Television pioneer remembered with street name.
Reg Grundy and Joy Chambers are having streets named after them in Queensland.
Reg Grundy took Australian television to the world, he was a true pioneer and a genius at what he did. He began his career on radio as a boxing commentator and later hosted the game show Wheel of Fortune which he also created. When television arrived Down Under, Reg made the transition taking his show to the small screen, but he soon moved behind the scenes and became the leading producer of television game shows in that part of the world.
Reg Grundy took Australian television to the world.
He had a dream to move into television drama production and wanted at least one daily serial on every Australian television station, but he knew that he needed the best people in that field in order to achieve his ambition. To that end he headed to Birmingham and head hunted Reg Watson and Alan Coleman from ATV’s hit serial Crossroads to run his drama division. The rest as they say is history, here in the UK many of Reg Grundy’s drama serials have achieved cult status. We continue to enjoy Neighbours, and shows such as The Young Doctors, Sons & Daughters, Richmond Hill and Prisoner: Cell Block H still have a loyal fan base. Reg was an inspirational man and his death in 2016 was felt far and wide.
Reg made a home for himself in Bermuda where he was able to follow his other passion, wildlife photography and where he published several stunning books containing his images. He had a particular love of longtails and an exhibition of his work entitled Longtail: A Bermuda Resident is running in the Commissioners House at the National Museum of Bermuda. It is particularly fitting that the museum are currently reconstructing the historic Bastion E coastal ramparts which will be equipped with twenty longtail nesting boxes, once the works are completed the bastion will be renamed in Reg’s honour.
Reg Grundy (centre) on the set of The Young Doctors with cast members John Dommett, Peta Toppano, John Walton, and Delvene Delaney. Copyright Grundy Organization/FremantleMedia.
Over in Australia tribute is being paid to Reg in a very different way, a new street has been named after him. The developers, Sekisui House, have built more than two million homes around the globe during the past fifty years. Reg Grundy Street will be located in their brand new neighbourhood of Lighthaven in the Ripley Valley area of Queensland. Located 26 miles from Brisbane, and 6 miles from Ipswich, you can buy a plot of land on the street and are free to build your dream home with the builder of your choice, alternatively you can select one of the developers master builders for the task at hand.
This new neighbourhood will boast more than 10 hectares of open space with creeks, walking tracks, parkland, playgrounds, an outdoor gym, sheltered barbeque areas, a natural amphitheatre and a billabong waterpark. The brand new Ripley town centre will have a pedestrian friendly precinct boasting shops, cafes, restaurants, a Coles supermarket, schools, and a medical centre, along with bus and train connections.
The whole concept will blend the buzz of inner-city life with the refreshing qualities of nature, and given Reg’s connections with Queensland this is a wonderful tribute to him. He produced many quiz, game and panel shows in Queensland, along with the drama serial Until Tomorrow which was the first Australian television ‘soap’ produced in the state and designed specifically for screening during the daytime. As well as his television productions, Reg also opened his legendary theme park, Grundy’s Entertainment Centre, in Surfers Paradise in 1981.
Reg Grundy (seated left) with some of his game show team. From left are Bill Mason, Jess Williamson, Lyle McCabe, John Culliton, Julian Jover, and George Black.
I was equally thrilled to learn that Reg’s wife, the Queensland Logie winner Joy Chambers, has also been recognised by the developers, and you can now buy a block of land on Joy Chambers Circuit. Joy had been born in the Ipswich area, and is an international patron of the annual Ipswich Poetry Feast. She would become a core part of the Grundy Organization, and will be best remembered by British television viewers for playing Dr Robyn Porter in The Young Doctors, and Rosemary Daniels in Neighbours, although she also appeared in The Restless Years, and many of the Grundy panel shows. In more recent years Joy has forged a successful second career as a writer of historical novels with hits such as Mayfield and The Great Deception under her belt.
I hope that Sekisui House will now consider naming streets in their Ecco Ripley development after two other icons of the Reg Grundy Organization. I propose a Reg Watson Walk and an Alan Coleman Close. Reg Watson was of course born in Queensland and began his career on radio there before going on to create iconic serials such as Neighbours, The Young Doctors, Until Tomorrow, and Sons & Daughters. The late Alan Coleman is an equally legendary figure from the glory days of Reg Grundy drama who was the driving force behind The Young Doctors, and who was instrumental in setting up Until Tomorrow in Brisbane.
Left: Joy Chambers fans can now build a home on the Joy Chambers Circuit in Queensland. Right: Reg Watson (centre) with Prince Phillip and Crossroads actress Jane Rossington. Fans would like to see a street named after Reg Watson, a Queenslander who has done so much for television around the world.
As wonderful as these street names and longtail nesting boxes are, the best way to pay tribute to Reg Grundy and the legacy that he has left us would be to preserve his iconic television productions in order that they can be seen and enjoyed by future generations. Many of his legendary shows are now safely stored by the National Film & Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) but are held on obsolete and deteriorating tape stock. Any tapes not digitised before 2025 will be lost forever and the NFSA are in a race against time to save their priceless collection.
The NFSA are doing a magnificent job but unfortunately they don’t currently have the financial resources needed to complete this vital work in time. You can make a general donation to their Deadline 2025 campaign to help save a slice of Australia’s irreplaceable television heritage by heading across to their website. It would be a tragedy and a national disgrace if Reg Grundy’s televisual legacy was lost.
Anyone interested in visiting the National Museum of Bermuda to view the Reg Grundy longtail exhibition, or to see the Dr Reg Grundy Bastion once it’s completed can find out more on the official museum website. https://nmb.bm/
Those of you who are tempted to purchase property in Reg Grundy Street or on Joy Chambers Circuit should head across to the developers website for further details. http://eccoripley.com.au/