What were we doing in 1999?

What were we doing in 1999? We were leasing a small office in City West, buying some second hand desks and setting up three brightly coloured iMacs. In March we opened the doors of Clarity and started a 20 year journey that we’ll be celebrating with you throughout 2019.

Richard Court was Premier, the ‘Polly Pipe‘ (Graeme Farmer Freeway) was complete, and WIN TV started broadcasting in WA.

At a national level John Howard was only a few years into his long run as Prime Minister, GST was being introduced, and the axe fell on Hey Hey It’s Saturday.

On the global stage, Bill Clinton was impeached, Bill Gates’ personal fortune officially hit $100 billion and SpongeBob SquarePants debuted on cable TV.

1999 was also a time of great uncertainty. The year 2000 was looming and with life becoming more technologically driven, many of our clients were worried about the ‘Y2K bug’ and how it would play out across their systems, both IT and operational. Property managers across the world were creating crisis management plans in case the lifts and lights went out on 1 January 2000.

In a subdued WA economic environment we saw many junior miners turn into e-commerce or biotech companies, most of which now don’t exist, or later turn themselves back into junior miners when the resources ‘boom’ arrived a few years later.

In our first year we worked extensively with Hamersley Iron (now Rio Tinto) on developing stronger internal communications channels across its remote residential and FIFO workforce – many of whom didn’t own a mobile phone or a computer, and most of whom had no email.

1999 was the year the government decided to create Telstra Country Wide to demonstrate its commitment to regional Australians – and ensure legislation was passed to sell off the next tranche of the business. We worked closely with their team to build the profile of Telstra Country Wide in regional WA and the Northern Territory.

Our design team kicked off operations with the BankWest annual report and brand work for the recently privatised Alinta, while tax breaks meant a range of prospectus work from wine investment schemes.

Websites were emerging as a new communications tool with potential value. Clients were starting to consider whether or not they really needed to invest in this new fan-dangled toy. Most could not see a good reason to build one or get permission to do so.

This quick snapshot of 1999 is the first article in a series that we will run over the year to look how far WA has come over the last 20 years. Stick with us, and come on a journey through the past, present and future while we celebrate 20 years in business.


Kellie Hasluck

Kellie has provided Western Australian businesses with communications advice for nearly 20 years as a co-founder of Clarity. She provides coaching and mentoring services to executives in the resources, engineering and financial services and not for profit sectors. Kellie is an experienced public relations practitioner undertaking strategic planning, community consultation, media relations, and internal communications for large national and international organisations.