Extract from the ABCs 24th Annual Report to
Preparations for the establishment of the national television service have gone steadily
forward throughout the year in close co-operation with the Postmaster Generals
Department and in accordance with the Governments directive of September 10, 1954,
which appointed the ABC as the authority to provide the programmes for the national
television service and was embodied in the Broadcasting and Television Act 1942-56,
proclaimed to commence on July lst, 1956. In both Sydney and Melbourne work began on the
erection of studios and detailed arrangements were completed with overseas manufacturers
for the delivery of studio technical equipment.
A good deal of time has been devoted to the training of production personnel to ensure
that from the outset we shall be able to present the maximum number of live programmes
with Australian artists that available studios and technical Facilities will permit. The
BBC readily arranged for enrolment of members of our staff at their various training
courses throughout the year, and those officers who completed these courses--many of them
having travelled overseas at their own expense-were able on their return to assist at the
TV training school established by the ABC in Sydney.
Rudy Bretz, U.S.A. television expert, with live "puppets" at ABC
After a series of basic familiarisation courses attended by members of the staff drawn
from all departments, the first advanced training workshop was held in April under the
direction of Mr. Rudy Bretz, an American TV expert with a world-wide reputation as a
teacher of TV production techniques. Basic TV training was also provided for officers from
the Meteorological Bureau, the Department of the Interior and the Department of
During this training period the opportunity was taken to rehearse a wide variety of
programmes ranging from dramatic productions and puppet shows for children to discussions
on social and economic problems, news bulletins and weather reports.
At the Royal Melbourne Show in September 1955, TV demonstrations were presented from the
ABC's studio and on each day of the Royal Agricultural Society's Sydney Show in March and
April special programmes were transmitted to receiving sets displayed by leading
manufacturers in various pavilions within the Showgrounds.
Dutch singer, Mikie Maas, at ABC-TV studio, Sydney Royal Show
During the year several senior officers from the
Programme and Technical divisions were sent abroad to study the practices and organisation
of overseas TV services, especially the BBC and CBC, and to arrange for the supply of film
of news material and general interest programmes.
Negotiations have continued for the hiring of TV films from overseas producers and
Government agencies and several agreements have been finalised. From the BBC we have
arranged to take the best of the programme material that can be released for use in
Australia; this includes a large number of documentary films, including, the highly
acclaimed series " War in the Air," together with a number of specially devised
We have endeavoured, as far as possible, to encourage local film producers to make films
for television on Australian subjects, and with this aim a contract was signed with Mr.
Charles Chauvel one of the pioneers of Australian film making giving the ABC the
Australian rights to a series of half-hour film programmes under the title " This is
Australia." The BBC has acquired the U.K. rights. Material for this series is now
being filmed by Mr. Chauvel in the Northern Territory and the first programmes will be
televised early in 1957.
Recruitment of non-technical staff has begun in both Sydney and Melbourne and negotiations
are proceeding with Actors' Equity and the Musicians' Union regarding the terms and
conditions which will apply to the engagement of members of these Unions for TV
Source : Twenty-Fourth Annual report of the Australian Broadcasting Commission,
Year Ended June 30, 1956