TCN CHANNEL 9 FIRST IN AUSTRALIA

60 years old in 2016

TCN made history on Friday 13th July 1956 with the first test transmissions being made in Australia by a commercial televison station. These weekday transmissions consisted of slides, "test patterns" and sound recordings. The tests would be invaluable to help TV manufacturers and TV retailers to find which type of TV aerials would be most satisfactory in particular areas. The test transmissions would continue from 11.00am to 2.30pm and from 7.30 to 9.00pm each weekday.  

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TCN 9 became the first station in Australia to broadcast regular programming at 7.00pm on Sunday 16th September 1956 with the most famous greeting " Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to television."  Crowds of over 500 jammed showrooms in over 200 metropolitan and near-country radio dealers to see the show . About 300 private set-owners held TV parties attended by an average of 20 people. Scores of city and suburan clubs installed sets for the show. In the city thousands of people watched outside of store windows. They began lining up at 6.00pm to watch the 7.00pm show.

Reports of perfect reception cames from as far afield as Newcastle, Cessnock, Kurrajong, Katoomba, Corrimal and Wollongong. The Channel 9 opening caused a traffic jam on the Pacific Highway at Charlestown when over 400 people crowded around a set in the window of a store and spilling out onto the Pacific Highway. About 1000 people packed into a store at Goodwins Showrooms, Railway Square, and hundres were turned away. 

                         

The first words spoken on the station were by John Godson, who introduced the station audio-only, shortly before the first program, This Is Television, which was introduced by Bruce Gyngell who was the station's Programming Director. As Godson's voice only was heard, Gyngell (who spoke and was seen) is regarded as the first person to "appear live" on Australian television.

It certainly was a night of nights. Many people were so intrigued that they applauded throughout the programme. The Sydney Lord Mayor said " I congratulate TCN on the excellence of the programme and the clarity of the reception. TV offers a most interesting future. I forecast that there will soon be a terrific demand for sets."

TCN Channel 9 went on to become the flagship of the National Nine Network in Australia. 

This Master Log of the opening night, Sunday 16th September 1956,  was used to guide the master control room and the remote production studio through the second by second transmission.

This running sheet and script written by the then Station Manager Alez Baz has survived in the possesion of employee Peter Cox. It is a nine page production document describing the storyline to be used for the opening night. It is not clear if this is indeed the Programme Rundown used for the night or if another was produced as other claims have been made of being the author of the 'Opening Night.' As this one has survived the ravages of time it must have been prized as a souvenir by Peter Cox of that historic night.       

This website has been created by Brian C. Morelli who was one of the foundation members of the production crew who joined Channel 9 in August 1956 before the station was offically opened. It is intended to record the history of Channel 9's earlier years from 1956. Channel 9's history of that period has rarely been correctly recorded. It is a website in continual progress.