It was dubbed ‘C-Day’, March 1st, 1975. The day colour television transmissions began in Australia. On the stroke of midnight, colour appeared across television sets and revolutionised the TV viewing experience forever.
Rewind to 1954, when colour television was introduced in the United States. It was 8 years later in 1962 and ’63 when colour television manufacturers made their way over to Australia to demonstrate their exciting new product. Later, on the 15th of February 1972, Prime Minister William McMahon announced that colour transmission would commence on 1 March 1975. Advertisements for colour television sets began appearing during the lead up to C-Day from brands like Sanyo, Rank, Sharp, Panasonic Sony and National.
Buying a Colour TV set you back around $1000 – $1300 in the 70s, which is equivalent to $8250 – $10,700 in today’s prices.
Colour test patterns were introduced to television channel broadcasts from 7 October 1974. They were broadcast for one hour per day in 15-minute sessions in order for TV owners to correctly align their colour television receivers in preparation for the switch to colour TV.
It took almost 20 years before the magic of colour found it’s way across the globe to Australian Shores, but at 11:59pm on February 28, 1975, Australians said goodbye to Black & White, and hello to Colour.
Check out the video below, broadcast on ABC from 11:57pm on the 28th February 1975. At exactly midnight, the episode of The Aunty Jack Show has transformed from black and white to colour.
(Skip to 2 minutes & 10 seconds to see the colour monster take over!)