John Pickup ABC broadcast pioneer and Brushmen of the Bush painter died at 91. Let’s see more details about John Pickup and more about his journey.
- Pickup was part of ABC’s first live television broadcast in 1956
- His career began when he won a radio talent competition in 1947
- Pickup spent almost 30 years working in Broken Hill, which he said was “just great”
What happened to John Pickup?
ABC Broken Hill announced the demise of the ABC broadcast pioneer John Pickup on their Social Media page. In 1956, Pickup appeared in ABC’s first live television broadcast.
Former ABC Broken Hill manager and the last member of the famed outback artist collective the Brushmen of the Bush, John Pickup OAM, has passed away at his home in Murwillumbah at the age of 91.
The broadcaster, who spent more than 40 years at ABC, had a long and colorful career working in radio and television across the country.
Cause of Death
John Pickup OAM, passed away at his home in Murwillumbah yesterday at the age of 91. At this point, it is unknown precisely what led to his death apart from the confirmation of his death and the exact cause of the death of John Pickup was not released as well.
To learn more about John’s death, we are attempting to get in touch with his friends and family. This section will be updated as soon as we learn any new information regarding the tragic event that brought many people to tears.
About John Pickup – Early life
In 1956, Pickup appeared on ABC’s first live television program. The broadcaster had a lengthy and colorful career working in radio and television across the nation and spent more than 40 years at ABC. Pickup was also a member of the Brushmen of the Bush, a group of five Broken Hill artists who achieved a reputation abroad in the 1960s and 1970s for their paintings of outback flora and fauna.
Pickup’s media career began in 1947 when friends convinced him to enter the 2UE Rumpus Room talent quest, which he won. He went on to work at 2GB Macquarie, working in sound effects, before moving to ABC in 1950. Pickup worked in the sound effects department at ABC Broadcast House in Sydney, where he helped actors and sometimes animals to bring radio dramas to life.
For service to the community as a regional radio broadcaster
ABC Broken Hill congratulated John Pickup for For service to the community as a regional radio broadcaster.
Broadcast Media – Radio
Inaugural Manager and involved with the establishment, of Radio 4CRM Mackay, 1993-2005.
Manager, ABC Radio and Television Darwin, 1980-1981.
Manager, ABC Radio Broken Hill, 1962-1989.
Radio Broadcaster, ABC Radio, 1950-1992.
Art ,Member, Brushmen of the Bush (other members include Pro Hart and Jack Absolom), 1973-1989.
Manager, ABC Radio Mackay, 1989-1992.
Ballooning, Former Volunteer Commentator and Announcer, annual Canberra Balloon Spectacular.
Former Owner and Pilot, ‘Don Quixote’ hot air balloon.
In an interview with ABC Radio National’s Late Night Live, Pickup related the story of how his hand became the first “animated object” ever seen on Australian television.
It happened when, as the floor manager of the first national ABC TV broadcast in 1956, he was given the task of opening a big book entitled The ABC Presents the Opening of Television in Melbourne, which featured in the opening shot of the broadcast.
“I took my right hand up to makeup [and] had it satisfactorily made up,” Pickup said. “Come eight o’clock, I get the cue from the floor manager. I pick up the book, I open to the first page. “It just so happens that … my right hand is the first animated object seen on national television.”
In the 1960s the ABC appointed Pickup regional manager at Broken Hill. He told Late Night Live he spent some of the most significant years of his life there.
“I spent 27 plus years in Broken Hill and [it] was just so great — so many wonderful people, and you were absorbed into the community,” Pickup said.
He was celebrated for keeping the station on air via the local telephone exchange after an intruder set fire to the ABC offices and studio. It was during his time at ABC Broken Hill that he became acquainted with artists including Pro Hart. Pickup formed friendships that would lead to the birth of the Brushmen of the Bush collective.
Brush with fame
The collective was formed when Broken Hill artist Eric Minchin found himself short of paintings for a charity fundraising exhibition in Sydney. He invited Pickup, Hart, Hugh Schulz, and Jack Absalom to join him and a Woman’s Weekly article covering the event gave the group its moniker. The collective went on to exhibit around Australia and internationally, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for charities. Broken Hill artist Howard Steer said the members of the group were known for their generosity. “They donated a lot of paintings to charities all over the country,” he said.
Hart went on to become the most famous of the group, but Steer said each man brought something valuable to the collective. “It was the perfect combination of skills,” he said. “Minchin was the accountant, Absalom had the bush skills, and John always had a microphone in hand — he was the media guy.” Pro’s wife, Raylee Hart, fondly remembers gatherings with the Brushmen and their families, where exhibitions and trips overseas were planned. “We’d all have a sing around Pro’s organ, some beers, we’d all bring something for a meal,” she said.
Tributes posted on Social Media
Micheal Prince posted A gentleman at rest, RIP John, Condolences to the family
John Pearce Posted Condolences to the Pickup family, John was such a lovely man
Suzanne Hall Posted Sad News after a wonderful career on the Air Waves. Condolences to all the Pickup Family.
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