I was with DCA before I came to the ABC. I knew Ken Middleton, and he interviewed me for the job. I was still working for DCA, but for 6 weeks I used to come in at the weekends to work on the Arcon installation – of course I wasn’t paid for the work I did. It shows how keen we were in those days.
Most of the technical/operational staff came from the PMG and DCA.
The Arcon installation was nearly all Marconi equipment. We had 2 Marconi Mk 3 cameras. At one stage we put in another camera that didn’t match – it was an Emitron. There were racks of Marconi SPG’s and VDA’s, and the EMI telecine chains, and that was about it. We also had the film processing there.
The Arcon studio lasted until the beginning of 1958.
The Arcon used to be a PMG hut, that we took over. It was actually within the Arcon, that the TV studio was built. The Arcon was a very large structure – we built the studio on one end of it. There was a garage there that we used as a canteen – we called it the ‘Greasy Spoon’. We had to use the toilets at the transmitter building.
Then I was put in charge of the installation of the new studios. I had a couple of ABC people, and a team of installation workers from an outside firm. – O’Donnell Griffin. When that was completed I went to Master Control, at the beginning of 58. I was also in charge of Telecine and Telerecord and Film Processing.
The installation was contracted to AWA – they did most of the design. They had one of the Marconi engineers out from England – Ken Frank. He gave a lot of instructions. We did not see very much of the ABC engineers. All the equipment (Marconi and other makes of equipment) was brought out by Marconi.
I remember on opening night something went wrong with the telecine, and the EMI guy put his hand ‘in vision’ to fix the fault.
Installation practices were based on PMG standards – things like cabling, ducts, connectors, tag-blocks, etc.
The toilets on the Gore Hill site in 1956 were at the top of the hill, next to the 'Cottage'. It was a long walk and occasionally one had to find shortcuts. Once when I was having a leak in a trench on the site where now stands the main studio complex, I was suddenly joined by a well dressed person, who joined me in my activity. When we introduced ourselves I found that the person next to me was Huck Finlay, the ABC's Assistant General Manager! It was then that I decided that the ABC was a great place to be working in.
Grahame Sibley joined the ABC in September 1956 as the OIC of the installation of the new Gore Hill Studios. He retired in February 1987 when he was Principal Technical Officer (BEO 6).