Happy Birthday Aussie TV! Print E-mail
Sunday, 17 September 2006 15:00

ImageThis week, Australian TV turns 50!!

The development of Television started more than 130 years ago with the discovery of Selenium's photoconductive properties by Willoughy Smith in 1873.  Over time, inventers such as John Logie Baird and Philo Taylor Farnsworth both demonstrated different ways of transmitting an image from one location to another.

John Logie Baird, in 1926, demonstrated what is considered to be the first true television system by electrically transmitting moving pictures.  Just two years later, television broadcasts begun in America, followed by Britian in 1936.

Just a short 30 years after John's demonstration, Bruce Gyngell launched television in Australia with the now famous words "Good evening and welcome to television".  This first official broadcast coming from TCN Sydney, 16th Semtember, 1956.

Over the next 15 years, Television was introduced around the nation:

    NSW, Queensland and Victoria - 1956
    South Australia - 1959
    Tasmania - 1960
    ACT - 1962
    Northern Territory - 1971

From Valves to Diodes, From Black and White to Colour, from Analog to Digital - the last 50 years has been an incredible journey.

Notible dates, facts and figures in Australian television:

Number of Television sets:
    In 1956:
        1% of Sydney Homes
        5% of Melbourne Homes
    In 2006:
       99% of Australian Homes have 1 TV
       55% of Australian Homes have 2 or more TVs
       23% of Australian Homes subscribe to Pay TV

First Sports broadcasts:
    Pelaco Golf Tournament 1956
    Melbourne Olympics November 1956

National Microwave Link:
    Between Melbourne and Sydney, January 9th, 1959

Notable television programs (50's):
    In Melbourne Tonight, May 7th, 1957
    Pick-A-Box, 1957
    Bandstand, November 1958
    Six O'Clock Rock, 1959
    World of Sport, 1959

Number of Television Stations in operation:
    1956             4
    1960-1691    10
    1961-1962    20
    1963-1964    24
    1965-1966    39
    1967-1968    44
    1970-1971    45
    1980-1981    50
    1990-1991    43 (During the year 3 pairs of commercial television licences were consolidated)
    2000-2001    48

Notable television programs (60's):
    Four Corners, August 19th, 1961
    Play School, 1966
    Here's Humphrey, 1956
    This Day Tonight, April 10th, 1967
    Bellbird, 1967
    Division 4, 1969

Abolition of paid Television licences:
    September 18th, 1974

Launch of Colour Television:
    March 1st, 1975

VCRs made available to the Australian market:
    Early 1978

Notable television programs (70's):
    Penthouse Club, 1970
    Sesame Street, January 4th, 1971   
    Matlock Police, Febuary 25th, 1971
    Young Talent Time, April 24th, 1971
    Hey Hey It's Saturday, October 6th 1971
    A Current Affair, November 22nd, 1971
    Number 96, March 1972
    The Mike Walsh Show, February, 1973
    The Price is Right, 1973
    The Box, February 11th, 1974
    Countdown, November 8th, 1974
    Don Lane Show, May 12th, 1975
    Eyewitness Newshour, 1975
    The Young Doctors, 1976
    The Sullivans, 1976
    Blankety Blanks, 1977
    60 Minutes, February 11th, 1979
    Prisoner, February 27th, 1979

Launch of SBS (Special Broadcasting Services) to cater for the non-English speaking population:
     October 24th, 1980 (United Nations Day)

Notable television programs (80's):
    Sale Of The Century, July 14th, 1980
    Good Morning Australia, March 2nd, 1981   
    Wheel of Fortune, July 27th, 1981
    A Country Practice, November 1981
    Sons And Daughters, January 17th, 1982
    Perfect Match, January 30th, 1984
    Midday with Ray Martin, February 11th, 1985
    Neighbours, March 18th, 1985
    The Movie Show, 1986
    Rage, April 1987   
    MTV, 1987
    Burke's Backyard, September 1987
    Home and Away, January 17th, 1988
    The Comedy Company, February 16th, 1988
    E Street, January 1989
    GP, 1989

First Australian Reality TV show:
     Sylvania Waters, 1992

Pay TV launched in Australia:
     October 1st, 1992

Community Television begins broadcasting in Australia:
    Channel 31 (Melbourne) October 6th, 1994

Notable television programs (90's):
    Tonight Live, February 1990
    Chances, January, 1991
    The Simpsons, February 10th, 1991
    Healthy, Wealthy and Wise, February 1992   
    Sylvania Waters, 1992
    The Late Show, July 18th, 1992
    Sports Tonight, August 30th, 1993
    Blue Heelers, February, 1994
    Heartbreak High, February 1994
    Fire, 1995
    Halifax fp, 1995
    Water Rats, 1996
    Friends, 1996
    South Park, 1997
    The Panel, 1998
    SeaChange, 1998

Digital TV launched in Australia:
     January 1st, 2002

Happy Birthday Australian TV, and here's to another fine 50 years!!

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