With Australia’s first community and cable TV station

BY GRACE BARRAND 

Grace Barrand is a Screen and Cultural Studies student at the University of Melbourne and a recent volunteer at the NFSA’s Melbourne office.

Did you know that there were at least three Indigenous actors in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones? Neither did I, until I spent some time as a volunteer at the NFSA’s Melbourne office earlier this year.

I had the opportunity, under the guidance of Senior Television Archivist Simon Smith, to assess a large collection of materials relating to Australia’s first community and cable TV station, CTV-1. These materials were donated by Darren Gray, who also published a book on the history of the station (The Story of CTV-1, 2012) and has uploaded many programs from the channel’s history to his YouTube channel.

CTV-1 celebrated the everyday lives of Redfern locals and allowed them to tell their unique stories. In telling these stories, CTV-1 emphasised the extraordinary experience within ordinary life. Like the local Indigenous actor with a small speaking role in a Star Wars movie.

Entrance to CTV1, 2012. NFSA title: 1281136

In the above clip from Around the World on Saturday Night (2000), Aboriginal presenter Dulcie Yowyeh interviews a local Indigenous actor, simply called Steve.

Steve nonchalantly discusses his five-second speaking role in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002). Later in the interview, he also describes his modelling work with a Swiss sunscreen company and working with Andrew Denton.

CTV-1 was run by volunteers, who broadcast the station from a ground floor basement in Redfern, Sydney for 16 years (from 1987 to 2003).

Nic Testoni, who won a Logie in 1996 for his role on Home and Away, was one of many volunteers who gained valuable industry experience in CTV-1’s studio. He later returned to the channel to be interviewed.

Formed under the guidance of New Zealand-born Royce Sutcliffe, CTV-1 produced approximately 30 live-to-air shows, including over 500 episodes of Joy Hruby’s Sunday Joyride.

CTV1 Live, 1988. Left to right: Doug Moody, Captain Rom, unknown, Royce Sutcliffe and unknown.

An edited version of Joy’s interview and chat show was also screened on Sydney’s Channel 31.

I was surprised to see in the collection an interview conducted by Joy Hruby on The Agatha Ramsbottom Show with Australian cartoonist and writer Mick Joffe, who I remembered had come to my primary school in Geelong, Victoria some years later to give a drawing tutorial.

 

You can see a short excerpt from this interview in the clip below:

As well as the CTV-1 collection, I worked on recently acquired collections from Open Channel and the University of South Australia Library.

Volunteering at the NFSA enhanced both my technical skills in viewing film and my understanding of the curatorial processes involved in the selection and preservation of audiovisual materials. I’ve also enhanced my appreciation for, and knowledge of, the visual history of Australian culture and identity and how it is expressed in film and television.

Learning from people who have a genuine passion for the collection they develop, preserve and share, has been a great experience!

The NFSA would like to thank all the volunteers who worked with us in 2014. If you’re interested in volunteering at the NFSA, send us an enquiries [at] nfsa.gov.au (email) and tell us about yourself, your skills and interests.