When We Were One
While the usual source for the 'Welcome to television' footage is the Ten Years of Television special from 1966, it's likely that Bruce Gyngell re-created his famous moment as early as 1957, for TCN9’s first anniversary program.
Never one to miss an opportunity to self-promote as first on the air, the station telecast a 90-minute TCN Birthday Party special on Sunday 15 September 1957, hosted by Bobby Limb.
Listed in the Sydney Morning Herald as a pre-recorded program, the station may have decided to ensure the historic 'Welcome to television' moment was re-created for posterity.
Why this needed to be done raises further questions. While the first night of television in 1956 was affected by technical issues, the first broadcast was believed to have been recorded by TCN engineers.
Staying silent in 1956
From the first night of television, TCN9 archives retain a mute, 28-minute reel of 16mm film that includes excerpts from various shows telecast on 16 September 1956.
According to the night’s running sheets, these surviving minutes occurred approximately two hours into the four-hour opening night transmission, around 9.00pm. There is however no sign of Gyngell’s introduction, which took place at 7.00pm, on this reel.
If you compare Gyngell's appearance in the silent reel from September 1956 (below left) with the more familiar repeated footage (below right), they would appear to be shot on different occasions. He arguably looks younger on the left and his pocket flower has a different shape in the later image: