Tony Gordon Ė (1955 Ė 2001)
National TV personality, Radio Talk Show Host, Writer, Director, Producer
Tony Gordonís life was tragically cut short in 2001 on the Australia Day weekend when his Pitts Special aircraft crashed at Yarrabilba, south of Brisbane while he was rehearsing aerobatic manoeuvres in preparation for an Air Show.
A publicanís son from the small country town of Riverton in South Australia, Tony had a fascination with flying from a very early age and worked at the local flour mill after school to raise money to build his own hang glider.
He poured through flying magazines and did all the research himself before employing an Adelaide manufacturing company to cut and make the raw materials heíd need. He carried those pieces home on a train and he started to build it.
Many in town scoffed at his efforts but when he flew down the main street in his home-made glider, he earned new-found respect for his enthusiasm and ability. This was to be the beginning of many great adventures.
Tony became an accomplished glider pilot and loved the travel and camaraderie associated with competition. The progression to powered flight was a given and although he obtained a commercial pilotís license he soon found he could earn more money in his rapidly progressing media career.
It was around this time Tony also discovered the second love of his life, sailing.
Tony moved from Adelaide radio to a spot on-air in New Zealand. His wonderful sense of humour earned him quite a following when he factiously unplugged the North Island from the South. It was all good fun until someone actually did switch the power off for a short time!
Radio lead to television opportunities and Tony worked hard to achieve his aspirations, soon becoming a fixture in Queensland homes as host of the award winning childrenís television show Wombat. From there he went on to produce, write and direct his own show, Rewind. Rewind is still the only Australian television programme ever to interview a royal, Prince Edward.
What could be more perfect than Tony finding a reason to combine television with flying and sailing? He embarked on documentary making and Heart Beat of the Coral Coast, was born. But it almost ended disastrously when the ultra light aircraft Tony was using for aerial shots of his yacht, crashed into the ocean off Fraser Island. It took him nearly a year to overcome a head injury and resume the documentary, which aired on Channel Seven.
Tony wore many hats in a television career that spanned nearly twenty years. As presenter for Channel Sevenís Queensland lifestyle programs Creek to Coast and The Great South East he added his own brand of quirky and entertaining, to an extensive knowledge of all things on land and sea.
One of Tonyís greatest talents was his ability to tell a story, and whether it was to a handful of mates or a television audience, he was able to enthral audiences with tales of his exploits. He wrote a number of screen plays and was in discussions to take them to Cannes when he lost his life.
Tony also created a Production Company Cinema Verite with his wife Jacqui, and was in the process of completing a live-as-it-happens pilot documentary on the Royal Flying Doctor Service at the time of his death.
Add to a long list of accomplishments his Vice Presidency of the Cinematography Society of Queensland; his Vice Presidency of Aerobatic Club Queensland, his lecturing role at TAFE; and his popularity as a voice over artist, itís obvious that Tony was a man of many talents and many dreams.
His enthusiasm for living was infectious, and he remains sorely missed by people from all walks of life.