Early Television: Liz Jacka

Early Television: Liz Jacka

Liz Jacka describes the initial programming and influences on early television in Australia.

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 Australia television: 'Good evening ladies and gentlemen, welcome to television'.

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 the next 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.

Liz Jacka researches in the areas of broadcasting history and policy and is Emeritus Professor at University of Technology Sydney.