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November 11, 2013
Harry Gordon inducted into Melbourne Press Hall of Fame

Australian journalist Harry Gordon. (Photo/Melbourne Press Club)
by Philip Barker, AIPS Europe Executive Committee

MELBOURNE, November 11, 2013 - Australian Harry Gordon’s lifetime contribution in sports journalism has been recognised by the Melbourne Press Club’s decision to make him a member of their Hall of Fame.

“I feel in the company of idols and giants of the past,"he said. "This city has a rich media heritage and it deserves to be preserved and celebrated.”

Gordon started his journalistic career at the age of 16.

"When I began we had three vigorously competing newspapers,” he said. “I know wonderful challenges exist now, but I am glad I was part of the industry when I was.”

Gordon reported the Korean War in the early fifties and the later conflict in Algeria.

“Journalism provides a most wonderful world of contrasts,” he said. “Twice during my career I moved from covering a war to covering an Olympic Games. Each time I was coming from a savage battlefield where people were intent on killing each other and doing it pretty well, to an Olympic village in which the overwhelming mood was one of peace and goodwill. The difference in atmosphere was profound. I didn’t experience any Damascus Road conversion, but I have no doubt that those contrasts increased my appreciation and admiration for the Olympic Games.”

Later as the editor of the Sunday Pictorial, he launched a campaign in support of seatbelts and could therefore be credited with saving thousands of lives on the road.

At the suggestion of Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates, Gordon became official Olympic historian and in 1994 wrote “Australia and the Olympic Games”, still regarded by many as the definitive record of his country’s illustrious Olympic history. At the age of 87, he has been writing an updated version to include the London 2012 Games.

The hall of fame was set up in 2012 and has recognised personalities in journalism from the eighteenth century to the present day. Gordon joined newspaper magnate Rupert Murdoch and cartoonist Bruce Petty as the first living Australians to be inducted. They were formally welcomed at a ceremony in the Victoria State Library in Melbourne.

Gordon also paid to tribute to a fellow inductee and former colleague Keith Dunstan, who died of cancer only weeks before the ceremony.

“His writing style was a blend of the simple, the elegant and the whimsical,” said Gordon.

When in 1962, Dunstan wrote the history of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, it was Gordon who suggested 'The Paddock that Grew' as the title of the book.

“He always emphasised the contribution I had made,” said Gordon.

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