Crawfords is Australia's most established and respected television production company. The name of Crawfords Productions has become synonymous with high quality, locally-produced entertainment for over 50 years. Crawfords Productions has pioneered television drama in Australia, ranging from police drama, sitcoms, mini-series, telemovies and children's drama, producing over 4,000 hours of television, including the internationally acclaimed "The Flying Doctors", "All the Rivers Run", "Jackaroo", "The Violent Earth", "Tribe", "Acropolis Now", "The Sullivans", "Cop Shop" and "Halfway Across the Galaxy and Turn Left".

Now part of the WIN television group and under the proprietorship of Bruce Gordon, Crawfords Productions's eight-acre studio complex in Melbourne remains a key centre for film and television program production in Australia.

In recent years Crawfords has also established joint ventures and co-productions for international broadcasters and distributors. Mini Series "Tribe" (Paramount), "Outward Bound" (Discovery), "Backlands" (Bavaria), "Saddle Club" (YTV Canada, Beta Tauras Germany) and "Blonde" (CBS).

 

Hector Crawford AO, CBE [14/8/13 - 11/3/91]

It was in 1938, at the age of 25, that Hector Crawford first came to the notice of the public when he inaugurated the outstanding "Music For The People" concerts in the Melbourne Botanic Gardens. This series of free classical and semi-classical concerts, sponsored by the Government of Victoria and the Melbourne City Council, attracted audiences of up to 80,000 people during the summer months for more than 40 years, during which time Hector Crawford gave his services as Conductor and Musical Director without fee or remuneration of any kind.

From extremely modest beginnings, Crawford Productions developed rapidly to become the Australian radio production industry leader. In the next 18 years, thousands of episodes of radio programs devised and produced by the company were broadcast throughout Australia and in more than 20 countries overseas and were acclaimed for the uncompromising content-quality and production standards insisted on by Hector Crawford and his sister Dorothy. Many of them, such as the long-running Mobil Quest, were designed to encourage, assist and develop the talents of young Australian opera singers who were later to achieve world fame.

But it was the advent of television that was to present Hector Crawford with his biggest challenge. Even before television transmission began in Australia, it became evident that Australians and Australian productions were faced with the alarming prospect of being "frozen out of their own television programming, due to the vast cost differential between locally produced and imported (mainly American) drama programs".

Hector Crawford was deeply concerned about the disastrous effect this would have, not only on the Australian production industry - its writers, actors, producers and directors who depended on it for a livelihood, but also on Australia itself - its identity, culture, manners, customs - even its way of dress and speech.

Most countries in the world were aware of the dangers of non-indigenous television and had taken appropriate steps to counter them. However, both the Government and people of Australia seemed content to ignore the warnings.

But Hector Crawford had a vision - and a determination. A vision that Australian television could and must be of Australian origin and outlook, and a determination to bring it about.

Regardless of the possible economic consequences, in 1959 he published at his own expense a small book setting out the inevitable, damaging results if the virtually unlimited program imports were allowed to continue. He lobbied and campaigned, exhorted and encouraged. He established teaching and learning facilities, and most important of all, he continued to make programs, to show by example that Australian productions could compare and compete with the world's best.

It was a long, slow and often discouraging process. The economic arguments again success seemed overwhelming. But gradually, the tide turned. By 1984, Australian/produced programs were among the most popular on Australian television. What's more, the Australian television drama industry had a foothold in many countries throughout the world.

Hector William Crawford, AO, CBE, formerly Managing Director, retired in February 1990 as Non-Executive Chairman of Crawford Productions Pty Ltd, producers of radio and television programs since 1945. He died one year later, at the age of 77.

   

 



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