ABC has announced the special shows that will commemorate its upcoming 90th anniversary.

ABC 90 Celebrate!
A live two-hour special celebrating ABC’s 90th anniversary. HostsCraig Reucassel, Zan Rowe and Tony Armstrong (pictured) will lead a night filled with festivities, entertainment, and fun. With cast reunions, special guests, and performances from some of Australia’s biggest acts, it is set to be an incredible night. Thursday 30 June, 8.00pm.

The ABC Of…. 
A six-part interview series, hosted by actor David Wenham, in which a range of prominent Australians, icons of one field or more, revisit their pasts through moments drawn from the vast ABC Archives. Guests include Ita Buttrose, Evonne Goolagong Cawley, Garry McDonald, Wil Anderson, John Howard and Sarah Ferguson. Tuesday 28 June, 8.00pm.

Looking Black
High profile First Nations Australians including Deborah Mailman, Leah Purcell, Bjorn Stewart, Miriam Corowa and Nakkiah Lui, reflect and examine ABC’s history of Indigenous programming. Tuesday 5 July 5, 8.30pm.

ABC Chair Ita Buttrose, AC OBE, said: “For 90 years the ABC has been a vibrant and crucial part of the Australian way of life. We are not just celebrating 90 years since our first broadcast, but 90 years serving the people of Australia as their national broadcaster.

“This is an opportunity for Australians everywhere to celebrate an institution they rely on and love.”

The Australian Broadcasting Commission, as it was originally known, was inaugurated on 1 July 1932, nationalising control of 12 existing stations: 2FC and 2BL in Sydney, 3AR and 3LO in Melbourne, 4QG in Brisbane, 5CL in Adelaide, 6WF in Perth, 7ZL in Hobart and regional stations 2NC Newcastle, 2CO Corowa, 4RK Rockhampton and 5CK Crystal Brook.


  • 1932 ABC inaugurated with 12 radio stations.
  • 1936 Studio orchestras and subscription concerts begin in all states.
  • 1937 Radio network increases to 20 stations.
  • 1938 ABC radio (2CY) begins in Canberra.
  • 1939 Overseas shortwave radio service begins.
  • 1947 ABC radio (5DR, later 8DR) begins in Darwin. 
  • 1947 Experiments in FM radio begin.
  • 1949 Blue Hills (1949-1976)
  • 1954 ABC is appointed to operate the planned national television service.
  • 1956 ABC TV begins in Sydney and Melbourne.
Olympic Games
  • 1956 The Melbourne Olympic Games are covered by ABC radio and television.
  • 1958 ABC launches TV News magazine (later TV News-Times and then TV Times in partnership with Australian Consolidated Press)
  • 1959 Six O’Clock Rock (1959-62)
  • 1959 ABC TV begins in Brisbane.
  • 1960 ABC TV begins in Hobart, Perth and Adelaide.

  • 1961 Four Corners begins.
  • 1962 ABC TV begins in Canberra.
  • 1962 ABC covers the Commonwealth Games from Perth.
  • 1963 ABC TV begins roll-out to regional areas.
  • 1965 The Lissajous curve logo for ABC is unveiled.
Play School
  • 1966 Play School begins.
  • 1966 From London By Satellite, a short ten-minute presentation, is the first live television connection between the United Kingdom and Australia.
  • 1967 This Day Tonight (1967-78) and Bellbird (1967-77) .
  • 1967 ABC hosts Expo 67 satellite broadcast from Canada and is the Australian broadcaster for the global television event Our World.
  • 1969 The Apollo 11 moon landing broadcast live.
  • 1970 Project Australia marks the opening of the microwave system linking Western Australia with the eastern states.
  • 1971 ABC TV begins in Darwin.
  • 1972 The Aunty Jack Show (1972-73)
  • 1973 ABC TV is host broadcaster of the official opening of the Sydney Opera House.
  • 1974 Rush (1974, 1976)
  • 1974 Test transmissions in colour commence.
  • 1974 Countdown (1974-87)
  • 1975 Radio 2JJ begins in Sydney.
  • 1975 C-Day marks the full-scale switch to colour transmission.

  • 1975 The Norman Gunston Show (1975-76)
  • 1976 ABC FM begins in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Canberra.
  • 1976 ABC, Seven and Nine cover the Olympic Games via satellite from Montreal.
  • 1979-80 ABC broadcasts test programs for the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS).
  • 1980 ABC TV begins remote outback service via Intelsat satellite.
  • 1980 ABC sells its share of TV Times to Australian Consolidated Press.
  • 1980 2JJ switches to FM and becomes 2JJJ.
  • 1982 ABC celebrates its 50th anniversary with special programs across ABC radio and television.
  • 1982 ABC covers the Brisbane Commonwealth Games.
  • 1983 The Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act passed. On 1 July, ABC becomes the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
  • 1984 Mother And Son (1984-94)
  • 1985 ABC is the host Australian broadcaster for the global Live Aid event.

  • 1986 AUSSAT domestic satellite service inaugurated with ABC radio and television services.
  • 1986 The 7.30 Report (now 7.30) begins.

  • 1987 Rage begins.
  • 1988 ABC, Nine and SBS jointly produce Australia Live.
  • 1988 Parliament Broadcasting radio network (now ABC News radio) begins.
  • 1989 2JJJ begins national expansion as Triple J.
  • 1989 GP (1989-96).
Brides Of Christ
  • 1991 Mini-series Brides Of Christ attracts record ratings.
  • 1992 The Late Show (1992-93)
  • 1993 ABC TV begins 24/7 transmission.
  • 1993 ABC launches Australia Television International.
  • 1994 ABC TV covers the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras for the first time.
  • 1994 Frontline (1994-97).
  • 1995 ABC Online begins.
  • 1998 Seachange (1998-2000).
  • 1999 ABC is the host Australian broadcaster for the global telecast 2000 Today.
  • 2001 Digital television begins. ABC launches new channels FLY and ABC Kids.
Kath And Kim
  • 2002 Kath And Kim (2002-2005)
  • 2005 Digital channel ABC2 (now ABC TV Plus) begins.
  • 2006 ABC TV celebrates its 50th anniversary.
  • 2008 ABC iView begins.
  • 2008 ABC News Breakfast begins.
  • 2009 Digital channel ABC3 (now ABC ME) begins.
  • 2010 ABC News channel begins.
  • 2010-2013 Analogue television signals switched off across Australia.
  • 2018 Bluey begins.
  • 2019 Ita Buttrose appointed chair of ABC.

1 thought on “ABC celebrates 90 years

  1. I am 81 years old and ABC has been with me all those years. My earliest memory of a special broadcast for me was when my dad made a bed for me on the floor in front of our big radio to listen to the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Phil on the short wave which I am pretty sure would have been via ABC Radio.
    I was also a member of the Argonauts in the late 1940’s and listened every day. My membership number was Delius 20. I loved that show.
    Happy Birthday ABC.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.