Previous find of the month - 06/2010

Previous find of the month

June 2010

Television Antennae in Canberra

As Canberra is on the verge of the cessation of analogue television transmissions with the full switch-over to Digital TV in 2013, we thought it would be timely to look back to when television first started in Canberra. In June of 1962, CTC7 (now Southern Cross 10) began television transmissions in Canberra from their Black Mountain tower.  Prior to this some residents had installed high mast antennas in an attempt to pick up the Sydney stations.

The file ‘61/29/0 - Television Antennae’ documents how the introduction of a local broadcaster concerned NCDC town planners who were fearful that “unsightly” television antennas on every house would damage the Garden City’s appearance.

NCDC Minutes 20/02/1961 - page 166

NCDC Minutes 20/02/1961 - page 167

NCDC Minutes 20/02/1961 - page 168

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To overcome this, the Postmaster-General's Department was approached to design a large antenna that would fit inside the roof cavity of houses. At this time Belconnen had yet to be developed and work was just starting on the Woden Valley so internal antennas were suitable for much of Canberra.

Canberra Times 20/03/1962

NCDC Minutes 16/04/1962

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Letter from NCDC to ACT Advisory Council 27/04/1962 - page 1

Letter from NCDC to ACT Advisory Council 27/04/1962 - page 2

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At that time there was no legislation preventing the erection of TV antennas in Canberra.

NCDC Minutes 30/04/1962 - page 368

NCDC Minutes 30/04/1962 - page 369

NCDC Minutes 30/04/1962 - page 370

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However there were many suggestions that legislation be passed to make it illegal except in special circumstances. The following folio indicates that the ‘Buildings (Design and Siting) Ordinance’ was co-opted for this purpose “that no external structures of any kind will be erected without approval of the National Capital Development Commission”.

NCDC Minutes 13/03/1972

As Canberra has expanded, the need for external television antennas increased so these restrictions on seeking approvals have over time been removed. Today an external antenna is essential to get the most out of Digital TV regardless of what part of Canberra you live in.

The current planning rules regarding television antennas can be viewed here: ACT Planning & Land Authority : Mast Antennas 

The current Legislation can be viewed here: Planning & Development Regulation 2008 

External links: 

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