Pat Morrish on ABC Far North

Staff Writer

The ABC is celebrating its 80th birthday this year. As a part of that, former ABC Far North (Queensland) presenter Pat Morrish has written an insightful and fascinating article on her time with the ABC in Cairns.

The original article is published on the ABC website, and we have an edited excerpt below on Radio Today.

Pat Morrish;

1982 marked the dawn of a new era for me and, I believe, for the ABC in far north Queensland.

For me a dream came true when I was asked if I would be interested in joining the Cairns office as a casual broadcaster. It was in August of that year when I took on the roles of breakfast newsreader and presenter of ‘Top of the State’ as the one hour morning show was then known.

The ABC had dropped its classical music format a few months before I started my job and I recall quite a few complaints were still being made by irate classical music devotees. They had no alternative but to accept the situation as there was no Classic FM in those days. There were only two other local stations at that time. 4CA in Cairns and the Tablelands-based 4AM. With neither station having the transmission ability to reach people who lived in isolated and remote parts of our vast region the ABC was the lifeline it continues to be for so many.

I chuckle now when I consider those pre-computer days of the 1980s. Typewriters, correction fluid, record turntables and reel-to-reel editing were still the order of the day. Hard as it is to imagine in this day and age it was not technically possible to do a live telephone interview, nor was it possible to do an outside broadcast. Program producers didn’t exist, at least not in regional centres like Cairns.

All stories were written locally, four copies were typed up and most were stored in folders that lined most walls and cupboards. The station was located in a three-story building on the corner of Aplin Street and the Esplanade.

Like others before them cylones Larry and Yasi in recent years have had a devastating effect on the lives of many people in this region but they have helped build a second-to-none sense of community preparedness.

I’m proud to have been part of the incredible learning curve the ABC embarked on to better connect with people, keep them informed and do everything possible to ease the immense strain and stress that come with natural disasters.

My time with ABC Far North, working under twenty different managers was quite simply amazing. So much happened, so much changed. It was a character forming experience from day one.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss it and of course it’s wonderful audience who for me was so much a part of my reason for being.

You can read the complete version of Pat Morrish’s article on her time with ABC Far North at the ABC website here.

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