New Year’s Day 25 years ago was marked by a landmark television event to signify the start of the year-long celebration of 200 years of European settlement in this country.

Australia Live: The Celebration Of A Nation was a massive technical exercise in a rare joint venture between three networks — ABC, SBS and Nine — with the co-operation of many regional stations as they crossed live to around 70 sites from around Australia and overseas to give viewers a glimpse of a day in the life of Australia and its people.

The four-hour telecast was a technical feat made possible by the advent of Australia’s first domestic satellite Aussat with the co-operation of Telecom Australia and the Overseas Telecommunications Commission (predecessors to  Telstra).

Hosting Australia Live in Sydney were Jana Wendt, Ray Martin and Clive James but in crossing to so many locations around the country, and elsewhere, there were dozens of other presenters (listed below) and hundreds of technical staff involved in what was billed at the time as the largest single television production ever undertaken in Australia — even if some of the dialogue or content was not the most sophisticated, especially by today’s standards.

As well as a speech by Prime Minister Bob Hawke in Canberra there were messages from Queen Elizabeth II, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, US President Ronald Reagan, New Zealand Prime Minister David Lange, Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang, Italian President Francesco Cossiga and a couple of Soviet astronauts on board the Mir space station as it was crossing Australian skies.

There were also performances from John Farnham in Canberra, Olivia Newton-John in Ballina, NSW, and Peter Allen in Reno, USA, and special greetings from Dame Edna Everage in London.

The four-hour event came to a close with Julie Anthony singing Advance Australia Fair outside the old Parliament House in Canberra, accompanied by vision of fireworks displays being held simultaneously across each capital city as well as at Kingoonya, South Australia, a remote town with a population of six.

YouTube: Digital Transfers

Source: Wikipedia

Location Presenter (on location unless indicated) Crew/Facilities
Sydney, NSW Paul Hogan — introduction (not advised)
Sydney, NSW Graham Kennedy — Aussat HQ TCN9 (Sydney)
Canberra, ACT Richard Carleton — with Prime Minister Bob Hawke (not advised)
Uluru, NT Phillip Adams NBN3 (Newcastle), Telecom
Portsmouth, UK Geoffrey Robertson Channel 4 (UK), OTC
Botany Bay, NSW Ernie Dingo TCN9
Thursday Island, QLD Peter Ross FNQ10 (Cairns), Telecom
Maatsuyker Island, TAS Mary Delahunty TVT6 (Hobart), Telecom
High Country, VIC Mickie de Stoop GMV6 (Shepparton), GTV9 (Melbourne), Telecom
Yellow Waters, NT Clive James (Sydney studio) BCV8 (Bendigo), Aussat
Scarborough Beach, WA Tony Barber STW9 (Perth), ABW2 (Perth), Telecom
Rosebud, VIC Denise Drysdale ABV2 (Melbourne), Telecom
Marble Bar, WA Ray Martin (Sydney studio) STW9
Milparinka, NSW Dick Smith TCN9, Aussat
Barossa Valley, SA Trisha Goddard ABS2 (Adelaide), Telecom
Newcastle, NSW George Donikian NBN3
Hamilton Island, QLD Ray Martin (Sydney studio) SEQ8 (Wide Bay), Telecom
Ferny Hills, QLD Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum ABQ2 (Brisbane)
Port Melbourne, VIC Greg Evans ABV2, GTV9, Telecom
Constitution Dock, TAS Jana Wendt (Sydney studio) ABT2 (Hobart), Telecom
Mount Isa, QLD Jonathan Coleman ITQ8 (Mount Isa), QTQ9 (Brisbane), Telecom
Kingoonya, SA Clive James (Sydney studio) SBS, Aussat
Hayman Island, QLD Daryl Somers MVQ6 (Mackay), Telecom
Townsville, QLD Ron and Valerie Taylor TNQ7 (Townsville)
Uluru, NT Phillip Adams NBN3, Imparja (Alice Springs), Telecom
Gallipoli, Turkey Tony Charlton Channel 4 (UK), OTC
Mount Lofty, SA Murray Nicoll NWS9 (Adelaide), Telecom
Darwin, NT Ray Martin (Sydney studio) NTD8 (Darwin), GTV9
Daly Waters, NT Ken Sutcliffe DDQ10 (Toowoomba), ABN2 (Sydney)
Darwin Harbour, NT Clive James (Sydney studio) ABD6 (Darwin)
Fitzroy Crossing, WA John Jost BTW3 (Bunbury), Aussat
New York, USA Derryn Hinch, George Negus A&E Network (USA), OTC
London, UK Dame Edna Everage Channel 4 (UK), OTC
Ballina, NSW Olivia Newton-John NRN11 (Coffs Harbour)
Arrilalah, QLD Mike Walsh (Sydney Telephone Exchange) RTQ7 (Rockhampton), Videopak, Telecom
Kings Cross, NSW Mike Munro TCN9
Broken Hill, NSW Rebecca Le Torneau WIN4 (Wollongong), Aussat
Perth, WA Robyn Turner (ABC Radio) ABW2, Telecom
North Rankin, WA Peter Couchman (not advised)
Sovereign Hill, VIC Gus Mercurio BTV6 (Ballarat), Telecom
Kalgoorlie, WA Bob Maumill VEW8 (Kalgoorlie), STW9, Telecom
Ascot Racecourse, WA John Michael Howson (not advised)
Canberra, ACT John Farnham, Peter Russell-Clarke CTC7 (Canberra)
Burnie, TAS Darrell Eastlake TNT9 (Launceston), Telecom
Melbourne Cricket Ground, VIC Alan Jones GTV9, Telecom
Parkes, NSW Barry Jones CBN8 (Orange), NASA
MIR Space Station (via Moscow, USSR) Jana Wendt (Sydney studio), Joseph Adamov (translator, Moscow) Channel 4 (UK), OTC
Coober Pedy, SA Clive James (Sydney studio) (not advised)
Carlton, VIC Vince Sorrenti ABV2, Telecom
Brighton, VIC Geoff Harvey GTV9, Telecom
Indian Pacific Railway, SA Brian Bury GTS4 (Spencer Gulf), QTQ9, Telecom
Davis Station, Antarctica Ray Martin (Sydney studio) Sony, GEC Marconi, Telecom, OTC
Royal Darwin Hospital, NT Ita Buttrose NTD8, ABN2
Reno, Nevada, USA Peter Allen Media Solutions (Reno), OTC
Canberra, ACT Professor Manning Clark Nine News, Canberra



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