The NFSA has uncovered some hidden gems from Canberra's forgotten history in the holdings of the ACT's first commercial television station, CTC 7 (now 9).
They are part of a news collection covering 1965 to 2001. Along with being an important record of news events in Canberra and the surrounding regions from Goulburn to Cooma, the news stories and bulletins show the progression of the station’s branding from CTC-TV to Capital 7, Australian Capital Television, Ten Capital to Southern Cross Ten.
On Thursday 26 September 1974 an Ansett plane touched down at Canberra Airport carrying a global musical phenomenon.
The Bee Gees were in the nation’s capital for two days as part of their sold out ‘Mr Natural’ tour of Australia. Tickets for their first Canberra concert on 26 September had sold out in one day, so another concert was announced for the 27th. They had performed one concert each in Brisbane and Adelaide and would leave Canberra for Melbourne and four concerts at Festival Hall.
Tickets cost $5.50 and $6.50 and The Bee Gees played two concerts each night at the Canberra Theatre – one at 6:00 pm, the other at 8:30 pm.
Note: There is no audio over the vision until the interview.
In September 1989 Rugby League's Winfield Cup and JJ Giltinan Shield were won by a team outside of Sydney for the first time ever.
And so began a party in Canberra and Queanbeyan that lasted well into the following day. As this clip shows, thousands of Raiders fans turned out to welcome their heroes home and cheered them on along the parade route from Queanbeyan to Canberra ending in a reception in Civic Square. Although some of the players – and the Winfield Cup – arrived a little worse for wear, John McIntyre explains why coach Tim Sheens was a no-show.
This clip is an excerpt of Ten News, Canberra from 25 September 1989. Presenter Geoff Hiscock introduces the lead story reported by Peter Chapman and Greg Robson. The bulletin celebrated the Raiders’ win by featuring a Raiders rosette on all graphics and lower-screen presenter supers. This title is part of the NFSA’s Television News collection and has been digitally preserved.
Notes by Adam Blackshaw
On Saturday 16 March 1974 an enthusiastic crowd of 25,000 people turned out to watch the Canberra Week Procession. It was the first parade held in the nation’s capital since 1966. Thirty floats plus bands, marching girls and sporting and community groups left Gordon Street in the city, wound their way around London Circuit, across Northbourne Avenue to Electricity House. Vintage cars transported the 20 Canberra Day Princess finalists (the eventual winner was Gayle Sheridan of Downer).
Stars of the procession were popular television icons of the day, Aunty Jack and Humphrey B Bear. Attended by Thin Arthur and Kid Eager, Aunty Jack left the procession at Canberra’s Civic Square to be crowned the 1974 Queen of Canberra by Member for Canberra, Kep Enderby. His coronation speech (sadly not included in the surviving footage) stated his desire to rename Canberra 'South Wollongong’, and to make it a light industrial area!
This historic event was captured by a CTC-TV news cameraman. The footage was shot in colour, even though it would be another 12 months before colour television officially began in Australia. This camera footage and audio is not edited and was used to produce a CTC-TV news story which is not known to survive.
Note: The audio on the excerpt is location sound only.
In Canberra in the early 1970s a cycling boom pushed the need for planning of better infrastructure for bike riders. The first cycle path was built in 1973 and ran from Dickson to the Australian National University.
This however did not satisfy cyclists wanting to commute from their homes to work or school who were forced to use major roads to do so. On 21 October 1974 issues of safety and the unpleasantness of car emissions led to action by over 50 cyclists.
This protest ride started at the intersection of Belconnen Way and Coulter Drive at 8 am, continued along Belconnen Way, Macarthur Avenue, then the Sullivan’s Creek cycle path into Civic. One of the organisers, Mr HM Rawson of Weetangera, indicated that the protest would continue if the issue was not acted upon.
This excerpt was shot by a CTC-TV cameraman from a camera platform atop one of the news cars. Journalist Malcolm Bodley conducts his interviews whilst riding a bike and holding a microphone attached by cable to a CP16 film camera. One of the interviews is with Member for Fraser Ken Fry. This piece was likely to have been broadcast during that evening’s CTC TV news bulletin; bulletins in this period were broadcast from 6.20 pm to 6.30 pm Monday to Friday.
Every year for the Christmas holidays, thousands of Australians head to our beautiful beaches for some well-earned rest and relaxation. For Canberrans, not having a beach can mean a two-hour drive down the Clyde Mountain to the South Coast of New South Wales.
While local councils battled with state and federal governments over funding for the Kings Highway, users began to protest its poor condition. Kevin Watson of Ainslie had his letter to The Canberra Times published on 2 November 1974 under the title 'Horror highway’. In describing his bad experience in riding to Batemans Bay on his motorbike, he also implies that the use of the word ‘highway’ does not reflect the actual status of the road.
This story by CTC-TV reporter Jenny Hill was included in a compilation film reel of news stories that she made for the station around 1974. The black-and-white reversal 16mm film with mag stripe has been preserved by the NFSA.
In 1968 a furry kangaroo named Skippy made her debut on Australian television and, by 1969, was a much-loved Australian and international star. She visited Canberra on 4 September 1969 with her handler Scott Denholm and crowds lined the streets around Monaro Mall to see her arrive on the back of a Freebodys Toyota Ute ('Be like Skippy – jump into a Toyota’).
Those lucky enough to find a place inside the mall were treated to a question and answer session with Denholm and CTC 7 newsreader Brian Smith. Skippy had attracted a crowd of around 20,000, one of the largest crowds ever in Canberra to that date; a rather successful promotion for Waltons, Freebodys Motors and CTC 7.
At Monaro Mall in 1969, Canberrans were given the opportunity to see colour television for the first time. However, it would be another six years before colour television came to Australia. Part of the display was a simulated television transmission of Commonwealth Film Unit films. These films were made about Australia for overseas audiences and were broadcast on television in Britain, Europe, United States of America and Asia.
For the first time in Australia’s history the field of sport became a political arena when the South African Springboks came to Australia for a six-week tour at the height of their country’s apartheid policy.
Throughout their Australian tour, the Springboks faced demonstrations and trade union bans over South Africa’s apartheid policy. The team was forced to travel in small planes by regional carrier Hazelton Airlines, after Qantas and TAA refused to carry them.
After violent clashes between police and demonstrators in the other capital cities (a state of emergency was declared by Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen), ACT police met with members of the Canberra Anti-Apartheid Committee, chaired by Michael Wright, to reduce the risk of violence at the match. Four hundred police came from NSW to assist local police. Bomb threats were received concerning the Goulburn-Canberra railway line and also the Department of Supply building, which was evacuated as a result.
A seven-foot (2.13 metres) high fence was erected around the boundary at Manuka Oval. Bags of sand were placed over large gratings and smaller gratings welded into place so they couldn’t be used as weapons. Liquor, soft drink cans and bottles were banned from the grounds. Patrons could be searched by police during entry.
On game day, 21 July, demonstrators grouped themselves around the ground and chanted ‘Go home racist’ (clearly audible throughout the above clip). Mark Davison, an ACT second rower who had refused to be considered for selection in the team, handed out anti-tour, anti-apartheid leaflets to spectators. Protesters threw two smoke bombs on the field.
Police made 49 arrests, including nine women and executive member of the ACT Civil Liberties Council, Ken Fry. Observers complained about rough police treatment and arrests being arbitrary and unreasonable.
Every March from 1985 to 1992 thousands flocked to the shores of Lake Burley Griffin to witness one of the more spectacular events on the Canberra Festival program, the Capital 7 Birdman Rally.
Canberra's Birdman Rally attracted all kinds of entrants. Some entered for a lark, while others were much more serious.
One of the latter was George Reekie, who with his father Colin, built several craft and entered them in not only in Canberra but other rallies including Melbourne and Albury.
Whilst the crowds loved the novelty entries, they got right behind the ones like George, who actually took flight.
Why did a tiny advertisement in the Classifieds section of The Canberra Times on 2 September 1969 lead to hundreds of Canberrans flocking to the goods yard of Canberra Railway Station at Kingston the following day? And why did this event become known as ‘Canberra’s Greatest Hoax’?
Note: This story has no audio over the vision until the reporter’s piece to camera.
When Elizabeth McKeahnie of Booroomba Station cut the ribbon to officially open Tharwa Bridge in 1895 she could not have imagined that 100 years later the ceremony would be repeated. But on 27 March 1995 the current lady of Booroomba Station, Pamela Hughes, cut the ribbon and declared the bridge re-opened.
This news story was broadcast during the Ten News, Canberra bulletin, on 27 March 1995. The reporter was Grant Gilluley, and the news presenter Virginia Nicholls. In 1995 Ten Capital (now Southern Cross Ten) branded its news as Ten News to align with the Ten Network, which the station is affiliated with.
Canberra is never thought of as the film capital of Australia, but one film from the 1970s put the city front and centre, and played an important role in highlighting the need for a viable commercial Australian film industry.
David Brice, CTC 7’s newsreader, optioned a book by Curtin residents Elizabeth and Don Campbell. The Demonstrator is a political drama about an Australian Defence Minister’s plans of forming military alliances at an Asian security conference being disrupted by demonstrations organised by his idealistic son.
This clip shows the rehearsal and shooting of scenes from Demonstrator (1971). Outside the City Police Station on London Circuit, Steven Slater (played by Gerard Maguire) follows his angry mother Marion (played by Irene Inescort) into her car having been bailed out after his arrest during a demonstration at the Canberra Theatre Centre. The other scene shows Slater arriving at (Old) Parliament House in a vintage car with a couple of the demonstrations’ organisers.
Demonstrator premiered at Cinema Center on 5 April 1971. VIP guests included Noel Ferrier, Mike Walsh, Malcolm Fraser, Ian Sinclair, Ralph Hunt, the High Commissioner of Singapore and ambassadors from the Belgian and Japanese Embassies. A champagne supper on the roof of the new YWCA building in Alinga St, Civic followed the screening. In a fitting example of life imitating art, guests arriving at the premiere were greeted by demonstrators waving placards protesting against the low pay they’d received as extras.
A CTC 7 news cameraman captured rehearsals and location shooting of Demonstrator on 21 September 1970, most likely to be included in that evening’s bulletin. This footage is all that remains of the story.
In this clip, producer David Brice (wearing dark skivvy under a light jumper) chats with Eric Oldfield and a woman, the stand-ins for lead actors Gerard Maguire and Irene Inescort, while filming Demonstrator in Canberra, 21 September 1970.
Note: this excerpt has no audio.