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123 Rusden Street

The Armidale Newspaper Company owned a parcel of land with frontage onto Rusden Street, in 1954, allotment 2 of section 4, with a frontage of 50 feet and depth of 150 feet was transferred from the Armidale Newspaper Company to New England Broadcasters Pty Ltd.

In August, Managing Director of 2AD Ernest Higginbotham submitted a report to the Board for the construction of a new building at 123 Rusden Street Armidale, at an estimated cost of £30,000 pounds.

It was agreed the following month that the Company’s land in Rusden Street be transferred to Northern Expansion Pty. Ltd., a development company controlled by Broadcast Amalgamated Limited.  Northern Expansion Pty. Ltd. would erect on the Rusden Street site, suitable to the Board, a building providing offices and studios for broadcasting services as outlines on the plan under consideration, for an annual rental of £624 pounds.

It was also resolved an agreement with Northern Expansion Pty Ltd. be prepared giving New England Broadcasters Pty Ltd. the right to purchase the proposed Rusden Street building and the site, during the next twenty-five years, at a price to be determined by an independent valuer at the time of purchase.


In November 1954, it was agreed that the provision of a hall to seat approximately 200 persons would be considered in the new planning with further discussions to take place.

It would not be until July 1956 that plans for the new building would be finalised, at an estimated cost of £14,000 pound, plus electrical work, with the building to be placed 6 foot back from the street alignment.

Radio 2AD commenced operating from the new building Broadcast House at 123 Rusden Street Armidale on Monday 6th May 1957. Station Manager Roy Brislan announced a tentative opening date of Saturday 15th June 1957.


 

Radio 2AD commenced operating from the new building Broadcast House at 123 Rusden Street Armidale on Monday 6th May 1957. Station Manager Roy Brislan announced a tentative opening date of Saturday 15th June 1957. This would give station staff the time to settle in to their new premises.

 

The official opening of the building was deferred to Saturday July 6th 1957, with two preliminary functions held for the benefit of local advertisers and the public.

On the Thursday 4th July 1957, an afternoon function was held in the new Auditorium for what was referred to as ‘an afternoon for wives and womanfolk’. Not a term that we would use today – how things have changed.

The afternoon event was well attended, with advertisers wives and ladies from the community along with representatives of the 2AD Radio Club attending.


The following day Friday 5th July 1957, an early evening even cocktail function was again held in the Auditorium for Armidale and District Advertisers, interesting to note that there appeared to only be man at the Advertisers function.

This evening gave local businessesemen the opportunity to take a look at the new building and to see first hand the latest technology and facalities that were part of this radio venture.

A close look at the photo on the left shows a number of very prominent Armidale businessmen.

The opening of Broadcast House took place on the evening of 6th July 1957, with the Hon. William McMahon, Minister for Primary Production turning the key in the front door to officially opened the new 2AD building.


 

Photos above of the opening night - left, the official dinner in the auditorium with the head table at the rear of the photo. Centre photo shows Mr McMahon declaring "Broadcast House" open, seated in the photo is Mr Ernest Higginbotham, Managing Director of New England Broadcasters. The photo on the right, Mr William Mc McMahon turning the key in the front door of the building, watched by Mr Roy Blake, Chairman of 2AD; Mr Ernest Higginbothan, Managing Director of 2AD; Mr David Drummond, Federal Member for New England & Director of 2AD and Mr Roy Brislan, Station Manager of 2AD.


The new building had two sound proof studios, Studio A, and Studio B with the Auditorium referred to as Studio C. The two main on-air studios included the very latest in broadcast equipment.
The console or main control audio panel was separate to the three turntables (record players), the turntable units were on wheels, to allow each to be removed from the studio for repairs, they played records at 45 and 78rpms, while the 16 inch discs radio serials were played at 33a along with commercials produced for national advertisers.

The Studio Control Panel was an AWA console, at that time widely used across the industry. The microphones were suspended from the ceiling to reduce the effect of studio vibration, while the wall mounted clock was an important piece of equipment which had to be very accurate.


The Control Room was located between the two on-air studios, with three large glass windows giving visual access to both studios and also the Auditorium.  Photo: Owen Ferris and John Chapman in the 2AD Control Room with announcer Bill Irwin in Studio A.

All the station’s broadcast equipment was wired back to racks in the Control Room, from there the broadcast signal went via PMG program lines to the Armidale Exchange and then onto the Transmitter. Technical staff monitored the on-air signal, serviced the equipment and sometimes recorded of programs onto tape.