I REMEMBER WHEN colour television arrived in Australia

May 16, 2019
A 1970's television on legs

A 1970's television on legs

It was 1 March 1975 that full colour TV service commenced nationwide in Australia.  It was a big deal.  Like WOW – such modern technology!  Such inventiveness!  How very futuristic!

It was some time after this date that the family of my friend and neighbour ‘Kiki‘ (not her actual name) got a colour TV.  We didn’t have one yet.  Kiki invited me down to watch their new colour TV.  I was a bit jealous – yes I have to admit.  I remember there was Kiki, myself, and another friend of hers all sitting in their ‘pool room’ on beanbags watching the TV.  I was mesmerised by the colour!  Kiki, lounged back in her beanbag, was teasing us by using her toes to adjust the colour dial from colour to black and white.  You can imagine two ‘tween’ girls (we were probably aged around 11) squealing ‘donnnnnttttt’ …. ‘stopppp iiitttttt’ …. ‘noooooo’ etc!  It’s ok, we were giggling too, and we’re still friends today!  

Before too long my family had a colour TV too and as with all new things, eventually you become used to them and forget how awe inspiring they were when first introduced!

Do you remember Aunty Jack (Grahame Bond) – “I’ll rip your bloody arms off” – from the Aunty Jack Show?  Here’s a clip that was aired on ABC TV Australia on March 1st, 1975 where she introduced colour TV to Australia (5mins48secs and a must watch – so funny).  You might recognise the other two with her too – ‘Thin Arthur’ (Rory O’Donoghue) and ‘Kid Eager’ (Garry McDonald) who of course later would become well known for his character ‘Norman Gunston‘.

Are you old enough (like me) to remember when colour television arrived and how exciting it was?  I’d love to hear about the first time you watched a colour television. Share your stories with me in the comments!

Ciao for now,


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  • Reply Lydia C. Lee May 16, 2019 at 7:49 am

    I loved that show. I can’t beleive you remembered that skit….#Lovinglifelinky

    • Reply Min May 16, 2019 at 3:37 pm

      I was intrigued with that show but was very young and a lot of it went over my head. He scared me a bit with his ‘If you don’t tune in next week I’ll jump through your TV and rip your bloody arms off” comments! LOL I actually didn’t remember that skit but when I went Googling to check the year colour TV came to Australia it was brought to my attention and of course I had to include it! 🙂

  • Reply Joanne Tracey May 16, 2019 at 8:06 am

    I still remember the first thing I ever saw on colour tv. We’d come down to Sydney from where we lived in the country and my Nan had “acquired” a colour TV – she often got things super cheap when they were sold at the RSL she worked at… Anyways, the show was Sounds Unlimited and the clip was Abba’s Fernando. I can still see it today.

    • Reply Min May 16, 2019 at 3:39 pm

      You have a great memory Jo! I remember the occasion I described in this post but have absolutely no recollection of what show/s we were watching on the the TV?? BTW – I loved Abba’s song ‘Fernando’! 🙂

  • Reply Natalie May 16, 2019 at 9:00 am

    You have good memory, Min. I don’t remember what I first saw on colour tv. I haven’t watched TV for a long time. #lovin’lifelinky

    • Reply Min May 16, 2019 at 3:40 pm

      I remember when I first watched a colour TV but have no memory of what programme we watched! I’m amazed that you haven’t watched TV for a long time!

  • Reply Sydney Shop Girl May 16, 2019 at 9:02 am

    I remember the test pattern screen being on in those good old days when TV wasn’t broadcast 24/7!

    SSG xxx

    • Reply Min May 16, 2019 at 3:41 pm

      I remember the test pattern thingy but had completely forgotten about the days when TV wasn’t broadcast 24/7. Now you mention it, I do remember turning it on and there was the test pattern until the next scheduled program. How things have changed! xo

  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au May 16, 2019 at 12:07 pm

    My parents bought a colour TV very early in the piece – in fact the only colour thing on it to start with was the test pattern (remember those!) So much technology has come and gone since our younger days – transistor radios, reel to reel tape recorders, cassette tapes, videos – Beta and VHS, even CD’s and DVD’s are becoming a thing of the past. I remember the joy of listening to my Beach Boys cassette in my little car on the way to the beach when I was on P plates – ahhhhhh the good old days!

    • Reply Min May 16, 2019 at 3:43 pm

      Yes I remember the test pattern and agree there has been so much technology come and go since then up to now. I used to love my tape collection and used to record my own. They were the good ‘ol days! 🙂

  • Reply Deborah May 16, 2019 at 12:11 pm

    I kinda remember but only because I remember a conversation at jazz ballet between some of us about watching Play School in colour and comparing re those who had colour TV and those who didn’t. I’m not sure if my parents were early adopters. We weren’t very well off so I’m not sure.

    And yes, because we lived in a rural area we had ABC for part of the day – kids shows in the morning and then it came on again later in the day. Then the local station started at about 4pm in the afternoon.

    I used to LOVE going to Brisbane when the TV started early and went all day. (Boris’s Breakfast Club, HR Puff n Stuff etc)

    • Reply Min May 16, 2019 at 3:45 pm

      We lived in Mitchell (country Queensland) for a couple of years (before colour TV) and ONLY had the ABC when we lived there. It was pretty exciting when we returned to Brisbane and had more channels to choose from and then of course … colour TV came in. I loved those shows you listed too plus many more of course! 🙂

  • Reply Suzanne May 17, 2019 at 9:01 am

    Oh yes, I remember 🙂 There are some classic photographs of my siblings and myself sitting on the sofa with our eyes wide open watching TV which was a treat back then and we certainly didn’t sit there for hours. Too much exploring to be done.

    • Reply Min May 21, 2019 at 10:10 am

      Yes you’re right – TV was great but we did a lot of exploring, riding our bikes and playing games outside with the kids of the neighbourhood back in those days!

  • Reply Janet May 17, 2019 at 3:19 pm

    My grandparents got a colour TV early on. For a treat, we would visit them on a Saturday evening for dinner and then watch the Black & White Minstrel Show (LOL how un-PC is that!) in COLOUR! My sisters and I would swoon over the dancing and the beautiful dresses the girls wore. We didn’t get a colour telly til much later, as it was around this time that my folks split and money was tight after that.

    • Reply Min May 21, 2019 at 10:15 am

      Loved reading your memory Janet! I remember the Black & White Minstrel show. Imagine the furore if that was aired today! 😉

  • Reply Patrick Weseman May 19, 2019 at 3:29 am

    Finding this so very interesting. Been here in the States, I always had color TV growing up in the 70’s. Thanks so much for sharing and I love the clip. #lovinlifelinky

    • Reply Min May 21, 2019 at 10:17 am

      I did a little Google search Patrick and it seems that colour TV was introduced in the USA in the mid ’60’s so you were way ahead of us here in Australia!

  • Reply Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit May 23, 2019 at 6:00 am

    I remember us owning a little black and white TV. Then we got a big wooden colour one and I always imagined our black and white one might end up in my bedroom .Alas it didn’t. I don’t recall where it went? But when Mum spent a long period in hospital it resurfaced and she had it in her room. Then one day it just went “pop” and that was that. Via a little dot that disappeared into the middle of the screen. It was football grandfinal day (she was still in hospital) so Dad and I raced to the nearest mall and bought her an equally small colour TV (well, by now it was the mid 80s). That then became the TV I took to Uni with me. Memories.

    • Reply Min May 23, 2019 at 11:26 am

      Lots of memories there Leanne! I recall and black and white TV that went pop via a little disappearing dot in the middle of the screen too! LOL 🙂

  • Reply Mick November 12, 2019 at 1:44 am

    Colour TV arrived in England in 1967 in time for Wimbledon. By 1969, all the channels were in colour if not all programmes as many were still made in black & white (and of course, we still got repeats, even back then along with B/W films) However, it was a long time before i saw a colour tv (other than in a shop window) because they were expensive compared to black and white. Also, we have a annual TV licence over here and the colour licence was at least 3 times the price of a B/W licence. it was to be two or three more years before i saw a colour TV at home by which time, the price of colour TV’s had fallen/second hand were available and, just as importantly, there were a lot more colour programmes on the TV channels (of which there were still only 3 )
    Apparently, some people still have a B/W TV and the licence cost £52 today. The colour licence costs £154.50 today.

    BTW John Newcombe ( one of your boys) won the mens’ singles that year watched by around 500 households who had colour TV. Dollar to a doughnut that every colour TV had around 20 people watching it though!!! LoL.

    • Reply Min November 12, 2019 at 4:26 pm

      1969 is so much earlier than when we got it here in 1975! I don’t know anyone who still has a B&W TV but I do know people that still have the old style big boxy kind of TV. You have a very good memory Mick!

  • Reply Mick November 13, 2019 at 8:49 am

    It’s your great site and the “i remember when” series that tweaks the brain cells Min. I cannot contribute to the 70’s fashion post. LoL. Too girly for me. Hope you did not mind my comments on the other posts though and i will watch out for further “I remember when” posts. Its great to see what people remember down there. Until then.


    • Reply Min November 13, 2019 at 12:14 pm

      Thanks so much Mick. I’ll forgive you for not commenting on the Fashion Plates post! lol There’s some others though that I’m not sure if you’ve seen – eg Remembering Slide Nights and learning to read with Dick, Dora, Fluff & Nip! There’ll be some new I REMEMBER WHEN posts down the track. I tend to space them out a bit! 🙂

  • Reply Mick November 13, 2019 at 5:59 pm

    We never had slide nights Min although i am sure some people did in England.
    Never heard of DDF&N but it’s equivalent in England would probably be the Janet and John books.

    • Reply Min November 14, 2019 at 3:00 pm

      Oh you missed out Mick. Slide nights were heaps of fun! I haven’t heard of Janet & John books!

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