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Bruce Gyngell appeared on TCN9’s opening night

Although experimental television transmissions were conducted in Australia as far back as 1929, it was the 1940s before the government of the day considered the full scale introduction of television — and with a World War currently in progress, any further development was put on hold.  Progress after the war was slow, but the upcoming 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games would ensure that TV would arrive in time for the Opening Ceremony — and it did, only just!


  • The Menzies Government decides that television services will initially consist of a national service (ABC) in Sydney with expansion to follow into other areas as funding allowed – and a commercial station in each of Sydney and Melbourne and ‘any other capital city where it is felt that the applicant’s capacity to provide a service justifies the issue of a licence’


  • Following public pressure, the Government appoints a Royal Commission into the introduction of television in Australia.


  • The Royal Commission reports that television services should be introduced gradually – initially an ABC station and two commercial stations in each of Sydney and Melbourne with other areas to follow.


  • The Australian Broadcasting Control Board conducts public hearings into the allocation of commercial television licences for Sydney and Melbourne.
  • April 18: The first commercial television licences issued to Herald and Weekly Times (Melbourne), General Television Corporation (Melbourne), Amalgamated Television Services (Sydney) and Television Corporation (Sydney).


  • July: Test TV transmissions commence from TCN9 Sydney and HSV7 Melbourne
  • September 16: TCN9 Sydney becomes the first TV station to begin regular transmission. Station announcer John Godson introduces the station on-air at 7.00pm, then Bruce Gyngell introduces the first program, This Is Television.
  • September 27: GTV9 Melbourne conducts its first program transmission with a one hour and 20 minute broadcast of cartoons and a John Wayne film from 4.30pm, hosted by Geoff Corke. From Monday 1 October the station commences daily test pattern transmission.
  • October 27: TCN9 is officially opened.
  • November 4: HSV7 Melbourne is officially opened.
  • November 5: Opening night of the ‘national television service’ with the first ABC television station, ABN2 Sydney.
  • November 19: ABC’s second television station, ABV2 Melbourne, is launched
  • ABV2, HSV7 and GTV9 (conducting test transmissions) televise the Melbourne Olympic Games.
  • December 2: ATN7 Sydney is officially opened. The following day, ATN launches Australia’s first current affairs program At Seven On Seven with Howard Craven, and the first ‘tonight’ show, Sydney Tonight with Keith Walshe.
  • 5% of Melbourne households and 1% of Sydney households own a TV set.

TV Week

  • January 19: Sir Dallas Brooks opens GTV9 Melbourne
  • March 2: Bob Dyer’s Pick-A-Box, a radio quiz since 1948, launches on ATN7/GTV9 and runs until 1971.
  • April 20: The Victorian Football League (VFL) is televised for the first time, with Melbourne channels ABV2, HSV7 and GTV9 permitted to broadcast live coverage of the final quarter of league matches.
  • May 6: GTV9 launches Graham Kennedy’s In Melbourne Tonight, a live variety program that lasted 13 years.
  • TCN9 forms an affiliation with HSV7, and GTV9 lines up with ATN7.
  • December: The first edition of TV Week goes on sale in Melbourne.
  • June:  ABC launches its own TV magazine, TV News, in Sydney.
  • October 20: ATN7 launches Australia’s first TV ‘breakfast session’, including the first serial drama, Autumn Affair.
  • November: TCN9 launches Brian Henderson’s Bandstand, a variety music program that launched the careers of many Australians. It lasts for 14 years on Nine.
  • TV Week launches its own annual TV awards, initially known as the TV Week Awards but would later be named the TV Week Logie Awards, after television pioneer John Logie Baird, the following year.

Johnny O’Keefe

  • New TV stations: QTQ9 Brisbane (16 August), NWS9 Adelaide (5 September), TVW7 Perth (16 October), ADS7 Adelaide (24 October), BTQ7 Brisbane (1 November), ABQ2 Brisbane (2 November).
  • January 9: Melbourne and Sydney are linked by microwave for the first time, enabling television programs to be screened simultaneously in both cities.
  • ABC launches Six O’Clock Rock with Johnny O’Keefe
  • In Melbourne Tonight presents special editions live from Ballarat and Bendigo
  • August:  ABC’s TV News-Times (formerly TV News) expands circulation with the launch of a Melbourne edition in competition with TV Week.
  • HSV7’s weekly sports program World Of Sport begins on Saturday mornings. It soon moves to Sunday afternoons and continues every week for 28 years.


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    • Christopher Kennedy on 30 April 2019 at 11:44 PM
    • Reply


    Does anyone know the name of the ATN Channel 7 series, broadcasted about 1960, on Australian forces in World War Two? It was a weekly program of half an hour and had a great orchestral theme.

    If nothing else, would love to hear the theme again, and not just in my head.

    Hope someone knows.

      • John on 25 July 2019 at 10:19 AM
      • Reply

      Hi Christopher

      I think the series your referring to is ‘ANZAC’.
      It was made in the early 60’s, and was a joint production of Channel 7 and the AWM.
      The theme was composed by Tommy Tycho, I don’t think it had a name, just ‘The theme from ANZAC’.

      Channel 7 (in Sydney at least) show episodes at various times around Anzac Day on their channels, and I have seen it on their multi-channels at various times through the year, so keep a look-out.

        • Rod Willis on 26 June 2020 at 1:38 PM
        • Reply

        Yes my father worked on it while at Chan 7

    • Greg Buckley on 8 May 2019 at 3:18 PM
    • Reply

    Gday Mate

    Know your busy sorry to pester you at Work

    Have just found out via DNA have a sister that was unknown

    to me before

    We are both now searching for our Father

    we know he’s probably dead & so theres no claims or any thing like that

    we just NEED to know who he was

    The Technician we are after

    Worked in Brisbane 1960

    as a private house visiting Television(we think) Repair man,COULD have been brought in from interstate or overseas
    Re introduction of Tv in Qld/Brisbane

    Worked in the Redcliffe area

    We think he worked from a local Television/Electrical Store

    Think tv’s then had 3 month warranty,were valve operated & fairly unreliable

    and in house service work was done by the store that Sold the Appliance

    Had red hair and was Irish probably born here—would have been outgoing person

    Think he at least had a sister in Brisbane & probably other family

    Would need a list of television techs in the Brisbane area at that time for the whole of 1959/1960

    Any help would be greatly appriciated Thanx Greg Buckley Sydney

    • Brian Harper on 16 February 2020 at 11:59 PM
    • Reply

    Who presented the Epilogue before the nightly closing of GTV 9 during the late 1950’s?

    1. Hi Brian. I don’t know sorry. Hopefully someone else here remembers?

      • Dale on 3 April 2020 at 1:58 PM
      • Reply

      John Casson hosted Epilogue before Eric Pierce

    • Jim Montgomery on 13 March 2020 at 4:09 PM
    • Reply

    I worked on the set of On the Beach & was offered a job at Visatone TV in 1959 on my return to Sydney – we shot some of the first TV commercials – anybody else from the same era or background.
    We were in Hill St Nth Sydney [no longer in existence] -did Lever Bros, Samuel Taylor – the grip’s name was Vernon Driver, the cameraman [35mm] had worked with de Mille in Hollywood and our sound guy was Hans Wetzel.
    I left in 1960 to work in WD&HO Wills TV dept. -but that’s another story

    • Barbara Ferro on 28 August 2020 at 8:28 AM
    • Reply

    Ellie, you asked for info on your dad John Carew and Coles quiz show. I could give you other info – I worked for your dad for many years and was working with him when he passed. He was an incredible man.

    • Larry Mckell on 28 August 2020 at 7:38 PM
    • Reply

    I still remember the kangaroo at close getting the seven logo and turning it into a blanket at the end of transmission

      • Peter Robinson on 19 August 2021 at 8:17 PM
      • Reply

      Does anyone remember or have footage of a news program called nightwatch.
      late 50’s early sixties.
      Apparently on the shorts at the start of the show they showed an MG crashed into a power pole.I would love to see this image.

    • Decima Marshall on 5 September 2020 at 9:37 AM
    • Reply

    in the late 1950’s Eric Pearce always gave the Epilogue at the close of broadcasting each night at 11:30pm. A reading from the Bible and then a blessing.

    • RICHARD ELLIOTT on 23 November 2020 at 10:21 AM
    • Reply

    looking for some footage of the mickey mouse club episodes at channel seven in 1959 with doug elliott .

    • Meg on 6 May 2021 at 10:25 PM
    • Reply

    Does anyone remember the children’s television show on Channel 2 broadcast from the Elsternwick studios….I thought it was Party time maybe but I can’t find it anywhere..

    1. Hi Meg. The title Kindergarten Playtime on ABC appears in quite a few Classic TV Guides on this website. That might be the show you’re thinking of?

    • Ken on 9 July 2021 at 11:12 AM
    • Reply

    Who hosted Epilogue on television in the 1950’s and/or 1960’s?

    1. that could be a very long list as many channels across Australia did late night epilogues and a lot of that detail is probably not recorded anywhere

    • Julie Rice on 25 July 2021 at 8:23 PM
    • Reply

    Do anyone remember a tv show from late 1960’s sponsored by Bob Martin dog vitamins. Was about 10-15 mins long on Melbourne Tv I think on a Saturday afternoon. Was all about pets and pet care. I went on it several times. However, I’ve forgotten the name

    • robert ward on 1 December 2021 at 12:32 PM
    • Reply

    I am trying to find a copy of channel 7 1959 TV program “Parliament of Youth”
    Essendon Grammar v Macloed high School
    How can I find Info on this

    1. Hi Robert. We don’t have any video archive but you could try the National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra, or the Australian Television Archive who might be able to help

    • Gary on 19 February 2024 at 6:55 PM
    • Reply

    Was Geelong included within Melbourne like today and if not, how long did it take before Geelong started getting ABC, 7, 9 and 10?

    1. Geelong was always included in the Melbourne (analogue) coverage area from Mount Dandenong as far as I know, although the government had tentatively reserved Channels 1 and 5 for local usage, but they were never put into use.

      In later years, local retransmission sites have been installed in Geelong but that is probably to account for the more fragile digital signal rather than analogue which travelled better over a longer distance.

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