Postcards … with Keith Conlon
In this final episode of Postcards, the little TV show that turned into a Sunday night saga that has spanned 16 years, let's go back to how it started. Channel 9's then Program Director, Pat Gardner and Producer, Neil Smith were always on the lookout for a new local program. And the owner of Channel 9, John Lamb, was Chairman of the South Australian Tourism Commission. That combination bore fruit and an experimental 8 part series was launched that would give viewers some ideas about being tourists in their own backyard. So Deanna Williams and I took our baby steps on air.
It's fair to say that Postcards was an idea that grew into its boots. On the long path to today, more than 600 shows and 3,000 stories later, we've come to know that it's our job to excite you, to make you feel proud, to make you want to get out and see your state. These early stories were seen by South Australians who were still a bit shell-shocked after the State Bank collapse. Yet riches of a different kind were all around us.
We soon learned we could mix the old with the new. Anybody who tells you nothing happens in South Australia - tell them to jump into a rose bush! Taking over the old tram and bus depot space, the beautiful corner of reclaimed parkland in now the International Rose Garden and is just one example of something that wasn't here when we started. It's just one of a long list of projects we've help unveil.
The shine of new contemporary architecture, the glow of heritage saved, the lure of new trails in the landscape, fresh tastes and experiences… they have kept us on our toes and, we hope, you on the road finding new treats. Maybe taking the prize for the most unusual new project for me came in 1999 when I found myself clambering around the makings of the new Hills Freeway that we now take for granted. Back then there were shifting whole hillsides.
The test of a good Postcards segment? If we can get you to say, "I didn't know that". We found them all over the place - in the city, the parklands, through the suburbs and towns. That's where we found plenty of passionate people too.
Many of you have kindly observed that Postcards has helped you understand South Australia's very different history. As someone fired by our heritage, it has been a privilege to put what is around us in perspective, to help fill the gaps sadly left by our education system. Enhancing our sense of history certainly came to the fore with our one-hour specials on 3 of Adelaide's sister cities. Nice gigs.
Why is Georgetown on the island of Penang in Malaysia a sister city? Amazingly, it was founded by Col William Light's father, Capt Francis Light, exactly 50 years before his son designed Adelaide. And Christchurch? Well, NOT because Col Light designed it as is popularly thought - he'd been dead 11 years before they got there. But it was based on the same Wakefield migration scheme as South Australia.
So what about Austin in Texas? It was full of surprises, of course. Soon after the famous Alamo defeat, Texas won its independence from Mexico. In 1836! So that is how our basketball team got its name.