50 years of TV in Canberra

ctc_onair_0002Canberra may be the national capital of Australia and the hub for the country’s political decision makers, but it was the second last capital city in Australia to receive television.

Almost six years after television made its official debut in Sydney and Melbourne, television came to Canberra on 2 June 1962 with the official launch of CTC7.

The channel had been five years in the making – starting in 1957 when The Canberra Times and radio station 2CA agreed to sponsor an application for a commercial television licence in the national capital.

In 1958, Canberra Television Limited was incorporated with a capital of £300,000.

The company was granted the licence for Canberra’s first, and then only, commercial television channel in November 1960.  The new channel – CTC7 – was to broadcast from studios located on Black Mountain.  Construction of the studio premises and transmission tower was completed in little over six months at a cost of just under £78,000.  The studios were equipped with two state-of-the-art Image Orthicon cameras worth £8000 each.

Test programs were being broadcast from April 1962 with the official opening by Postmaster-General Mr C. W. Davidson on Saturday, 2 June 1962 at 7.00pm.

CTC7: Saturday 2 June, 1962
6pm Program Preview
6.30 Documentary: Establishment Of CTC7
7pm Official Opening CTC7
7.20 Preview: Future Programs and “On Camera” Personalities
7.40 Queen’s Birthday Procession at Duntroon
8pm The BP Super Show
9pm Michael Shayne
10pm Official Opening CTC7 (Rpt)
10.20 Sunday Program Announcements, Epilogue, Close
Source: The Canberra Times, 2 June 1962.

The new channel launched with a schedule of around 30 hours of programming each week.

CTC7 has had a number of different owners over the years, including Fairfax, Kerry Stokes and Charles Curran.  In 1994 it was bought by Southern Cross Broadcasting – now Southern Cross Austereo.

Just as it had a number of owners, CTC has also had many different identities on-air – including CTCTV, Super 7, Capital 7, Capital Television, Capital 10 TV Australia, Ten Capital and now Southern Cross Ten. Some of the presenters to have appeared from CTC over the years have included Karen Barlin, Frank Jones, Laurie Wilson, John Bok, Geoff Hiscock, Christine Kininmonth, Mal Grieve, Greg Robson, Sonja Allitt, Peter Chapman, Rosemary Church and Mike Larkan.

CTC7_0001 CTC7_0002
ctc7_0006 ctc7_0004

The arrival of aggregation in March 1989 saw Capital align to the Ten Network for programming and expand its signal into the Wollongong/Illawarra and central western regions of NSW, while the Prime and WIN networks from those areas expanded into the Canberra market to represent the Seven and Nine networks.

Capital continued to produce a nightly local and national news bulletin for the Canberra market until owners Southern Cross Broadcasting axed a number of local news services across its wider network at the end of 2001.  The actions of Southern Cross and rival network Prime, which had also axed a number of regional news services at around the same time, led to the then Australian Broadcasting Authority set up an investigation into the adequacy of local news coverage in regional areas.  The outcome was the adoption of a points-based system which obliged regional operators to meet a required quota of local news in individual markets – although networks like Southern Cross and Prime are meeting their obligations in most markets with a scattering of two-minute local news updates throughout the day in individual markets, mostly produced from centralised facilities.

The Canberra studios of Southern Cross Ten, based in the suburb of Watson since the 1970s, now serve as the master control for much of the wider Southern Cross Austereo television network – including Southern Cross Ten in Queensland, New South Wales/ACT, Victoria and South Australia, and Southern Cross Television in Tasmania, Darwin and central Australia – and the regional co-ordination of the networks’ digital multi-channels.


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Next week, just days after the 50th anniversary of the launch of CTC7, all local analogue transmissions in Canberra and the Southern NSW market will be switched off.

Source: The Canberra Times, 2 June 1962.

Permanent link to this article: https://televisionau.com/2012/06/50-years-of-tv-in-canberra.html


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    • Querying on 23 March 2017 at 4:20 AM
    • Reply

    Legend has it that aggregation only went through because Bob Hawke had a chronic channel-surfing addiction that couldn’t be fulfilled 😛

  1. Capital 7 in 1993 produced the first real local TV production of “Black and Beyond” 13 episodes. Starring Australian Astrologer Milton Black. The show….Believe it or not rated 14’s. Copies of the show are still held by Milton Black

      • Abe Hazlitt on 19 June 2021 at 3:45 PM
      • Reply

      Great show. It was ahead of its time. Why don’t they make shows like that these days?

    • TD on 7 April 2019 at 1:40 AM
    • Reply

    I remember when TV first screened in Canberra. The Establishment of CTC7 program seemed like interminable views of trucks going up and down Black Mountain….at least that’s how I remember it as I was about 6 at the time. 🙂

    • David Hay on 22 May 2021 at 9:31 PM
    • Reply

    In the mid 1960’s my sister and I appeared on a locally produced CTC7 afternoon children’s TV show. Can anyone remember what the show was called?

    1. I don’t recall but the Trove website has The Canberra Times in its archive, you might have some luck finding it there.

      • Sue Massen on 17 July 2021 at 4:36 PM
      • Reply

      Children’s television corner.

      • Chris on 19 April 2022 at 4:34 PM
      • Reply

      Hi David, Can’t believe I stumbled across your post; never met anyone else who did this, other than me (and now you and your sister)!! In 1967, I made my debut TV appearance on CTC-7 as a Junior Reporter (between 5-5:30pm) on Children’s Television Corner, representing Downer Primary School. It was very exciting going up to the Black Mountain studio, as a 10 year old. The host was lovely, although I can’t remember whether it was Karin Barlin or Anne Davis. We had two Junior Reporters from DPS, myself (from 4th class) and a girl (from ?) to balance the sexes, with approx. 15 minutes each. My report was mainly about the history of Downer and DPS. That was 55 years ago, and got me involved in radio, theatre and TV, in my adult years. Chris.

        • Sean O'Dea on 10 May 2022 at 4:47 PM
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        Hi Chris – I from Canberra and remember CTC7 well and the studio at black mountain. CTC7 was very innovative in the 1960’s up to aggregation in 1989 – Denis

        • Chris on 22 July 2022 at 10:59 PM
        • Reply

        Further to my post (dated 19Apr2022), I have since been able to confirm – from a Canberra Times article (dated 27Feb1967, page 13) – that it was Anne Davis who hosted Children’s Television Corner in 1967. My next contact with CTC-7, also in the late1960s, was when my mate and I took the (free) bus up to the CTC-7 Black Mt studio to be in the audience for Bob McGready’s “Jackpot Quiz”. Apart from the excitement of it all, I don’t remember much about the show itself.
        Hi Sean, you are quite right, very innovative!!
        I wonder whether anyone has any photos of the Black Mountain studio/building? – Chris.

      • Michael Broers on 9 November 2022 at 9:22 PM
      • Reply

      I believe the show was called the secret garden

    • Sue Massen on 17 July 2021 at 4:38 PM
    • Reply

    Children’s television corner.

    • Michael Broers on 9 November 2022 at 9:20 PM
    • Reply

    I remember the secret garden hosted by Karen Berlin I was a young guest and sang a German folk song

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