Home Australia Iconic Australian television presenter and ‘first lady of children’s television’ dies at 92

Iconic Australian television presenter and ‘first lady of children’s television’ dies at 92

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Pioneering Australian children's presenter Dawn Kenyon (pictured), known as the

Pioneering Australian children’s presenter Dawn Kenyon, known as the country’s “first lady of children’s television”, died earlier this week aged 92.

The beloved personality became the first Australian presenter of a children’s show, when she presented Captain Fortune in 1956, the same year television arrived in the country.

She was born Dorothy Dingwell in the regional Queensland town of Toowoomba in 1932, and gained a reputation for enthusiastically presenting several of the first Australian children’s shows.

Kenyon also presented Channel Seven’s first children’s learning programme, Romper Room, in the late 1950s, several years before the similarly themed Play School premiered on the ABC in 1966.

She was known as Miss Dawn to her many young viewers as she engaged and entertained thousands of children across the country.

Pioneering Australian children’s presenter Dawn Kenyon (pictured), known as the country’s “first lady of children’s television”, died earlier this week aged 92.

The beloved personality became Australia's first children's show host when she hosted children's variety show Captain Fortune in 1956, the same year television came to the country. She also hosted Romper Room, a precursor to ABC's Play School.

The beloved personality became Australia’s first children’s show host when she hosted children’s variety show Captain Fortune in 1956, the same year television came to the country. She also hosted Romper Room, a precursor to ABC’s Play School.

In 1957 she married British television engineer Fred Kenyon and the couple had three children: Steven, Peter and Anne.

In addition to her work in front of the camera, Kenyon also worked behind the scenes as a producer and screenwriter.

However, when she got married, she decided to abandon her presenting career and move with her husband to England, after he accepted a job.

Kenyon was known to her many young viewers as Miss Dawn as she engaged and entertained thousands of children across the country.

Kenyon was known to her many young viewers as Miss Dawn as she engaged and entertained thousands of children across the country.

Many of Dawn’s friends in the industry were quick to pay tribute to her upon hearing of her death.

“The dawn was always a bright light,” Australian journalist Anita Jacoby said in a statement.

“She was often the first to greet us, introduce us to new families and guide us deeper into the magic of the Merry Makers,” added 60 Minutes veteran Jeff McMullen.

Sadly, her beloved husband Fred died in December 2020, after 63 years of marriage.

Dawn is survived by her three children.

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