MILESAGO -Media -Television

A chronology of Australian TV
1955-75

 

(Please note: this page is still under construction)

1955

The first commercial television licences are issued to the Herald & Weekly Times group (Melbourne), the General Television Corporation (Melbourne), Amalgamated Television Services (Sydney) and Television Corporation (Sydney).

 

1956

Test transmissions commence on TCN9 Sydney and HSV7 Melbourne in July.

TCN9 Sydney becomes the first TV station to begin regular transmission on 16 September at 7.00pm. HSV7 Melbourne follows on 4 November.

ABV-2, HSV-7 and GTV-9 (conducting test transmissions) televise the Melbourne Olympic Games.

5 November: PM Robert Menzies inaugurates the first ABC television station, ABN-2 Sydney. ABV-2 Melbourne follows on 18 November.

2 December: ATN-7 Sydney commences broadcasting.

5% of Melbourne households and 1% of Sydney households own a TV set.

 

1957

January 19: Sir Dallas Brooks opens GTV-9 Melbourne

May 6: GTV-9 launches Graham Kennedyís IN MELBOURNE TONIGHT, which runs until 1969 and makes Kennedy the "King" of Australian TV.

TCN-9 forms an affiliation with HSV-7, and GTV-9 aligns with ATN-7.

Bob Dyer relaunches his popular PICK-A-BOX radio quiz (broadcast since 1948) on TV on ATN-7/GTV-9. The series runs until 1971.

Nine premieres Crawford's TAKE THAT, a 15-minute live comedy starring Phillip Stainton, Keith Eden and Joff Ellen.

December: The first edition of TV Week goes on sale in Melbourne.

New Australian series:
IN MELBOURNE TONIGHT (GTV-9)
PICK-A-BOX
TAKE THAT

1958

November: TCN-9 launches Brian Hendersonís BANDSTAND, a variety music program that launched the careers of many Australian performers. The series runs for 14 years.

Australiaís first TV serial drama, AUTUMN AFFAIR begins a 10-month run on ATN-7/GTV-9.

TV WEEK launches its own annual TV awards. GTV9ís Graham Kennedy wins the Gold Award (for most popular TV personality) and names the awards the Logies, after TV pioneer John Logie Baird.

New Australian series:
AUTUMN AFFAIR
BANDSTAND

 

1959

6 new TV stations go to air: QTQ-9 Brisbane, NWS-9 Adelaide, TVW-7 Perth, BTQ-7 Brisbane, ABQ-2 Brisbane (November), ADS-7 Adelaide.

MR SQUIGGLE and SIX O'CLOCK ROCK begin on the ABC. MR SQUIGGLE continues for over 30 years and becomes the longest-running children's program on Australian TV history.

HSV-7's weekly sports program WORLD OF SPORT begins on Saturday mornings. It soon moves to Sunday afternoons and continues every week for 28 years.

January 9: Melbourne and Sydney are linked by coaxial cable for the first time, enabling television programs to be screened simultaneously in both cities.

August: ABC launches its own TV magazine, TV News-Times. Later renamed TV Times, it continues publication until July 1980.

New Australian series:
EMERGENCY (GTV-9)
WORLD OF SPORT (HSV-7)
MR SQUIGGLE (ABC)
SIX O'CLOCK ROCK (ABC)

 

1960

Newspaper magnate Frank Packer purchases GTV-9, Melbourne

Graham Kennedy's IN MELBOURNE TONIGHT screens nationally as the Graham Kennedy CHANNEL NINE SHOW

New Australian series:
ADVENTURES OF THE TERRIBLE TEN (Nine)
STORMY PETREL (ABC)

New TV stations: ABS2 Adelaide, ABW2 Perth, ABT2 Hobart, TVT6 Hobart

 

1961

New Australian series:
CONSIDER YOUR VERDICT (HSV-7)
WHIPLASH
THE OUTCASTS (ABC)
UNIVERSITY OF THE AIR (ABC)
THE STORY OF PETER GRAY (7)

August 19: ABCís acclaimed weekly current affairs program FOUR CORNERS premieres.

December: Regional television commences with the launch of commercial stations GLV10 Traralgon, GMV6 Shepparton and BCV8 Bendigo.

 

1962

The ABC installs the first videotape recording facilities in its capital city stations

New Australian series:
THE PATRIOTS (ABC)
JONAH (ATN-7)

New TV stations:
BTV6 Ballarat, NBN3 Newcastle, TNT9 Launceston, WIN4 Wollongong, TNQ7 Townsville, DDQ10 Toowoomba, ABC3 Canberra, CTC7 Canberra, RTN8 Lismore, and CBN8 Orange.

 

1963

Station affiliations change. GTV9 and TCN9 align to form the National Television Network (now the Nine Network) along with QTQ9 and NWS9; HSV7 and ATN7 align to form the Australian Television Network (now the Seven Network) along with BTQ7 and ADS7. TVW7, being the sole commercial TV station in Perth, remains independent of network affiliation.

The Government invites applications for new commercial TV licences in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth.

New Australian series:
THE TEN AGAIN (ABC)
ADVENTURE UNLIMITED
SMUGGLERS BEWARE (ABC)
THE HUNGRY ONES (ABC)

New TV stations: RTQ7 Rockhampton. ABC launches its first regional stations

 

1964

August 1: Melbourneís third commercial TV station, ATV-0 is opened. The station is owned by Ansett Transport Industries.

October 20: HSV-7 screens the first episode of a new Melbourne-produced police drama HOMICIDE. It becomes a huge success and runs on the Seven Network for 500 episodes over 12 years.

November 11: THE MAVIS BRAMSTON SHOW, Australia's first TV satirical sketch comedy, begins on the Seven Network and runs for three years

New Australian series:
BARLEY CHARLIE (GTV-9)
THE PURPLE JACARANDA (ABC)
THE STRANGER (ABC)
HOMICIDE (HSV-7)
THE MAVIS BRAMSTON SHOW (ATN-7)

New TV stations: AMV4 Albury, RVN2 Wagga Wagga.

 

1965

The 0-10 Network, Australia's third commercial television network is formed between TEN-10, ATV-0, TVQ-0 and SAS10.

"TV Spells Magic", a lavish variety production with over 150 performers and extras, is the highlight of opening night for TEN-10 and is relayed to ATV-0 and regional stations.

New Australian series:
THE MAGIC BOOMERANG (ABC)
MY BROTHER JACK (ABC)
THE BALLAD OF RIVERBOAT BILL (ABC)
THE GO!! SHOW (HSV-7)
KOMMOTION (ATV-0)

New TV stations:
TEN10 Sydney, TVQ0 Brisbane, SAS10 Adelaide, STW9 Perth, SEQ8 Maryborough, NEN9 Tamworth, NRN11 Coffs Harbour, CWN6 Dubbo, MTN9 Griffith, STV8 Mildura.

 

1966

Australia starts to receive daily news reports via satellite.

New Australian series:
PLAYSCHOOL (ABC)
HERE'S HUMPHREY (Nine)
THE PRIVATE WORLD OF MISS PRIM
NICE ĎNí JUICY (ABC)
THE INTERPRETARIS (ABC)
MY NAMEíS MCGOOLEY - WHATíS YOURS? (ATN-7)
WANDJINA! (ABC)

New TV stations: FNQ10 Cairns, ECN8 Taree, SDQ4 Southern Downs, SES8 Mt Gambier

 

1967

April 10: ABCís pioneering nightly current affairs program THIS DAY TONIGHT begins.

July 15: ATV-0 broadcasts the first colour TV program on Australian TV when it televises the Pakenham racing in colour.

New Australian series:
ADVENTURE ISLAND (ABC)
ADVENTURES OF THE SEASPRAY
BELLBIRD (ABC)
CONTRABANDITS (ABC)
DIVORCE COURT (HSV-7)
HEY YOU! (TEN)
HUNTER (NINE)
YOU CANíT SEE ROUND CORNERS (SEVEN)

New TV stations: BTW3 Bunbury, GSW9 Albany.

 

1968

The Government announces that Australia will adopt the European PAL colour TV standard, instead of the American NTSC system, although it will be seven years before colour TV is finally introduced.

The Seven Network cancels THE MAVIS BRAMSTON SHOW.

New Australian series:
THE UNLOVED
SKIPPY (NINE)
VEGA 4 (ABC)
RITA AND WALLY (ATN-7)
IíVE MARRIED A BACHELOR! (ABC)
MOTEL (SEVEN)
THE BATTLERS (SEVEN)
UPTIGHT (ATV-0)

New TV stations:
BKN-7 Broken Hill, GTS-4 Port Pirie, MVQ-6 Mackay.

 

1969

New Australian series:
DELTA (ABC)
DIVISION 4 (GTV-9)
FREDD BEAR'S BREAKFAST-A-GO-GO (ATV-0)
GOOD MORNING, MR. DOUBLEDAY
GTK (ABC)
JOAN AND LESLIE (HSV-7)
PASTURES OF THE BLUE CRANE (ABC)
RIPTIDE
THE ROVERS
WOOBINDA (ANIMAL DOCTOR)

 

1970

THE LONG ARM is the 0-10 Networkís first attempt at series drama. It lasted three months.

The Ten Network launches HAPPENING '70 as the replacement for UPTIGHT.

Graham Kennedy retires from GTV9, only to return two years later.

HSV7 launches a new Saturday night variety show THE PENTHOUSE CLUB, with a mixture of variety, comedy, harness racing coverage and Tattslotto. It runs until 1979, after changing its name briefly to Saturday Night Live.

New Australian series:
THE LINK MEN (TCN-9)
MRS. FINNEGAN (ATN-7)
HAPPENING '70 (ATV-0)
THE LONG ARM (ATV-0)
PHOENIX FIVE (ABC)
DYNASTY (ABC)

 

1971

January 4: The acclaimed American children's series SESAME STREET begins on ABC, despite controversy over the cancellation of its Australian-made predecessor, ADVENTURE ISLAND

February 25: MATLOCK POLICE, a new weekly police drama from Crawford Productions, starts a five year run on 0-10, giving Crawfords three major police dramas in simultaneous production, one on each commercial network

April 24: YOUNG TALENT TIME starts its 18-year run on the 0-10 Network.

October 6: HEY HEY ITíS SATURDAY begins as a Saturday morning cartoon show on Nine.

November 22: A CURRENT AFFAIR with Mike Willesee premieres on Nine.

New Australian series:
BACHELOR GAYE
BARRIER REEF
CHEQUERBOARD (ABC)
A CURRENT AFFAIR (Nine)
DEAD MEN RUNNING (ABC)
THE GODFATHERS (Nine)
THE GROUP
HEY HEY ITíS SATURDAY (GTV-9)
MATLOCK POLICE (Ten)
SPYFORCE (Nine)
THE THURSDAY CREEK MOB (ABC)

  New TV stations: ABD6 Darwin, NTD8 Darwin, VEW8 Kalgoorlie, ITQ8 Mt Isa.

 

1972

February: The Government announces that all Australian TV stations will convert to colour on 1 March 1975.

March: The 0-10 Network screens the first episode of the ground breaking evening series NUMBER 96, which creates much controversy over its sex and nudity content.

The Nine Network's BANDSTAND ends its fourteen-year run.

New Australian series:
THE AUNTY JACK SHOW (ABC)
BIRDS IN THE BUSH
BONEY (Seven)
CATWALK
LANE END
A NICE DAY AT THE OFFICE
NUMBER 96 (Ten)
OUR MAN IN CANBERRA (ABC)
OVER THERE (ABC)
SNAKE GULLY WITH DAD AND DAVE (Seven)
THE SPOILER

1973

NUMBER 96 becomes the most popular program on Australian TV. Screening simultaneously every weeknight in all capital cities and almost every regional station.

MOD SQUAD star Michael Cole causes a furore when he appears as a guest at the Logie Awards. Clearly inebriated, Cole accidentally says the word "shit" during his speech, triggering a storm of complaints from viewers. Ironically, when the awards are replayed the following day with the offending word edited out, even more viewers call to complain that it has been cut.

February: THE MIKE WALSH SHOW, a live daytime variety show from the studios of TEN-10, starts a four-year run on 0-10, before switching to Nine in 1977.

New Australian series:
CATCH KANDY
CERTAIN WOMEN
THE DRIFTER
FRANK AND FRANCESCA
THE GRAHAM KENNEDY SHOW
OUR MAN IN THE COMPANY
THE MIKE WALSH SHOW
THE PEOPLE NEXT DOOR
THE PRICE IS RIGHT
RYAN
SERPENT IN THE RAINBOW
A TASTE FOR BLUE RIBBONS

 

1974

Leading quiz and game show producers Grundy Productions launch their first drama series, CLASS OF Ď74, a five-night-a-week school drama produced for Seven, with theme music by Brian Cadd. It becomes CLASS OF Ď75 the following year before being dropped by the network.

Saturday morning pop show SOUNDS UNLIMITED (later SOUNDS) premieres on the Seven Network. Initially hosted by Graham Webb, it is taken over in 1975 by former DJ Donnie Sutherland, and becomes the main rival to the ABC's COUNTDOWN, launched later in the year.

February 11: THE BOX, Crawford's rival to the rating-winning NUMBER 96 premieres on the 0-10 Network.

October 19: Test colour transmissions commence on all networks.

October: COUNTDOWN begins its 14-year run on ABC.

New Australian series:
ALPHA SCORPIO
AND THE BIG MEN FLY
THE BOX
THE CASTAWAYS
CLASS OF Ď74
COUNTDOWN
THE FOURTH WISH
MARION
RUSH
SILENT NUMBER
SOUNDS UNLIMITED
A TOUCH OF REVERENCE
THREE MEN OF THE CITY

 

1975

The first ABC Shop opens.

TEN-10 launches Australia's first one-hour TV news bulletin, EYEWITNESS NEWSHOUR.

Graham Kennedy is banned from live television after his notorious "crow call" on Nine's GRAHAM KENNEDY SHOW.

January: The ABC moves COUNTDOWN from its original Saturday afternoon slot and puts it in the prime 6-7pm slot on Sunday nights, and uses the vacated Saturday slot to rebroadcast the previous week's show.

March 1: "C-Day": Australian television stations switch over to full-time colour transmission. The ABC marks the occasion with a special midnight broadcast introduced by Aunty Jack. The first major program screened in colour on a commercial network is ATN-7's SOUNDS.

May 12: Nineís new variety show THE DON LANE SHOW begins a successful eight year run.

New Australian series:
BEAT OF THE CITY
BEN HALL
CASH & COMPANY
THE LAST OF THE AUSTRALIANS
LUCKY COLOUR BLUE
THE NORMAN GUNSTON SHOW (ABC)
PEACH'S AUSTRALIA (ABC)
THE RISE AND FALL OF WELLINGTON BOOTS
SCATTERGOOD - FRIEND OF ALL
SEVEN LITTLE AUSTRALIANS (ABC)
SHANNON'S MOB
TORQUE (ABC)
THE UNISEXERS
UNTIL TOMORROW
WINNER TAKE ALL

 

References / Links

Andrew Bayley
Television.au - The History of Australian Television
http://go.to/televisionau

Stuart Cunningham, Graeme Turner, (eds)
The Media In Australia [Allen & Unwin, 1993]

Tony Harrison
The Australian Film and Television Companion (Simon & Schuster, 1994)

Albert Moran
Moranís Guide to Australian TV Series (AFTRS, 1993)

Don Storey
TV EYE website
http://www.geocities.com/TelevisionCity/Studio/5745/Overview.htm