James Dibble, one of Australia’s first television newsreaders, has died from cancer at the age of 87.
A former radio announcer, Dibble made history when he presented ABC’s first television news bulletin on the opening night of ABN2, Sydney, on 5 November 1956.
As ABC’s principal newsreader in Sydney, he also read the broadcaster’s first news bulletin after the official changeover to colour transmission in March 1975:
After 27 years Dibble presented his last bulletin in June 1983, witnessed by a studio audience of around 80, and was honoured with a civic reception on his retirement.
Dibble later spent 18 months as federal president of the ABC Staff Association.
ABC managing director Mark Scott described Dibble as “a gentleman, a fine newsreader, much loved across Australia”:
“He was the figure of trust that we all turned to at 7 o’clock every night, bringing the great events of the world and the great events of Australia.”
Richard Morecroft, who succeeded Dibble as ABC newsreader in Sydney in 1983, paid tribute to his predecessor:
“I was a little surprised at how modest a man he was for somebody who had such an extraordinary reputation.”