Postcards final… with Ron Kandelaars
For 16 years the Postcards unit has been a lean, mean fighting machine. For the past four years, Executive Producer, Alan Hickey has marshaled the team, as they've taken you from the backstreets of Adelaide and the remotest parts of our great State.
For much of that time, cameramen Jeff Clayfield along with Caleb Sutherland, Andy McEvoy and Travis Dungey have brought you amazing sights from around South Australia while Brenda Richards and Trevor Griscti captured the sounds of SA. And in the editing booths, Marc Orrock, Brenton Harris, Troy Green and Siobhan O'Brien made sense of it all.
But with such a small team and small budget you need to make the most of your resources and I'm proud to say we did that with one of our earlier stories on Lake Eyre.
Just raid some recent chopper vision from a previous News story in the far north, interview a bush legend by the banks of the Murray and use some of his vision taken on a trip down the Warburton Creek; add some inspirational music from your mother-in-law's CD collection and you can bring magic of Lake Eyre to life.
A natural phenomenon like Lake Eyre in flood will provide plenty of yarns but often we've been asked - will you run out of stories? Well after 16 years there are ways to revisit old locations like Seal Bay on KI. First up we saw it through the eyes of a ranger, then through the eyes of a seal, and finally through the eyes of the first tour guide to the region, Don Dixon.
We went back to the early 50s when Don Dixon loaded up the old Packard and set off on the track taken by the early Yakka Gum workers who collected resin for shellac, varnish and explosives.
Don Dixon: "The track that they made coming in here went from one yakka to the next yakka to a next. Which meant that it wound round all over the place. That meant that it used to take over an hour to come in from the South Coast Road down to Seal Bay."
The signs on the way said it all but the regular car load of tourists loved the bone jarring trip and the experiences that awaited them at Seal Bay all those years ago.
Today environmentalists would shudder at the close proximity of tourists to these marvelous creatures. But Don played a pivotal role in publicising this now world renowned seal colony. And his underwater antics with these animals attracted national attention - when the first holiday and lifestyle shows like Sunday Magazine with Mike Shillberger went to air on Channel Nine.
Now Seal Bay is a marine sanctuary in large part due to the efforts of Don who could see the urgent need to protect it all. His conversion to underwater camerman came on the road to Aldinga Beach when he first started spear fishing. Back then he made his own snorkel and mask and underwater housing for his trusty Bell and Howell camera.
Don Dixon: "Once I got down here and swam with the seals I was hooked. That was back in 1952 and of course when I came over here and swam with the seals (at Seal Bay) it was only natural to take your underwater camera out there and shoot some film underwater."
In a new century a new boardwalk named after the man who made this his second home. Now he and I and grandson Beau join ranger Mel Berris in the controlled group settings designed to allow these mammals as much rest as possible.
Great characters are always a guaranteed Postcards yarn but often it's the experience that matters and over the years, there are a few that have made me wonder just what I've let myself in for like the time I filmed a story on diving with the White Pointer Sharks off Port Lincoln.
But after 16 years, the search for new and interesting yarns means you have to push the envelope and we certainly did in terms of distance covered. I'll let you in on a secret… over the past few years I adopted the 'haven't been there yet' test.
In the confines of the Postcards office - I'd occasionally scan the map and simply point to a remote location and ask the question, "I wonder what's there?" It seemed as good an approach as any and it took me to some amazing locations.
But the abiding principle behind every yarn was that you - the people of South Australia - should be able to visit these locations and do these things as well. And many of you have, just as you've watched the Postcards program for the past 16 years. Thanks to you all, we've been a regular Top 10 ratings program and thanks to you all we've been given the privilege to showcase the wonders of this state.