The Television was introduced to homes in Australia in 1956. Since then, a lot has changed. TVs began as black and white boxes that took up a quarter of the living room – now they’ve evolved into curved flat-screens that take up the entire living room wall. The Television isn’t as much of a privilege as it used to be, instead, now we’ve been known to sit on the couch, with our phone/tablet/laptop with us, complaining about how many advertisements there are.
According to my mum, though, the transition was a long one. She lived in a house in Port Kembla with her family. Though, for her, the household wasn’t centred on the TV or other gadgets – along with any other Italian Family, the household was centred on food. (Who’s complaining?) Upon asking my mother what her first television was like she looked at me, confused as to why I was asking her, and said ‘I don’t want to reveal how old I am’.
After thorough persuasion, she finally told me. She remembers the first television that her family ever owned to be black and white, ‘like a big box that looked like a cabinet’ with dials on the front. Now that’s a contrast to using my iPad to watch Netflix instead of watching the actual TV.
When interviewing my mother, I thought about how much our childhoods contrasted with each other. It’s weird to think that TV time was what was known as ‘family time’ for her family. When now, I’ve got the TV on, with my ‘FRIENDS’ box set playing as background noise to the homework I’m attempting to do.
With the introduction of colour TV and the addition of multiple channels, the television began to evolve into common household appliances – so much so, that mum’s family added another TV in the kitchen/dining room. Not only did she used to watch shows for recreation in the living room, but it also became a common occurrence to have the TV on in the dining room (on the Italian Channel, no doubt).
Mum remembers shows such as the ‘Brady Bunch’, ‘Tom and Jerry’ and ‘Gilligan’s Island’. Though her fondest memories was on Saturdays – when family and friends would be over. The parents would all be in one room playing cards and chatting, and the children would be in the living room watching movies (‘mostly scary movies’).
Nowadays, the television isn’t only used for televised purposes. It can be a computer, a stereo – anything you want. And shows that used to be available only on the TV are now available anywhere – Netflix and Stan for example. Not only has this changed how we come together, but it has also changed how families (and friends) interact. The Television isn’t just on for the news or for the ‘Brady Bunch’ at 7pm – sometimes it’s always on. While ironing – while cooking dinner – the background noise whilst I study. It’s everywhere.