Good Friday in Victoria means another Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal, raising funds for what is one of the world’s leading children’s hospitals – caring for over 280,000 children each year from around Australia and overseas.
This year marks the 80th year for the appeal which was started as a sporting carnival, organised by journalists of the Herald and Weekly Times (HWT), in 1931. During World War II, HWT’s radio station 3DB launched an all-day broadcast for the Appeal.
The advent of television in 1956 saw HWT’s new television station, HSV7, first involved with the Appeal. HSV7’s first effort for the Good Friday Appeal in 1957 was a three-hour afternoon telecast.
In 1960, HSV7 presented its first all-day telethon on Good Friday – starting at 7.00am and continuing through to 6.15pm, before resuming for an hour at 8.00pm and then again at 10.30pm through to the announcement of the final total at midnight. This is in contrast to HSV7’s usual weekday transmission which at that time didn’t start until mid-afternoon and would wind up before midnight.
The 1960 appeal raised a total of £231,750, far exceeding the previous year’s total of £174,129.
In 1977 the appeal passed the $1 million milestone for the first time – raising a total of $1,489,866.84 – and the $2 million milestone only four years later.
This year’s appeal is likely to top last year’s record total of $13,862,734.
Meanwhile, the Herald Sun reports that rival channel GTV9 has upset Good Friday Appeal organisers with the Nine Network opting to air segments of the Brisbane-based Good Friday telethon for the Mater Children’s Hospital, during its regular national programs Today, Kerri-Anne and A Current Affair.
The Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal. Friday 2 April, from 9.30am. HSV7 (Melbourne) and Prime Television (Regional Victoria) – in association with the Herald and Weekly Times and radio stations 3AW and Magic 1278.
Pictured (top): HSV7 weather presenter Ilona Komesaroff with actor John Thaw, from UK series The Sweeney, in 1977, and (above) Countdown’s Molly Meldrum, Pat McDonald (Sons And Daughters) and booth announcer John Deeks on the Good Friday Appeal panel in 1982.
UPDATE @ 12.40 3.4.2010: The Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal has signed off with a record-breaking final total of $14,462,000.