore Hill days I missed some of the operas such as 'The Pearl Fishers' (Alan Boxsell worked on sound for that one) but I worked on 'The Abduction from the Seraglio' and 'Samson and Delilah' which featured Saint-Sa?ns' wonderful music. My job was to make the lightning flashes in the storm scene. I had a naked 5kW carbon arc on top of a 12 foot aluminium ladder with the heavy cables hanging down to the workshop's big three-phase arc welding transformer below. I juggled, in asbestos gloves (!), the arc handles, the thick script and a welding mask. So I wasn't even holding on up there. The sound in my sweaty Bakelite headphones of the director and the script assistant giving me conflicting directions was being drowned out by the blaring PA music.

The building collapse scene at the end couldn't be rehearsed with all of its elements, it being impossible for the staging people to do so much re-setting in the limited time available. So when the cast finally saw the complete and realistic catastrophe falling on top of them in the live performance, many were really screaming, fearing for their lives.

For many following years I sometimes sat up suddenly in my sleep with a haunting tune in my head, that expansive air from "Softly Awakes my Heart" that accompanied the storm scene. Even Spike Jones' or Bent Fabric's versions of it give me the willies today. You see, I was not left entirely unaffected by my Gore Hill days.?

Better Men.

I have just now looked at a series of photographs of the Gore Hill studios being demolished in 2007. An emotionally difficult thing for me to see after the six formative years I spent there. The people, the music, the dramas, operas, plays, children's shows, News, Four Corners, fellow technical chaps and the 'characters'. The memories just flooded back. Looking at the wall with the half of it in rubble where our roster sheet was pinned up each week. The spot where I stood when my name was changed. So much being obliterated forever. Better men built this than those who pull it down. I saw the piece of floor where our girls' trio (girls from my highschool) had stood singing and places where Professor Julius Sumner-Miller and Sir Mark Oliphant once pontificated. The big soundproof doors stove in, lighting battens felled and their winch motors scrap metal. Master Control gone forever. A broken film spool. The news studio stripped naked. I could go on......

Bob Winley. 2016.
bob.winley@outlook.com

 

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