Early 1960s Aerial photograph of UQ, Union complex buildings centre foreground
(Courtesy CSIRO Cunningham Laboratory archive)
Google Earth 3D projection UQ
(Courtesy Google Earth: Landsat/Copernicus, CNES/Airbus 2018)
In December 2018 community radio station 4ZZZ will commemorate one of the important milestones in its over forty year history, its eviction on 14 December 1988 from its operational base at the University of Queensland by the student union executive.
4ZZZ began transmission in 1975 as the first stereo FM community broadcaster in Brisbane. It was established to provide an alternative to mainstream coverage, to develop skills and training in media related fields, and showcase Australian music. Announcer John Woods launched the station with The Who’s ‘Won’t get fooled again’ at midday on 8 December 1975.
The late 1960s and early 1970s were significant years in the development of many western democracies as student and community activists questioned and increasingly challenged the establishment. This was particularly so in Queensland which was governed by the ultra-conservative Bjelke Petersen administration. Repression of dissent was the order of the day.
It was in this environment that a group of ‘radicals’ conceived the idea of an independent radio station as an alternative to the printing press to disseminate their interpretation of the news, and at the same time, tap into the fledgling youth music scene.
The election of the Whitlam Labor Government was timely, the proposed radio station would need a License to broadcast, and ZZZ applied for one of the twelve issued in August 1975. ZZZ had successfully lobbied for the FM licenses to be on the VHF waveband.
The station’s first studios, located in the basement of the extension to the Refectory in the Students Union complex at UQ, were built and fitted out by volunteers, using largely second-hand building materials and furniture. Operational funding was raised through donations, subscriptions and fund raising events.
The station became a fixture on campus for the next ten years, however, in the mid to late 1980s, with state politics in turmoil arising from the removal of the Premier from office, and perhaps as a back lash, a more conservative Student Union attempted to close them down by evicting them.
Although university students rallied in support the station was forced to moved to alternative premises on Coronation Drive, Toowong. In 1992 ZZZ obtained a loan to buy the former headquarters of the Communist Party of Australia on Barry Parade, Fortitude Valley from where it still broadcasts.
4ZZZ will mark the thirtieth anniversary of their eviction with an event at the Schonell Theatre on Saturday 15 December 2018. Long-term volunteer Andrew Bartlett will chair a panel of ZZZ personnel who were there at the time. Refer to attached flyer for details, contact 4ZZZ for tickets.
11 Dec 2018 – for a more detailed description of the early history including interviews with Jim Beatson, Louise Butt, Amanda Collinge, Michael Finucan, Helen Hambling, Anne Jones, John Stanwell, Steve Stockwell, Harley Stumm and Ross Wilson, watch the documentary on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOmd2XnoD9Q&feature=youtu.be&utm_source=james.crid.land&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=james.crid.land%3A2018-12-10