Skip to content | Skip to document navigation

Research Guides


Commonwealth Government Records about South Australia


Broadcasting

The PMG was responsible for the general supervision of civil radio communication stations, and the collection of licence fees for radio listeners and television viewers until their abolition in 1974.

From the inception of the national broadcasting service in 1929, the PMG was responsible for providing and maintaining the program relay and transmitter station facilities. This involved a major commitment to a national ABC radio network by the mid-1970s.

The PMG also specially built and maintained some 74 television relay links to country transmitting stations. These services were increasingly provided to commercial operators in the late 1960s and 1970s.

SELECTED SERIES RELATING TO BROADCASTING IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Sydney and Melbourne
Recorded by: Australian Broadcasting Commission/Corporation, South Australian Branch
Local and interstate syndicated news film and South Australian produced documentaries, film components, 1908–82 D1815
Athol Lykke memorial (former South Australia concert manager) fund folders, 1936–56 D2216
Correspondence files (South Australian branch central file series), 1938–75 D2554
Correspondence files, 1941–65 AP1140/1
Education radio and television broadcast folders, 1950–86 D2369
Correspondence files re administration staff, 1958–72 AP1168/2
South Australian state office files, 1959–90 D4736
Correspondence – William Henry Newnham (program director), 1960–72 AP919/13
Correspondence files re administration policy, 1960–70 AP1168/1
Correspondence files, 1960–64 AP1140/2
Scripts for radio and television programs, 1962–67 AP1168/23
Unit presentation sheets for various programs, 1962–69 AP1168/12
'For Schools' files – reports relating to the televising of television programs, 1965 AP1140/4
Film assessors' reports, 1967–69 AP866/9
Radio and television scripts (religious), 1968–81 D3895
Australian Broadcasting Commission publicity publications, 1969–73 AP919/6
Correspondence files – Elyakum Shapirra, conductor of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, 1973–87 D4629
Correspondence files (education), 1973–85 D2129
Transmission map for South Australia and Northern Territory radio station, 1973–74 AP1168/29
Commission meeting files, agendas and minutes, Commissioner RM (Murray) Glastonbury, 1977–83 D4614
Sydney
Recorded by: Australian Broadcasting Commission, South Australian Branch – Engineering Division
Engineering Division correspondence files, 1950–88 D766
Sydney
Recorded by: Australian Broadcasting Control Board, State Office, South Australia
Correspondence series, 1957–77 D5488
Correspondence files, 'TS' (technical services), 1960–93 D2729

Radio

Broadcasting services were first licensed in South Australia in 1924. The state's first radio station, 5CL, a privately owned station, went to air the same year on 20 November.

The Wireless Branch of the PMG was created in 1927, replacing the former Telegraphs and Wireless Branch, in preparation for the establishment of the national broadcasting service. The branch was responsible for licensing and inspecting civil radio services, allocating frequencies and issuing broadcast listeners' licences. It also had the role of detecting unauthorised transmitting and receiving stations, except during World War II when this function was passed to the Royal Australian Navy.

The ABC was established under the Australian Broadcasting Commission Act 1932 to provide a national broadcasting service. Its head office was located in Sydney and branches were established in all other states. The South Australian branch of the ABC was formed after the commencement of the Act.

Soon after its establishment, the South Australian branch of the ABC purchased 5CL, which was broadcasting out of two buildings in Hindmarsh Square in Adelaide, and began operation under the new call sign of 5AN. In 1974, 5AN moved from Hindmarsh Square to the new purpose-built ABC building in the Adelaide suburb of Collinswood. The ABC entered FM radio in 1976 with the establishment of ABC-FM, with its national headquarters also located at Collinswood. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983 saw the name of the organisation change to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Australia's first community radio station, 5UV (now Radio Adelaide), was established in 1972. That same year, the first Aboriginal-produced community radio program went to air on 5UV.

Records held by the Archives relating to radio transmission in South Australia include correspondence, scripts, audio files, programs, publicity material and engineering files, including technical aspects of radio broadcasting.

SELECTED SERIES RELATING TO RADIO BROADCASTING IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Sydney
Recorded by: Australian Broadcasting Commission, South Australian Branch
Program recordings, 1933–70 C1829
Volumes and booklets of radio broadcasts to schools, 1933–84 D2130
General filing (correspondence re Drama and Features Department in South Australia), 1939–61 AP861/18
Production cards – plays and features which have been broadcast in South Australia, 1945–73 AP861/1
Scripts of plays produced in South Australia, 1945–73 AP861/8
State drama auditions, 1945–55 AP861/15
Scripts of Radio Rodeo, 1947–49 AP861/10
Scripts of serials/series produced in South Australia (incomplete), 1947–59 AP861/13
Feature series scripts (incomplete), 1948 AP861/16
Correspondence files (radio national), 1950–70 AP1168/6
National Children's Sensation scripts – 30 minutes on Sundays, 1950–52 AP861/11
Correspondence files (radio general), 1954–71 AP1168/5
Correspondence files (radio regional), 1956–68 AP1168/7
Correspondence files (radio 'Farm Forum'), 1958–65 AP1168/4
Correspondence files (radio sports programs), 1960–82 D1443
Authority to pay – radio, 1961–74 AP970/2
Mechanical royalty list – radio, 1971–73 AP970/12
Scripts of plays produced in South Australia, 1973–75 AP970/14
Daily program outlines – radio – South Australia, 1974–75 AP970/3
Tape recordings of radio drama productions, 1974–76 AP1219/1
Tape recordings of drama productions recorded in South Australia or produced by a South Australian producer, 1975 AP970/15
Program notes – radio (religion), 1980–86 D3890
Radio religious programs production files, 1980–85 D3894
Program presentation sheets, 1984–87 D3889
Production cards of serials and features which have been broadcast in South Australia, 1946–73 AP861/2
Sydney
Recorded by: Australian Broadcasting Commission, South Australian Branch – Engineering Division
Audio tape recordings from Australian Broadcasting Commission AM broadcasts in South Australia, 1975 D1101
SELECTED SERIES THAT CONTAIN RECORDS RELATING TO RADIO AND BROADCASTING IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Canberra
Recorded by: Royal Commission on Wireless
Transcripts of evidence, 1927 CP657/1
Sydney
Recorded by: Postmaster-General's Department, State Administration, South Australia
Correspondence files, 'RI' (radio stations), 1924–60 D2730
Sydney and Adelaide
Recorded by: Wireless Branch (from 1955 Radio Branch), Postmaster-General's Department, South Australia
Reference material of historical interest, 1939–75 D3071
Miscellaneous security classified instructions and correspondence, 1939–45 D3063
Licensing files, 1945 D1330
Correspondence files, 1947 D3070
Citizen band radio service and single transaction licensing cancelled papers, 1933–88 D3261
SELECTED ITEMS RELATING TO RADIO STATIONS IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Canberra
Photograph of ethnic radio station 5EBI-FM, Adelaide, 1979 A6180, 12/12/79/11
Melbourne
National broadcasting service station 5CL, Adelaide, 1934 MP341/1, 1934/6432
Commercial broadcasting station 5AD, Adelaide – licence, 1943–56 MP1170/1 5AD/4 part 1
Adelaide
Transfer to Australian Broadcasting Commission of certain land and buildings in Adelaide, South Australia from 5CL Studio, 1933 AP314/1, 2703
Adelaide Hindmarsh Square ABC station 5CL, 1937–40 D1051, FOLDER 36
Trading results – 5AD Adelaide – broadcasting station, 1939–48 AP5/1, 1945/4951

Australian Broadcasting Commission Talks Department

The Talks Department was established as an internal department of the ABC in 1936. Its central office was in Sydney, with offices in each state capital. The talks were authored and presented by thousands of Australian and international guests. The records generated by the ABC Talks Department are illustrative of Australian social, cultural and political life during the 20th century. The series listed below were created by the ABC Talks Department in South Australia.

SELECTED SERIES RELATING TO THE ABC TALKS DEPARTMENT IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Sydney
Recorded by: Australian Broadcasting Commission, South Australian Branch
'History of Adelaide and vicinity', 1940–76 AP1003/30
'Afternoon talks' – scripts, 1942–43 AP1003/11
General correspondence of the Talks Department, 1955–60 AP1003/2
Outline of South Australian Talks Department activities, 1955–74 AP1003/29
Guide to the records of the Talks Department, South Australia, by Loftus Hyde, 1970–76 AP1003/32

Investigations into radio station 5KA during World War II

By late 1940, the Jehovah's Witnesses owned and controlled four radio stations in Australia. Radio station 5KA in Adelaide came under suspicion for broadcasting information that was perceived to be in breach of National Security Regulations.

Transmissions were officially suspended on 8 January 1941 by the PMG. The announcement that the radio station could recommence transmission curiously coincided with the Commonwealth Government banning Jehovah's Witnesses, declaring their activities and associated organisations illegal. This was later overturned by the High Court in 1943.

SELECTED ITEMS RELATING TO INVESTIGATIONS INTO 5KA DURING WORLD WAR II
Canberra
Investigations into Australian activities – Jehovah's Witnesses – wireless stations 5KA, 5AU, 2HDM, 1941–42 A467, SF43/29
5KA Broadcasting Company Ltd, Mr Eric Pearce, Adelaide, 1953 A13339, TV1953/510
Investigations into Australian activities – Adelaide Company of Jehovah's Witnesses Inc V The Commonwealth of Australia, 1940–44 A467, SF43/39
Sydney
Breaches of Postal and Telecommunication Act and Regulations 5KA, 1927–53 D2730, R1-2/5/5
5KA offensive broadcasts, 1930–40 D2730, R1/2/5/7
Special observation 5KA – prelude to loss of licence, 1940–41 D3063, envelope 16
Adelaide
Jehovah's Witnesses – subversive activities including closing of broadcasting stations 5KA and 5AU under National Security Regulations, 1940–49 D305, 14/1

Television

Image 6: Singer Miss van Zyl performing at television station ADS7, Adelaide, 1965

Image 6: Singer Miss van Zyl performing at television station ADS7, Adelaide, 1965
Photographer: Mike Brown.
NAA: A1200, L52199
Enlarge image - View image gallery

As a prelude to the introduction of television, there was a Royal Commission on Television in 1953–54 to investigate and make recommendations on how it should be implemented.

In September 1956 the first television broadcast in Australia was made by the Sydney commercial station TCN-9. A month later in Sydney, Prime Minister Robert Menzies introduced the ABC's first television broadcast. The first broadcast from the ABC Melbourne studios took place on 19 November, just in time to cover the Olympic Games.

By mid-June 1960, ABC television services had commenced in other Australian state capitals – Brisbane on 2 November 1959, Perth on 7 May 1960, and Hobart on 4 June 1960. On the first day of the inaugural Adelaide Festival (11 March 1960), the people of Adelaide witnessed television for the very first time.

In 1959 the ABC bought property in the Adelaide suburb of Collinswood and set up offices for television staff. In the early 1970s the old building was demolished, making way for a new eight-storey building. The rest of the ABC staff relocated to the new building site in Collinswood in 1974.

In the early days of television no facilities existed for relaying programs to the various states. Radio news bulletins were broadcast nationally 13 times a day through landlines, but television news had to be sent to the various capital cities by teleprinter, after which it was prepared and presented separately. Copies were made of filmed material, which were then sent to each state. By 1962 the ABC had installed videotape recording equipment in its studios in each state capital, but film remained the dominant format for many more years.

Records held by the Archives relating to television in South Australia include correspondence, scripts, audiovisual, technical, educational and licensing files.

SELECTED SERIES RELATING TO TELEVISION BROADCASTING IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Canberra
Recorded by: Royal Commission on Television
Correspondence files, 1952–55 A13339
Sydney
Recorded by: Australian Broadcasting Commission/Corporation, South Australian Branch
Correspondence files television general, 1955–68 AP1168/8
Correspondence files television general general, 1959–66 AP1168/9
Correspondence files television national, 1958–68 AP1168/10
Correspondence files television state, 1959–69 AP1168/11
Correspondence files television sports programs, 1961–83 D1444
Light entertainment television program files, 1961–66 AP1208/1
ABC South Australian produced documentaries, film component, 1962–2011 D1107
Final estimate of cost of programs TV Gardening and To Market, 1962–69 AP1168/21
TV (news) bulletins, 1975– D143
Video cassette recordings from ABC South Australian and Northern Territory television broadcasts, 1975–98 D1102
Education television program files, 1977–81 D2937
Nationwide correspondence files, 1979–84 D2555
Nationwide program scripts, 1979–84 D639
Nationwide requisitioning film and videotape, 1980 D638
Videotape masters of selected program material produced in South Australia, 1980– D5435
Correspondence files relating to television programs, 1982–89 D3060
Videotape master copies of South Australian television news and public affairs, 1984–97 D2653
News Free Zone TV program files, 1985 D3624
Sydney
Recorded by: Director of Works, South Australia
Original site construction plans for ABC television studios, Collinswood, 1958–59 D4795
SELECTED ITEMS RELATING TO TELEVISION BROADCASTING IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Canberra
Report and recommendations to the Postmaster-General on applications for commercial television licences for the Brisbane and Adelaide areas, 1958 A4926, 1354
Report and recommendations to the Postmaster-General on applications for commercial television licences for the Brisbane and Adelaide areas, 1958 A4926, 1429
Commercial television stations in Brisbane and Adelaide, 1958 A4940, C2248
The encouragement of Australian productions for television – correspondence – Adelaide, 1963 A12922, AT4
Sydney
TV Adelaide – opening, 1957–60 SP727/2, TV1/5/4
Television programs – TV stations – openings – Adelaide – Australian Broadcasting Commission, 1959–60 C1574, TV4/12/4
SELECTED ITEMS RELATING TO THE ABC BUILDING IN COLLINSWOOD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Canberra
Proposal to erect new radio studios and administrative offices at Collinswood (Adelaide) for the ABC, 1968 A5882, CO197
Sydney
TV buildings – Adelaide, 1956–60 SP724/1, 27/4/8 part 1
Adelaide
ABC TV studios, Collinswood, South Australia, 1958 AP567/1, 1958/633
Australian Broadcasting Commission – Collinswood, South Australia – television studios – erection and completion, 1958–61 D156, 1963/353 part 1
Australian Broadcasting Commission – Collinswood, South Australia – television studios – erection and completion, 1958–61 D156, 1963/353 part 2
Australian Broadcasting Commission – Collinswood, South Australia – television studios – erection and completion, 1958–61 D156, 1963/353 part 3

TOP OF PAGE

Chapter 3
Communications