Television has evolved over the years and can define our space in the media world. It can be the platform in which we hold some of our earliest memories. Early memories are things that need to be desired and treasured forever.
Television came about in a time of change and after World War II television had expanded in sales in the UK and the US. Broadcast Television in Australia began in 1956 as Australia was getting prepared to host its first ever Olympics In Melbourne. Constant images of families sitting together watching television would been seen in newspapers and would not only boost sales for television but it would later on develop into a necessity. It brought families together, generated memories and further the idea of the family room. Television gradually became the main leisure activity for children (Livingstone 2009). After school children would go home watch television then when there father came home from work they would sit together as a family have dinner and watch television.
Whenever I have asked people about their earliest memories they would always say something along the lines of “well i used to sit in front of a TV watching” and then they would go into quite specific detail. I wanted to talk to someone who grew up during this time. It was important to get a much older perspective on television. Something that I could not identify with as I wanted understand the evolution of television and how place has an important emphasis on the process of that evolution. I would as a series of questions about television which focused on the themes of memories, location and place.
So I decided to interview my mother Bronwyn who grew up in the south coastal town of Kiama. She grew up with her sister and her parents and lived on a dairy farm called Silver hill which is now highly populated housing establishment. My mother was born in 1957. She grew up in a time of change and went through a lot of hard work in teenage years helping her mother and father with the dairy cattle. She loved every moment of her childhood driving up to Saddleback Mountain look out just to see the view of the coastline and beauty of the ocean. The house was located half way up a mountain surrounded by trees and farmland. My mother witnessed a lot of historical moments on television. These included JFK’s assassination in 1963, The Beatles arriving in Australia in 1964 and the moon landing in 1969. Television was evolving and was being generated into new and innovative ways.
When watching TV She would always sit in a chair and her sister would always sit down the front on the wooden floor. Her sister would not sit there in winter as she would sit on the lounge curled up into a little ball. The TV was the focal point for the room. It sat on top of a wooden stand. In the early 1970s they got a colour TV and she remembered watching the cricket. Her father loved the idea of watching the cricket as he played it all through his childhood and would listen to it on radio. My mother can remembered watching the ashes with her father as they would get excited every time Dennis Lillee was about to bowl.
I found this to be an interesting and deeply engaging conversation. I had never really asked my mother about her experience with television as a child. Our memories of watching television are somehow similar. The unusual thing was that I used to sit right in front of television just like my aunty but instead of a wooden floor it was carpet.
We share a similar feeling on watching television. We used it as a time of relaxation sometimes for the entertainment. My mother would also watch Looney Tunes and I would as well. We would both watch television at the same time mainly after dinner and during breakfast. She would always play with a toy train in front of the television as I used to play with a toy car. As I mentioned before I wanted to interview someone who had a different experience but the strange thing is that there were a lot of similarities.
The 1960s and the 1970s would have been an unique time to grow up. My mother was pretty lucky as she grew up in a time of rapid change, Australia was changing and so was the world. My mother was telling me stories as if she was there yesterday. That is what defines place for us all. Memories enhance and make the idea of place important. If we can clearly remembered where we were when something happened that makes all the more special.
Bowles, K 2015, ‘television strange objects in the media space’, Lecture
Livingstone, S 2009, ‘Half a century of television in the lives of our Children’, The ANNALS of the American academy of political and social science, pp 151-163