DISCUSSION WITH GORDON WATERHOUSE - 18 JANUARY 2005
At Chatswood Club - 11 Help Street Chatswood.
Background of Gordon's Career:
After Matriculation, Gordon didn't go on to University straight away, and went to the Marconi School in Clarence Street behind AWA (Mr. Gray was the Principal).
He did his First Class ticket - at the time he was with OTC; Initially Gordon joined AWA (1945). AWA Communications Services (Beam Wireless) and Cable and Wireless Ltd., (UK) had become nationalised by the Chifley Government in 1946/47 which became OTC. Whilst there, he started as a morse operator (high-speed telegraphist) then transferred to Technical staff and got to a Supervising Technician and then took on the Engineering Diploma Course (GradIE) at Sydney Tech.
Proceeded studying part time with the Course and then after graduation
went from OTC to United Press from 1951 to 1956 (at OTC he was receiving
the United Press Newscasts each night - which involved very fast Morse
- and the UP boss invited Gordon to join them as they wanted to set up
their own radio station). He won several awards for Morse - was up to
54.6 words/ minute (aural morse - not auto). From there joined the ABC.
However, he was accepted by the ABC and thought there would be more of a future in Television.
(The Menotti Opera was not broadcast on the first night of transmission, but on Thursday December 20 - Web Coordinator)
Gordon started in Studios, then to OB's then Telecine - the duties were all mixed up. He never worked in Master Control or in Telerecording. Some interesting facets of the trip down the Melbourne for the Olympic coverage - they got lost in Canberra. Gordon was in one of the older vans with Eddie Berlage (he was formerly known as Eddie Van Barneveldt). When the team went to Melbourne for the Olympic Games they were billeted at a Melbourne University Hall of residence during the Uni vacation. The rooms were so filthy, they complained to Lloyd Berndt (a Super Tech. on the team) and they were moved to the Victoria Hotel in Little Collins Street.
Gordon was 25/26 during the Games (born in 1930); Gordon was on Camera 1 during the Melbourne Olympic Games; Gordon remembers being on a camera at a venue at the top of Bourke Street for the coverage of the arrival of the Duke of Edinburgh. There was also coverage at the Festival Hall at West Melbourne for the coverage of the Boxing, and at the Swimming Centre in Batman Avenue (the ABV crew); Gordon remembered going to the ABV's to Opening Party during the Olympics and had never seen such a drunken party (beer trickling down the concrete stairs). It was held at ABV at Elsternwick. He remembered Brian Madely was at the Transmitter - he came out from Marconi. The first Supervising Tech at the transmitter after Frank Shepherd and Brian Madeley's time, was Peter Martin (a PMG Tech). He married Doug Ferguson's daughter Sandra (Ferguson Transformers).
Gordon mentioned his time as a Purchasing Officer. (John Starr had mentioned to Doug Grant that Dick Cohen had been a Purchasing Officer. Gordon indicated that Dick Cohen took over from Gordon. Gordon was the first ABC Engineering Purchasing Officer. Gerry Sabin followed on from Dick Cohen.) He remembers getting quotes for the ABC vans and lighting, cable etc. (not the cameras - they were done prior to this stage).
CPS Emitrons were used in Studio 23. ABC went to air with 3" Image Orthicons. Lloyd Hadfield came from EMI in England where he had been involved in developing the Flying Spot Scanners and (Gordon thought) Emitrons. Lloyd was an Australian. He was a champion discuss thrower.
Gordon remembered the Telerecording SuperTech in charge as Vic LePla. One of the early OB's in Sydney on their return was the coverage of the ABC's "Sportsman of the Year" at the Sydney Town Hall. Gordon recalled being in the hall early in the morning setting up camera cables running around the floor of the balconies (out of camera-shot). His ladder slipped on the polished floor. Attendants came running in. He didn't do any damage to himself only bruises.
Gordon remembered an OB of Club Rugby at Coogee Oval. He remembered a rostered OB Van Driver (nameless at this stage). Whilst the OB was on, this gentleman went to the local pub and "got as full as a boot". Les Weldon was in charge on that day. He told Gordon that he would have to drive the van back to base, because he was the only one with a Class 4 licence. Gordon took the van back to Gore Hill and the driver had to go home independently.
Barry Lambert was a technical assistant who worked to Gordon. Barry moved to Canberra and later joined Jacoby Mitchell. Don Crowley came from Brisbane after the Navy (a Chief Petty Officer) then returned to Brisbane for ABQ's start. Owen Thomas (Pat) Kavanagh came from PMG Switch Room.
Gordon discussed the difficulty a number of people employed at the
start of the TV era had had with Ken Middleton (Kenneth Noel Middleton)
who appeared to take sets against various people. Gordon thinks his
problem with Ken was due to Gordon's friendship with Warwick Mehaffey.
Ken appeared to resent Gordon's frequent visits to Warwick's office
and their common interest in music. Gordon felt that his career opportunities
were limited at the ABC and decided to move out in 1960;
The Secretary/Manager for the 729 Club was Eric (Russell Victor) Webb.
Gordon remembers him as a member of West Pymble Bowling Club for years.