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A time for Christmas goodwill and presents…

Posted by ken On December - 17 - 2010

Xmas Greetings from WA TV History

WA TV History
Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year… May next year bring you Good Health, Happiness and considerable Prosperity.

It has been another great year topped off with the West Australian newspaper providing us with some wonderful publicity in the form of a Shannon Harvey penned article that takes up most of Page 5 of the ‘Today’ section – of the Wednesday, December 15, 2010 copy.

Page 5 of the West Australian ‘Today’ section – Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Please click on this image for the full page in the West

Please click on this image for our previous article in the West

This amounts to an incredible Christmas present as it caused our readership to leap dramatically as the below analytics will show…

WA TV History web site traffic on Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Growth in readers has been growing since the launch of our web site in February 2009. It reached an all time high coinciding with TVW Channel 7’s 50th anniversary, marking the first half century of television in Western Australia.

Interest tapered off the next month, with readers probably thinking that was all… but they soon discovered that the WA TV History is far from told… and even now we’re just scratching the surface. The below chart shows how our readership has been in continuous increase since then.


The above newspaper story was also mirrored on the West’s web site at…

West WebSMALL.jpg

There are a few points that need clarifying regarding the story…

Lloyd Lawson was technically the first person seen live on Western Australian television, though this was prior to the opening night.

About one week before the station opened, Lloyd Lawson was to make a brief unscheduled announcement to conclude the trade transmissions and introduce a film taken only hours before, but there was a hitch which caused a 20 minute delay, leaving Lloyd to ad lib frantically whilst the floor manager made time stretching gestures. As a result, Lloyd became the first person to represent TVW in a live on camera situation, before the official opening on Friday, October 16th, 1959.

This is how Lloyd Lawson related the event to Peter Harries…

“Oh! After we’d been doing these trade transmissions and of course the reason they had the trade transmissions was that nobody had ever seen a bloomin’ television programme so how did they sell television sets? So we got permission to go on the air for a certain number of days – hours, I can’t remember now, only a few hours, late afternoon and early evening. So we went around, we went to the Education Department, and we went to B.P., and Shell and whatever and anybody that had travelogues and we borrowed them, their 16mm stuff. So we were showing film after film after film, where-ever we could lay our hands to it, then all of a sudden Jim Cruthers, has; (we had to close down a week before, we had to do final adjustments at the transmitter) Jim Cruthers suddenly said, ‘I’m going to send a camera around and take pictures of people sitting in front of Boans and all these shops that were showing television programmes, take pictures of everyone sitting there with their arm-chairs and their Thermos-flasks and their rugs, and if there’s any house that looks like it’s got, or they could find out that people had televisions already installed, knock on the door, poke the camera inside, take pictures and race it back to the studio, because this was all on 16mm, process it and put it to air and bring up a ‘live’ camera for the very first time in Western Australia. So because I’d had radio experience and the other thing was, going down our staff, Jim came from newspapers, Treasure from newspapers, Frank Moss was an accountant, um, David Watson and Graham were the only ones who’d had any television experience. Film manager Bob Pennell came from Queensland. Darcy Farrell was news, so I was about the only bloke that had any radio experience so Cruthers said, ‘We’re going to put you up on camera, just for a few minutes,’ he could see I was panic-stricken, he said, ‘just for a few minutes,’ he said, ‘to say “Right! We’ve come to the end of trade transmissions, we’re going to open up in a week’s time, just to show you what’s going on in Perth, here’s a film which we shot a few hours ago and we’ll see you in a week’s time and goodnight!’ Well, I got to the bit where we were going to show the film and for the first time in Western Australia somebody got the ‘stretch’ sign and this bloody ‘stretch’ sign went on for twenty minutes. Well, I was in flap! What are we going to talk about? So we talked about the studio, we shot, the camera looked up and showed the ‘grid’ and all the rest of it. We opened the studio door and showed them the corridors down there and all the rest of it. Coralie, about half way through happened to stick her head in the studio door and I dragged her in and we talked about what was going to happen on opening night and after about twenty minutes came the ‘wind-up’ so with great relief we wound up, or I wound up and we showed the film and so we closed down. So I became the first bloke with his face on television.”

Coralie Condon therefore became the first woman seen live on television in WA.

Lloyd Lawson and Coralie Condon at TVW

Andrew Bayley of TelevisionAU is an excellent reference for all matters pertaining to Australian television history. Here he provides an anecdote about the official opening of television in Australia in 1956.

“Good evening, and welcome to television…”

16 September 1956, Bruce Gyngell greets Sydney

TCN9 Sydney essentially re-wrote history when it realised that the only footage kept of its opening night had disappeared. The introduction that we see these days, featuring Gyngell standing in front of a world map (as pictured), was recorded a year after the actual event.

TCN-9 Sydney and GTV-9 Melbourne Station Openings

WA TV History

TCN Channel 9 Sydney opened – September 16th, 1956

Bruce Gyngell is often credited as being the first person to ever appear on Australian television on 16 September 1956 when he spoke the words, “Good evening, and welcome to television”.

However, prior to the official opening announcement, there were various test transmissions showing a variety of content in which a number of people appeared before Gyngell.

GTV Channel 9 Melbourne opened – January 19th, 1957

The opening two-hour variety show featured Bob and Dolly Dyer, Toni Lamond, Frank Sheldon, Ron Blaskett, Terry Dear and Lou Toppano’s orchestra.

The Seven Network started as separate companies, with origins dating back to 4th November 1956, when HSV Channel 7 Melbourne began broadcasting. It was licensed to The Herald and Weekly Times Ltd and was joined on 2nd December by the Fairfax subsidiary ATN Channel 7 Sydney, established on the VHF7 frequency band.

TVW-7 Perth began broadcasting on 16 October 1959, as the city’s first commercial station. It was licensed to TVW Limited, a subsidiary of West Australian Newspapers. This was followed by ADS-7 in Adelaide, which was launched on 24 Oct 1959, but was later to swap frequencies with the TVW owned SAS-10, to become SAS-7 in December 1987. BTQ-7 Brisbane followed on 1 November, 1959, to be that cities second commercial television station.

Though the first television station on-air in Australia was TCN-9 in Sydney (Television Corporation), on the 16th September 1956, it originally formed an affiliation with HSV-7 in Melbourne. ATN-7 in Sydney was then paired with GTV-9 in Melbourne (General Television Corporation), till 1960, when TCN-9’s owner, Frank Packer, bought a controlling share of Melbourne’s GTV-9, to create the country’s first television network, the National Television Network (now the Nine Network) to later share programs with QTQ-9 Brisbane and NWS-9 Adelaide. ATN-7 Sydney then joined with HSV-7 Melbourne to form the Australian Television Network in 1963, to later share programs with BTQ-7 Brisbane and ADS-7 Adelaide. TVW-7, being the sole commercial TV station in Perth (until STW-9 opened in 1965) remained independent of network affiliation, taking the best programs from both commercial networks.

ABC television commenced on 5th November, 1956, with ABN-2 in Sydney, followed two weeks later by ABV-2 in Melbourne. Six stations, three in Melbourne (HSV-7, ABV-2 and GTV-9) and three in Sydney (TCN-9, ABN-2 and ATN-7), were in operation in time to cover the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne from 22nd November to 8th December. Though GTV-9 in Melbourne was officially opened on 19th January 1957, it began test transmissions on 27 September 1956.

The below Foxtel commercial enactment of 1956 depicts Bruce Gyngell in the following shop window scene…

52 years of TV in Australia 1956 to 2008

WA TV History
This Foxtel commercial provides a brief reenactment of the start of Australian television in 1956, showing the transition in technology from black and white valve receivers to flat screen, digital high definition, integrated circuit equipment, and from primitive home VHS and Beta video to hard drive digital recorders. It also depicts the changes in fashions from the 1950’s to 2008.



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