Binny Lum Collection
A tribute to Australian radio and television personality Binny Lum (1915–2012), thanks to the generous donation of more than 100 sound recordings to the NFSA by her daughter, Sharon Terry.
Binny's extraordinary career in radio and television broadcasting spanned five decades, from 1934 to 1984. Actor, scriptwriter, accompanist, compere, television host and radio presenter, Binny was a pioneer.
She was born in Adelaide, the daughter of a respected doctor of traditional Chinese medicine, Lum Yow, and his Australian-born wife, Eleanora Laker.
She hosted Channel Nine's first ever daytime television talk show, Thursday at One with Binnie Lum, in 1957. Binny went on to host one of radio's first magazine format programs on 3XY in Melbourne, where she interviewed many high-profile people before venturing overseas to New York and London, snagging interviews with the likes of Barbra Streisand, Dame Joan Sutherland, Richard Attenborough and, most famously of all, The Beatles.
This collection includes many of these interviews along with some candid photographs of Binny throughout her career.
Binny Lum head and shoulders portrait by Broothorn Studios in Melbourne, 1955.
George Harrison, John Lennon and Ringo Starr of The Beatles interviewed by Binny Lum in London, England in 1964. Published courtesy of Sharon Terry and Geoff Charter. Transcript by Peta Cassar.
Dame Joan Sutherland, Australian dramatic coloratura soprano, interviewed by Binny Lum in New York City in 1964.
Twilight Zone creator, Rod Serling, was interviewed for Australian radio by Binny Lum in 1963. Blank on Blank discovered the conversation while searching the NFSA and describe it as "one of those delightful back and forths that makes you stop and listen".
Enjoy and learn more about Rod Serling and the Twilight zone at the Blank on Blank website.
Binny Lum talks about her interview with The Beatles in London, 1964. This clip is an excerpt from Binny Lum's oral history interview with Denzil Howson in 1994.
The full oral history interview can be found here on the NFSA Australia Soundcloud channel.
Brian Epstein, English music entrepreneur, interviewed by Binny Lum in London, England in 1964. This is an edited interview from the Raven Records release "The Beatles Talk Downunder (And All Over) Vol 2."
Published courtesy of Sharon Terry, Geoff Charter and Raven Records.
Fred Astaire, American film and Broadway stage dancer, singer and actor interviewed by Binny Lum in Ava Gardner's dressing room during the filming of On the Beach in Melbourne in 1959.
Rod Serling, American screenwriter, playwright, television producer and creator of The Twilight Zone, interviewed by Binny Lum in Melbourne in 1963.
Published courtesy of Sharon Terry and Geoff Charter.
Barbra Streisand, American singer-songwriter and actress, interviewed by Binny Lum backstage after a performance of Funny Girl at the Winter Garden Theatre in New York City in 1964.
Binny Lum with The Beatles at the Southern Cross Hotel, Melbourne on 14 June 1964.
Several months after interviewing The Beatles in London, Lum got the chance to meet the 'Fab Four' again during their Australian tour at an official press reception on 14 June at the Southern Cross Hotel in Melbourne where she posed in a photo with them.
Photo courtesy Bauer Media Pty Limited.
A transcript of Binny Lum’s interview with George Harrison, John Lennon and Ringo Starr of The Beatles. It was recorded in London, England in 1964.
Grace Yen, who immigrated to Melbourne from Taipei, Taiwan, interviewed by Binny Lum.
Len Liebeck, New York City cab driver, interviewed by Binny Lum in New York City in 1964.
Col Joye, Australian rock musician, interviewed by Binny Lum.
Sir Sidney Nolan, Australian painter and printmaker, interviewed by Binny Lum in Paris, France in 1964.
The photograph on the cover:
Sidney Nolan 1964
by Axel Poignant (1906-1986)
Gelatin silver photograph
Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Image courtesy Mrs Roslyn Poignant.
Brett Whiteley, Australian avant-garde artist, is interviewed by Binny Lum in London, England in 1964.
Whiteley talks about his upcoming solo exhibition at Marlborough Galleries and the figurative works he's been doing. He shares his thoughts about art schools: 'I was subjected to this absolutely antiquated, old-fashioned idea of what art can be. The only way that a young painter can organise himself and find himself is to get himself into a studio and just shut the door and quietly work out as best he can what gestures and marks he makes on the canvas are different and distinguish him from all the other marks that have been made by other men...'
In spite of all the attractions of Australia, Whiteley says that he lives in London so that he can get an 11 penny bus ride over to the National Gallery to see Piero della Francesca's pictures which he says is 'the greatest work that man has ever produced'.
He says he likes the beaches in Australia but that 'I am just basically more interested in art than I am in aquatic sports'.
At the end of the interview Binny Lum says that Whiteley is one of our great artists to which Whiteley makes a mocking 'la-la-la' sound in the background. She concludes saying that one day this is probably going to be quite historic tape.
The cover image for this interview is a frame from Don Featherstone's documentary Difficult Pleasure: A Portrait of Brett Whiteley (1989).
Vivien Leigh, British stage and film actress, interviewed by Binny Lum in Melbourne while touring with the Old Vic Company in 1961.
Page from a promotional brochure called "3KZ Personalities" introducing Bernice Lum.
Richard Attenborough, English actor, film director and producer, interviewed by Binny Lum during the filming of Guns at Batasi at Pinewood Studios in London, England in 1964.
Binny Lum pictured at home sitting at her desk with her scrapbook and photographs from her career.