John Barton, former journalist and TV presenter, has died peacefully at age 73.

He started as a cadet reporter at The Brisbane Telegraph in the late 1960s. In the 1970s he moved to television, to ABC‘s This Day Tonight, working in Perth and then back in Brisbane. When TDT was axed in 1978, Barton and a number of his colleagues moved across to rival QTQ9 to begin the local Brisbane current affairs show Today Tonight.

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Today Tonight continued until 1985, along the way winning four TV Week Logie Awards for Most Popular Program In Queensland.

He claimed that he was virtually exiled from Queensland media after he broke two controversial stories. He told TV Week in 1992: “The first story was about how (Queensland Premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen) financed his farm and the second was about (QTQ9 board chairman) Sir Edward Lyons’ betting activities. And later when Lyons was sacked from the board, all of us (Today Tonight) got the axe too.”

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He was thrown a lifeline by Network Ten in Sydney, as executive producer on Good Morning Australia and host of Business Week. This was followed by a move to co-host Seven‘s short-lived business news program TVAM with Kay McGrath.

By the early 1990s he was working as a freelancer, including a stint as a reporter and relief host on ABC’s Landline.

He later moved to Kuala Lumpur as director of sports at the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union from 2002 to 2013.

John Barton is survived by his three sons, Sam, Fraser and Hugh Barton.

Source: Brisbane Times, Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union. The Sunday Mail / Scene On TV, 1 May 1988. TV Week, 6 December 1992.

4 thoughts on “Obituary: John Barton

  1. Thank you for publishing. TV Tonight and others have ignored his passing. Only Nine News and their newspapers have made mention. Although TV-AM had a short run (1988 to late 1989) it was a quality program thanks to Skase however it was due to Skase’s financial woes that the program folded and Barton himself announced this on the final program. We need more good, honest journos/presenters like him. RIP the eighties and John Barton.

  2. Worked with him on the Telegraph before I headed off to the Gallery in Canberra . We had a hell of a good time in Brisbane as young blokes. Great golfer – great friend . Too young – bloody shame really.

  3. It rocked me yesterday, hearing that John had passed. He was a good and generous friend. I had not seen him in recent years but my memories of him are full of humour and his incisive wit.

  4. John was a very intelligent and amazing man. He was an avid reader. He could recall in detail aspects of his childhood, youth, and experiences as a journalist. He liked to sing, write poetry and most of all loved his family passionately.. I will never forget him. Louise Sharrock

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