Super digitisers save four decades of Hunter regional news television from oblivion


A selection of digitised resources from the
NBN Television Archive are available to VIEW HERE on Living Histories

A crack team of super volunteer audio visual digitisers from the University of Newcastle’s GLAMx Lab in the Auchmuty Library have managed to safeguard approximately four decades of local Hunter Regional news stories and programmes dating the early 1982 to 2019.

The magnetic tape content was stored on BVU Tapes (1982 – 1989) totaling 381.5 Hours, BETACAM Tapes (1986 – 1999) totaling 1575 hours, and DVCAM Tapes (1999 – 2019) Tapes totaling 1743 hours.

Together a total of 222,000 mins or 3,699 hours of magnetic tape containing over 112,000 local stories recorded by NBN Channel 3 has now been digitised by the 30 June 2021 deadline.

Just in time for the 60th anniversary celebrations of NBN Television due for next year 2022, which marks 60 years since 1962 that our local Regional Television station began broadcasting to the wider communities of the Hunter Region.


The team also luckily managing to accomplish the feat just before New South Wales was plunged into another COVID lock-down.

The task of migrating the film and magnetic tape archives of NBN Television to digital was begun by former NBN Producer and University of Newcastle staff member Phillip Lloyd in 2007 in his retirement.

The methodology taken was twofold, firstly, digitising in 10-year increments so that footage was ready for commemorations, anniversaries etc. For example in 2019 Newcastle commemorated the 30 years since the earthquake 30 yrs.
Second method of digitization was ‘on demand’ as requested. Example, ABC Television series ‘Revelations’ (royal commission into child sexual abuse)

Phillip recruited his team of fellow NBN retirees and relocated operations including his personal array of audio visual digitisation equipment (known colloquially as the Hunter-Regional-National-Film-&-Sound-Archive-in-a-Cupboard) to the Auchmuty Library’s GLAMx Laboratory in 2016/2017.

Steve Legge, Phillip Lloyd and Gary Magnay
Terry Busch

The GLAMx Lab (standing for Galleries, Libraries, Archives & Museums to the power of “x”) was established as part of Cultural Collections (now Special Collections) to bring staff and students and the wider community into the world of digitisation and digital transformation of human expression, in all its forms and formats, across thousands of years.

Barry Nancarrow, Michael Sheriff and Phillip Lloyd
Terry Busch, Phillip Lloyd and Mark Rigby

It was also a serious response to Deadline 2025, the national call to arms from the National Film and Sound Archive to digitise audio visual tape formats before it was too late.

A collaboration was forged through the University of Newcastle with NBN Television, City of Newcastle Public Library, National Film & Sound Archive and the Hunter Regional Community to make it happen.

The 2020 hitlist was released at the beginning of last year, just prior to the inital COVID lockdown. It provided an overview of all our audio visual digitisation projects:

GLAMx AV: The 2020 Hit-List

The main GLAMx lab with 11 work stations, with a 3D digitisation room and a dedicated AV digitisation space; although small, the space has proved very productive.

A major project was the digitisation of the NBN Television archive, that holds almost 60 years and over a million foot of footage of Newcastle and Hunter region’s cultural memory.

This work is being undertaken by a dedicated team of volunteers led by Phillip Lloyd, a former NBN employee who recognised the urgency to digitize the footage, and in 2007 started digitizing film and magnetic tape.

By the end of June 2021 we had 11 volunteers working on the project, 5 were former NBN staff (very skilled, not only have knowledge of industry, but of practices, knowledge of the local content, culture, people and events of the day.

Barry Nancarrow and Tom Sinclair

Some volunteers continue to work remotely, given AV files to view and write summaries. Other are former NBN staff and were directly involved in creating the footage for example Barry Nancarrow, cameraman who filmed the Star Hotel riot in 1979 and winning a Walkley Award.

There is significant value in having people with local knowledge involved, because it increases the accuracy of the information and this important when making sources publicly available.

The Team

We wish to thank the following volunteers, work integrated learning students and interns:

Co-ordinator, GLAMx and Digitisation Projects

  • Dr Ann Hardy

The GLAMx AV Digitisation team

  • Phillip Lloyd
  • Mark Rigby
  • Barry Nancarrow
  • Michael Sheriff
  • Patrick Lindus
  • Gary Magnay
  • Steve Legge
  • Terry Busch
  • Ray Dineen (News Reader)

Special Thanks 

  • Reg Davis
  • Steve Bates
  • Tony Cooper
  • Joe Palmer

Other GLAMx Volunteers

  • Linda Magnay
  • Bev Snedden
  • Alana Mayo
  • Angus Glasper
  • Damien Linnane
  • Debra Waddell
  • Frances Shepherd
  • Jenny Muscat
  • Joshua Curley
  • Sarah Xenos


Work Integrated Learning (WIL) student contributors

  • William Chen Greentree
  • Justin Guion
  • Camille Elettra Brogi
  • Tom Sinclair
  • Cheang Wai
  • Meghan Richardson
  • Patrick O’Loghlen


University courses

  • CMNS3333 – Multi-platform Journalism (Ed Reddin, Coordinator)
  • CMNS2035 – Media Production: Television (Dr Susan Kerrigan, Coordinator)
  • COMM3003 – Professional Practice – (Paul Scott, Coordinator)



  • Bradley Cunningham


What’s next ?

There’s plenty of work yet to be done.

1) The 16mm NBN Film Reels dating from 1962 to 1982 have still to be digitised. The film reels from 1962-1969 are held at the National Film & Sound Archive, and those from 1970-1982, prior to the move to magnetic tape, are held in the City of Newcastle Public Library in Laman Street Newcastle.

2) The already digitised magnetic tape needs to be uploaded, and metadata work needs to be done to ensure it is searchable and accessible to the wider research communities.

3) The rest of our University’s audio visual holdings need to be migrated from physical formats to digital.

View our University of Newcastle’s Digitised Video Content on our UONCC YouTube Channel:

Any individuals, businesses or organisations wishing to support all or any part of these initiatives is very welcome to donate to the Vera Deacon Regional History Fund. Background on the Fund and its great work is here.

Help us reach Deadline 2025.

A selection of digitised resources from the
NBN Television Archive are available to VIEW HERE

To preserve, document, digitise and make accessible the Hunter Region’s Audio-Visual heritage in collaboration with NBN Television, City of Newcastle Public Library, National Film & Sound Archive and the Hunter Regional Community.

Gionni Di Gravio, OAM
University Archivist & Chair, Hunter Living Histories

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