Although experimental television transmissions were conducted in Australia as far back as 1929, it was the 1940s before the government of the day considered the full scale introduction of television — and with a World War currently in progress, any further development was put on hold. Progress after the war was slow, but the upcoming 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games would ensure that TV would arrive in time for the Opening Ceremony — and it did, only just!
- The Menzies Government decides that television services will initially consist of a national service (ABC) in Sydney with expansion to follow into other areas as funding allowed – and a commercial station in each of Sydney and Melbourne and ‘any other capital city where it is felt that the applicant’s capacity to provide a service justifies the issue of a licence’
- Following public pressure, the Government appoints a Royal Commission into the introduction of television in Australia.
- The Royal Commission reports that television services should be introduced gradually – initially an ABC station and two commercial stations in each of Sydney and Melbourne with other areas to follow.
- The Australian Broadcasting Control Board conducts public hearings into the allocation of commercial television licences for Sydney and Melbourne. Consequently, the first commercial television licences issued to Herald and Weekly Times (Melbourne), General Television Corporation (Melbourne), Amalgamated Television Services (Sydney) and Television Corporation (Sydney).
- July: Test TV transmissions commence from TCN9 Sydney and HSV7 Melbourne
- September 16: TCN9 Sydney becomes the first TV station to begin regular transmission. Station announcer John Godson introduces the station on-air at 7.00pm, then Bruce Gyngell introduces the first program, This Is Television.
- September 27: GTV9 Melbourne conducts its first program transmission with a one hour and 20 minute broadcast of cartoons and a John Wayne film from 4.30pm, hosted by Geoff Corke. From Monday 1 October the station commences daily test pattern transmission.
- October 27: TCN9 is officially opened.
- November 4: HSV7 Melbourne is officially opened.
- November 5: Opening night of the ‘national television service’ with the first ABC television station, ABN2 Sydney.
- November 19: ABC’s second television station, ABV2 Melbourne, is launched
- ABV2, HSV7 and GTV9 (conducting test transmissions) televise the Melbourne Olympic Games.
- December 2: ATN7 Sydney is officially opened. The following day, ATN launches Australia’s first current affairs program At Seven On Seven with Howard Craven, and the first ‘tonight’ show, Sydney Tonight with Keith Walshe.
- 5% of Melbourne households and 1% of Sydney households own a TV set.
- January 19: Sir Dallas Brooks opens GTV9 Melbourne
- March 2: Bob Dyer’s Pick-A-Box, a radio quiz since 1948, launches on ATN7/GTV9 and runs until 1971.
- April 20: The Victorian Football League (VFL) is televised for the first time, with Melbourne channels ABV2, HSV7 and GTV9 permitted to broadcast live coverage of the final quarter of league matches.
- May 6: GTV9 launches Graham Kennedy’s In Melbourne Tonight, a live variety program that lasted 13 years.
- TCN9 forms an affiliation with HSV7, and GTV9 lines up with ATN7.
- December: The first edition of TV Week goes on sale in Melbourne.
- June: ABC launches its own TV magazine, TV News, in Sydney.
- October 20: ATN7 launches Australia’s first TV ‘breakfast session’, including the first serial drama, Autumn Affair.
- November: TCN9 launches Brian Henderson’s Bandstand, a variety music program that launched the careers of many Australians. It lasts for 14 years on Nine.
- TV Week launches its own annual TV awards, initially known as the TV Week Awards but would later be named the TV Week Logie Awards, after television pioneer John Logie Baird, the following year.
- New TV stations: QTQ9 Brisbane, NWS9 Adelaide, TVW7 Perth, BTQ7 Brisbane, ABQ2 Brisbane, ADS7 Adelaide.
- January 9: Melbourne and Sydney are linked by microwave for the first time, enabling television programs to be screened simultaneously in both cities.
- ABC launches Six O’Clock Rock with Johnny O’Keefe
- August: ABC’s TV News-Times (formerly TV News) expands circulation with the launch of a Melbourne edition in competition with TV Week.
- HSV7’s weekly sports program World Of Sport begins on Saturday mornings. It soon moves to Sunday afternoons and continues every week for 28 years.