This is a printer friendly page
Free for educational use
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

How to Download the Video Clip

To download a free copy of this Video Clip choose from the options below. These require the free Quicktime Player.

download clip icon Premium MP4 tvlaunch_pr.mp4 (30.0MB).

ipod icon Broadband MP4 tvlaunch_bb.mp4 (14.2MB), suitable for iPods and computer downloads.

Additional help.

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


Students have the opportunity to investigate people, movements and events that have enhanced civil and political rights for specific groups of Australians.

Students consider the influence of key events and ideas in Australia’s development as an independent, self-governing democracy.

Students have the opportunity to analyse how media and ICT techniques are used to exert influence.

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. Students conduct a survey of number of television sets and video/DVD recorders in their homes. Construct a chart to map television ownership. Examine who buys the television sets, who chooses which channel to watch, how particular programs selected in the home, the hours of viewing, favourite television programs. Hold a class discussion about why television of all media appears to have such a wide penetration in Australian households.

2. Students, using data from the video clip, contruct a timeline of the development of television in Australia from the launch to pay television to digital broadcasting.

3. Hold a discussion of favourite programs – reasons, type of program, broadcasting channel, if the program is made in Australia. As a class explore whether favourite programs appear to represent Australian values, beliefs, national identity. Are some groups in society rarely mentioned or given opportunities to give their views in favourite programs? Why? Does it matter?

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

Further Resources


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