Noel Tennison, like elder brother Pat, was one of the great pillars that supported the Press Club and kept it going. He was passionate about it. He kept every notice he received and spent countless hours hunting down new members.
In 1972 Pat had talked him into coming down from Brisbane to Melbourne. He had a short run in public relations for Australia Post, then took his skills to work for the Premier, Rupert Hamer. In 1974 he left Hamer to form his own company, Media Relations Pty Ltd.
There was always a love-hate relationship between working journalists and PR men. Back in the 1960s, Cyril Pearl wrote a devastating article in Nation in which he said it was interesting how PR companies always had “associates”. That was because they were the only people who would associate with them.
But the truth was journos and PR men were inextricably entwined and most PR men were journalists. They drifted backwards and forwards between the two occupations. There was another truth: without the PR members the club would never have survived. Invariably, they and their guests occupied most of the seats at every lunch. Noel Tennison filled whole tables with clients and friends.