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".
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
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).
Crawford AO, CBE [14/8/13 - 11/3/91]
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
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
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".
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.