As Stage Three of the rollout of television in Australia continues in the early 1960s, Queensland’s Darling Downs region became the state’s first to get a local station.
DDQ10, operating from studios in Toowoomba and transmitting from Mount Mowbullan, made its debut on Friday 13 July 1962. Shareholders in the channel, owned by Darling Downs TV Ltd, included theatre operators Birch, Carroll and Coyle and Hoyts Theatres, Toowoomba Newspaper Co. and radio station 4GR.
The new channel debuted with a schedule of around 30 hours of programming a week, of which 30 per cent was of Australian origin.
Next station to launch was TNQ7, Townsville, on Thursday 1 November 1962. Telecasters North Queensland Limited, similar to DDQ, had shareholders with interests in newspapers, radio and theatre.
TNQ7’s studios and transmitter were initially based on Mount Stuart, on the outskirts of Townsville.
The last commercial station in Stage Three in Queensland was RTQ7, Rockhampton, which debuted on Saturday 7 September 1963. The station launched with a schedule of 31.5 hours of programming a week, with the schedule expanded to 35.5 hours by the end of the year.
The national broadcaster ABC also expanded to regional Queensland under Stage Three — with ABDQ3, Darling Downs, debuted on 16 December 1963; ABRQ3, Rockhampton, a few days later on 21 December 1963; and ABTQ3, Townsville, on 21 September 1964. ABC also built studio facilities at both Rockhampton and Townsville sites — the only regional ABC stations in Australia to have functioning studios and which originated their own programming. Other ABC regional stations had their programming sourced via a relay facility from their respective capital cities.
With regional ABC and commercial stations now in operation in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and in Canberra, the completion of Stage Three in Queensland marked the culmination of the national Stage Three rollout. Stage Four, commencing in mid-1964, would see a further round of ABC and commercial stations launched in smaller regional centres in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and the first regional stations in South Australia and Western Australia.
Source: Australian Broadcasting Control Board Annual Reports, 1962-63, 1963-64, 1964-65.