Tribute to Aussie TV Dads

Published: 2/9/2022

Since the earliest days of Australian television, there have been Dads of all types that have entertained us on our screens. In some cases not always the perfect role model, you can't argue these dads didn't reflect valuable life lessons and the reality inside so many suburban homes pre millennium.

From hardworking war veterans to one hit rock n rollers, we look back on some of our favourite TV Dads who once upon a time delighted our TV screens.

Dave Sullivan - The Sullivans (1115 episodes 1976-1983)

Paul Cronin | 8 July 1938 - 13 September 2019

Cast of the Sullivans: Steven Tandy, Andrew McFarlane, Lorraine Bayly, Paul Cronin, Susan Hannaford and Richard Morgan.
Cast of the Sullivans: Steven Tandy, Andrew McFarlane, Lorraine Bayly, Paul Cronin, Susan Hannaford and Richard Morgan.

Husband to Grace and devoted father to John, Tom, Terry and Kitty, Dave Sullivan (Paul Cronin) was an honest, hard working WWI veteran and typical Aussie dad of the era.

Like many families in wartime, life for the Sullivans was a struggle. Thankfully friends and family time shared at the local pub, neighbours and corner store, supported them through the hardest of times.

Dave, who encouraged his sons to enlist in the war, eventually enlisted himself. Following his wife Grace's tragic death in a London air raid, Dave's own death in a car crash coupled with the end of the war saw the rest of the family start a new life in the post-War era, marking the end of this historic series.

Paul Cronin was also a popular character on Australian TV series, Matlock Police where he played a motorcycle policeman. He also appeared on Division 4, Solo One and The Flying Doctors. Cronin was an all round great guy and actor who is in fact the most awarded actor in Australia winning the Silver Logie five times.

Sigrid Thornton said of his passing:

"Paul was loved by everybody with whom he worked - he was a very warm, generous gentleman,"

Matt Hammond - Skippy (91 episodes 1966-1969)

Matt Hammond | 27 August 1925 - 17 December 2003

Actor Ed Devereaux as ranger Matt.
Actor Ed Devereaux as ranger Matt.

Widower, Matt Hammond (Ed Devereaux)  was father to Sonny and Mark and the Head Ranger of Sydney's Waratah National Park on the very popular Australian TV series, Skippy.

The show revolved around a female eastern grey kangaroo who befriended Matt's nine year old son Sonny. The show's stories were based around the inseparable duo's adventures from escaped convicts to smugglers and Dad having to juggle his job and his sons out of trouble.

Acting on Skippy opened doors for Ed Devereaux in areas of directing and writing for the show. This experience carried over to TV Drama the True Believers and The Wrong Arm of the Law.

Ted Bullpit - Kingswood Country (89 episodes 1980 -1984)

Ross Higgins | 14 June 1931 - 7 October 2016

Classic larrikin show – Kingswood Country. Actors Peter Fisher (L), Ross Higgins, Judy Farr and Lex Marinos in a scene.
Classic larrikin show – Kingswood Country. Actors Peter Fisher (L), Ross Higgins, Judy Farr and Lex Marinos in a scene.

Edward Melba 'Ted' Bullpitt (Ross Higgins) played a white conservative Australian who lived for three things: his chair in front of the tv with beer in hand, his unsuccessful greyhounds and his Holden Kingswood car.

"You're not taking the Kingswood!"

A WWII veteran, this quick-tempered suburban Dad struggled with an ever-changing world. And yes, he might not have been the role-model dad, but he was sure fun to watch if you could appreciate the satire of his character.

Ross Higgins was an actor and a comedy legend, voice artist and singer. His first debut skit on The Naked Vicar Show led him to his most famous role which was a spin off of this, Bullpitt! (1997). He was also the famous voice behind Australia's longest running TV commercial, Louie the Fly, in which he played the smelly character for over 50 years.

Bobby Rivers - All Together Now (101 episodes 1991-1993)

Jon English |  26 March 1949 - 9 March 2019

Jon English led the All Together Now cast along with Rebecca Gibney. Source: Channel 9
Jon English led the All Together Now cast along with Rebecca Gibney. Source: Channel 9

One hit rocker Bobby Rivers (Jon English) who discovered he had 15 year old twin children following the death of his old lover in a plane crash, entertained audiences with his comedic parenting skills during 101 episodes.

Tracy, the woman who was the twins guardian, moved in with Bobby and the highs and lows of this new family dynamic unfolded. A lot of the humour from the show stemmed from the generation clash of the 1960s and 1970s with his more conservative 1990s offspring. Basically a big kid himself, Bobby struggled as a parent but no one could disagree that this dad always tried.

Jon English was also known for his roles as Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar, Against the Wind and The Pirates of Penzance. He was an Australian singing legend who had a string of hit solo singles and really had a way of making everyone around him happy with this cheeky smile and wit.

Ah, but thousands of people march to my songs

Some just ignore me and shuffle alo-ong

Some others tip me, hah, and sometimes they sing right along...

One for the money, two for the show

Three for the busker who plays by the road..

Always the Busker, Jon English

By Kirsten Jakubenko

Sources:

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sullivans
  • https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-14/paul-cronin-the-sullivans-dies-aged-81/11513336
  • https://www.onlymelbourne.com.au/the-sullivans https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_English
  • https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101036/
  • https://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/ed-devereaux-skippys-keeper-dies-at-78- 2003... -gdi0e7.html 
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_English

Latest articles

19 Funeral songs from the 90s to honour your loved one

19 songs from the 1990s to compliment a heartfelt farewell. These funeral songs can bring back memories...

19 Funeral songs from the 90s to honour your loved one

How do I find a funeral notice in Victoria?

How to find a funeral notice in Victoria with My Tributes. A safe platform to honour and connect...

How do I find a funeral notice in Victoria?

Laurie Theresa Harbort

Readers of the Catholic Leader during the period 1955 to 1980 would fondly remember the Uncle John’s...

Laurie Theresa Harbort

Shane Warne’s dad Keith delivers emotional eulogy at state...

Shane Warne’s father Keith has delivered a moving eulogy before he was overcome with emotion when...

Shane Warne’s dad Keith delivers emotional eulogy at state memorial

Can obituaries be private

Wondering how to preserve the privacy of obituaries while ensuring your family's wishes are upheld...

Can obituaries be private
View more articles