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50th Birthday

As we celebrate 2AD’s 75th Anniversary – we asked George Arklay, 2AD Manager between 1978 and 1988 to revisit for us, the celebrations that took place when the station turned 50 on 5th February 1986.

Time Magazine once described its charter as “To serve the modern necessity of keeping people informed”. When Radio 2AD was founded in February 1936, its stated purpose was the same and 50 years later 2AD had built an enduring relationship with The New England Community based on that promise.

In matrimonial terms 50 years is a Golden Anniversary – an occasion to celebrate. A series of events were planned. Some of them were small, some personal and sentimental – others larger – to repay our loyal listeners and advertisers to whom we owed thanks for helping us grow.


In the months preceding the anniversary many famous personalities who were interviewed on a variety of subjects were asked to record a greeting to be broadcast on the occasion. These included Sammy Davis Jr., Ita Buttrose, Kenny Rogers and the then Prime Minister, Bob Hawke. To commemorate the occasion a special 50th Anniversary car sticker was produced and distributed by businesses throughout the region.

Anniversary ceramic crocks of port wine suitably inscribed were presented to long term supporters of the station.

As a climax to Radio 2AD’s Golden Anniversary celebrations, a gala charity night was held at The Armidale Ex-services Club. Some 400 people attended and as a result, $1700 was donated to local charities.


As part of the evening’s entertainment, local department store, Richardsons, staged a fashion parade and a “2AD Golden Girl” was announced and presented with her prize of the latest model stereo.

Highlight of the evening was the aptly-named “Sale of The Half Century”. Contestants were chosen from the audience and quizzed by host Terry Sara and his glammed-up assistant “A loose plait” better known to his fellow announcers as Steve Royal. The winner received a number of prizes donated by local sponsors.

One of those supporters was John Cannon, local businessman and, at that time, president of The Armidale Jockey Club, who organized a 2AD race meeting as part of the celebrations. Directors, management and staff all enjoyed a memorable day. Pictured left, 2AD Manager George Arklay congratulates one of part-owners of one of the winners, while Club President John Cannon looks on.

In the 50 years since its founding, 2AD had become a valued member of its community and continues to be as it celebrates its 75th Anniversary.

The future? – We can only echo the thoughts of English poet and playwright Robert Browning who wrote:  “Grow old along with me – the best is yet to be”. George Arklay .


In February 1986 when 2AD celebrated its 50th Anniversary – Board of Directors of New England Broadcasters Pty Ltd (photo right) included L/r: Peter Smith, Company Secretary; George Arklay, Station Manager; John Richardson, Director; Bill Baxter, Director; Lea Higginbotham, Managing Director; John Parker, Director and Roy Forsyth, Chairman.