It’s with great sadness that ABC Alumni reports the death of Allen Clark at the age of 75.
Allen originally worked in the Organisation and Methods department in the old Broadcast House in Elizabeth Street in Sydney. He then became an accomplished broadcaster, finishing his ABC career in Wollongong.
Allen played an important part in the industrial struggles of the ABC Staff Union as Vice President of the NSW Branch. He also played a significant role in assisting numerous union members with their personal issues. It was typical of his modesty that he never took public credit for his many achievements as a union official.
In 1981 Allen was elected to the Board of Management (BOM) representing administrative staff (along with radio and television representatives). These positions were created as a consequence of the agreement reached in the 1978 six-day strike, protesting against the Fraser government’s budget cuts and decision to abolish the staff-elected position on the Board.
I was elected as the rep for radio and soon we became widely known as the “BOM throwers” because we persistently took up the causes of staff and gave management a very hard time. After each monthly BOM meeting we published a detailed account of what had occurred, also reporting on the many issues we had taken to these meetings. As well, we published a column in the ABC’s in-house journal Scan which dealt with wider matters that affected ABC staff.
As an O&M officer Allen was well versed in organisational issues and played an important role in various restructures. We worked with the Assistant Managing Director, Stuart Revill, on a major restructure of Radio Australia.
Alison Rowe was Allen’s partner of many decades. She was the head of the Copyright section and played an important role in educating several generations of ABC broadcasters in the importance of the moral and legal rights of actors, musicians, script writers and other creative artists. They made their home on picturesque Mount Kembla near Wollongong, where birdsong and Radio National filled the air and the walls were replete with Indigenous art acquired from Allen’s many visits to remote cultural sites. Alison predeceased Allen in 2014.
In keeping with the way in which Allen lived, he fought courageously against the cancer that took his life.
Vale to this comrade whose commitment to public service broadcasting played a significant role in ABC affairs for many years.
- Mark Aarons
Mark Aarons is a former Radio National producer and presenter. He was the founding executive producer of “Background Briefing” and EP of RN’s Talks Unit, as well as President of the ABC Staff Union (NSW Branch) and a federal delegate.