By Michael Roberts, Nick Place
An exploration of television year-by-year from 1956, reporting in time-capsule mode on celebrities and indicates as they occurred, from chuffed Hammond and Skippy to the dwell telecast of the terrorist assault on New York's global exchange Centre.
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Extra resources for 50 Years of Television in Australia
More than seven years before TV officially began, the Shell Company sponsored several demonstrations of the new medium in Australia. Those involved in the start-up of Packer’s television company never had any doubt about their employer’s motivation. It was not so much about being a visionary – of Frank Packer somehow seeing the glorious and profitable television empire just waiting to unfold. It was about pure fear that television might somehow eat into the company’s newspaper profits. So, better to keep the enemy close.
The 24-year-old program director had had his moment in history and had followed it up by introducing his own work, Australia’s first documentary for television – about Australian television. ‘I did a 30-minute program called This Is Television which showed the former dairy where Nine [Sydney] is now, the tower being built and showed what a camera, control room looks like – a basic textbook on TV. I narrated and produced it with Mike Ramsden. Few people had seen TV at that stage,’ he said. ‘We planned that after my introduction, Chuck Faulkner would present the opening night.
The owner of a run-down weekender for sale on top of Mount Dandenong in 1955 was probably thrilled when his real estate agent broke the news that somebody was interested in buying his shack and its rocky land with a good view. The poor vendor wouldn’t have had any idea, until it was way too late, that the ‘Mr Smith’, or whatever faceless buyer’s name his agent was negotiating with, was actually Keith Cairns, by then general manager of HSV-7 and backed by all the financial might of the Herald & Weekly Times organisation.