Seems like only yesterday: Tee Vee at Sixty

Australian television in the 60s
Tee Vee at Sixty - an exhibition looking at when television came to Melbourne.

The Baillieu Library at the University of Melbourne will host an exhibition, Tee Vee at Sixty, to mark the 60th anniversary of television in Australia.

The exhibition will feature five distinct display areas looking at iconic programs such as The Tarax Show, The Mickey Mouse Club, TV westerns, topics such as TV dining and the relationship between TV and knitting.

Exhibition curator Derham Groves, from the Melbourne School of Design, said Australians had been eagerly anticipating television as early as the late 1920s.

“However for a variety of reasons — technology, the World War II, the economy, and a lack of political will most prominent amongst them — its introduction was delayed until 1956, in time for the Melbourne Olympic Games," Dr Groves said.

Australia’s first television station on the air was TCN-9 in Sydney on the 16 September 1956.

Melbourne’s first television station on the air was HSV-7 (Channel 7) on 4 November 1956, followed by ABV-2 (ABC TV) on 19 November 1956 and GTV-9 (Channel 9) on 19 January 1957.

Melbourne’s fourth television station, ATV-0 (Channel 10), did not start until the 1 August 1964.

The introduction of television in Australia was greeted with excitement, but also with a degree of trepidation. Television influenced everyday life in Australia.

It also generated entire new industries such as TV dining trays and frozen TV dinners and snacks, for those who wanted to eat in front of their televisions

Local manufacturers were quick to produce sets of Mickey Mouse ears and merchandise related to the TV westerns, Hopalong Cassidy on HSV-7 and The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp on GTV-9.

Tee Vee at Sixty also recognises the importance of the evening news on Melbourne television over the past 60 years with a slideshow of 500 black and white news photographs playing continuously on three vintage Australian-made TV sets.

The photographs in the exhibition come from the University of Melbourne Archives collection of 2500 images spanning 1959 to 1974, which were used to illustrate various stories on GTV-9’s evening news prior to the introduction of colour television in Australia in 1974.

This collection is a snapshot of all sorts of things that captured the attention of the Melbourne TV viewing public, especially during the turbulent 1960s, ranging from images of the assassination of President Kennedy to the Vietnam War.