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ABC1 logo
Launched 5 November 1956
Network ABC Television
Owned by Australian Broadcasting
Picture format 576i (16:9 SDTV)
720p (16:9 HDTV)
Audience share 19.1% Nationally (19 August 2009, [1])
Slogan It Begins With 1
Country Australia
Broadcast area Nationally
Formerly called ABC TV (1956-2008)
Sister channel(s) ABC2, ABC3, ABC HD
Analogue Normally tuned to 2 in metropolitan areas, various frequencies in regional areas
SD Digital Channel 2, 21
HD Digital Channel 20
Foxtel Digital Channel 102
Austar Digital Channel 102
Foxtel Digital Channel 102
Foxtel HD+ Channel 202
TransTV Digital

ABC1 is a national public television channel in Australia. Launched on 5 November 1956, it is the responsibility of the ABC's television division, and is available nationally. As of August 2009, ABC1 has a 19.1% audience share.





The history of ABC1 can be traced back to 1953, when the federal Television Act was passed, providing the initial regulatory framework for both ABC Television and commercial television networks.[1][2] Over the next three years, planning for the introduction of a national television service was put in place – land for studios and transmitters in Sydney and Melbourne was acquired, and overseas tutors were brought to Australia to assist with training.[1][2]

Commercial station TCN-9 Sydney was the first to broadcast in Australia, soon followed by the ABC's own ABN-2 Sydney and later ABV-2 in Melbourne.[1][2] Six stations, three in Melbourne and three in Sydney, were in operation in time to cover the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne.[1][2] The channel's first television broadcast was inaugurated by Prime Minister Robert Menzies on 5 November at the Gore Hill studios in Sydney, followed two weeks later by transmission in Melbourne.[1][2]

Although radio programmes could be broadcast nationally by landline, television relay facilities were not put in place until the early 1960s.[1] This meant that news bulletins had to be sent to each capital city by teleprinter, to be prepared and presented separately in each city, with filmed materials copied manually and sent to each state.[1][2]

A purpose-built television studio was built in Sydney, and opened on 29 January 1958 – replacing temporary sound studios used since ABC TV's inception. In the same year, technical equipment was also moved to permanent locations, while main transmitters were introduced to Melbourne and Sydney in 1957 and 1958, respectively.[3]

1960s to the 1990s

Weekly current affairs programme Four Corners began in 1961,[4] followed in the same year by Profiles of Power, a series of interviews with prominent Australians.[4] Direct relays between Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra were also established in 1961, replacing temporary microwave relays as a means of simultaneously airing programmes across multiple stations.[2][4] Videotape equipment, allowing the sharing of footage with much greater ease and speed, was installed in each state capital by 1962.[1]

ABC TV was one of the first television networks in Australia to embrace the rock'n'roll revolution of the late 1950s, most notably with Six O'Clock Rock, hosted by Johnny O'Keefe.[2] During the 1960s and early 1970s the channel continued to broadcast programmes on popular music, including the pop show Hitscene, performance specials by groups such as Tully and Max Merritt & The Meteors, as well as the magazine-style programme GTK, which premiered in 1969 and screened for 10 minutes, four nights per week at 6:30 pm, immediately prior to Bellbird and the 7:00 pm news bulletin.[5] In 1967, the weeknightly television current affairs programme, This Day Tonight, was launched on ABC TV.[4]

Teletext services were introduced to ABC TV in 1983 to allow hearing impaired viewers access to closed captions[6]. Nationwide, successor to This Day Tonight, was replaced in turn by a new, hour-long, national news programme called The National. Having proved unsuccessful,[6][7] it reverted to a state ABC News bulletin at 7:00 pm, with a state-based edition of The 7.30 Report following afterwards.[6] Lateline and Media Watch also launched in the 1980s.[6][8]


The year 2001 saw the launch of a new logo to celebrate the introduction of digital terrestrial television in Australia. The logo was modified to a three-dimensional metallic design. Coinciding with this, digital television was introduced to most of the network's coverage area on 1 January 2001 - this was soon followed by the gradual introduction of widescreen and high definition programming.[9]

In 2002, to celebrate seventy years of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, ABC TV's logo reverted to the "over and under" design seen in the previous decades, however it retained the three-dimensional metallic design. The channel's idents featured elements - fire, leaf and ice, and the slogan was updated to Everyone's ABC. This however did not last, as later in the same year, the channel's idents were modified to feature everyday Australians. On 19 December 2005 the channels idents were revamped featuring glass televisions. These idents were also carried onto ABC2.

At midday on 8 February 2008 ABC TV was rebranded as ABC1, with the standard-definition redirect channel moved from LCN22 to LCN21, complementing the existing ABC2 digital-only channel launched on 7 March 2005.[10] Further cementing the change in identity was the change from the slogan There's more to television to It begins with 1. After concerns in some sections of the media that the 43-year-old Lissajous curve brand was to disappear completely, ABC management reaffirmed that it would remain in use by the corporation.[11][12]

As of 2009, ABC announced an upgrade to Digital transmission, there's a High and Standard Definition programmes, provide a seven-day Electronic Programme Guide and give new logical channel numbers for all of ABC’s television services. The new ABC logical channel numbers are below.

2009 Channel Numbers and names
LCN Service Resolution
02 ABC1 720x576i
20 ABC HD 1280x720p
21 ABC1 720x576i
22 ABC2 720x576i
23 ABC3 720x576i
24 ABC4 (For Future use currently broadcasts simulcast of ABC 2) 720x576i
200 ABC DiG Music N/A
201 ABC Jazz N/A



ABC1 is required by charter to meet certain programming obligations.[14] Although it has a strong focus on news and current affairs, it also presents documentaries and educational programmes, children's shows, drama, comedy and variety, and sports.

ABC1's drama line-up consists almost entirely of imported content including The West Wing, The Bill, Doctor Who, Life on Mars,Spooks and United States of Tara [15]. Recent locally-produced programmes have included Rain Shadow as well as mini-series such as Answered by Fire and Bastard Boys. It also shows repeats of past successful series including SeaChange, Something in the Air and Head Start.

Comedy on ABC1 is primarily locally-produced but also includes foreign series such as Little Britain, Extras, The Catherine Tate Show, and The IT Crowd. The network has launched the careers of a number of comedians including Magda Szubanski,[16] Gina Riley, Wil Anderson,[17] Dave Hughes[18] and Chris Lilley.[19] ABC1's present flagship comedy shows include Spicks and Specks and The Chaser's War on Everything. Former successful shows include Frontline, The Micallef Programme, The D-Generation, Mother and Son, Kath & Kim (now broadcast on the Seven Network), BackBerner, Good News Week (now broadcast on Network Ten), The Glass House, Summer Heights High, and The Aunty Jack Show.

The remainder of ABC1's schedule consists of lifestyle, music, game and talk shows. Lifestyle programmes include cooking shows such as The Cook and the Chef or travel related programmes, such as Pilot Guides, but also include programmes such as Gardening Australia, Compass and Message Stick. The network's music shows include rage and triple j tv (formally known as jtv) while previous music-oriented shows include Countdown and Recovery. Game shows include quiz shows The Einstein Factor and Head 2 Head, and competition based programmes Strictly Dancing and The New Inventors. ABC1 presents three talk shows, the locally produced Enough Rope and Talking Heads, as well as ITV1's Parkinson. In addition to this, ABC1 also broadcasts arts discussion shows At the Movies and Sunday Arts.

News and current affairs

ABC News, broadcast on ABC1, is a national news service produced by the News and Current Affairs division of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. A number of bulletins and updates are shown throughout the day, which include the flagship state-based evening bulletins of ABC News at 7.00pm, focused on local, national and international news relevant to their entire respective state or territory.[20] In addition, The Midday Report, a national weekdaily edition of ABC News, is broadcast at noon live from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's studios in Ultimo, Sydney. News updates for ABC1 are presented nationally throughout the day, however evening updates are shown in most states by their respective presenters.

Other flagship programmes, which include Four Corners, Australian Story, Foreign Correspondent, Lateline and The 7.30 Report, are broadcast in primetime and are widely-regarded for their agenda-setting journalism.[20] Similarly, each state-based station produces and broadcasts their respective edition of Stateline in primetime, which includes one for every state and territory of Australia. In addition, Landline, Insiders and Media Watch cover rural, political and business, and media affairs respectively.


ABC Sport currently holds the broadcast rights to a range of sports, which are broadcast on ABC1, these include the Women's Australian Open, Netball World Championships, Women's National Basketball League, as well as state football league competitions which include Australian rules football and rugby league.[20] In addition to this, The ABC also holds the rights to the Paralympic Games, Australian Rugby Championship and the Hopman Cup tennis tournament.

ABC Sport currently broadcasts a Grandstand Sport which included the state football league such as New South Wales Rugby Union, Queensland Rugby League, Victorian Football League, Tasmanian Football League, South Australian Football League, West Australian Football League, and Northern Territory Football League. in addition to Tiwi Islands Football League and Australian Rugby Championship.


ABC1's children's programming is more extensive than any other channel in Australia, apart from ABC 2.[20] Children's programming are broadcast in two blocks, mornings, 6:00 am to 10:00 am, and afternoons, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. In addition to this, ABC Rollercoaster is shown from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm, and is aimed at a slightly older demographic than ABC For Kids' three to six year olds.

ABC Kids consists of a mixture of both in-house and out-sourced children's television programmes. Due to their longevity, programmes such as Play School and Bananas in Pyjamas are iconic within Australia.

Children's programming also includes educational programmes. Behind the News is a long-running series which provides background information to current affairs. The programme has come to be incorporated into many school curricula. Schools TV is a segment between 10:00am and 11:00am that consists of documentaries and specials relevant to school study.


ABC1 varies depending on state and territory in terms of what 7:00 pm news bulletin, edition of Stateline, and in some stations promotions, are shown. National programming is often interrupted in order to show state election coverage. Each state and territory's individual station is based on that of its capital city, meaning that in the state of Victoria, all programmes originate from either Melbourne or Sydney, where the remainder of programmes are broadcast from. ABC1 is broadcast nationally via ABC Television transmitters, in an analogue and standard definition format, in addition to ABC HD, a national high definition broadcast of ABC1 with state-based content omitted.


ABC TV idents used from 2005 to 2008.

In the early years, ABC TV had been using Lissajous curves with its initials, ABC TV, inside it as fillers in-between programmes. A staff competition was conducted in 1963 to create a new logo for use on television, stationery, publications, microphone badges and ABC vehicles.[2] Graphic designer, Bill Kennard, who had been experimenting with telerecording of the Cathode Ray Oscillograph displays, submitted a design in 1965 which was part of the waveform of an oscilloscope.[2] The letters A-B-C were added to the wavelength design and it was adopted as the ABC's official logo.[2] Bill Kennard was paid £25 for his design.[2] This logo has been modified from two dimensions, to colour, to three dimensions, over time and it is now one of the most well-known logos in Australia.

To celebrate the introduction of colour television in 1975, the ABC logo was modified to a thickened version. The logo was also changed to an "over and under" design. To celebrate the Australian Bicentenary, on Australia Day in 1988, the idents were updated. The original set of idents were titled "Natural Textures of Australia", with a following called "Man Made Textures of Australia". The ABC logo featured on idents and promos was modified in 1995 to a similar design to that seen in 1963 on the first design. The logo was hand drawn by persons featured in the promos and idents.

To celebrate the introduction of digital terrestrial television in Australia in 2001, ABC TV's logo was again modified, but this time to a three-dimensional metallic design. The logo was also radically modified to lose the "over and under" design. In 2002, to celebrate seventy years of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, ABC TV's logo changed back to the "over and under" design, however it still kept the 3D Metallic design. The channels idents featured elements - fire, leaf and ice, and the slogan was modified to "Everyone's ABC". Later in 2002, the channels idents were modified to feature everyday Australians. On 19 December 2005 the channels idents were revamped featuring glass televisions. The ident's were also carried on ABC2 for the "ABC New & Digital Media" promo.

On 8 February 2008 the channel was renamed as ABC1 with its logo updated concurrently with ABC2, although a blue version.[10][21] In addition to this, the slogan There's more to Television was rebadged to It begins with 1.[21] After concerns in some sections of the media that the 43-year-old Lissajous curve brand was to disappear completely, ABC management reaffirmed that it would remain in use by the corporation.[11][12] Aside this, the idents were revamped to feature a version of that of later 2002, but with cartoons. In 2007, the ABC Television Coporation annouced that the the squiggle logo will not be removed but kept it a secret until in February 2008 when the ABC 1 logo was branded with the other logo.

2008 to present[21]
2008 to present[21]  


  • 1956: Different Lissajous curves on an oval base wave with the initials ABC TV inside. We zoom out to see it is on a television.
  • 1970: Australian Broadcasting Commission, National Television Service.
  • 1971: This is National Television ABC. (based on "A Shade of Brass")
  • 1972: This is ABC Television, The Good Looking Australian. (based on "A Shade of Brass")
  • 1972-73: Around Australia, You’re in Tune with the National Network - ABC Television.
  • 1975: Come to Colour on ABC National Television.
  • 1977: You're at Home with ABC.
  • 1980: The ABC logo is a white ribbon on a blue background, we zoom in on it and when we zoom out, there is a Western plain and the then ABC logo. ABC TV fades above it.
  • 1981: A blue ribbon goes down, then an orange outlined ABC logo zooms forward and has "ABC TV" above it.
  • 1982-83: ABC - Your National Network.
  • 1985-87: Red squares are made on the ground, we zoom through them to a yellow sun with an ABC logo which turns away. This identity was re-made for the "ABC By Satellite" programme.
  • 1988-89: Natural Textures of Australia.
  • 1990-95: Man-Made Textures.
  • 1995-2001: A different person hand-draws the ABC logo.
  • 2001-02: A circle is seen on a texture and morphs into the ABC logo.
  • Feb 2002 - 18 Dec 2005: An everyday situaton is seen with the slogan Everyone's ABC.
  • 19 Dec 2005 - 8 Feb 2008: The ABC logo turns into a television with a different picture in it for each identity. The slogan There's More to Television or a variation of it is seen.
  • 8 Feb 2008-: A single person is seen along with animations and the slogan It Begins with 1, which means that things begin with one person.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "About the ABC - The 50s - The Postwar Years". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2007-10-01. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Brooklyn Ross-Hulands. "AusTVHistory: Australian Broadcasting Corporation 1950s-1960s". AusTVHistory. Retrieved 2007-10-04. 
  3. ^ Twenty-Sixth Annual report of the Australian Broadcasting Commission, 1958 
  4. ^ a b c d "About the ABC - The 60s and 70s". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 
  5. ^ "GTK Title Details". National Film and Sound Archive.;adv=yes;group=;groupequals=;holdingType=;page=0;parentid=;query=Number%3A138467;querytype=;rec=0;resCount=10. Retrieved 2007-12-07. 
  6. ^ a b c d Inglis, Kenneth Stanley (2006). Whose ABC? The Australian Broadcasting Corporation 1983-2006. Melbourne, Victoria: Black Inc.. ISBN 1-86395-189-X. 
  7. ^ Brooklyn Ross-Hulands. "AusTVHistory: Australian Broadcasting Corporation 1970s-1980s". AusTVHistory. Retrieved 2007-10-04. 
  8. ^ "About the ABC - The 80s". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2007-10-01. 
  9. ^ "Digital TV to commence on 1 January 2001". Australian Broadcasting Authority. Retrieved 2007-08-19. 
  10. ^ a b "ABC promises more content choice". The Australian. 2008-02-06.,25197,23171159-12377,00.html. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  11. ^ a b Welch, Dylan (30 January 2008). "ABC squiggle to stay". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  12. ^ a b "ABC revamps squiggle logo". ABC Online. 30 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 1983. Retrieved 2007-12-06. 
  15. ^ "ABC takes Tara". TV Tonight. 2009-04-18. Retrieved 2009-09-13. 
  16. ^ "The Magda carta". The Age. 2003-09-14. Retrieved 2007-12-07. 
  17. ^ "Wil Anderson Bios". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2007-12-07. 
  18. ^ "Dave Hughes Bios". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2007-12-07. 
  19. ^ "ABC hits new heights". Sydney Morning Herald. 2007-09-07. Retrieved 2007-12-07. 
  20. ^ a b c d "Annual Report 2006-07". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2007-11-01. Retrieved 2007-12-06. 
  21. ^ a b c "It begins with 1". TV Tonight. 2008-01-26. Retrieved 2008-01-29. 

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