Gallery: Farewell to TCN9 Willoughby

End of an era as Nine vacates its historic home on Saturday.

TCN9’s last ever broadcast from its Willoughby home will be Weekend Today tomorrow morning.

This marks the end of the first home of television which began in 1956.

Nine News on Saturday night will mark a new era at 1 Denison Street, North Sydney.

CEO Hugh Marks has sent a note to staff as the Willoughby chapter closes:

TCN has been the home of Australian television for 63 years, but the time has come to say goodbye to Willoughby.

As we bid farewell, it’s important that we celebrate our history and take with us an unrivalled legacy.

Willoughby is the place where Australian TV began. It’s where Bruce Gyngell famously greeted viewers in 1956 with, “Good evening, and welcome to television”. Since that day, our network has never skipped a beat and led the way in telling stories in Australia and beyond.

It’s been home to 60 Minutes, Today, Midday, and so many more. Over the decades, many have come through our doors and made a mark on Australian television as an industry.

As you know, media is an ever-changing industry and as we vacate our home, we move to a new era.

The Willoughby site will see the  3.2 hectare site redeveloped as  460 apartments, town houses and 6000 square metres of public space. The transmission tower will be demolished.

Purpose-built studios at Denison Street bring together television, news, digital and radio, including The Sydney Morning Herald on level 6 and The Australian Financial Review on level 4.

“In all respects, this state-of-the-art home positions all of Nine’s businesses for an amazing future. As I’ve said the aim of all this is for Nine Sydney to be a creative campus – one which will fundamentally change our business, how we operate and most importantly, how we collaborate,” said Marks.

“While some things may change, others remain the same, and the talent, skill and passion you all have will only be enhanced by this new place as we continue to create incredible content that speaks to all Australians.”

He added, “Thank you for the memories you’ve all helped create. We’ve been making TV history for the past six decades, and next week that will not change. A new era, a new Nine. I hope you are as excited as I am.”

Photos: Angie Summa

24 Responses

  1. I have made comments elsewhere:
    In sum
    * Not one studio in Sydney has their own “large” studio except the ABC’s Studio 21 & 22. Major productions are made “anywhere” in addition to NEP (formerly Global TV) at the Australian Technology Park for example.
    * OBs have been outsourced to Global now NEP.
    * Presentation/continuity/master control have been outsourced: For example the ABC/WIN operation conducted by Mediahub at Ingleburn,
    * Have I missed on any other areas in broadcasting?
    Thank you,
    Anthony of exciting Belfield

  2. I remember the Super Flying Fun Show, that was on week day mornings from Willoughby. It featured Marilyn Mayo and a guy with an Emu, also Smokey Dawson was a semi regular. We knew the address because they would quote it for competitions.

    1. Is there any surviving footage of the Super Flying Fun Show?
      I have fossicked around on YouTube to no avail; but I did see a cast album that they made.

      And I also add my voice at the disappointment that Nine did not find it worthwhile to put together a highlights special of the past 60 or so years of shows that came out of TCN. Perhaps that sort of thing is considered an indulgence or a luxury these days….

        1. Yes it is a shame, clips of that show would be great. With SFFS and Cartoon Corner, there seems no record of what cartoons were shown and when. I would love to see those records as they were a big part of my childhood

  3. Very disappointed by the piece at the end of Weekend Today. Surely showing clips/highlights/behind the scenes of all the live shows that *actually* originated from ‘the home of television’ would have been better than rehashing all the major news stories of the last 60 odd years that have little to no relevance to the Willoughby site..

        1. With respect I am aware these were full broadcasts. I am also aware I quizzed Nine on these who referred to these as test broadcasts on Saturdays to iron out any wrinkles. Think of them as previews I guess. Nine News Saturday is the first official according to Nine.

  4. I find it unusual that Nine didn’t produce a big special on all the shows that came out of that building over the years, It would be a cracker I’m sure….a trip down memory lane.

    1. I am surprised too that there is no special (esp in Sydney) on the closure of the Willoughby Studios. Especially when the cupboard is bare due to the virus, and the fact its nearly non-ratings period where nothing of excitement airs anyway.

  5. yep … although I never worked there, I first visited the place in 1968 and spent time coming and going during the 70s and 80s … I remember sitting in the control room during the airing of the Mike Walsh Show and thought that this rabbit-warren of a building was the most unsuitable place to make television! … but make television it did, despite the fact that the main studio wasn’t even air-conditioned for years … but over in North Sydney there’s isn’t even a space that could seriously be called a “main studio” any more … just a collection of dog-boxes suitable for talking heads … television broadcasting has certainly changed a lot since Willoughby first struggled into existence … and not necessarily for the better … but, hey, I guess that’s progress … I’m just glad I’m retired!!

  6. Yes it is a very sad time. I started my career there and spent 6 fantastic years at TCN (2001-2007) while Kerry Packer owner it. We all knew after Kerry passed TCN things may change. I got to work with so many talented people in production, news and engineering. Sadly due to covid I wont be able to do a final walk through. I have many photos and memories that will be for the rest of my life. One of the biggest memories was working on September 11, 2001.. We were on air almost 24 hours a day, the control room was crazy..

    1. Yes, sad to see everything and everyone moved from a television centre to a multistorey office block, where so many of the staff will never set eyes on their colleagues. 9/11 memories- had just moved from TCN9 to TEN10. Sandra was presenting the Late News. Was in her wrap-up “we’re just receiving pictures from CNN where a plane has apparently crashed into the WTC”. And, rather than going home in an hour we were on-air all night. And monitoring what TCN9 was doing! Best memory at TCN9 was the non-stop Apollo 11 cover. Chief Engineer (Less Free) in Prog Continuity asking his Snr Tech “Why does 7 have better pictures than us?”. “Because they have better equipment”. ATN7 had a very expensive Marconi standards converter. TCN9 had an AWA telecine camera pointing at a 525-lines monitor.

Leave a Reply

Cast your vote in the 15th TVT Awards