Keep in touch exhibition

Keep in touch takes you back to the world of analogue communication and showcases the development of information and communication services in the St George region.

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Keep in touch exhibition, Hurstville Museum & Gallery, 2018.

Before the time of mass media, information was localised as people relied solely on word-of-mouth and hand-written communication for news. This began to change in the 1440s with the invention of the printing press which allowed information to reach a wider audience. The opportunity to reach wider audiences continued to grow with the development of the newspaper in the 17th century, and later with the invention of radio and television.

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Fisk Radiola wireless (c. 1940) and Mantel radio on display (c. 1946).

Radio, also known as wireless telegraphy, is a technology that was first developed during the First World War and uses electromagnetic waves to carry sound over large distances to many receivers. In 1922, Australia’s first broadcasting station, 2CM, was launched.

Radio provided a medium that could educate and entertain people from the comfort of their own homes with programs of music, news, and plays adapted for radio becoming popular. Listening around the ‘wireless’ became a new family pastime.

Listen to this Vegemite jingle from 1959.

This version of the famous jingle was created in the late 1950s by Alan Weekes, a jingle writer for advertising company J. Walter Thompson in Sydney.

What would you listen to on the radio?

TV promo

Retro 1960s TV lounge area in the exhibition space.

Despite the first television broadcast taking place in Australia in 1929, steps to introduce the technology to the public were not implemented until the 1940s. It was in 1955 that the first broadcasting licences were issued in Sydney and Melbourne with the motivation being to broadcast the Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games. It was broadcast across Australia on several channels despite only 1% of Sydney residents owning a television at the time. Initially only a few limited programs would be broadcast for a few hours a day and a test pattern would be displayed for the remainder of the time. Television sets were expensive with prices equalling 6-10 weeks’ of pay for the average worker. The population of small towns like Hurstville did not have many television sets due to their high cost

“Television did not happen around our area until about 1957, when an electrical store in Beverly Hills would leave a set switched on in the shop window each evening. Locals would bring little chairs, packets of snacks, children in pyjamas wrapped in a blanket and sit on the footpath in front of the store watching the TV until it finished late at night.” – Phyllis Hallam, 2001.

In 1975 colour television was introduced and televisions were becoming more affordable.

Watch this clip about Channel 7 launching colour television.

Keep in touch is on display at Hurstville Museum & Gallery from 20 October 2018 until 27 January 2019.

References

Laurie Thomas Lee, ‘History and Development of Mass Communications’, Journalism and Mass Communication, p. 2 https://www.eolss.net/Sample-Chapters/C04/E6-33-02-01.pdf [accessed 24 April 2018].

Robert Lee. “Radio and Television, 1905-1970.” In: R. Lee, ed., Australia: Our National Stories. Linking a Nation: Australia’s Transport and Communications 1788 – 1970. [online] (Australia: Australian Heritage Commission, 2003). http://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/ahc/publications/linking-a-nation/chapter9

Australian Screen. An NSFA website. https://aso.gov.au/titles/ads/happy-little-vegemites/clip1/ [accessed 13 November 2018].

The stories I could tell: Hurstville remembered, edited by Cheryl Kelly, Gaye Pracy & Diane Webster, Hurstville 2001.

 

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