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John Hickling: a radio man of his time: a biographical study

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posted on 2022-11-14, 01:27 authored by Jill M. Bull

"The Golden Age of Radio" in Australia was characterised by the many creative people who captured the opportunities of the medium and learnt to perform or write for it over the comparatively short time span that it was the main home entertainment in Australia.

Such a person was radio producer John Hickling. He was involved in the commercial radio industry almost from its inception, commencing his career in radio advertising in 1929, before developing into one of the most prolific producers of quality radio dramas from the mid-1930s until the arrival of television in 1956. He pioneered the use of dramatised news in Australia and was prominent in the use of verse drama as a radio drama presentation method, yet he remains relatively unknown in the annals of the industry.

This biographical study sets out to briefly examine the forces which moulded Hickling, analyse his contribution to Australian radio drama, chronicle his eventual decline as the radio industry was overtaken by television and ponder on why he did not become a household name as did many of his contemporaries.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction -- Chapter 2: Radio advertising as a key development -- Chapter 3: "The play's the thing" -- Chapter 4: Dramatised news -- Chapter 5: Propaganda and heroism -- Chapter 6: Verse drama -- Chapter 7: Postwar period of escapism -- Chapter 8: Television, survival and last days -- Chapter 9: Epilogue -- Appendix 1: Discography: early productions -- Appendix 2: Discography: wartime sagas -- Appendix 3: Discography: family sagas -- Appendix 4: Discography: mystery/detective stories -- Appendix 5: List of actors who worked with John Hickling -- Appendix 6: Selection of poetry written by John Hickling -- Select bibliography


Thesis submitted for M.A. Hons Degree

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis masters research


Thesis masters research, Macquarie University, School of English and Linguistics, 1993

Department, Centre or School

School of English and Linguistics

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Phillip Bell


Copyright: The Author Copyright disclaimer: This thesis was digitised for the purposes of InterLibrary Loan. Macquarie University attempted to locate the author but where this has not been possible, we are making available, open access, the thesis which may be used for the purpose of private research and study. If you have any enquiries or issues regarding this work being made available please contact






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