the Forbes Street radio studios
was the charming sandstone 1866 St. Peter's Anglican church and
The Minister of the church at the time was the Reverend Bernard
Judd, who was
also known for his role as the President of the Temperance Alliance.
(Script Assistant to Producer Mungo McCallum on opening night) remembered
that: "Mr Judd....was most disapproving - he was not the
least impressed by
television. He thought we were a frivolous lot". The church
hall had been used
for some years as a radio rehearsal studio - Studio 228. As Oswald
put it in an April 1956 edition of the staff newspaper 'Radio Active',
was used for unfortunate solo artists - who hadn't anywhere else
to go - to sing
in"! He added, "Now it's cluttered with cameras,
cables, monitors, scenery,
cabinets, tables, chairs, ladders, lights, booms, dollys, and a
number of hot
people unable even to find space for a cat to swing in".
He was referring to the
fact that radio Studio 228 had been transformed into the ABC's TV
studio. Incidentally, it was in this same item that the description
that television is: "merely smog - with knobs on!".
The technical facilities at St. Peter's hall had been set up under
of technical staff including Colin Stockbridge and John Laker. The
radio control room was converted to a vision and sound control area.
TV camera to be supplied was received around late October 1955.
It was a
Marconi Mark 2 type utilising a 3 inch image orthicon camera tube,
was later modified to a Type 2A to take advantage of the relatively
new 4 1/2
inch image orthicon camera tubes developed by RCA. John recalls
Colin Stockbridge to assemble the camera: "with the handbook
in one hand and
surrounded by boxes of cables and parts. Fortunately there was a
picture in the
front of the handbook". They managed to get the first camera
up and running
around mid November 1955: "late one Friday evening".
They saw: "a very
black and very white picture which was very grainy". The
morning, both Colin and John brought their respective wives and
St. Peter's and they: "saw themselves on TV". John
and Colin thought: "this
was a great stride ahead".
The Sydney TV camera went into full-scale training action for the
on the evening of Wednesday November 28th , 1955 when a live magazine-type
program was presented to an audience including the General Manager,
Moses (later Sir Charles), other senior officers, and TV school
Fowler was the cameraman, Dave Tapp was the Technical Producer,
was on the Camera Control Unit (CCU), and John Laker was responsible
lighting. Kaye Kinane produced the show and Betty Parsons floor-managed.
Leo Fowler and Bob Forster had been seconded from ABC-Radio in Melbourne
because they had previous television camera experience in the U.K.
BBC. They had both been PMG technicians attached to ABC-Radio.