Council pursues heritage value of GTV9

The City of Yarra is investigating the heritage value of the GTV9 studios following recent news of a possible sale of the Richmond site.

The studio frontage currently has a Heritage Overlay preventing work to the building’s exterior without council approval.

The building dates back to 1908 when it was the Wertheim Piano Factory. Once the largest of its kind in Australia, it was designed by architect Narhum Barnet and opened by Prime Minister Alfred Deakin. It was the first piano factory ever built in Victoria.

After 1935 it became the Heinz tinned food factory until the Nine Network took possession in 1955.

Since then it has been fondly dubbed “Television City,” churning out iconic programmes including In Melbourne Tonight, The Don Lane Show, New Faces, Hey Hey It’s Saturday, The Footy Show, Sale of the Century, Family Feud and Temptation -to name but a few.

A nomination for listing with Heritage Victoria has been sitting idle since 1986.

In August the City of Yarra became aware of a possible sale of the site and has commenced research and reviewing of planning controls in readiness for a change of ownership and potential building application permits.

Currently the 3 hectare site zoned as Industrial 1 is said to be worth $10million.

A brief report by the council revealed historical significance relating to the Piano Factory, but has recommended further research to document the contribution by both the Heinz and Nine Network occupations.

Yarra Council is considering breaking up the large site into smaller blocks that reimpose the original street grid. It would also consider limiting building heights, offering affordable housing and arts precinct options for the block, in keeping with its historic links.

Yarra Council will undertake extensive community consultation on any redevelopment. Should the site be sold before this is concluded, the local Heritage Overlay would protect any changes to the exterior of the building’s frontage.

The council is not intending to change planning permits should the Nine Network retain control of the site.

But newspaper reports have indicated the sale of both TCN9 and GTV9 in the immediate future. Nine is said to be interested in a move to Melbourne Docklands for its GTV operations as part of a wider, digital upgrade.

Kindly link to this website when sourcing or posting in messageboards, thanks!

7 Responses

  1. 1.
    most of these sites are inner city ideal to reduce urban sprawl and reduce polution in the long term.

    It’s the federal government and regulators that are allowing crap content on TV – that’s why the internet was invented.

    NO,I tease, Aus deserves quality TV encouraging artistry in the media. New money for the ABC and SBS would give the commercials a run for their money. They would have to lift their game … one hopes. THough with Border Security topping the rattings … maybe we get what we deserve?

  2. I personally think the excuse of ‘moving to digital’ is a load of balony. A building is a building. In the UK there are production houses at the forefront of technology in buildings that are hundreds of years old. I’m no tech, but ‘digital’ still needs cables to transport the data, and even slimmer ones than analogue so if a building like GTV already has miles of analogue cable in it then what’s the difference?

    The Seven Network agregated it’s master control operations to one ‘super centre’ years ago and it was a nightmare. Plus it stripped other stations of their local MC and left them hollow shells – BTQ 7 being the worst hit. TEN did it a few years back as well and geez, laid off another hefty chunk of staff. The reason why Nine is selling GTV and TCN is simple – it’s for the value of the land. Money. Nothing more, nothing less. ATN 7 is moving out of Epping because of the value of the land. In Brisbane TEN tried to do it, then found out they couldn’t sell the land they were on as it was special zoning and so they stayed put. The old ATV10 (Global) is only still there because of Neighbours and the backlot they have. Very soon it will be gone and turned into a housing estate. Digital my ass. Greedy faceless corporations who don’t give a jot about history or good entertainment improving their bottom line by selling off assets – that is what it’s all about. James Packer lost interest in TV when he couldn’t put Poker Machines in the canteens! (that’s a joke Joyce).

    I agree with anonynous on one thing. Like old theatres, these places are something magical. I grew up at QTQ9 in Brisbane, was there for nearly 12 years of my teenage life, and every time I walk back in there – despite it being ‘upgraded’ etc. It feels like home.
    When Bond bought the Nine Network in the 80s the vandal erased or threw out 20 years of Nine Brisbane’s taped history as it needed the storage space for a new boardroom. I see this as no different.

    Do you wish to see the Palais at St KIlda knocked down? Or while we’re at it how about Old Parliament House? They’re both prime pieces of real estate. Why can’t television be allowed a history?

  3. Change is inevitable. Nine will need to progress just as Seven and TEN have moved and modified in the last decade, including to new premises.

    Similarly, Ripponlea barely raises the same thrills for the ABC as it did when Countdown was top of its TV tree.

    It will be a sad day when GTV closes its studio doors. Thankfully heritage decisions will preserve one part of what it has been. When it’s eventually apartments at least it will have the same exterior.

  4. So what is the solution ?

    The reason why Nine is selling both TCN and GTV is to raise capital for its conversion to Digital. Everyone seems to have forgotten in the saintification of Kerry Packer that he hardly spent any money on infrastructure at Nine and now they lag behind the other networks. Whilst he had many great ideas, he was very reactionary when it came to the overall vision for Nine.

    What many people also forget is the Nine Network is an affiliated network unlike Seven and Ten, they cannot implement a centralised broadcast centre to reduce the costs of conversion to digial TV. PBL Media only owns the East Coast Nine Stations.

    They have the oldest technology and set up. In fact, I doubt the buildings at GTV 9 could handle the actual conversion to digital. TCN would be even worse with their cottage set up.

    Having said all of that, I agree that something special will be lost when both TCN and GTV close. There is something magical when you walk down the corridors at GTV

  5. I have said this before. This would be a travesty of immense proportions. TV history will be lost forever. Not just the inconic GTV – where most of the best variety ever produced has originated – but TCN? For God’s sake, this was the first TV station on air in this country! If you’ve been to the pitiful excuses for TV stations that have now become the TEN Network you’ll know how the crap on air is reflected in the workplace. Thank goodness QTQ9, BTQ7 (though gutted and nothing more than a storeroom), and TVQ10 (again, gutted and one, big ‘open plan’ office nightmare) in Brisbane are on land that is zoned ‘TV Only’ – they may end up being the only original capital city TV stations left. Shame on you James Packer – your grandfather, uncle and father would be spinning in their graves for what you have done to a fine legacy.

Leave a Reply