Wednesday 27th October 2021

Colour T.V. Comes To Australia! 2018.50.

Colour T.V. Comes To Australia! 2018.50.

Australia was late to adopt the television phenomenon compared to many parts of the world including U.S.A. and U.K.

I was born in 1949. No television then. Radio, via a large machine which in our house included a record player, was part of my life as a young kid. Programs were aimed at children were on the A.B.C. including Kindergarten on the Air at 9.30 a.m. daily. We listened to that as kids and then when I was a newbie teacher in 1970 we continued to do so. Loved the interaction between the announcers (including piano, learning a song and stories). It was ‘play school’ for radio and most families and schools had radios!

In 1956 Australia, Melbourne specifically, hosted the Olympics. This was the year, prior to the Olympics in September, that television started in Australia. There were 2 commercial channels at the start – 9 & 7, along with 2, the A.B.C. Black and white T.V. was all we had but we HAD television! Not our family in that year though. Mind you a lady up the street from us in Wollongong had the first T.V. in our street and she invited us kids every Tuesday to come and watch Lassie at 4.00.p.m. How kind.

This image was the first telecast in Australia; Newsreader Bruce Gyngell saying “Welcome to television” on Channel 9.

Some people went and watched the news on black & white T.V. and the Olympics in the shop windows at retailers in the main street. I remember this in Wollongong, even though we eventually got television and reception was OK. Many regional areas had to wait for infrastructure.

My family got a B&W T.V. in 1957. It was amazing.

So, that’s what it was. Black and white T.V. We saw the Moon Landing and first walk on the Moon in July 1969 at Teacher’s College. We saw the Vietnam war on This Day Tonight, every night, via B&W T.V. That was what we became used to until…..1974 in Australia.

In 1974 we were witness to the change from black and white television reception to colour. Before that happened however, we needed to do something. Buy a television set which would receive colour. Yes, none of the B&W tvs could do that. We young teachers in Merriwagga were determined not to miss this new technology so we got a loan from the bank to buy a colour T.V. Infrastructure, especially with the national channel, the A.B.C. meant we got that signal at least.

Oh my goodness, they were exciting times! I recall it well. We sat and watched the television move from black and white reception to colour. How fortunate that this clip shows exactly as it happened. THIS was the show in which colour was introduced to Australia. At least where we were, about 45 minutes drive from the nearest big town of Griffith, in the N.S.W. Riverina.

Here is how it unfolded for our family back then. From ABC-TV’s Aunty Jack.

So, now we have so much more than Colour T.V. yet I wonder if anything was really as exciting as these two firsts? Maybe there was the introduction of Pay TV where we naively thought paying for television meant fewer ads. No. That did not eventuate over time. Then of course, there was the ability to record a show and watch it later. We still do this but the technology is different and easier. And then there is streaming shows, via Netflix et al.

I am not a huge television fan but I do know I like the local NBN news and some shows on the A.B.C. My husband enjoys Netflix and sport via Foxtel. Oh, and I like the shows about houses on Foxtel. And another thing, television used to stop ar a particular time of night, and an announcer would say ‘goodnight’ and “God Save the Queen” would be played until it was time for the test pattern.

What are your memories of television when you were younger?

Where did you live and was television (black and white or colour) available?

Come clean, how many T.V.s are in your house. In mine: 4! Two in 2 separate living areas and one in each of our bedrooms. It saves very much on ‘who wants to watch what’ occasions!


On Tuesday this posts links with Kylie here

On Wednesday this post links with Sue and Leanne here

On Thursday this post links with Leanne here.




  1. I remember these signal images too. Our first TV was a little one that sat in the middle of the lounge, taking pride of place. It was actually a great way to get the family together to share our day.

    • The television set sure had pride of place back then. And yes, we would watch TV as a family too. Some programs like Mickey Mouse Club were wonderful as well as Disneyland each Sunday night.

      Denyse x

  2. TV memories include rushing to Blockbuster or Video Ezy straight after school on the last day of term to get the best rentals for the holidays before everyone else did!

    • Oh yes, the video shops. We rented our first Video Player and then bought one. I can still see the shop where our kids would go. Later, they could borrow videos from the service station up the road. When our son was about 6, Winnie The Pooh was on high rotation in our house!

      Denyse x

  3. I remember test patterns as a kid 🙂 We have one TV. Of course various devices also get netflix but only one actual TV.

    • The test patterns were ‘pretty’ too! I know in our house, when we had kids at home, a main TV and one in our bedroom saved many an argument about ‘who wants to watch what’.

      Denyse x

  4. We have one telly although hubby would love to have two, but I have declared the bedroom a screen free zone! My mum has five TVs – one in every room except the bathroom but they’re all small. My mum said she can still remember the day she got her first TV and I can remember the first time we got one with a remote! It was so exciting! When I was on a kibbutz in the nineties, I “inherited” a hand me down black and white TV and I loved it so. It had push buttons and everything. Even then it seemed like an antique!

    • You are a very disciplined person!! One TV.

      I do not watch a lot of TV (and we have separate rooms) but our tastes in viewing are so different, two or more TVs is good for our marriage…IYKWIM

      What a great story about your mum. I love it. As for a remote. Yes, forgot how revolutionary that was!!

      Denyse x

  5. HI Denyse, I can remember when colour TV came to our house. We had a Rank Arena and thought we were so lucky – we came home from school and it was there in the loungeroom, replacing the old PYE TV we had. I was born in 1957 so TV was already in Sydney. Thanks for the memories and sharing with us at #MLSTL. Have a great week!

    • How exciting that must have been. You remember the brand! Wow. We “think” ours was a National. We lived in the ‘bush’ then and we probably went to Griffith to buy ours. Such memories.

      Denyse x

  6. So very cool. As a Mass Communication graduate (many years ago), I love learning about any medium and the history of it. Thanks for sharing it. #MLSTL

    • Thank you Patrick. While I can remember milestones such as these, I find it great to blog about them from time to time.


  7. Wow! those B&W to Colour effects were amazing for the time!
    I grew up in a small isolated Canadian town so TV was a dream. I remember when my friend’s family got a TV, circa 1964 and we’d sit and watch the snow!
    When holidays took us to the city in the mid-60s, my first viewings were news reports from Viet Nam, in B&W fortunately. Not sure if that’s what cured me, or the fact I never developed the habit… but, while I’ve had TVs over the years and watched my fair share of programming, I am happy to not have TV in my home at all now.
    Found you at #MLSTL – thanks for the walk down Memory Lane!

    • So glad you found me at #MLSTL because we too watched the Vietnam War (and a lot of other things, including the Kennedy assassinations) in Black and White.

      Your remote viewing experiences mirror those we had when teaching Waaaaaay out the Back of Bourke in an isolated NSW school. When it rained we got better reception than when it was dry. Sometimes we would get colour, other times, just snowy black and white.

      Denyse x

  8. I remember first seeing colour TV when we went to Sydney to stay with my Nan – we were living in Merriwa at the time. Nan never had any money so I suspect she got a “deal” from someone at the RSL Club she worked at lol. Anyways the first thing I saw was Abba’s Fernando in bright colour on Saturday morning Sounds Unlimited. We got our colour TV probably in 1976, I’d say. My uncle in Dubbo had a furniture shop & we drove over for Mum & Dad to buy it.

    • Love the story behind colour TV and your Nan. We got our colour TV from memory in Griffith as it was our nearest big centre in those days! The brightness of colour was amazing after B&W.

      We got a 2nd colour TV – a portable one for the bedroom – in 1978 with part of the then NSW Govt first home buyers money when we bought at Wrights Road! Our daughter would escape to our bedroom to watch Countdown if I recall!

      Denyse x

  9. I remember watching the moon landing on B&W TV too Denyse – my primary school teacher took our class to her home to watch it and then back to school – a very “out of the box” event for those days and it still stays in my memory. My father bought a colour TV very early in the piece and I remember the colour test pattern and a small clip of a little girl in a field that was shown before the full switch over to colour. Such simple pleasures and so different from all the images we’re blasted with today!

    Thanks for linking up with us at #MLSTL and I’ve shared this on my SM xx
    Leanne |

    • Thank you for sharing your story too. That was very radical for a teacher to get you all to experience the moon landing and I am glad she did it.
      I was in my final year at teacher’s college and they rigged up some sets and we got to watch it there at the college.
      I am enjoying sharing these stories with my blogging friends and readers!
      Thank you and Sue for the link up.

      Denyse x

  10. What a lovely story. I think compared to us your family were quite early TV adopters. Dave and I are just talking now and we think we can only remember getting a TV in about 1962 or 1963! When Dave moved to South Africa they didn’t I don’t think they got TV until 1976. Like you I’m not a big fan. I like a few programmes, not many, and mostly like period drama and good movies.

    • It does make you look back on something like this and consider…when did we etc.
      Thanks Jo, for filling me in on your history and likes too.

      Denyse x

  11. This post brings back so many memories for me. TV came to our house in 1959 I was 5. Before that I remember listening the big radio at night. I remember our family walking down to the electrical store at night to watch the news. It was so exciting we bought a colour TV. We really thought we’d made it to be able to afford colour. #MLSTL #shared on SM

    • Ah how lovely this was to read. Such exciting and simple times weren’t they? Today soooo many choices for entertainment and yet none of it quite rivals that advent of a show or the news in your own house!

      Thank you for sharing your memories.

      Denyse x

  12. Such a great memory-filled post!
    I remember the days of waiting for t.v. to come on. And we had a t.v. that had to “warm up” before it came on.

  13. I was born in 1950 and think we got our first B.W. tv when I was about 10, our grandfather got it for us. It had to have been 1963 or so when we got colored tv. News always came on at 10p and the tv shut down at 11p. We got three channels also and some were better than others.

    • Ah you got colour TV much earlier than we did in Australia.
      Limited hours for telecast were part of the early years here too. Thank you for sharing your experience! I am not sure having TV 24/7 makes any better! It is usually full of advertorials here.

      Denyse x

  14. Hi Denyse, I remember watching B&W TV when I was around 5 years old. I loved watching Mickey Mouse Club, Bonanza and Bandstand. I remember we were very restricted with the amount of actual viewing time as it was very much a family activity gathered around the TV. We currently have 3 TVs in our house, but we’re not huge TV addicts. There’s far too much rubbish on TV, but I like to watch Netflix.

    • So lovely of you to remind me about those shows too. Yes, Bandstand and 6 o’clock Rock on ABC are ones I recall as well. I was not a fan of Bonanza but my husband told me when they finally got TV that was a favourite too.

      My husband loves his sports via Foxtel and Netflix. I watch some ABC shows and Lifestyle one but often on IQ so I can watch when I am ready!!

      Denyse x

  15. I was born in 1967 so I remember the advent of colour TV and some programs on ABC suddenly being available in colour. (We lived in rural Oz so only ABC during the day and a local station started after school each day.)

    Am pretty sure we only had the two stations my entire childhood!

    • Yes I recall that as well from our country teaching days. Coming to my parents’ house in Sydney for school hols from 1970-1977 we loved the choice of more channels!

      In our years in the remote bush school the weather was the determinant of TV reception and if rain was coming, the reception was better!

      Thanks for sharing your memories too.

      Denyse x

  16. I grew up in India and TV arrived in 1972. If I recall correctly there was only 1 channel for a long time. We got our first colour TV in the early 80s, So much excitement both times.

  17. I left a comment earlier but it didn’t show up …
    I grew up in India and TV arrived in 1972. If I recall correctly, there was only 1 channel. We got our first colour TV in the early 80s So much excitement both times.

    • Thanks Suzy, sometimes the comments come to me first for ‘approval’ and that is what happened. Thank you for sharing your story too. Denyse x

  18. I remember having only a teeny tiny bench top B&W TV as a child. Then we got a bigger TV on wooden legs which was colour so the B&W TV became a spare. I always wanted it in my room but that wasn’t something you did back then. I seem to recall my mum had that B&W TV with her in the hospital during her long stays with leukemia. It “blew up” half an hour before the grand final of the NRL was due to start so Dad and I had to race from Westmead Hospital to Parramatta Westfield to buy her a new TV so she could watch the game. Colour of course as it was the mid 80s. Upgrade! #teamlovinlife

    • What a great story to share…not about your Mum being so unwell of course…but the race to get the colour TV. How wonderful!! Good old Westfield Parramatta. I have certainly seen it go through a few changes. Westmead hospital not so much BUT the new carpark is brilliant for me to park when I go to my prosthodontist!!

      Denyse x