50 years of BTQ7, ABQ2

btq7_secondday This weekend marks yet another television station’s 50th anniversary.  Brisbane’s BTQ7 was launched on 1 November 1959.  It was Brisbane’s second TV channel, following QTQ9 that had launched in August of that year.

Brisbane also didn’t have to wait long to get their third TV channel, as national broadcaster ABC opened its Brisbane channel, ABQ2, on 2 November 1959.

btq7_thelateshow Like QTQ9, BTQ7 was broadcasting from studios and transmission towers constructed up on Mount Coot-tha in Brisbane.  ABQ2 opted instead to have its studios in the suburb of Toowong but had its transmission towers at Mount Coot-tha.

Early personalities on BTQ7 included Brian Tait, children’s presenters Nancy Knudsen and Lester Foxcroft, women’s presenter Sybil Francis and newsreader Brian Cahill.

One of BTQ7’s earliest variety shows was The Late Show with Tait.  The program won the first TV Week Logie award for most popular program in Queensland.  In the early ‘60s, BTQ7 launched Theatre Royal, a show that took the vaudeville style of comedy onto television, featuring comedian and The Late Show star George Wallace Jnr and a team of performers including Eddie Edwards, Dick McCann, Jackie Ellison and a young actress by the name of Rowena Wallace (no relation to George).  Theatre Royal was immensely popular, screening every Friday night for six years, and was also shown interstate.  It won six TV Week Logie awards as Queensland’s most popular program.  The show ended after George Wallace suffered a stroke and died in 1968 at the age of 50, but his legacy continued as TV Week then initiated the George Wallace Logie for Best New Talent.

btq7_1960sAlso to come through BTQ7 in the ‘60s and ‘70s was Annette Allison, a performer on early variety and teenage shows before hosting her own daytime show, Annette.  She then went to Melbourne to ATV0 to read the news and co-host the morning show Everyday (later Good Morning Melbourne).  Dina Heslop was a host of the BTQ7’s children’s program Dina And Percy and was also a contributor to the national This Week Has Seven Days before becoming a producer for later shows like the Logie Award-winning WombatJacki MacDonald also had a stint at BTQ7 in the ‘70s, hosting her own show, Jacki’s People.  After Jacki left BTQ7, they then employed her sister, Fiona, to host a children’s program and was later a presenter on Wombat.

In the mid-‘70s, Reg Grundy produced a soap opera, Until Tomorrow, at the studios of BTQ7.  The series was a rare venture into daytime drama and screened nationally on the Seven Network, featuring Babette Stephens, Ron Cadee, former TV Week Gold Logie winner Hazel Phillips and a young Barry Otto.

Other programs to have come through BTQ7 over the years included  daytime show Bailey And The Birds, teenage shows National Top 40 and Teen Time, children’s shows Boris’ Breakfast Club and Seven’s Super Saturday, game show Family Feud and variety shows Top Of The Bill and Wak’s Works.

btq7_loveyoubrisbane Of course, it would be remiss not to mention BTQ7’s landmark promotional jingle, ‘Love You Brisbane’, that was produced for the channel in the early ‘80s and was used by BTQ for several years.  Sung by popular local performer Kim Durant, the song was even released as a single and was a top-seller.  The jingle was later adapted to TVW7, as ‘Love You Perth’, and regional Queensland broadcaster Sunshine Television (now Seven Queensland) before BTQ7 and Seven Queensland reprised it a few years ago:

Newsreader Brian Cahill had two stints at BTQ7, he was the channel’s first newsreader when it launched in 1959 and, after a stint at QTQ9, was there again in the ‘70s.  During the ‘60s, Cahill was joined at the news desk by former ABQ2 newsreader Ron Brady.  Others to have presented news at BTQ have included Mike Higgins, Nev Roberts, Donna Meiklejohn, Janne Rayner, Ken Hose, Garry Wilkinson, Frank Warrick and present-day newsreaders Rod Young, Kay McGrath and Sharyn Ghidella.

As well as news, BTQ7 produced local current affairs with programs including Haydn Sargent’s Brisbane, State Affair, Carroll At Seven and magazine programs PM Magazine and The Great South East.

btq7_bignews BTQ7 last week screened a special, Flashback – 50 Years Of Channel Seven, and tonight (Sunday) newsreader Brian Cahill makes a return to the Seven News desk to mark the fiftieth anniversary of his presenting the first news bulletin on opening night at BTQ.

And, by coincidence, BTQ7’s fiftieth anniversary coincides with a new era for the Seven Network as it launches its new digital channel 7TWO on the same day.

A lot of the material in this article, particularly related to the earlier years at BTQ7, is sourced by the book On-Air 25 Years Of TV In Queensland.  Compiled and edited by Christopher Beck. (1984)

Permanent link to this article: https://televisionau.com/2009/11/50-years-of-btq7-abq2.html


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    • Adam Gerace on 3 November 2009 at 2:40 PM
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    I would love to know whatever became of Jackie Ellison. She and her husband Gerry Gibson eventually went over to Adelaide where they worked for NWS9 on shows like “Adelaide Tonight”, but I can't seem to trace her much after that.

      • Barry Whalen on 29 April 2014 at 12:42 PM
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      After Adelaide TV, Jackie Ellison and Gerry Gibson migrated to the USA and settled in L.A.

      Gerry secured work as a character actor in various TV shows, bobbing up in shows like “Mike Hammer”. They had 2 children.

      I believe they are now living in Portland, Oregon, in retirement.

        • Adam on 14 February 2015 at 5:03 PM
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        Hi Barry,

        Do you have a contact for Jackie and Gerry? I didn’t realise Gerry was one and the same as the character actor. I’d love to interview them for my site http://www.adamgerace.com

        I can be reached at [email protected]

    • katie spring on 27 March 2011 at 8:17 AM
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    I would love to clear up a discrepancy in my memory, and my sister's, about a singer who regularly appeared on Theatre Royal and the Late Show. Her first name was Geraldine, and she was a slim willowy young lady, with stunning red hair, beautiful eyes and a distinctive space between her two front teeth. My sister thinks it was Geraldine Turner, but I know it wasn't. For some reason I have a feeling her sir name began with Fitz – Fitzpatrick, Fitzgerald .. some name like that. Can anyone help jog my memory.

      • Phil Williamson on 14 September 2013 at 3:14 PM
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      Just in case no one has replied, the name was Geraldine Fitzgerald. She was a classmate of mine at Woolowin State School and we followed her career keenly. A great gal! Her mother was a performer at the old Cremorne Theatre at North Quay, now long gone.Geraldine went on to appear on Brian Henderson’s Bandstand programme regularly.

        • ash on 3 October 2013 at 5:43 PM
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        Is she still around

      • Sandy Bray on 17 March 2021 at 8:59 AM
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      Yes, Geraldine Fitzgerald. She was also featured on Gordon Boyd’s Showcase if you remember that one.

    • Grant Armstrong on 28 March 2013 at 4:55 PM
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    I would like to know what ever became of Sybil FRANCIS, who was an afternoon presenter on Channel 9 back in 1961. Sybil presented movies in the afternoons and shared this job with Miffie Marsh at that time. I have fond memories of both these ladies and I would love to know in particular what became of Sybil, who seemed to fade away from our screen. I last heard via Phillip Brady that she was now living in Queensland. I would appreciate any information.

    Kind Regards

    • sybil francis on 16 September 2013 at 10:42 PM
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    Hi Grant,
    So happy to know that you are asking about me after all these years! 50+ !!
    How time flies!
    You ask what became of me. So …
    Various events led to the decision that Melbourne was not for me and I came back to Brisbane, where I appeared on “Beauty and the Beast” on BTQ7 for some years. ( Had been with BTQ before I went to Melbourne.)
    Worked in the library at Queensland University.
    Married a civil engineer. Had two children who of course are grown up now.
    My husband’s job sent us to Sydney for 25 years and then we retired back to Brisbane.
    Played competition bridge in Sydney, now scrabble in Brisbane.
    We have travelled extensively over the years but now as age creeps up we do a lot of cruising.
    We do keep in loose contact with Philip Brady. Catch up every Christmas.
    Thank you so much for remembering me.
    My best wishes to you. S.

    • James Henry on 4 October 2013 at 10:17 AM
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    Dear Sybil: I was trolling through the internet and came accross this message from you. I was delighted to know you live in Brisbane again – and so do I. Caroline (ex Channel 7 operations) and I have beern married for 51 years and have spent 20 years overseas in New York, Los Angeles and London. I becaeme an executive (would you believe it?) and ended my long career as Senior VP for Reg Grundy living in Lodnon.

    We see Meggsie from time to time and Nancy Knudsen

    Caroline and I would love to see you. We live in Taringa/St Lucia.
    I know this is a bit sudden after these years – but we would love to have lunch with you perhaps at the St. Lucia golf club and catch up. You up for that?
    Regardfs Jim & Caroline Henry.

    • Bruce on 24 December 2014 at 12:47 AM
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    Does any one have any information on a 1973 chanel 7 children’s show called H.C. presents, I think the hosts name was Heather.

    • Ken Henry on 15 January 2015 at 2:51 AM
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    Around the age of 5, I was lucky to be in the audience of a variety show at one of the Brisbane television studios at Mount Coot-tha. For the life of me I have not been able to determine which station or which show. From memory, the host wore a straw boater (but then again didn’t all hosts back then).

    I believe it would have been between November 1967 and March 1968 as there was one act that is still etched in my mind – a young Johnny Farnham singing his first hit, “Sadie, The Cleaning Lady”. The single debuted in November of ’67. His next single release, “Friday Kind of Monday”, was released in March of 1968 and made it to Number 3 in the Brisbane charts. I am only guessing, but suspect he would have performed that song if the show I attended had of been after the release of the second single.

    There is a video on the ‘net with John performing “Sadie” on a television variety show. In that video there is a plain white background and a chorus line of dancing maids. I seem to remember a curtain backdrop and no maids, but more importantly, as many live televisions shows were not recorded in that era, I feel a video of the performance I witnessed would unlikely exist.

    I have provided the best clues that I can. If anyone can help me identify the show, host and studio, I would be most appreciative. Thanks in anticipation.

      • Janelle on 8 March 2015 at 7:25 PM
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      Hi. Was it the Sherry Wheeler Super saturday show. I was there too. Free icecream and the kids got to do a dance competition. Beanpole wore a boater and striped jacket.

    • Greg on 29 August 2015 at 10:50 PM
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    Hi Bruce ; As a teen I worked on arvo program Young 7 along with HC Heather Carling, & guessing boater hat may have been worn by Paul Charlton . Young 7 originally hosted by Dick McCan & Jill Edwards Paul Charlton & Allison Ridgewell. BTQ 7 did a lot of video bands back then too & remember I saw some recorded . the Masters Apprentices were great . Producers were proud of helping of local bands including early tv appearances of the Bee Gees .

      • Heather on 6 September 2015 at 11:27 AM
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      Hey Greg,

      Is that actually THE Greg P, who worked with Sean and myself on Young 7? If so, it’s such a buzz to see you connected to this website … unbelievable! I just came across it by accident, and love the nostalgia factor. We had some great fun, didn’t we … shame the early days were live broadcasts, and any tapes were wiped and reused. You were very talented … hope you stayed in media/arts.

      All the best to you, and also Bruce (posted December last year, about “H.C.”). Thanks for the fabulous memories.

        • Russ on 20 October 2015 at 11:31 PM
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        Hi Heather, is that actually H.C. If so, I was your cameraman on the show “Afternoon with H.C.”, then Shazza, Georgia, & Simon G. We have been trying to find you for an upcoming BTQ event. I’ll bookmark this page, and check for a response. Great to see your still about. There is a wonderful photograph of you in the hallway @ Seven. The memories are made of these. Cheers. Russ.

        • Russell on 21 October 2015 at 2:00 AM
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        Hi Heather, As in Heather Carling “Afternoon with H.C.” BTQ, 1973-1974. If memory serves, Kel Geddes was Executive Producer, and the timeslot was 3.30 pm till 5.00 pm. I was your camera operator during 1974, and have progressed through the industry, for which I am still involved. Those were the days cherished, live children’s television. What fun! Have been searching for you for many years in the hope of re-establishing ties with yourself & BTQ. If this interests you Heather, perhaps we can make contact through other means. Warm regards, Russell.

          • Heather on 1 November 2015 at 8:49 PM
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          Hi Russell,

          Great to hear from you! I have a picture of you in my mind – I just hope it’s the right picture!! (It was 40 years ago, after all.) 😀

          I seem to recall that the fabulous Kel produced the show for a while, and he was joined by Don B, who was in charge of everything. Pretty sure my stint was late 1971 through to about April 1974, when I went overseas.

          You bet we had fun back then! I really do cherish those amazing years at BTQ7. (I was also on Young Seven for a couple of years, as well as a stint on All About Us.) However, even though I’m extremely flattered to hear that people have sought to re-establish ties, I just feel content and happy to leave the memories as they are.

          I’m glad you have stayed in the industry, Russ, and I wish you success with all your projects now and in the future. I’ll be watching 7 in the hope of seeing the odd “blast from the past” from time to time!

          ‘Bye for now,


            • Ian Munt on 26 April 2021 at 6:39 AM

            Hello Heather – I was on All About Us – would have been in 1973. Also with Marian Gibney and a Jeff or a Greg??? Show only ran for a brief period – I remember doing a “hit or miss” segment for new music releases. So exciting being picked up after school by taxi & taken to my cootha – plus $5 a show! I remember you as being very friendly and welcoming. Iain Duncan was the producer I think

            • Sandi Kopp (née Brown) on 3 May 2021 at 12:58 PM

            Hi Heather and also Greg. I worked with you both in Young 7 Juniors back in 1969, Sandi Brown (now Kopp). I still do some singing and I’m a member of QPAC Choir (although COVID has put a stop to that for now). I happened across this page accidentally and seeing your names brought back some great memories. Hope you’re both doing well.

            • Cheryl on 21 March 2022 at 10:18 AM

            Hi Heather I do not no if you will remember me, I am Cheryl Née Gooley, we were on BTQ Young Seven Juniors along with Greg P, Shaun N, hosts were Beanpole Dick Mc, Jill E, Paul C, Allison R. Producer Mr Don B, there were a lot of juniors as I try to remember. Anthony B, Paul S, Alfie R, Susan P, Marie ? , Susie A, Sandra B, Sheryl R, Victoria ?, Leonie ?, Paula S, Dancers were April, Heather, Evan, Cameramen where, Dougie, MichaleI, Casper, Phil, there were more but memory forgets. This was the best part of my Life as a Young Seven Junior singing and dancing. The most memorable song was with a duet with Anthony B and the song was ohh ohhh Antonio and his ice cream cart and Mr B blew up the cart at the end of the song 🎶 unbeknown to Anthony and myself, it went of with an almighty big BANG. I have been looking for sometime for any information regarding The Juniors. It would be nice to hear if everyone is going ok.

            • Darryl Neave on 18 October 2022 at 11:44 PM

            Hi Heather, we were in class together at Coorparoo State School and thenCAV Road High. CAV road high has a reunion coming up next month and I was wondering if you would like to attend. Please let
            me know and I will provide you with some details. After all this years would be great if you could make it and catch up with some old school friends. 😄

        • Tom Cooper on 28 August 2016 at 7:20 PM
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        Hi Heather
        I’m not from the industry but I was a huge fan of yours way way back 🙂
        Bit of a crush too.

        So good to see you are still around.
        Thanks so much for the fun and enjoyment I got from thew Afternoon with HC days.

        Tom Cooper

        • gregory nishimura-parke on 6 May 2019 at 1:27 PM
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        Hi Heather sorry bout the delay in reply but yes still in touch with Sean Nash and last week caught up with Evan Jones on his way back to Germany where he now lives .Hope the world is treating you kindly . Yes still in the game lite now tho as an oldie. Became a music producer of chill out style they play some of my music on Getaway ch 9 and also SBS Chill.

      1. G’day Heather, this is Wayne Martin Arnold, a contemporary of yours at Coorparoo School. I hope all goes well with you.
        (Wayne) Martin

      • Monica on 5 April 2023 at 12:31 AM
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      Do you know anything else about Paul Charlton, I am doing some research for QPAC (Queensland Performing Arts Centre) about him he used to work for Brentley Theatre after Channel 7. Would love to see the Young 7 photograph. Kind Regards

    • Blanche on 4 January 2017 at 1:38 PM
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    I am trying to find information on a show my mother was a contestant.
    It was in the early 1960s and I thought the game show was called My Fair Lady and hosted by Jill Edwards. I am unable to find any information about either.
    Can anyone help me with this?

      • Neil on 31 March 2019 at 2:01 PM
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      Hello Blanche. I came across this quite by accident and wondered at the coincidence . I can answer your question by asking the hostess herself this evening when she and her husband are here for dinner and catch up. Both are doing well despite advancing years. Jill still beautiful. Dick still retains his wit and great sense of humour.

    • Elizabeth French on 10 February 2017 at 1:11 AM
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    I’m hoping to source a photo or audio of Fred (Freddy) Foster, a small man engaged by btq7 in 1959. I’m not 100% sure in what role but he was a musician. He had launched a recording of melodies called ‘The two sides of Freddy Foster’. Can anyone help with this?

    • Teenager on 13 February 2017 at 10:22 PM
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    My mum’s had her hand up Agro’s arse…

    • Chris on 22 December 2017 at 9:42 PM
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    I still remember ” Afternoons with HC” from 1972.
    After living in New Guinea, TV every day was as a revelation. We only ever saw it for 4 weeks when on holiday at the Gold Coast. As for commercial TV these days, who cares? It’s been treating its audience with contempt for the last decade, and it’s pretty much doomed

    • Luke on 20 January 2018 at 12:32 AM
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    I have a question to ask that is Royal 69 an continuation of Theatre Royal or was it an different show?

    • Gary Bird on 9 April 2018 at 11:05 AM
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    Hello Heather
    Came upon this site by accident.
    You wee great on TV and from memory you spent some time as a secretary.
    I also knew your brother John from primary school together
    Gary Bird

    • Sheryl Watson (Ross) on 7 May 2018 at 12:03 PM
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    As a teenager I performed in the BTQ7 children’s show Young Seven and am curious to know if there are any fellow “juniors” out there who would of course would be rather senior by now. One memorable show had us performing on top of Mt Cootha in Brisbane for a spot in the first introduction of colour tv in Queensland.

      • gregory nishimura-parke on 31 December 2020 at 3:38 PM
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      Hi Sheryl yes I do remember you & think I still have some group photos of the Young 7 Juniors with you . Good to hear from you

        • Monica on 5 April 2023 at 12:25 AM
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        Do you know anything else about Paul Charlton, I am doing some research for QPAC (Queensland Performing Arts Centre) about him he used to work for Brentley Theatre after Channel 7. Would love to see the Young 7 photograph. Kind Regards

      • Sandi Kopp (née Brown) on 3 May 2021 at 1:06 PM
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      Hi Sheryl, yes, I’m Sandi Brown – a former “junior”. I remember that show and the event that was held in the grounds of BTQ under the tower. So many great memories of rehearsing in the props area between takes. Hope your well.

        • Monica on 5 April 2023 at 12:26 AM
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        Do you know anything about Paul Charlton, I am doing some research for QPAC (Queensland Performing Arts Centre) about him he used to work for Brentley Theatre after Channel 7. Would love to hear your story. Kind Regards

    • Hal Croxon on 28 November 2019 at 8:36 PM
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    I think it’s BTQ7 ‘s 60th Anniversary
    ,59 to 2019. HAL.C.

    1. Yep, it was


    • Luke on 23 February 2020 at 9:21 AM
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    yes she is

    • Mel on 28 June 2020 at 10:06 PM
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    Does anyone remember the name of the show that used to play during Boris breakfast club, The Lost City, or some such thing, please??? It’s been driving me nutty for a while now….. looking forward to hearing the answer!! Cheers and thanks in advance xx Mel xx

      • Josh on 23 July 2020 at 11:18 PM
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      I loved this one, great music, think Boris played it

    • Allison Fielmich (Thurgate) on 27 January 2021 at 5:26 PM
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    Back in the 70s I was in a short lived show produced by Dina Heslop (I think) called
    Perhaps it was a segment in another show ?
    Does anyone remember it ?
    Ch 7 would send a car to my high scholl to pick me up when I was somewhere between 14 and 16

    • Monica on 5 April 2023 at 12:35 AM
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    Does anyone remember Paul Charlton? from the Young Seven then the Royal Show that was on on Saturday nights?

    He went on to Direct and Produce at the Brently Theatre.

    I am doing some research for QPAC and very interested in hearing anything about Performing Arts in Queensland at that time.

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