Local council to consider heritage overlay for ATV-0 Nunawading site

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Former Channel 10 studios in Nunawading, now home to Neighbours, will be considered for a heritage overlay by Whitehorse Council on Monday.

The site, also recognised as the original Wentworth Detention Centre exterior in Prisoner and home to Young Talent Time, is now owned by NEP Australia (formerly Global Studios). It was opened in 1964 under Reg Ansett, as the first purpose-built commercial television station in Melbourne, until TEN relocated to Como, South Yarra, in 1993.

Over the years the site has undergone many changes including parcels of land sold off, and various redevelopments both internally and externally.

Council engaged heritage consultants to assess the site but they were unable to gain access to the internal parts of the site leaving the report compromised. However the report nevertheless found the heritage significance of the site had been sufficiently demonstrated.

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The consultants identified the site was the first television station in Australia to broadcast in colour in 1967 and is considered a rare surviving building of its type in Victoria. It recognised the studios have a strong link to Australian popular culture, and remain a tourist attraction.

But the Council also has those who do not wish to prevent development at the site, leading to a Facebook campaign to impress upon councillors that a heritage overlay should be approved.

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Former TEN News presenter Mal Walden told TV Tonight, “History is always worth preserving in whatever form. Given that television is going through a dramatic evolution and already much has been lost, (Nine and Seven studios) I think some form of preservation is vitally important.

“I am unsure how much of Nunawading should be saved. But a serious attempt should be made.”

The current lease to FremantleMedia extends to 2019 with an option for extension to 2028.

Those with memories of ATV-0 wishing to urge council to approve a heritage overlay should email [email protected]

Amended.

13 Comments:

  1. This place brings back so many fond childhood memories for me. My dad worked there in the 1980’s, so I have plenty of happy memories of going to tapings of YTT (even went to a YTT party once), the ATV-10 Family Christmas parties out on the lawns (pony rides around the helipad!). I remember one time, we scored tickets to go to a taping of Ridgey Didge (or something similar) that only allowed kids in the audience. Mum refused to let us go alone, so we missed out and hung out in dad’s office instead. It would be a very sad day if we lost this place.

  2. Given other studios (large and small) around the country have gone to death. It would be nice to have one left as a reminder the communication called “television.” Studios have shrunk in recent decades and there will be a time in decades to come were TV will not exist, let alone the metropolitan studios in each capital city and major regional centre….in a similar way drive-ins have almost disappeared with the remaining few, reminding us of days gone by. While GTV-9 probably turned around the most (and definitely the best) content, these Nunawading studios are the next best thing. Sell of the large grassed areas, The buildings could be leased as offices, and a small studio section run as a museum dedicated to “television” featuring communication from all networks. And would be great for the “Channel O” to be retuned to the outside wall. And maybe the helicopter on the helipad out…

  3. I actually worked there for a short time in the 1970s when the studios were busy with shows such as Fred Bears Breakfast A Go Go, (Tedd Dunn and Judy Banks), Morning Magazine (Roy Hampson and Katrina Pye), Showcase (Gordon Boyd), Eye Witness News (Bruce Mansfield), Matlock Police (Michael Pate) and Young Talent Time (Johnny Young). An exciting time to work in a studio with so much local production.

    • I was there even earlier, from about May 1964, three months before it even opened ..and the building wasn’t even finished. I remember seeing a whole row of toilet bowls all lined up along the executive offices before being installed elsewhere, or ‘carpetland’ as it became known.

      The staff organised a revue, which was performed for all the other staff in Studio A before opening night. A few sketches were borrowed I think, but it was mostly written by John Howson (before he added the “Michael”), including a rather infamous flower arranging sketch, which would be positively mild these days. Those were the days when working in television was huge fun. I rather think that’s not so much the case these days.

      The fact that it could become heritage listed rather astonishes me. It’s just a big bloody barn with internal walls. And the person who designed all that internal colour…

        • Ok I’ve gone back to check info again. The report actually indicates “the first commercial TV station in Melbourne to construct purpose built television studios” however Mal Walden’s book “From the Word Go” indicates “first purposely built television station in Australia.” Given the confusion I am happy to amend. Hope that clears things up on a Friday!

          • If my Melbourne television history serves me correct, it wasn’t the first purpose built studios, ABC Ripponlea was. However, Channel O Nunawading were the first purpose built “colour” television studios in Australia. The other existing studios had to be converted to colour, whereas Nunawading was built already capable of colour.

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