MPC Hall of Fame 2013 Inductees



The son of Sir Keith Murdoch, Rupert inherited the afternoon newspaper Adelaide News at age 21 and developed the News Limited business into the second biggest media conglomerate in the world by the early 21st century. His empire included newspapers, television and movie production in the United States, Europe, Australia and Asia.  His political influence was considered immense and controversial.  In Australia, his newspapers covered more than 60 per cent of the daily metropolitan and national market. His induction to the Hall of Fame was primarily based on his introduction of the fresh innovative national daily The Australian, which lost money for many of its first 50 years but forced rival publishers to invest in quality journalism, thus lifting general standards

GRAHAM PERKIN (1929-1975)

Perkin was the editorial dynamo who awoke The Age from nearly half a century of provincial mediocrity to create one of the 12 greatest newspapers in the world (Martin Walker, Powers of the Press). A generation of journalists were inspired by his leadership during his nine-year editorship from 1966. He established the Insight   team which exposed corruption by public officials. He campaigned for the rights of children, people with disabilities and indigenous Australians. He appointed Australia’s first environment reporter, expanded foreign coverage and assembled an outstanding stable of cartoonists. He fought vigorously for media freedoms while insisting on better professional standards and accountability, introducing a ‘We Were Wrong’ column to explain and apologise for the paper’s mistakes.


Harry Gordon was a distinguished reporter, feature writer, war correspondent, sports reporter, historian and mentor. He wrote 15 books and edited Herald & Weekly Times daily newspapers in Melbourne and Brisbane for 18 years.  He led a Melbourne Sun News Pictorial Herald campaign recognised as the most successful newspaper campaign of the 20th century, Declare War on 1034, named after the Victorian road toll in 1970. It forced the State Government to find the political will to become the first jurisdiction to introduce compulsory  seat belt legislation, the first in a series of  measures that reduced the State’s road toll  by two-thirds over the next 40 years.


‘Monty Grover’ was the foundation editor of the Sun News-Pictorial, Australia’s first pictorial newspaper that enjoyed immediate success in 1922 and became the nation’s top-selling daily. Grover, more than any other individual, brought popular tabloid journalism to Australia after being impressed by the Northcliffian revolution in London in the 1890s when advertisements were thrown off the front page in favour of bold headlines, big pictures and crisply-written stories.  Grover was also a playwright, biographer, mentor and a teetotalling raconteur who mentored some of Australia’s finest newspaper people. For many years, the Herald & Weekly Times named its annual cadet journalist prize after him.

NORMAN BANKS MBE (1905-1985)

Banks was a former used car salesman and onion grower who became a giant of Melbourne radio, pioneering football broadcasts and talkback. He worked  from morning to night for more than half a century, first at KZ and then at AW, producing and presenting shows ranging from celebrity interviews to quiz shows, music programmes  and commentary on domestic and international  affairs.  In 1938 he founded Carols by Candlelight, which became an international institution.  In the mid-1960s, he was attracting one quarter of Melbourne’s morning and early afternoon radio audience. His conservative views were often controversial, including support for apartheid.

RON CASEY AM MBE  (1927-2000)

Broadcaster Ron Casey arranged the marriage of two grand streams of Melbourne culture – television and sport.  As a sports broadcaster with Channel 7, Casey introduced the Thursday night League Teams show in 1962 and then the Sunday morning show World of Sport, which became the longest-running sports show in the world. The DNA of those shows survive in much of today’s football coverage on television. Casey pioneered Australia’s coverage of the Olympic Games and his radio call of Lionel Rose’s victory over Fighting Harada for the World Bantamweight Championship in 1964 is one of Australia’s most memorable sporting broadcasts.  As general manager of Channel 7, Casey negotiated the first live telecast of the AFL Grand Final in 1977.


The Argus said in 1944 that more details are known about the beginnings of Melbourne than most large cities, ancient or modern, because of one man: Edmund Finn.  Pen-named Garryowen, the Irishman arrived in Melbourne six years after the settlement of Port Phillip and recorded its people and events in a 13-year career with the Port Phillip Herald and later in his 1880 book The Chronicles of Early Melbourne.  In the preface, Finn says he was ‘’a spectator of almost everything that went on, whether  the burning of a house…a Mayor-making or a prize fight…..or an execution…or a corroboree”.

TOM HORAN (1854-1916)

Horan was an Irish-born Australian cricketer who played in the first Ashes Test and captained Australia in two Tests. But it was his cricket writing that was his biggest contribution to the game, documenting the early years of Australian cricket for scores of historians. He wrote under the name of Felix for nearly four decades in The Australasian, a weekly published by the Argus newspaper. Horan was the first Australian cricket writer who had played the game at the highest level, paving the way for many players to enter the media. Bill O’Reilly described him as “the cricket writer par excellence”

STANLEY CROSS (1888-1977)

Cross was the first of a long line of world-class Australian single-panel cartoonists. AtSmith’s Weekly in 1929, he created perhaps Australia’s best-known cartoon, affectionately known by its caption ‘ For gorsake, stop laughing – this is serious’ . His art portrayed typical Australians, from farmers to jackaroos, doctors and diggers.  For The Herald in Melbourne, he created the adventures of Wally and the Major in a comic strip syndicated for decades in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji and celebrated in 18 annual books from 1943 to 1960. His name is perpetuated in the annual Black and White Artists’ Club Stanley Awards.


Duncan Hooper was the first editor of Australian Associated Press. Born in London, Hooper accepted a transfer from Reuters to AAP after a stint as a correspondent in World War II. Hooper established AAP’s national headquarters in Melbourne because of the city’s superior communications in the preparation for the 1956 Olympic Games. His passion for communications technology saw AAP develop successful offshoots such as AAP Communications Services and the telephone company AAPT.

RICHARD HUGHES (1906-1984)

Hughes was a railway shunter before he began a colourful newspaper career. He joined the Melbourne Star in 1934, and by 1940 was based in Tokyo, warning that Japan was likely to enter the war against the Allies. After service as a correspondent in the Middle East, he returned to Tokyo in 1945 and spent most of the remainder of his working life there. He distinguished himself in world journalism when he unearthed the defected British spies Burgess and MacLean in 1956. A flamboyant character, he was described by John Le Carre as “a sort of journalistic Eiffel Tower”.

DENIS WARNER  (1917-2012)

During seven decades in journalism, starting as a copyboy on the Hobart Mercury, Warner became a distinguished war correspondent and an influential interpreter of Asia. He served in the AIF early in World War II. Later, as a correspondent in the Pacific, he was aboard a British warship when it suffered a kamikaze attack. He worked for the Melbourne Herald, Reuters, the London Daily Telegraph, and the Reporter magazine. He landed with US marines on Saipan, witnessed the devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and covered both the siege of Dien Bien Phu and the early days of the Korean War.

KEITH DUNSTAN (1925-2013)

Dunstan was one of Australia’s most durable columnists. For 30 years, from 1958, his daily column A Place in the Sun was almost an institution in the Sun News-Pictorial. Earlier he wrote a column for the Brisbane Courier-Mail, and later another for The Bulletin under the pseudonym Batman. Dunstan, son of William Dunstan VC, joined the Herald and Weekly Times, in 1946 after service in the RAAF. He wrote whimsically and well about cricket, and became renowned for his cycling exploits and his Anti-Football League. His many books included the autobiographical No Brains at All.   He won the Melbourne Press Club’s inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award.

BERT WOLFE (1897-1968)

Wolfe was a widely respected turf writer who took his famous byline, “Cardigan”, from the 1903 Melbourne Cup winner Lord Cardigan. After war service, Wolfe began veterinary studies, then became a racing writer. He spent four years as sports editor of the Melbourne Argus before Sir Keith Murdoch hired him for the Melbourne Herald. He covered 21 Melbourne Cups, picking up a phone after each Cup and dictating 4000 words of copy from shorthand notes. In 1932 he accompanied Phar Lap to Agua Caliente, and was present at the horse’s death. In 1934 he exposed a notorious ring-in.


The only son of the editor of The Age, Schuler volunteered to write reports and take photographs for that newspaper during the Gallipoli campaign. He documented — with evocative accounts and remarkable photography — the entire experience. Less subject to censorship than the official correspondent C.E.W. Bean, he exposed flaws in the campaign, particularly the scandal of British treatment of wounded. Historian Les Carlyon considered him “a much better writer from a newspaper point of view than Bean.” Schuler later enlisted in the AIF, and died on the Western Front in 1917, aged 28.

ALEX GURNEY (1902-1955)

Gurney, born in England, achieved fame as creator of the war-time comic strip “Bluey and Curley”. The strip featured a pair of soldiers — Bluey, a Great War veteran who had re-enlisted, and Curley, a new recruit to the AIF.  Gurney was accredited as a war correspondent, and visited troops to ensure authenticity in his strip. In New Guinea he contracted malaria. Sent to England in 1946 for the Victory Parade, he had Bluey and Curley participating in that event. He drew other strips earlier in his career — among them “Ben Bowyang” for the Melbourne Herald.

ROHAN RIVETT (1917-1977)

Rivett joined the Melbourne Argus in 1940. By 1941 he was working as a broadcaster in Singapore, where he became a captive of the Japanese. He later described his experiences in the best-selling “Behind Bamboo”. In 1951 he became editor-in-chief of Adelaide’s Daily News, and worked closely with its new owner, Rupert Murdoch. Under their leadership, the paper forced a royal commission into the murder conviction of Rupert Max Stuart, an Aborigine. Rivett later became director of the International Press Institute, based in Zurich.

CYRIL PEARL (1904-1987)

Pearl was a fine journalist, editor, social historian and biographer. In the mid-1930s he was one of a talented group of newsmen on the evening Star — during which time he once made an audacious phone call to Adolf Hitler to ask his intentions. By 1939 he was editor of the Sydney Sunday Telegraph, where he and his adjacent editor Brian Penton (Daily Telegraph) resisted occasionally wrong-headed wartime censorship. Pearl later worked as a freelance journalist, and wrote 20 books, including the biography “Morrison of Peking” (1967) and “Wild Men of Sydney” (1958).

OSMAR WHITE (1909-1991)

White, born in New Zealand, published a novel and hundreds of short stories and articles before joining the Herald and Weekly Times before World War II. Accredited as a war correspondent in 1941, he covered the New Guinea campaigns, including Kokoda. While attached to the US fleet, he witnessed several naval battles before being wounded at Rendovas Island. He wrote Green Armour, a classic of jungle warfare, while convalescing, before a posting to Europe. He covered the liberation of Buchenwald and other concentration camps, as well as the signing of the German surrender.


After he died in London in June 1960, the Daily Mail stated that Monks was to be found “wherever there was a battle”. He was one of several Australians who became famous for their war reporting for Fleet Street newspapers. Monks began on the Sun News-Pictorial, later joining the London Daily Express. He covered the Abyssinian war, then later the Spanish Civil War for the Daily Mail. His most famous piece of reportage was of the bombing of Guernica by German aircraft. He covered most European fronts during World War II, and later reported on the Korean War and the Malayan insurgency.

BRUCE  PETTY  (1929—)

Bruce Petty’s bold ‘scribbles’ are as at home on the screen as on the page. His work in several media is characterised by his depiction of multiple interconnected concepts rather than a single idea. Although best known for his political cartoons in The Age for more than three decades, Petty was an Oscar-winning animated film maker, an etcher, an AFI award-winning documentary maker and a creator of ‘machine sculptures’, one of which was exhibited in the Australian Pavilion at World Expo ’85.

MAY MAXWELL  (1876—1977)

May Maxwell started writing for Perth’s Sunday Times in 1907 while on tour with William Anderson’s theatre company. She gave up the stage to join Table Talk and, in 1910, began editing the Melbourne Herald’s weekly women’s page. Impatient of false social niceties, she insisted on covering the society round openly, notebook in hand, and championed those women who contributed actively to public life.  In 1921, the page went daily and Maxwell edited it until she retired from daily journalism in 1934 for another career as a freelance writer and broadcaster.

COLIN BEDNALL (1913—1976)

Journalist, war correspondent and media manager, Colin Bednall reported for several Australian papers before joining AAP’s London bureau in 1938. As aviation correspondent for the Daily Mail from 1942-1944, he contributed substantially to the public profile of the air war in Britain. Returning to Australia, he was managing editor of Queensland Newspapers Pty Ltd and later The Argus. When GTV-9 was formed in 1956, Bednall became its managing director and assured the station’s ratings lead by promoting local content, fostering on-air personalities like Graham Kennedy and supporting independent news coverage.

C.J.DENNIS (1876—1938)

Clarence Dennis spent most of his professional life in Victoria where he created the sentimental bloke, who first appeared in The Bulletin in 1909. Dennis was a prolific writer of both verse and prose, contributing more than 3000 items over 16 years to a daily column in the Melbourne Herald as well as creating Ben Bowyang in Letters from the Bush and other feature series. But his verse novel, The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke, with its vernacular celebration of Bill and Doreen’s everyday love story, was his most enduring success, selling more than 60,000 copies within a year of its first publication in 1915.


Francophile Jules Archibald was born John Feltham Archibald in regional Victoria and was to leave a national legacy in both art and letters. At first, Archibald had a string of jobs, not many of them journalistic. But in 1880, he and John Haynes launched The Bulletin and he became part of an exciting literary experiment. For the14 years from 1886 it was Archibald’s guiding hand and sensitive sub-editing that shaped The Bulletin’s irreverent, nationalistic tone and nurtured both the magazine’s talented writers— such as Lawson, Furphy and Banjo Patterson— and the ethos of mateship among battlers that led to it being dubbed the Bushman’s Bible.


Viennese-born Lynka Isaacson combined a refined European sensibility with a down-to-earth practicality that made her unique in journalism in Victoria. Within two years of arriving in Melbourne with her Australian husband and two children she was writing social notes for The Age. Soon after, she was editing The Leader’s women’s pages and encouraging country women to share their personal lives and domestic hints through the paper. War-time staff shortages saw her heading the foreign desk at The Age. Always active in Melbourne’s Jewish community, she lobbied for a Jewish homeland in Australia and edited The Australian Jewish Journal. After the war, her focus shifted from the international to the local when she bought and edited a suburban newspaper before becoming editorial director of Peter Isaacson Publications.


Thousands of Australians learned their natural history along the track with Crosbie Morrison during his Sunday evening radio program on Radio 3 DB-3LK. Morrison was a trained scientist, passionate naturalist and a journalist who did everything from general and political reporting to leader writing with The Argus before Sir Keith Murdoch poached him to edit a new magazine, Wild Life. The radio show was intended as a brief burst of publicity for Wild Life but it ran for over 20 years. Morrison used the program to lobby for a National Parks Authority which was finally set up under Morrison’s directorship in 1957.

NANCY DEXTER (1923—1982)

Nancy Dexter’s journalistic career began sideways: as a copy-typist with the Wagga Wagga Daily Advertiser. She got a cadetship with the Melbourne Herald in 1950 but was retrenched, only to return 10 years later as a journalist in the women’s section. Six years later she moved to The Age where she documented the second wave of feminism with courageous and robust commonsense in her column ‘Nancy Dexter Takes Note’. She brought the same approach to Accent where, as editor for seven years, she balanced traditional content with hard coverage of women’s issues.


Christopher Crisp typifies the contribution that regional newspaper journalists made to the development of Victoria in the 19th Century. An assisted migrant from England, Crisp worked first for the Melbourne Herald before moving to Bacchus Marsh to work as a compositor in 1866. Within months, he was editor of the Bacchus Marsh Express. The Werribee Express and the Melton Express expanded his reach. He campaigned for water storages, rail links to Melbourne and agricultural societies and sought to educate opinion on public issues such as protection, Federation and industrial legislation.


The English-born Moses migrated to Victoria at 22. His soft British accent earned him an audition as a sports announcer for the ABC. He had a quick rise and was general manager for 30 years until 1965. He supervised the establishment of Australia’s first national television network in time for the 1956 Olympics. He was the star commentator for the famous synthetic broadcasts of the 1934 Tests from England, the driving force behind Prime Minister Curtin’s determination for the ABC to develop an Australian national consciousness and culture and  shepherded the development of State orchestras. Against the wishes of some other managers, he backed the establishment of Four Corners.

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