James Dibble

James Edward Dibble AM MBE (4 February 1923[4] – 13 December 2010) was an Australian television presenter, best known as the presenter of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's (ABC) Sydney news, reading the first news bulletin in 1956, and remaining with the ABC for 27 years until his retirement in 1983.

James Dibble
James Dibble reading the first news bulletin on ABC TV in 1956
Born4 February 1923
Died13 December 2010(2010-12-13) (aged 87)[2]
OccupationTelevision Newsreader[1]
Years active1956–1983


Dibble joined the ABC after the end of World War II. He started as a clerk in the accounts department. His voice soon attracted attention, and in Canberra he gained his first ABC job in radio doing voice-overs.[3]

Dibble was best known as the senior newsreader for ABC-TV, beginning with the first televised news bulletin on ABN-2 Sydney on 5 November 1956. He reported the biggest news stories of the period, including the Soviet intervention in the Hungarian Revolution (in his very first bulletin; the events in Hungary caused the scheduled commencement of the ABC-TV news service to be brought forward), the assassination of John F. Kennedy (1963), the disappearance of Prime Minister Harold Holt (1967), the Apollo 11 Moon landing (1969), the destruction of Darwin by Cyclone Tracy (1974), and the dismissal of the Whitlam government (1975).[1]

He appeared as himself in episodes of the ABC-TV comedy series Our Man In Canberra and Our Man In The Company episodes, narrated segments of the radiophonic works 'What's Rangoon To You Is Grafton To Me'(1978) [5] and 'Hot Bananas', written by Russell Guy and originally broadcast on radio station 2JJ (Double Jay). Dibble also did voice-over work for many newsreels, documentaries[6] and educational films.[6]

Spanning almost 30 years, his career at the ABC ended with his retirement in 1983. His last broadcast was on 10 June of that year.[1] However, in 1992 he returned to read the 8pm radio news from 1932 during a broadcast marking the 60th anniversary of ABC Radio.

Personal life

Dibble was the son of Roland and Vera Dibble.[1] He attended school in Marrickville at St Brigid's Primary School and then De La Salle College. He served in the Pacific with the Royal Australian Air Force during World War II as a wireless telegraphist.[1]

Dibble never married or had children, but was described as a family-orientated man.[3]

He served as a chairman of the Peer Support Foundation[7], a president of the Rotary Club of Warringah, and a member of Rotary International District 9680 Public Relations Committee.


Dibble was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) on 1 January 1972 for services to media,[8] and a Member of the Order of Australia on 26 January 1989 for community and media services.[9] He was also awarded a Centenary Medal in 2001.[10]

He was the first winner of the Better Hearing Australia Clear Speech Award in 1967, for his clear diction. He also received Clear Speech Awards in 1968 and 1981.[3][11]


Dibble died of cancer in Sydney on 13 December 2010, aged 87.[1][2]


  1. "James Dibble dead at 87". ABC News. 13 December 2010. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
  2. "James Dibble dies at 87". The Spy Report. Media Spy. 13 December 2010. Archived from the original on 18 December 2010. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
  3. "ABC newsreader Dibble dies" Archived 16 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine. Yahoo7, 13 December 2010, Retrieved 13 December 2010
  4. Sydney Morning Herald: Tributes and Celebrations Archived 6 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  5. "What's Rangoon to you is Grafton to me". Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 11 April 2010
  6. Jensen, Erik "James Dibble, 'the face and voice of the ABC', dies at 87". Sydney Morning Herald, 14 December 2010. Retrieved 14 December 2010
  7. Gillespie, Norm (December 1988). "Peer Support". The Rotarian: 17.
  8. "It's an Honour - Honours - Search Australian Honours". www.itsanhonour.gov.au. Retrieved 16 August 2018. MBE
  9. "It's an Honour - Honours - Search Australian Honours". www.itsanhonour.gov.au. Retrieved 16 August 2018. AM
  10. "It's an Honour - Honours - Search Australian Honours". www.itsanhonour.gov.au. Retrieved 16 August 2018. Centenary Medal
  11. "Clear Speech Award Winners". Better Hearing Australia-Sydney Branch, betterhearingsydney.org.au, Retrieved 14 December 2010
Media offices
Preceded by
ABC News NSW presenter
Succeeded by
Richard Morecroft
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