My Uncle Brad (born in 1959) grew up in Nowra alongside his mother, father and two younger sisters (my mother and aunty). Although he now works with computers for a living, as a child he wanted to be a fireman or an astronaut and doesn’t remember too much about the television in his childhood home.
“we didn’t watch much tv, we played outside. I don’t know what we played… but we played outside”
He recalls that the family probably got their first television in 1964. The family were the first in the street to buy a television and quickly became very popular as neighbours would come over to watch TV with them.
Uncle Brad remembers watching Hogans Heroes as a family on a Friday night. The television was in the living room and he sat on the lounge with his sisters whilst my grandma and poppy sat on individual arm chairs. At home he also recalls watching “Disney Land” (unsure of the correct name) on a Sunday night as well as watching television whilst on holidays in Wyong.
Colour television was introduced to Australia in 1975. Shortly after this, uncle Brad left high school to join the Air Force. Although there were no televisions on the RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) base, they could hear the sounds of television through the windows of the ‘School of Radio’ next door, in particular the theme song of “Doctor Who”
During this conversation, we had to double check some facts about television such as important historical dates. He was shocked to learn colour television was only introduced while he was at school as it such an integral part of our lives… especially considering how much society relies on many coloured technologically advanced devices (Tv’s, computers, cameras, smartphones).
Reflecting on this conversation, I noticed some similarities between his childhood and my own. I grew up in a rural area where my family didn’t have access for free to air television, we owned a TV, but we watched video tapes instead of shows (until we were able to get satellite TV – Austar). My brother and I were often played outside.
However after we got Austar (around the age of 5) I remember watching more television, like cartoons in the morning and always being told I couldn’t watch at lunch time as Dad would come home for lunch (nothing has changed there).
Research shows that that 18- 24 year olds spend less time watching television compared to older generations. The way people watch television has also changed due to the introduction of online video content & streaming services such as Netflix & Stan. This could be responsible for the decline in television watching in younger generations.
As I write this post, I am sitting in my Uncle’s lounge room “watching” television, however all four of us in the room are also on our phones and laptops. The television is like background noise and has a part me wishing I could’ve grown up without this technology that is integrated into our daily lives, just so I could truly understand these generational differences.
ACMA, Digital Australians – Generational Differences, ACMA, viewed 1 3 August 2017 <http://www.acma.gov.au/~/media/Research%20and%20Analysis/Information/pdf/Digital%20Australian%20report%20Generational%20differences.PDF>
Barnett, B 2017, Colour Television In Australia, Part 1, Preparing for a Colour Revolution, NFSA, viewed 1 August 2017 <https://www.nfsa.gov.au/latest/colour-tv-part-1>
Television History 2017, Timeline of Television – Important Moments In TV History, Television History viewed 1 August 2017, <http://www.television-history.net/television-origin/television-timeline/>