The First Decade

Autumn Affair (ATN7, 1958-1959):

Sydney’s ATN7 produced our first soap opera, a quarter-hour series screening three mornings a week on ATN7. The leading characters were played by Muriel Steinbeck and Leonard Bullen.

The Story Of Peter Gray (ATN7, 1961):

After Autumn Affair, ATN7 made another attempt at a local soap — this time the tale of a church minister played by James Condon.

Bellbird (ABC, 1967-1977)

Blue Hills was ABC’s long running radio soap opera from 1949 to 1976, and Bellbird was ABC’s television version of life in a rural community.  For ten years it was the lead-in to ABC’s 7.00pm News.  While it was not a huge success in capital cities, it was enormously popular in rural areas.

Motel (Seven, 1968):

Seven’s next soap venture was this ill-fated half-hour series lasting 130 episodes.  The series did make one claim to fame, an early guest appearance by a young Jack Thompson.


While Aussie soaps got off to only a modest beginning in the early years of television, nothing prepared the nation’s viewers for the onslaught that was to come in the 1970s…..