4 February 2023
John Pickup OAM, a broadcaster and the last remaining member of the famed outback artist collective, the Brushmen of the Bush, passed away this week at his home in Murwillumbah at the age of 91. John was a well known broadcaster who spent more than 4 decades at the ABC, and had worked in radio and television in a media career that began in 1947 when friends persuaded him to enter a talent quest on 2UE.
He worked at 2GB and the ABC in the 1950’s in the sound effects departments of both broadcasters.
His hand was the first “animated object” ever seen on Australian TV, 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.
In the 1960’s the ABC appointed him as manager at Broken Hill where would spend the next 27 years, forming friendships with artists like Pro Hart that would lead to the formation of the Brushmen of the Bush.
Main photo: John Pickup, pictured in Mackay in 2015 (ABC News: Sophie Kesteven)