Started by Phil Cullen, who began lighting while at school in 1966. The first effect lighting show was in December of that year, in the U.F.S. Dispensary hall in Victoria Ave Chatswood. ( now demolished ) The site is now the entrance for the Chatswood Chase Shopping centre.
Picture of the band on stage in 1966 (above)
Phil had seen a light show earlier at the Lane Cove Town Hall that was lit by a lighting company from Mosman called Rubber Monkey Lighting. The guys who ran the company were Didge and Ross. In those days ONLY the stage was lit and the room was left in white light.
In those days it was a big thing in Australia to light the stage in moving coloured lights, for a band, and an even bigger thing to light the entire room with coloured effect lights. Overseas at that time it had begun.
Picture Above of the UFS Dispensary Hall late 1960's
Picture Above is the UFS Dispensary Street Shopfront in December 1949.
Didge and Ross had made all their own equipment, as indeed everyone had to do in those days, because even putting coloured paper over the ceiling lights was a pretty big thing to do. Didge's father was a sheet metal worker and Didge saw the potential to place coloured lights behind diffused perspex plastic. Phil was very impressed and decided at that moment that coloured effect lights were the way to go... Phil was 14 years old at the time . Didge had a slow revolving four colour changing side of stage unit which had a 150 watt light source behind it. Phil was amazed at this and spent the whole night thinking about what to do with this and how to take it beyond.
Phil later worked with Phil Salmon and John Gunton (Former Dynalite Industries owner) who had a lighting company called Purple Cloud from Epping, that specialised in Psychedelic lighting.
(Above picture - a band in the legendary Purple Hall)
Where we did many shows in the 1960's
(Rear of St. Pius X College Chatswood next to the Girls Catholic Primary School)
Phil continued to do lighting up to and during 1970 at his school when he completed his higher school certificate.
By this time he was also doing lighting at many other high schools through his contacts.
Band in late 1960's on stage with rear projection Psychedelic patterns
Picture above, Workshop, Willoughby, Clanwilliam St. 1969
Picture above is the church, front street view. The hall at the rear of the church, is to the far right of the picture.
Our workshop was at the rear of the church, in the hall, access via the back street (picture above)
The Hall has since been demolished.
We rented the back room of the hall which was owned by the uniting church. Rent was a modest $15.00 per week. The minister was suspect about things because I came back at 2 or 3 in the morning and woke him up with all the noise. In 1971 Epping was the place to be. Being in the middle of the shops meant make as much noise as you can. After all it was commercially zoned. Not that it worried us at all. We never contacted the council at all right up till when the owners were faced with an eviction notice to move us out.
1969 - Victoria Ave. Chatswood Sydney. Parade. The Sotweed Factor Band.
With Pat Reilly Drumming.
1969 Whisky a gogo nightclub, William St Kings Cross.
I hired the lighting to the club for a period of time.
Phil Salmon and John Gunton specialised in lighting in and around Epping in NSW (Sydney) They had begun their lighting company (Purple Cloud) in complete seperance to Phil's Mac Enterprises. Phil later registered Mr. Mac The Lightshow Genius. much to the dismay of the Bank of NSW at Cabramatta who held his cheque account ! (The bank asked him to KINDLY close his account as it was an "embarrassment to the bank" Actual Quote. ! ) We are talking early 1970's
Phil had his workshop in 1971 at 16 Bridge St Epping. In the 'famous' Purple coloured house that was named in Parramatta Council.
(PICTURE BELOW - 1971)
During 1971 Phil moved to Epping.This was the famous purple coloured slate roof house in the middle of the Epping shopping centre. Before the days of noise laws. Remember? you could turn up the music (or as we did have a band rehearse in the back of the place) and when the police came you could tell them anything and they basically left and that was that.
(SEE PICTURE ABOVE - 1971)
Phil had Mac lighting registered at the time and traded as Mr Mac the lightshow genius and tried to put disco and effect lighting in reach of every person in the street. Throughout the 60's Phil did school dance and small band lighting work mostly in council and school halls and community centres. The big break came in 1971 with the Fairlight Easter 3 day music festival at Mittagong in the NSW Southern Highlands. It was a Woodstock hippie pop, type festival and had 33 bands over 3 days and nights. It ran 23 out of 24 hours with one hour for stage cleaning. The site was 200 acres in size (big)! The problems never really began until the electricity supply authority cut off all the power at the site and we had to tie generators up trees to keep everything going. Phil was one year out of school. The promoter was ripped off and no one was paid.
After that things shot off, the 70's began with a bang and the promise of big things to come. It was a good era; 1% unemployment 1% inflation and everyone had a bright future. Disco and fun parties were the rage. No Noise laws; and the authorities had not quite woken up yet to what the young were really up to. Phil had his workshop, in the 60's at the back of the uniting church hall, in Clanwilliam St Willoughby.
Phil named Mac Enterprises after his Art teacher at his school St. Pius X at Chatswood in Sydney - Col McDonald or "Mac" as he was known. Phil moved workshop quickly in the early days- 1968-69 Willoughby 1970-71 Epping 1971-72 Drummoyne 1972-73 Lane Cove 1974 Hunters Hill 1975 Cabramatta 1977
Then in 1977 we sold the name MAC to mobidisc and began advertising the name electric sunshine as our main name.
Turmoil followed - Gladesville- 1977 - moved five times in Gladesville till 1980 when we arrived at West Ryde. 1981 Rushcutters Bay 1982 Pyrmont 1983 Ultimo 1984 Glebe 1985. Then things began to settle down. We stopped getting thrown out of places. In 1987 we moved back to Pyrmont (after the complex at Glebe was sold to a developer who expressed an interest in demolition - at 4am)
Picture above is our workshop, Glebe, 1985.
This large building, which was at the end of Glebe Point Rd, next to the water, was shared by about 50 other business organisations ranging from us to a guy out the back called Rocket Man who was ( true story. Really ! ) trying to build a big space type rocket; but no one could really find out more about it... We couldn't get insurance on anything and the fire brigade used to come down once a week on a faulty fire alarm call and shake their heads and say if you smell smoke. Run. You'll have about 3 minutes to get out.
Picture below is inside Glebe in 1985 - about a quarter of the whole area - and we had only a small portion of this space. It was an enormous place.
(Picture below is 1994 Pyrmont Workshop, in the narrow lane)
Going back . . 1994 to our heyday, Pyrmont workshop, Phil and Hugh. We were there from 1987 to 1996.
Below is Scott and Anthony at our workshop in Annandale, 1997.
Pat and Phil, Annandale workshop, 1998. Left Annandale 2001 and moved to Homebush.
Sydney was seen as only an Australian city up till 1975, but after 1975 things begun to change, by 1980 Sydney was seen as an international city. We now know that Sydney is indeed world class but unfortunately after 1975 Sydney lost its best kept secret.The authorities began to start to make laws at this stage to attempt to regulate things like noise; liquor; and venues; in response to overseas experiences; and some of our own disasters; like the terrible whisky-a-go-go fire. Now we have so much more variety.
By 1980 Punk and the band scene was thriving. Thank goodness for punk. Melbourne first then Sydney had boom pub band times
Disco had gone and as the 80's went on, bands' presentations became more and more spectacular. Until 1990, technology had progressed in the lighting industry at a steady pace. All of that changed, with the digital lighting era that was launched in 1989, with the Usitt protocol digital DMX 512 technology. This launched the lighting industry into a faster and more spectacular pace than ever before. As the 1990's progressed so did technology. What was Science Fiction in 1990 became reality by 2000. In this 10 year period so much changed. Lighting displays became bigger and bigger and more and more costly. Customers began to expect more and more and were prepared to pay for it
Louis John Middleham pictured here in 1950. He was one of the pioneers of very early electronic dimming systems.
The Light Source itself.
As far as the actual lights themselves go the original lamp ( see picture below ) is still the basic lamp in use today. Modern manufacturing and different gas mixtures and improvements in the wire used to make the lamp are the only differences. Neon began to be used in the early 1900's - especially in the 1920's followed by the introduction of Mercury Vapour discharge lamps along with Low Pressure Sodium discharge lamps. Unfortunately colour rendition was poor and their uses confined to Industrial applications like factories and Street lighting. Low Pressure Sodium lamps had a very pronouced yellow colour and were used initially for Street Lighting applications in Fog prone areas due to their "shadowless light". Low Pressure Sodium was originally used for floodlighting large open areas such as sports fields, car parks, Factory sites and for Street Lighting . It was - and still is now - one of the most energy efficient lighting sources - ever invented. A 70 Watt Low Pressure Sodium lamp produced MORE light output than from a 300 Watt standard incandescent lamp. It remained in use until High Pressure Sodium lighting (in the 1980's) became a reality ( see below ). Low Pressure Sodium lighting would have remained the preferred lighting IF it was not for further developments in lamps - MOST notible was the High Pressure Sodium lampAND the Metal Halide lamp. Fluorescent lighting was basically not thought of UNTIL the 1950's ( see below ) AND Quartz Iodine lamps that became in use around the same time. Unfortunately Quartz Iodide ( later to be called "Halogen" ) were rather energy hungry and produced a lot of heat - BUT they were small in size and produced a lot of light - although they had a rather short life - they were inexpensive to produce. For a short time they were popular.
The Swan Lamp - 1879
It was not until the 1950's with the introduction of the "pre-heat, rapid-start" Fluorescent tube that things took off. Proir to this Fluorescent tubes had to be either "hand started" or took a minute or two to actually turn on. Then in the early 1980's the introduction of the High Pressure Sodium lamp caused a stur. This is the bright light colour yellow seen now on freeways and main highways . It was a long life (6 year +) lamp with a high lumen output compared with a low power input. The NEW generation High Pressure Sodium Lamps will have a much whiter and less yellow glow about them. This was followed by the Metal Halide lamp - refined around the late 1990's and now used to light public buildings and bridges as well as city streets in major capitals. It has a high colour rendition and is ideal for "quality light" applications. While it has a good lumen output compared to power input the lamp currently does not have a fantastic life - usually 4 year + - but as the years go on the product is improving and lamp costs are decreasing.
Edison Lamp 1880
While all this is going on - a completely new light source is appearing on the scene - the LED or Light Emitting Diode - which is set to take the world by storm. The next 5 - 10 years will see this light take over from all the other sources of light. The future of lighting and the technology behind it is - to put it in one word - Staggering.
Watch this page for updates. ( April 2018 latest ). Now - Where did this all begin ? - Let's look at WHO started this !
Lighting History - Going way, way back to the year dot.
Edison was credited with inventing the electric lamp; and indeed he did develop the first PATENTED commercial direct current lamp BUT his system was based on Direct Current. Tesla's Alternating Current was frowned upon by Edison. He tried every way he could to stop Tesla.
The pioneers, as usual, behind the scenes developed the original idea.
The Russian; Lodyguine; in 1872 lit the St Petersburg Docks with 200 globes but the life was only 12 hours each lamp. Swan; the Englishman developed a lamp very similar to Edison 's in 1879 - See Picture Above , but Edison patented his lamp in 1880. Both men were working independently; in different countries. Swan was an inventor; like Edison. Swan developed the bromide process used in photography; while Edison invented the record player.
But It was electrical pioneers like Michael Faraday who discovered the principle of electro-magnetism; in 1831 and Nikola Tesla who discovered Alternating Current in the later 1800s that were the real forces behind the scenes.
Nikola Tesla. 1857-1943
Without whose work and discoveries we would not have Electricity as we know it today. While Michael Faraday discovered in 1831 that moving a magnet around a wire created an electric current, this discovery led on to many scientific discoveries which led to the direct current generator being invented along with many prototypes of the electric lamp, the Englishman Swan probably credited with the first practical working electric lamp in 1879 and a young Nikola Tesla who saw that Direct Current Electricity was not only wasteful but had severe limitations.
Edison Patented his electric lamp in 1880 which was based not only on the lamp but a direct current power distribution system to power it.
What people do not realise is that while Thomas Edison is called the "Father of Electricity", and did indeed patent the first commercial electric lamp; his system was based on Direct Current..As such the idea of Alternating current was frowned upon by Edison. He feared that; correctly; his system would be "taken over" by Alternating Current. Edison tried to discredit Tesla as -
Nikola Tesla was the inventor of Alternating Current.
Edison was a very aggressive, posturing, public image person while Tesla was a quiet, withdrawing, sensitive person. Two completely different people.
However Tesla had truth on his side; as George Westinghouse once said to him. Alternating Current was 100 per cent more efficient than Direct Current; and could travel extremely long distances over wires; while Direct Current could only travel a few Kilometers. An Alternator operating at full load is very very efficient as far as input to output. As Tesla said "it is in harmony with nature".
Teslas's life was as amazing as his discoveries. Like Faraday; Tesla knew that Electricity and Magnetism were unique forces in Nature. They make up one of the four forces that are part of the physical world we live in; and everything in it. Both men knew that Gravity; one of the other of the four forces; was also connected to Electricity and Magnetism.
Electricity and Magnetism are the same thing. (one force)
Tesla's Alternating current "vision" came to him as he was in a public park and a poem about the dying of the day; and a new day being born across the world at the same time was being read. His immediate thoughts were of a spinning generator which reversed the poles. (an Alternator). He realised that this would provide unlimited power. He started writing on the ground in front of him with a stick; the now well known sine wave; used to signify Alternating Current.
Tesla was very sensitive to all the senses. He could hear a clock ticking three rooms away. He had "visions" as he put it "sudden bursts of energy". Ordinary people thought him strange; he refused to shake hands with anyone as he put it - it -"disturbed his magnetic field". He had a fetish for washing his hands 30 or 40 times a day; could not stand fruit, and talked about outer space and possible life out there; which in the 1890's was considered as the sign of madness.
Tesla knew that the world is full of energy; and natural energy which is now called ELF or extra-low-frequency energy; is what he played around with. This is energy which exists as the Earth is like a giant generator in space; and properly harnessed this could provide us all with unlimited energy for our needs without needing to burn coal or use nuclear fission to produce electricity. Tesla looked forward to the present day where his Alternating Current power stations would be powered by ELF technology.
Tesla's energy was based not on Electromagnetic but on a waveform called Scalar or Longitudinal.It's what the scientific community calls the "zero point energy" of the vacuum or the Scalar value of zero. It's what the Occult calls the "ether". Two intersecting Scalar waves form an Electromagnetic wave.
Tesla's transmission tower.
Tesla, with the financial backing of famous financier J.P. Morgan, built a Transmission tower (picture above) which housed a resonating tesla coil. It was shaped like a pyramid and it's intention was to transmit energy around the world, from a single tower. Morgan provided the finance as Tesla had successfully developed Alternating Current, and with the backing of Morgan had built the world's first Alternating Current Power station at Niagara Falls, in the U.S.A. Morgan was receptive to Tesla and thought that Tesla was onto something, having been impressed with Tesla's Alternating Current Power station. HOWEVER when Morgan found out that Tesla wanted to transmit FREE energy from the tower it was literally burnt to the ground, and Morgan would have nothing more to do with it.
Shortly afterwards Tesla's lab was burnt to the ground, while Tesla was away, asleep in his home.
In Teslas' time not much was known about the Ionosphere. We now know that this, along with the Earth form a Sphere-in-a-sphere capacitor fed by the solar winds, which are driven by the Van Allen belts which act as the driving current with the molten inner earth acting as the induced current. The atmosphere acts as a leaky capacitor. The Earth and Ionosphere are about 55 Kilometers apart. In short the Earth is like a giant generator in space.
Tesla once said that we are like people in a boat, in a fresh water river, who are dying of thirst because we do not know how to scoop up the water from the sides of the boat.
Tesla did not know that Scalar waves only became pronounced at extremely low frequencies but that is the basis of ELF technology today.
Unfortunately this ELF energy has two major problems. Firstly it is Free. How can you charge for an energy which is all around us; all over the world ?.
And also more important; in the wrong hands it could destroy our planet. Used correctly it would be a boom for humanity; but would be more dangerous than letting off all the atomic bombs at once. It's literally a double edged sword or Pandora's Box.
Both the Russians and the Americans have used Tesla'a ELF technology. Both sides have realised it's awesome capabilities. Tesla said that his system would abolish war as no side would be able to launch a missile attack as a defence "shield" would stop any missile. Unfortunately the very same "shield" could destroy the planet by destabilising the earth's magnetic field; destroy completely the ozone layer; or any one of a number of major disasters including causing the planet to veer off course and collide with another planet. This might sound like complete rubbish; but in August 1975 the Russians and Americans signed a draft agreement in Geneva at the International Disarmament Conference for the banning of 19 ELF weapons which could cause such catastrophes as Landslides; earthquakes; avalanches; volcanoes; tidal waves; as well as harnessing lightning bolts; guiding hurricanes to specific targets; melting the ice caps; changing the direction of rivers; generating Rain; hail; fog; snow; selectively destabilising the earth's magnetic field; and selectively destroying parts of the Ozone layer. US President Ford told the media that the US and USSR did not have these weapons but were signing the treaty "just in case".
This followed a 10 year tense standoff after the Nuclear Submarine US Thresher "disappeared" while it was on patrol, in April 1963. The Thresher was at the time the most advanced U.S. Submarine - Like the Titanic - Unsinkable. The USSR was rumoured to have used a Tesla device to remotely destroy the craft. This was after the backdown from the 1962 Cuban Missile crisis. The day after the Thresher disappeared the USSR successfully deployed a Tesla Device to transmit an explosion to an underground location 100 miles north of Puerto Rico. The USSR did this to prove a point to the US.
New York Times Front Page - 15th January 1960
But It was electrical pioneers like Michael Faraday who discovered the principle of electro-magnetism, in 1831 and Nikola Tesla who discovered Alternating Current in the later 1800s that were the real forces behind the scenes.
Tesla has somehow been written out of the history books but invented among other things the Fluorescent light, Robotics, the car coil, and ultra high speed electrical switches. Alternating Current Alternators. With alternating current generation/transmission. His "Tesla coil" is used today in labs around the world, and is used for things like detecting leaks in vacuum apparatus. In 1899, two years before Marconi sent radio across the Atlantic , Tesla had built remote radio-controlled toy boats. Marconi worked for Tesla in Teslas own lab. Tesla was obsessed with energy as a form of power, while Marconi only wanted to explore the prospect of transmitting energy as a form of communication. The worlds first Alternating Current power station was built in the late 1800's at Niagara Falls in the U.S. by Tesla with the backing of George Westinghouse and J.P. Morgan, the famous financier. Tesla made a rambling speech at the opening of the plant about how it should have been built earlier and about missed opportunities and left the audience thinking that the man was crazy. Tesla was a very unique person. Edison was furious ( over his D.C. power being discredited ) and began a scare campaign and rumour mill to discredit Tesla and destroy Westinghouse. Alternating Current meant the end of Edisons' power distribution system which was based on Direct Current. Only Teslas bailing out Westinghouse saved him, but as a result Tesla was completely broke, and died alone, completely disillusioned, in a hotel room in New York during the second world war, in 1943.
A great deal of speculation has occurred about the last years of Teslas' life. It was known that Tesla worked on the infamous Philadelphia Experiment that the US Navy conducted in the very early 1940's . This was designed to make navy boats invisible to radar (as part of the war effort) - the Germans had a magnetic mine that was causing a lot of problems for the allies... Tesla did not live much longer after that...There have been all sorts of statements made... One can only guess about what really happened.
As we sit here in the year 2018 we see for the first time in the history of entertainment lighting; the situation where both the lights themselves, and the computer controllers that run them are as versatile as the operator is. That is to say the possibilities of effects and colour combinations possible is as infinite as the persons ability to program and operate the equipment. The equipment is so sophisticated that as each company has pretty well much what the other company has in terms of equipment the only difference is the level of experience and talent the operator has. It is anyones guess what the future will be but it certainly will not be boring.
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" one person's floor is another's ceiling" . Anon.