As a kid, I knew Jeffrey Watson from watching him forecast the future of science and technology in the show ‘Beyond 2000’. As a family, we would curiously watch and wonder what life might look like as we approached the new millennium.
Jeffrey is a journalist, broadcaster, author, documentary filmmaker and long time Newport resident. Best known as a presenter on ‘Beyond 2000’ which broadcast in more than 90 countries, he has also contributed to This Day Tonight, Four Corners, Holiday, Sixty Minutes, Towards 2000 and Getaway.
Fast forward to today and here we are far beyond 2000 in the year 2020… and I not only have the honour to meet Jeffrey but also to help him sell his long time residence at 39 Hillside Road, Newport NSW 2106.
I caught up with him to talk about life in Newport and what is most surprising about the technological advances in today’s age.
How long have you lived in the Upper Northern Beaches?
I moved to Newport in 1991.
What first attracted you to the area?
The beaches and the relaxed lifestyle. I find the locals to be cheerful and welcoming. The bushland, stunning vistas and wildlife are another reason that people are attracted to the area. There are so many places to explore and enjoy.
It’s been almost 30 years since you moved here, what do you still love about it today?
I love the fact that, although it is busier than 30 years ago, it still retains the same feeling it had when I first moved here in 1991. Also, it’s far less crowded than most other areas of Sydney.
Of all the technological advances since the first Beyond 2000 show, what is most surprising to you today in 2020?
In the 70’s, when the program ‘Towards 2000’ began, there was no internet, no ISD dialling, no ATMs, no fibre optics, no mobile phones, no gene splicing, nuclear fusion was in its infancy and the space shuttle program had not begun.
In 1979 lots of things were happening in science and technology which were not being covered by the mainstream media so we launched the ever-popular “Beyond 2000” – and still, there was no internet.
Filming on site for Beyond 2000
In August 1991, (the same month and year I moved to Newport), the World Wide Web became publicly available. The fact that the internet has grown as it has and is now an essential tool for everyday life is probably the most surprising technological advance that I’ve witnessed.