George Havrillay played a significant role in the formative days of Australian television as a set designer; Graham Kennedy's In Melbourne Tonight, The Delo and Daly Show, the BP Super Show, Bandstand, Video Village, The $6000 Question, one-off dramas, and the Miss Australia Quest to name a few.
This was at a time when variety shows were staple fare, and contributing set builders, painters and craftspeople dealt with the demanding logistics of daily live television.
In 1957, television was new in Australia - very new. Remember that those behind the scenes were still learning about the limitation of black-and-white transmissions. My father once told me a fascinating story of a simple backdrop painted in pink and light blue that completely vanished on camera during a live show. After some frantic head-scratching they realised that both colours had exactly the same grey-scale value. At least the studio audience appreciated it. George quickly made himself a 'colour wheel' with grey-scale equivalents.
I have chosen articles and photos from George's scrapbook to reflect the print media's recognition of his contribution to early Australian television. (My mother's handwriting is on few of them.) There are some interesting references to the turmoil that followed GTV9's sale to the Packer empire, and how the balance shifted between Melbourne's only two commercial TV rivals in the early 1960's.
Articles and photographs have been credited where possible.