first tv broadcast
Television in Australia had experimentally been around since 1929 but it wasn’t until the 1940s when talk of putting the television into mainstream media happened. The first broadcast was on the 16th of September 1956 when Bruce Gyngell welcomed Australian homes to TCN-9 with “Good evening, and welcome to television”. This introduction of television came just in time for the 1956 Olympics and since then has broadcasted many famous and significant moments. Not to mention some Aussie classic soapies.
I interviewed my mum, Lisa (48), about her childhood experiences of television and it really made me realise how far television has come in a realistically short time. We sat down and relived Lisa’s television memories. She has fond memories of the television. Not just the shows but also the feelings that are connected to the time in the 1970’s. She reminisces about the days when her family unit was whole and one big happy family. At the time, she was living in Mortdale Heights with her mum, dad and older sister. She vividly remembers always having a TV in her life. Even from a young age she had a black and white TV. In 1973, the black and white TV moved into her room when the family made way for the new colour TV. She was very lucky because either her parents or sister had TV’s in their rooms. It’s funny to think that TV has been in my life since I was born and sometimes, I take it for granted. Never would I have thought about who got the TV in their room. Lisa remembers that their new television was huge. It had touch sensitive buttons and rolled around on a chrome stand. She said it was the very best Norde Mende German TV. The high tech TV was in the center of the lounge room and sometimes had a vase of flowers on top or next to it.
When interviewing Lisa, you could feel the excitement in her voice when she talked about her favourite shows. Great memories come flooding back for her. This emotion is quite similar to some of the conversations her and I have about our current television addictions. I asked her where she would be seated when watching the TV. “On the floor”, she said. This gave me a mental image of the photos you see when you Google “old school television”. It really was what it’s like in those photos. She recalls catching the train home from school, stopping by the chicken shop to get hot chips and then setting herself self in for the night in front of the TV. Some favourites of hers included Young Talent Time, The Don Lane Show and Hey Hey It’s Saturday. These were shows that her family would watch all together. She laughs at how she used to watch Number 96 in her bedroom when she was 10 years old so her parents wouldn’t find out (apparently a show too rude for 10 year olds).
I wanted to hear from Lisa about any great new stories in her young television watching life. She admits she was far too young to remember the moon landing (dad does though), or anything of great significance. But, she does vividly remember Diana and Charles’ wedding on the 29th of July 1981. She says she was making her friend a birthday cake at the time and in between cooking she would watch the wedding, but admits that the ceremony went forever. She was exactly 15 at the time, and like me, loved the royals. I asked if the kitchen and lounge room were joined by she said that they were very separate so that was why she had to run between rooms. How the times have changed with open house living, such as in my house where you can cook and watch TV at once.
What I gathered from interviewing Lisa was how excited and nostalgic TV made her feel. I think television programs reflect a time in people’s lives and don’t necessarily act as just a form of entertainment. They shape the way we reflect on our friends, families and our homes, which all make up a large part of us. It was interesting to notice continuity in programs the family would all watch together and then the shows that you didn’t want to watch with your parents at all. I hope when I’m older and my children ask to interview me about this exact topic, memories come flooding back, and only appreciate those memories more. I hope that reminiscing on my youth brings back as much joy as when I see my mum talk about hers.