A Profile of Eugene O’Rourke, OAM by John Worcester
Eugene O’Rourke, came to Australia from Ireland 44 years ago, a native of County Leitrim, became naturalised and an Australia Citizen in a short space of time and, ever since, has made a strong contribution to a wide range of community groups.
He was very helpful to many during his employment in the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and maintains good friendships with former colleagues from a long period at work.
Eugene has given assistance to the Irish community through various organisations, including his work with the 3ZZZ Irish Program over 25 years, with access-station 3ZZ and SBS before that, supporting the Irish-Australian Support and Resource Bureau (which successfully nominated him as Irish-Australian of the Year), running information stands at Gaelic Park for Irish National Day and at the annual Irish Festival. When the St Patrick’s Day March was held each year, Eugene always organised a group to participate. Eugene spent some 13 years as President of Australian Pioneers (Total Abstinence Association).
Eugene extended his interest in radio programming for the Irish community to community radio (when working in Ballarat, at 3BBB – Voice-FM – there) and through 3WBC in Box Hill with regular programs to the Whitehorse and Boroondara area. Eugene assists 3MBS each year for its annual elections as Returning Officer. Eugene also spent some ten years on the Committee of the Community Broadcasting Association of Victoria.
At 3ZZZ in the early 1990s, Eugene was elected to the Council that governs 3ZZZ and, as well as being Convener of the 3ZZZ Irish Group with responsibility for all of its weekly programs, he spent many years as a member of the station’s Programming Committee. For the last 6 years, Eugene has been elected as Convener of the Broadcast Group Conveners at 3ZZZ and plays a very active role in ensuring smooth running of the station. He was also a member of the Building Committee that oversaw the construction of new studios by converting a Brunswick factory (just opened).
Eugene has been very active in training people at 3ZZZ from the whole range of more than sixty ethnic groups involved at the station. Eugene takes the trainees through all that is needed in broadcasting in general but especially relating that to special needs of ethnic broadcasting (community radio background, radio styles of programming and of presentation, legal issues as well as specific studio-related technical training).
Eugene has been a very active supporter of Bloomsday in Melbourne, keeping high the profile of Ireland’s greatest writer, James Joyce. Eugene has worked behind the scenes, sometimes acting, and often providing exotic properties and costumes, and in ensuring promotion and publicity for this event held on 16th June each year, especially through radio interviews.