( Click on images to enlarge )
In July 1956 Channel 9 in association with the Daily Telegraph, promoted a TV and Radio exhibition to explain the technicalities of the television system. It was supported by a multi-page story in the paper showing the expected reception areas and the need for a house aerial. It also featured the workings of a TV camera, the sound system and of course where best to buy your home receiver.
Television positions were being advertised from early 1956. There was a certain reluctance to apply as there was no confidence of it being long term employment. My personal experience was a little daunting. The Chief Designing Engineer at my then present employment offered the following when I tended my resignation to join Channel 9 as a film technician. “I’ve seen television overseas and it’s a flash in the pan. You‘re making a big mistake!”
My letter of acceptance arrived and off I went to the Willoughby studios. They were still under construction so I was given a tour of what was to be and then dispatched to Kinelab film processing company at Camperdown. I was to learn all the technical aspects of colour rendition, densitometry and editing. All of which I was soon to discard some three months later when I transferred to studio production as a cameraman. My ambition was now complete.
( Left click on image to magnify to see the princely wage.)
In mid-1956 anticipation was running high of the advent of Australian television. The parent company Sydney's Daily Telegraph had kept readers up to date on the progress of TCN Channel 9. Test transmissions of slides and hi-fi music had been conducted from August to allow television service companies an opportunity to gauge the signal strength and reception area from the mighty transmission tower standing majestically on the heights of suburban Willoughby on Sydney’s lower north shore.
The test signals were received over a wide area further heightening the interest. Crowds gathered to watch in city stores, electrical shops, and homes where sets were already installed. The pictures also reached as far as Wollongong, Blue Mountain towns, Cessnock and Newcastle.
Even though they were only test signals Police often had to request city stores to switch off the test transmissions because the crowds were spilling out onto the road and disrupting the flow of traffic.
A showroom leased by the Admiral television company was near the intersection of George and King Streets in Sydney’s CBD. There were 200 people who had collected outside the store and were obstructing pedestrian traffic. They also had three dummy TV sets on the awning of the showroom.
A Council employee asked for them to also be removed as they were causing congestion on the pavement.
Not everybody was happy with the coming of television. A University lecturer was to begin a long-range survey to study the effects of TV in a rural community. The first part of the survey would be made at Robertson a small dairying community south of Sydney. He would study pre-television home life, how leisure time was spent and to observe the mental development of children. The lecturer hoped the survey would last 18 months with the second part commencing in three years. There were two TV sets in the district.
Many objections were raised in various forms regarding television in Australia. The issuing of licenses, the effect upon the viewer, how much profit could be made and who should get the license.
“ The impact of television could be compared with the strength of the atom bomb, but the difference was that it was more subtle” was one quote.
Channel 9 was determined to supply the very best of weaponry in its arsenal of programs to appease all.