T is for Television


When I was a kid television was something we only saw in the movies.  Our entertainment came mainly from the radio.

My parents listened to serials and dramatised stories on the wireless as well as news and sports broadcasts. I remember my mother sitting down with a cup of tea and a biscuit every morning to listen to “Portia Faces Life” or “Dr Paul”.  These were never to be missed and the day’s activities were planned around them.  The ladies of the neighbourhood would discuss each episode when they met at the store or at the hairdresser. I was a member of the “Argonauts” club and listened every afternoon to see if I had won a prize. My brother was devoted to the  “Hopalong Cassidy Show“, and my father would lie in bed listening to the broadcast of the Test cricket coming from England in the wee hours of the morning.

But then, in 1959, television came to Brisbane.  Melbourne had had tv since the city hosted the Olympics in 1956.

Television sets were large wooden cabinets with screens, quite impressive pieces of furniture.


Dad drove us into the city to see the sets displayed in the department store windows.  Crowds of people stood on the pavement outside those windows marvelling at these wonderful new devices.  My father was unsure as to whether these new fangled gizmos would be worth the money one spent on them. My Dad was never one to move quickly on a decision. He waited until our neighbours bought a set and he could actually see one in a house being used by a family.  The first telecast of live cricket sold him and, shortly thereafter, we too owned a television set.

We would rush home from school each afternoon to watch “Mickey Mouse Club”, the “Tom and Jerry Show” or “The Lone Ranger”.  Our evenings were filled with game shows and variety programs as well as “Gunsmoke”, “Rawhide”, “Maverick”, Seventy-Seven Sunset Strip” and “Perry Mason” all in shiny black and white.  At close of programming, I can’t remember if that was eleven o’clock or midnight, the National Anthem would be played and the test pattern would appear and remain in place until the next morning.



Televison changed our world. It brought pictures and stories from all around the world right into our living room.  Things that we had had to go to the cinema to see on news reels were now there to be seen on the six o’clock news.  We felt more connected and not quite so far away from the rest of the world.

If someone had told me in 1959 that one day I would be able to watch television shows on a phone that I could carry in my pocket, I would have laughed at them.

Doesn’t technology move quickly? 


13 thoughts on “T is for Television

  1. Reading your reminiscing about television makes me halfway yearn for that time. I worry that we’ve got a wee bit too much technology in our lives these days.

    1. It is certainly all pervasive. Look around restaurants and you will see people interacting more with their phones than with their friends/family.

      1. That drives me bonkers!

        I have a sixteen year old daughter and she knows she’s not allowed to use her phone during meals and such, but sometimes she has friends over and we’ll be sitting down to dinner and hearing ring tone. Oh no, that’s not happening LOL

        As for me, I don’t even own a cell phone. I may be the last person my age in North America not to, but I absolutely do not need to be *more* plugged in, thank you very much LoL

  2. I remember coming home from school and watching Batman & Robin on TV. I’m pretty sure it was a black and white TV but I can’t be sure of that.

    Blogging AtoZ “Things My Husband Has Broken”

  3. Before television arrived, staples were Listen with Mother in the afternoon, Women’s Hour for Mum, then Mrs Dale’s Diary and, of course, The Archers.
    One abiding memory of the closedown comes from Westward Television in the 1960s when, after the National Anthem, the announcer said “when it starts to smoke and cough, don’t forget to turn it off”.
    No-one went to bed until the little white dot in the centre of the screen had disappeared.
    Thanks again for stirring up memories.

  4. Will and I were just talking the other day about how fast it’s moving! In high school I had a walkman (portable tape player) and I would record songs from the weekly top 40 on the radio then play them in my player. But I yearned for a discman (portable cd player) so I could play all my favourite cds. The discmans were around $200 and it was a HUGE deal when I got one for my 16th birthday from my parents. Then somewhere in amongst uni, I got an iPhone and never picked up that sad discman again. It still works and plays MP3 file cds too – which was kind of high-tech at the time. But, as you say, now I have a device in my pocket that holds over 500 songs, my emails, texts, the internet, all manner of programs – and if I feel like it, I can watch TV or make a phone call. It’s truly mind blowing!

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