ABC Sound Broadcasting and Television Studios exhibit the simplicity of line and form typical of the Post-War International style, and demonstrates the modernist ideals in architecture at the time of its construction. Use of this style relates to the concepts of prosperity and optimism apparent in Western Australia, following the restrictions and austerity of the World War Two and immediate post-War period. Built in 1960 it’s construction, with facilities for radio and television recording and broadcasting, and music recording all on one site, reflects the growth of the ABC as a broadcaster. It was constructed at the same time that television came to Western Australia, ushering in the beginning of a new era of communication.
Among others the building is associated with Basil Kirke. A popular broadcaster early in his career (known as ‘Uncle Basil’ in children’s programming), Kirke was the manager of the ABC in Western Australia from 1932-36 and 1952-1958, and was instrumental in the establishment of the Studios. A plaque commemorating the naming of Studio 620, the largest of the studios, was unveiled in February 1961, in memory of Kirke. Renowned West Australian artist Robert Juniper was commissioned to create a broadcasting-themed mural for the ABC, which remains in situ at the entrance to the place. The studios were also associated with Hungarian-born sculptor Andor Maszaros. Known for his medallions, murals and sculptures, Maszaros designed a circular bronze plaque for the construction of the Studios, Perth, a copy of which is located in each ABC premises in capital cities across Australia.
The Basil Kirke Studio was the first major in-house ABC sound recording studio in Australia, and it remained so until the 1990s, during which time other states used various theatres and halls for rehearsals and recordings. It was considered one of the finest studios in Australia at the time of its construction and its superior acoustics were suitable for a variety of music types.
The West Australian Symphony Orchestra (WASO) used the Basil Kirke Studio for rehearsals, recordings, broadcasts and concerts from the time the studio was constructed until the orchestra was relocated to the Perth Concert Hall in 1973.