Extract from Chapter 2 of the book

"50 Years of ABC Technical Services -

Alright Leaving Here" by Doug Grant

 
 

 

 

In 1954, the eventual location of the television transmitters was still
under consideration. Meetings were being held involving the Australian
Broadcasting Control Board, the ABC, the PMG, and the commercial television
operators, viz., Television Corporation Pty. Ltd., (TCN-9), and Associated
Telecasters Pty. Ltd. (ATN-7), to discuss various aspects involved in the
transmission and reception of television signals in the Sydney metropolitan
area. At one stage the high ground at Kurrajong was being considered, but
was rejected because of reception difficulties anticipated for viewers in
suburban valleys, around Sydney Harbour foreshores, and along the
beach-side suburbs. It was decided that all the transmitters (National and
commercial) were to be located within 1 mile of one another to simplify the
home receiver antenna requirements - all pointing in one direction. Gore
Hill was eventually selected for the ABC's transmitters because of its
elevation, and the potential for signals to be received over the majority
of the metropolitan area and surrounding districts.

Competition for space at Gore Hill increased because ATN-7, which had
decided on Epping as its studio site, now had to establish its transmitters
in the vicinity of Gore Hill. TCN-9 decided on a studio site at Willoughby,
which was within the 1 mile stipulation for it's transmitter location, and
consequently decided to co-site their studios and transmitters.
The choice and negotiations for the acquisition of the Sydney and Melbourne
sites for the respective ABC television studios, were primarily the
responsibility of the ABC, in consultation with the PMG and the
Commonwealth Department of Works and Housing. Warwick Mehaffey, then
employed as the ABC's Assistant Technical Supervisor (Engineering) Head
Office, recalled being involved in the search for suitable properties in
both Sydney and Melbourne. He remembered the great concern of ABC
management at the paucity of suitable sites in both centres, and the ABC's
General Manager Charles Moses' state of near panic whilst the searches were
proceeding with only a short period of time remaining before the scheduled
commencement of the National Television Service. Warwick recalled one of
the sites considered for Sydney being the Anderson Seeds factory on the
corner of Liverpool and Parramatta Roads, Summer Hill. It had a reasonable
line of sight which was required for the relay of microwave signals to the
site chosen for the transmitters at Gore Hill, but the site was considered
too small for the planned facilities and for future expansion.

The site eventually chosen for the Sydney studios was also at Gore Hill.
After much negotiation, the available space at Gore Hill was eventually
shared between the PMG, the ABC, ATN-7, a Service Station on the corner of
the Pacific Highway and Campbell Street, and Samuel Taylor Pty. Ltd., the
'pressure-pack' manufacturer, who out-bid the ABC and purchased a strip of
land fronting the Pacific Highway and Campbell Street down to Clarendon
Street.

Gore Hill was considered sufficiently close to the city for the studios,
and the site had sufficient elevation for the satisfactory reception of
outside broadcast microwave signals from across the majority of the Sydney
basin. The approximately 8 acre site at Gore Hill during its time, had been
variously used by Bulbrooks a building contractor, the PMG as a depot for
lines equipment, and by the North Shore Brick and Tile Company, which had
been mining from the quarries surrounding the site from 1900. It was mainly
thanks to the PMG that space was obtained to house the ABC's temporary
studio, and the final construction (completed in January 1958). Former ABC
Engineer Ian Shearman, in 1955, then a Cadet Engineer with the PMG spoke of
a visit to the Gore Hill site to inspect the PMG's 'cabinet and pillar'
factory, (terms given to describe the containers used to house roadside
telephone cable connection equipment). He commented: "Unbeknown to us at
the time, the building, the 'Arcon', was to house part of the first stage
of development of the Gore Hill TV complex".

 

Doug Grant was an Engineer with the Australian Broadcasting Commission/Corporation for 30 years, and worked in both radio and television areas of the ABC's Technical Services Division.

 

 

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