Robert (Bob) Feeney ACS (1925-2002)

Inducted into ACS Hall of Fame – 1997

Bob Feeney commenced work at Movietone News in Sept. 1941 as an office boy, but after a few months was assigned to the editing room under the then Chief Editor – Syd Wood, and other senior staff members Jim Pearson, Frank Coffey and Alec Ezard. Australia was at war in New Guinea with the Japanese, so soon after Bob’s move to the editing room, Syd enlisted in the Army, joining the Military History division as a cameraman.

Eric Bierre was Movietone’s Chief Cameraman. Ross Wood was a junior news cameraman at the time, so on weekends Bob would volunteer to help out as an assistant to Ross and the other news cameramen. This enabled him to gain much experience and further his wish to be assigned full time to the camera department. Eventually an assistant’s position did become available and he was a natural choice. At the end of the war Eric Bierre departed Movietone and Syd Wood who had returned from the war took over as Chief Cameraman.

In 1948 Jim Pearson left Movietone to open his own production company Video Productions and purchased all the old film left in the house of Ernest Higgins. Bob went to work with Jim and helped clear the house of one million feet of old silent day nitrate footage. A lot of it was decomposing so Bob spent three months discarding the dangerous film, but ended up with 100,000 feet of really good material. Ross Wood then joined the company as cameraman along with Bill Moloney as Script Writer, then in 1949 they got the contract to shoot a feature film “Strong is the Seed”, Ross was DOP and Bob was his camera operator. Bob said he had his wages doubled from 4 pounds to 8 pounds per week, but as usual, no overtime. Bob then joined Trans Australian Airlines (TAA) in their public relations dept. In 1955 Bob returned to Movietone, as a Grade B Cameraman. However, by 1959 he was mainly doing Grade A work, so applied to the management for a salary increase. This was denied, Bob was upset and contacted Bert Nicholas, the ABC-TV Chief Cine Cameraman to see if there were any jobs going at Gore Hill. Bert said there was, and Bob joined the ABC two weeks later.

Bob soon proved himself and was assigned to shoot the first episodes of the highly rated ‘Four Corners’ and ‘Big Country’, plus many other high profile ABC-TV programs.

Bob was an avid supporter of the Australian Cinematographers Society and gave much time as a committee member. Bob was an avid collector of old books and memorabilia and all things that related to cinematography and became the driving force behind the establishment of the ACS Archive. It was officially named The Robert Feeney ACS Archive on September 14, 2003. It was an honour truly befitting him.