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Video clip synopsis – Liz Jacka provides a brief history of the debate on how to establish television broadcasting in Australia. Tim Bowden recalls the enthusiasm with which Australians embraced television.
Year of production - 2005
Duration - 4min 4sec
Tags - audiences, broadcasting, change and continuity, consumers, culture, identity, media and society, media ownership, technology and society, television, television programs, see all tags


Launch of TV

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About the Video Clip


The interviews with Liz Jacka and Tim Bowden were recorded for the website From Wireless to Web, produced in 2005.

Liz Jacka is an Author and Professor in Communications Studies for the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences at the University of Technology Sydney. Tim Bowden is a broadcaster, radio and delivision documentary maker, oral historian and author. You can view their full biographies at From Wireless to Web

The website is a selective history of broadcast media in Australia. Decade by decade, from radio and newsreels to TV and the internet, this history shows how the Australian broadcast media developed and shaped the way Australians see themselves.

From Wireless to Web is a Film Australia production in association with Roar Film.

Curriculum Focus


Inquiry Questions
What have been the major social and cultural features of a post-war decade?

A student:
5.1 explains social, political and cultural developments and events and evaluates their impact on Australian life
5.2 assesses the impact of international events and relationships on Australia’s history
5.4 sequences major historical events to show an understanding of continuity, change and causation
5.5 identifies, comprehends and evaluates historical sources
5.6 uses sources appropriately in an historical inquiry
5.7 explains different contexts, perspectives and interpretations of the past.

Students Learn About:
Post-war Australia
The impact of changing technology on everyday life in post-war Australia:

  • home appliances
  • entertainment
  • communications

Students Learn To:
outline the impact of the main technological changes over time on everyday life in post-war Australia, based on a selection of sources.

Decade Study
The social and cultural features of ONE post-war decade, including:

  • fashion
  • music
  • entertainment
  • sport
  • British or American influences on popular culture

    – describe the main social and cultural features of the chosen decade
    – outline the main influences of Britain or the USA on Australian popular culture of the chosen decade
    – assess the impact of the chosen decade in shaping Australian identity
This material is an extract. Teachers and students should consult the Board of Studies website for more information.

Background Information


On 16 September 1956 the test pattern on Sydney’s TCN9 gave way to a grainy black-and-white image of presenter Bruce Gyngell speaking the first words uttered on Australian television: “Good evening ladies and gentlemen, welcome to television”. (O’Regan)

The Broadcasting and Television Act (1953) stated that “licensees shall, as far as possible, use the services of Australians in the production and presentation of radio and television programs”. At first, television was broadcast for only 22 hours each week. Local content for television was mostly low-cost variety and quiz shows.

HSV7 Melbourne and ABC-TV went to air in time for the November 1956 Melbourne Olympics. Other stations followed over two years: in Brisbane (QTQ and BTQ), Adelaide (ADS and NWS), Perth (TVW) and Hobart (TVT).

The ABC’s television service in Sydney (ABN2) launched in 1956 with a news bulletin read by James Dibble. Dibble continued as the ABC’s newsreader until 1983.

Classroom Activities

  1. According to Liz Jacka, why was the control of television such an important issue?
    1. Why did newspaper proprietors want to control television?
  2. Explain the reasons why the introduction of television was delayed in Australia.
    1. What does this tell you about the importance of television?
    2. According to Liz Jacka, what did television change in Australia?
  3. Describe the different types of early television programs.

Further Resources


Go to From Wireless to Web for more about the history of broadcast media in Australia.