Vale Ian Jones, man of many talents
BEECHWORTH’S own Ian Jones passed away last Friday in Melbourne aged 86.
A local identity, he was an internationally acclaimed film director, writer, producer, historian, journalist and pioneer of Australian Television and on top of that a good friend to many.
Throughout his incredibly busy life he would always return to the North East for peace and inspiration and he retraced every step of the Kelly story as if he was a fifth member of the gang.
Seven years ago I called into his beautiful cottage in Last Street and found him pounding away at his ancient typewriter – he never liked computers.
After a fair bit of convincing and a glass of red he finally agreed to an interview for the Ovens and Murray Advertiser.
Little did we know that it would be part of this farewell today.
Ian was born in Newcastle, and when seven years old his family moved to Melbourne where his father worked at BHP head office.
He was educated at Carey Grammar School and Melbourne University and in 1953 became a second year cadet at the Sun.
“My first big opportunity came when I was given the job of editor of The Young Sun – a position which allowed me to write plenty of historical articles, and I played an important role in saving ‘Puffing Billy’ by organising farewell tours,” he said.
“I soon became feature editor at the Sun but when the time came to take some leave, I was offered a job as a director at HSV Channel Seven and I helped to bring the first shows to air in 1956.
“It was so exciting in those early days of television.”
He prepared shows such as Zig and Zag, the Judy Jack Show, Meet the Press, and The Hit Parade.
By 1963 he wanted to get into the film industry, so took up a job at Crawford Produc- tions where he made film series including Consider Your Verdict, and Homicide - a show which took up 48 weeks of the year with high energy film making.
“I was at Crawford’s for 13 years and I created well-known shows such as Hunter, Division Four, Matlock Police, The Box, and The Sullivans,” Ian said.
By 1977 Ian decided to set up his own film company and with Bronwyn Binns they made great films such as Against the Wind, and The Light Horsemen.
In 1990 he became a full-time author and wrote books including Ned Kelly A Short Life, and The Fatal Friendship.
Ian said his greatest achievements would have to include Homicide, the Sullivans, and The Last Outlaw which all achieved top ratings and laid the foundations for a truly Australian film industry.
Ian, we thank you for all these wonderful gifts... our thoughts and prayers are with you, Nancy, the children and the grandchildren.
INTERNATIONALLY ACCLAIMED: Ian Jones, the Australia television pioneer, journalist, film director historian and Beechworth identity, passed away last week.