VALE Karl Slotboom

In case you have not heard the news, we are very sad to inform you of the passing of an industry legend, Karl Slotboom, who founded Illusions Studios in Nott St, Port Melbourne, built sets, props, and often did the impossible at a moment's notice. Many a great and entertaining story will be told of Karl's work in the business and especially on TVC's in the coming weeks as we remember him. A generous and caring soul who will be greatly missed.
ACS Victoria sends its condolences to Karl's family and close friends.

"Karl was ahead of his time. Working at Channel 0 and Channel 9 as a stage hand and driver in the early 1970ís he watched the construction department pushing out set after set and servicing the early days of Australian television. Where others would see a future as part of a big machine, Karl saw an opportunity to carve himself an independent future.

In September 1978, almost 40 years ago, Karl Slotboom opened the doors of a small workshop in Ferntree Gully and he became one of the first outside suppliers to a fledging entertainment industry which was growing overnight, literally. Theatrical Television and Display Services began delivering sets from the far eastern suburbs to Bendigo Street and the other network studios in the city for The Graham Kennedy Show, In Melbourne Tonight, The Don Lane Show, The Paul Hogan show, whatever was going - Karl was filling the gaps which the in-house construction crews couldnít keep up with.

It wasnít too long before Karl decided there was another hole in the market which needed filling and he was the man to do it.

In the mid-1980ís he opened Illusions Studios in Nott Street, Port Melbourne and moved the construction business into the inner city with working TVC and film studios in the same facility.

You would be hard pressed to find someone in this industry that hasnít spent many long hours at Nott Street, moving equipment up and down those corridors, getting hair and make up done in one of the green rooms, standing in the freshly painted cyc studio, and trying to find parking as the gentry started to take over the suburb. This crazy business has flourished as a hybrid of art, construction, hard work, long hours, support and passion. Itís a unique world with unique folk, Karl loved all of this with much gusto.

The lucky few (probably more than a few) have had a beer with Karl at the end of a shoot day; thanked him for saving parking for trucks; chatted with him and his huge smile; marvelled at the speed in which a set has been built, aged and wrapped. There are many, as well, in this industry, who have asked for, and received, favours from Karl. Sets have been built, mates rates in an industry full of mates; a job when they needed work; advice and a helpful hand when no-one else seemed to be around.

Karlís family has been the most important part of this pioneersí world, Kaye at his side for the entire journey, since they met as teenagers, 55 years ago, married 50 years ago this May just gone, providing steady and controlled support for our impulsive, brave Dutchman. All three kids have painted studios, swept floors, sanded flats, done accounts and been there if he needed extra hands to move stuff, clean the workshop on weekends. Grant, Tania and Jo have been integral to this ultimate family business for every single day that itís existed. Taniaís partner, Paul, Joís partner, Andrew and I, have had the pleasure of being a part of this journey, Karl was Dad to all of us, there was an overwhelming sense of inclusion and love felt by us when we became part of this family. And of course we have all worked at the business as well because thatís how we roll in the Slotboomsí.

His mentoring doesnít end with his actual family. He has been pivotal for so many young people who have travelled through Illusions. Len Mazar, Tim Gardiner, Peter Moloney, Wade Thompson, Sam Waring, and so many more have started their journey into adulthood with Karl and at Illusions, figuring out who they are and how to operate in this world alongside Karl, learning what to do (and sometimes what not to do!) by working with him.

He has conquered so many more endeavours since Grant took over managing Illusions. He loved art and has painted and painted and painted. We are all secretly wondering if we will find a secret hoard of finished canvases of Dutch masterpieces somewhere in a warehouse in Melbourne. He and Kaye have travelled together all over the world. He has a tribe of 8 healthy grandchildren, Mitchell, Harper, Albie, Audrey, Paddy, Lillie, Morris and Polly, who all adore him and his private art classes, gaming and technology genius and sense of adventure.

Karl turned 71 in January this year, he was born in Rotterdam in 1947 and came to Australia with his parents and sister, Margo, in the late 1950ís. Margo was with him when he passed away, she held one hand, Kaye the other. His whole family surrounded him as he left us peacefully to rest elsewhere.

Again, ahead of his time, Karl has gone off to get the sets ready for us all when we get the opportunity to join him on the other side. Be assured there will be a glass of red, or a pot of tea there to welcome you when you get there. Probably also a piece of Dutch salted liquorice."

From Karlís family.
Written by Toni Raynes.
(Wife of Grant Slotboom)

Please feel free to donate to The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre or The Cancer Council in celebration of Karl. » »

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