1981 – the year I grew up at The Gordon TAFE

The Gordon TAFE celebrates 130 years in 2017. So each month, we‘re introducing some of the faces that have studied with us over the years to share where they are today, and how they got there.
Name:              Garry Linnell
Studied:           VCE equivalent
Year:                1981
Now:                Co-presenter, The Breakfast Show,
                         2UE (Sydney)
You grew up in Bell Post Hill, a postman’s son and die hard Geelong Cats supporter. What led you to study at The Gordon TAFE?
By form 5 (year 11 these days) I was pretty much over high school and the school principal was pretty much over me. I'd written an editorial in the school magazine complaining about how the school was happy to fund a new gymnasium but did nothing to improve the library. Parents complained. There was controversy. And at the same time, The Gordon was offering a great VCE-equivalent course. Even better, I didn't have to wear a uniform. That helped sell me on the idea...
What year did you complete your course?
It was 1981. Big year. Raiders of the Lost Ark had just premiered and I was dancing to Adam and the Ants.
Any standout memories from your time at The Gordon?
Part of my year involved a film and television course. I had to direct and produce a five-minute movie. I organised to have two streets in Geelong closed off one Sunday morning to make a film about the last man left on earth. We also filmed part of it with me hanging outside the passenger window of a fast moving car driven by a mate, holding the camera low so we got a sense of a car speeding around the empty streets. Not something you'd get away with these days. But the best thing about The Gordon was the environment encouraged creativity and thinking outside the box. 
In 1982 you started as a cadet at The Age which launched your media career. How did The Gordon prepare you for this?  
The Gordon had a great mix of young and more mature students and an atmosphere where teachers and lecturers promoted and encouraged debate and ideas. Nothing was sacred or out of bounds. I always look back and think 1981 was the year I really started to grow up, to wonder about how the world really works. It made me even more curious than I had been in the past and gave me this desire to pull back the curtain and try and see what goes on behind the public stage. And I loved hanging out with the mature age students. Friday nights they'd take me to the Eureka Hotel to commence my weekend ‘homework’.
Was it always your career goal to work in the media? What keeps your fire burning?
When I realised at the age of 12 that my maths wasn't good enough to make the grade for being an astronaut, I decided to become a journo. I'd always loved writing more than anything else and here was a job that amazingly paid you to do what you loved and - added bonus! - go around sticking your nose into everyone else's business...
Your career has spanned the big names in print and broadcast media, from frontline journalism to management positions. If it all ended tomorrow, what is one thing you’d ‘hang your hat on’.
The places I've been and the people I've met. I've had an incredibly fortunate ride through an industry that is going through enormous change. My job has sent me to some remarkable cities and countries where I've come across the sort of people who really make you stop and think about what is important in life. But the one story I wrote that had the most impact on me was at home - I spent a few months in the Royal Children's Hospital following the lives of several young cancer patients. Some made it. Some didn't. You want some perspective on what is important in life and what's worth getting worried about? Try those kids - and their families. I've never forgotten them.
If you could pass on one piece of wisdom to those currently making career decisions, what would it be?
No-one knows the future but one thing is certain - the job market in the next two or three decades is going to change enormously. Don't chase the money. Pursue your passions. Automation and technological disruption is going to continue and grow more profound. But there's always going to be a market place for curious and intelligent people who want to know how the world really works.

Photos courtesy of Garry Linnell. 


Posted: 16/06/2017 9:00:00 PM



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About The Gordon

The Gordon Institute of TAFE is one of the largest regional TAFEs in Victoria and has been helping people gain real skills for real jobs for over 130 years. We pride ourselves on delivering a great range of TAFE courses from short courses to nationally accredited training across apprenticeships, traineeships, certificates, diplomas, and advanced diplomas, which can lead you to a great career or create pathways to university.

Our training is delivered with Victorian and Commonwealth Government funding. | Authorised by the Victorian Government, Melbourne.

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