Australian television began in the 1920s, when Tom Elliott
experimented with electromechanical television similar to Baird’s system. The
unlikely location for his futuristic lab was a convict-built windmill at Spring
Wally Nichols, a 24-year old Sydney photographer, read all he
could about Baird’s system and built a 16-line TV in 1928 but was forced to
cease experiments due to the cost and time involved.
By 1929, Gilbert Miles made the first Australian television
transmission, also using equipment similar to Baird’s. His ‘Radiovision’
experiments were conducted with Donald McDonald, transmitting from 3DB and 3UZ
in Melbourne. This company developed early television and facsimile picture
So television was looking very promising for Australia. The
British General Electric Co announced in 1929 they were making 100,000 TV sets
‘soon’, with 5000 destined for Australia. Transmitters were installed in
Melbourne’s Menzies Hotel. Two more were planned for Melbourne and one for
Sydney. An article announced 3DB expected to have broadcasting apparatus
installed ‘in a few days’.
A few months later, Ernst Fisk of AWA announced picture
transmissions would commence from radio stations 3LO Melbourne and 2FC Sydney as
soon as business arrangements were completed. Much of this must have been
undercapitalised competitive fanfaronade, as only experiments continued.