Crio’s Question: I heard it on the radio

Twitter and other forms of social media have changed the landscape for news and information.
Us oldies remember when the wireless (or the “tranny”) served that role – especially over the long summer holiday season.
Colin Ritchie’s lovely nostalgia on this site last week (click here) got me thinking about moments I can attach to hearing on the radio….
– The America’s Cup win (early morning Aths training at Aberfeldie Park)
–  Botham’s destruction in 1981(settee whilst on student rounds in Pt Lincoln)
-vaguely, Tobin Bronze’s 3rd in the Washington D.C. International (walking to early morning church with my Dad)
Who’s got others to add?


  1. Louise Francis says

    24th September, 1966. I was a nine year old St Kilda fanatic. We had the tranny going in the kitchen full blast and because it was such a close game and I was unable to remain still, I also kept running out to the EH Holden and listening on the car radio.
    Bob Murray marking the ball at centre-half back and kicking as siren sounded long and strong was just so perfect.
    The positive of winning only one premiership in all these years is the clarity of the day. All chiselled deeply and worn with pride on my gracefully ageing psyche. So ready for another though :-)

  2. Never had a ‘tranny’ until I left school and bought my own. Had many many hours with a ‘portable’ radio the size of 2 house bricks. Tucked up listening to Ashes Tests to the wee smalls.
    When we lived in Kadina SA, I used to listen to the 5AD Regional station from Port Pirie, 5PI. They did a lot on relay from Adelaide, but they still did their own late night radio serials into the early 70’s. Many nights going to sleep listening to “The Shadow” (Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow Knows.)
    I remember a guy I worked with (and as big a mug punter as me – his brother is a recently deceased Adelaide bookie) who did the 5PI/5MU/5SE desk on a Saturday afternoon after 5AD went totally to Top 40. His job was to cut in whenever Bert Day/Bill Collins/Des Hoysted came on with a race. Because he fancied himself as a turf analyst he would try to engage Bert Day in chat down the line after a race when Bert was eager for a beer or a bet. Along the lines of “what did you think of Radish’s run from an Adelaide Cup point of view.”
    I remember him coming in to work one Monday very offended that Bert had told him when they were off line “just shut up and put on the Percy Faith”.
    My greatest ever accidental stumble onto a radio sporting event late one night was Crisp’s Grand National in 1973. The BBC commentator was in raptures all the way at his stag like jumping. Led by 30 lengths most of the race, and by 15 over the last only to be caught on the line by an unknown called Red Rum carrying 23 pounds less. The commentator was almost in tears at the unfairness, and I remember riding him with the stick all the way up the long straight. As usual we both finished second. I knew little of Crisp, I just knew he was Australian, and we always had to show the poms. Of course Red Rum went on the win 3 Nationals and run second twice and is now regarded as the greatest Steeplechaser of all time.

  3. Pamela Sherpa says

    I can recall while at primary school- would have been early 60’s, being allowed to sit up very late one night with dad to listen to Margaret Smith /Court playing in the final at Wimbledon. I think she was playing Billie- Jean Moffatt/King . I also remember telling it for news the next day at primary school and my teacher being impressed that someone had some significant/sensible/newsworthy news to report.

  4. I always liked Norman May calling the cricket. Adelaide Oval, 5th test in the Ashes series 1978-79: Hendrick bowling to three slips, Brearley, Hendrick and Gower?!?

    Now which Jack Dyerisms should we list?

    Happy 2013 for the Almancers.


  5. Late nights listening to the Ashes coverage on the ABC in 1989 and 1993 are fond memories. Listening to Daics put them through from all angles on a Saturday arvo before finally seeing them on the replay that night. Tim Lane and Keith Stackpole calling Sheffield Shield games at the MCG. Being at my first Grand Final in 2009 and listening to Gerard Whateley’s brilliant and slightly biased call of the Cats great win. And turning down the TV to listen to Gerard confidently calling Black Caviar’s win at Royal Ascot despite the TV being several seconds behind.

  6. It’s a shame the ABC commentary isn’t included on the Grand Final DVD’s like the commercial stations are….

  7. John Harms says

    August 1972. We have just arrived in the little town of Oakey. Frosty night. WE go to the Olympia Theatre and there is only one other family there to watch Those Magnificent men in their Flying Machines. WE go home and sit around the heater listening to the final Test from the Oval. Sheahan and Marsh chase and of course win a famous victory.

    I have spent a life-time listening to radio sport, almost exclusively on the ABC.

    Can sing the music from BBC Sports Round-up.

  8. Colin Ritchie says

    John Arlot drawing pictures in my mind as he sets the scene of play during an Ashes test in England.
    The description on ABC as Leon Baker spun out of the pack to kick the goal that puts Essendon in front during the ’84 Grand Final. Nearly went through the windscreen!

  9. Dave Nadel says

    A sad one (unless you barrack for Melbourne)

    1964. I am doing Matriculation (predecessor to HSC which was the predecessor to VCE). Collingwood is playing Melbourne in the Grand Final. I don’t have anyone to go to the GF with and I probably wouldn’t have been able to get tickets anyway. I did home work till a little bit after lunchtime and then got out my tranny and decided to combine listening to the Grand Final with a long walk. Listened to every mark and kick and stopped at halftime for a soft drink at a milk bar.

    By the last quarter I am several miles from home among the mansions of East Ivanhoe, where they are as likely to support Melbourne as Collingwood. (The surrounding suburbs are about 70% Collingwood and 30% Fitzroy) Close to Time On and Ray Gabelich sees the ball and gallops up the field to score an inspirational match winning goal. I am standing in Maltravers Road screaming my head off (and I have an earplug in my ear so if anyone had been watching they would not have known why I was screaming). We are going to win a flag!!! Then, out of nowhere, Neil “Froggy” Crompton, the Melbourne back pocket, found himself with the ball in front of goal and scores to put Melbourne in front. What was he doing down there? This was in the days when players wher supposed to play in fixed positions. Then the siren rang. Melbourne had won the flag – The Pies had snatched defeat from the jaws of victory – as they were to do again twice during the decade.

    I was totally deflated. Fit 17 year old or not, there was no way I could walk back home. I took a yellow bus back through Ivanhoe from East to West, detirmined not to think about football again until after I had sat my Matric.

  10. It is somehow apt to use this thread to mention the passing of CMJ (from TMS) –
    the wonderful Christoper Martin-Jenkins (of Test Match special) for those uninitiated.
    Great memories of a rich voice and unique radio character.

  11. Peter Fuller says


    The Guardian carried this wonderful obit. by Mike Selvey for CMJ.

    I liked CMJ’s voice, not quite so convinced about his effectiveness at communicating what was going on. However, I’ll never be able to think of him in quite the same way after reading Selvey’s piece.

    My favourite radio memories cover football, racing, cricket and the 1956 Olympics. Like John, ours was an ABC home. I can still hear the dulcet tones of the incomparable Noel Bailey calling Vladimir Kuts’ destruction of Gordon Pirie in the 10,000 metres on the first day of competition at the Melbourne Games. In the meantime, Chilla Porter was fighting out the high jump, eventually settling for silver to Charles Dumas, in the fading daylight of the MCG.

    I also think I recall the famous mile when John Landy stopped to help Ron Clarke to his feet. I’m not sure if I haven’t conflated my contemporary awareness of that race with an assumed wireless (always wireless, rather than radio in my childhood) broadcast. In my memory/imagination, it’s again Noel Bailey providing the word pictures. Athletics and funding for the ABC were more advantaged in those days.

    I vividly recall Clive Harburg’s call of the final over of the tied test. That’s the one Alan MacGilvray missed because he decided to catch an early flight back to Sydney when Australia’s cause was hopeless at something like 6/92 chasing 233. When the run-out occurred on the 7th ball of the final over, Harburg took three goes to get the result right, Australia have won, no the West indies have won, no IT’S A TIE!

    Bill Collins and Bert Bryant (and occasionally Joe Brown in deference to our ABCness) were constant background noise on Saturdays at our place, memories too numerous to mention.

    Football: I was certainly listening to the closing minutes of the 1966 Grand Final, but my personal memory of 1968 is more vivid. I was at the Monash Library trying to do some study, but came out to listen to the last quarter in the car park.

    Dave, I was in standing room for the 1964 Grand Final, and I acknowledge that I was much less deserving of a ticket than you. My elder brother was one of those habitues of the all-night queue, and rarely missed a GF from 1960 on. I was the lucky companion on a few occasions.

    Thanks Crio for a lovely indulgence of some of the pleasant deposit boxes in the memory bank.

  12. Thanks Peter. Wonderful reminiscences.

  13. Pamela Sherpa says

    At primary school the tradition of listening to the Melbourne Cup during school time began. I went to a little bush school up on the Murray and out teacher thought it important that the speakers were ‘tested’ once a year. You could hear a pin drop as we sat glued to our seats. Thankfully this tradition continued at out high school.

  14. Yes Pamela – our school always broadcast the Cup over the classroom announcement speakers!

  15. Peter Schumacher says

    Adelaide’s Arnold Ewens calling he basketball in the 56 Olympics.

  16. 2001, Round 17, Hawks vs Blues. We had to go to a kids party in Epping. I tried to keep up with the score but all I knew was that Carlton were staying 3 to 4 goals ahead all day. We got in the car to drive back to Preston. I turned on the radio to hear Carlton kick a goal and were up by 16 points with about 10 minutes to go. The drive home was excruiating. With barely 30 seconds left Chick ran down a Blues player, with a tackle commentators described as unbelievable and booted it into the pocket. From out of nowhere Dixon held the ball. He booted it through (after the siren) and we got up by four points. I hardly listen to the radio but the way the game was called I felt like I was right there. When I watched Chick’s tackle on telly it only reinforced how well it was described on radio. I felt the pain and then the rush, I understood what was happening and I was part of something significant. radio does that; it is like a companion.

  17. Bill Collins total disinterest in discussing Adelaide races was hilarious. Could just imagine him lighting up a Willem 2 in the studio and putting his feet up on the desk while Bert Day tried in vain to engender some enthusiasm for the Adelaide races .

  18. John

    Funnily enough the Sheahan-Marsh chase was the first time they ever showed action from a Test from England live on TV (ABC)*. So, for a change, it wasn’t a radio thing for me.

    We had a dance on at school that night. Somehow I managed to get away with staying home and watching the cricket.

    Next day at school I was confronted by the frightening Br Murphy who demanded an explanation in writing from a parent. I walked to my dad’s butcher shop. He wrote on an Everett Bros Butchers invoice…

    “Les couldn’t go to the dance because he wasn’t too good.”

    Brilliant. It was at that moment I decided to become a famous writer.

    Br Murphy read it and said: “Piffle!” A bit a spit hit me.

    * We got TV in Kalgoorlie-Boulder in 1970. Up to that Sheahan-Marsh day they showed a highlights package on ABC TV but never anything live.

  19. Les,
    I vividly remember the early morning TV highlights package….might that have been the first time I saw Benaud host? My Dad suspected he was a Pommy traitor.
    Also recall the Sheahan/Marsh partnership after Ross Edwards’ dismissal! What contrasting characters.

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