ABC Canberra (TV station)

ABC Television in the ACT comprises national and local programming on the ABC television network in the Australian Capital Territory, which includes the capital city of Australia, Canberra, and broadcasts on a number of channels under the ABC call sign. There is some local programming from the Canberra studio.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation logo (1974-).svg
AffiliationsABC Television
OwnerAustralian Broadcasting Corporation
First air date
18 December 1962; 59 years ago (1962-12-18)
Former channel number(s)
3 (VHF) (1962–1996)(analogue)
9 (VHF) (1996–2012)(analogue)
9A (VHF) (2003–2014) (digital)
Call sign meaning
ABC Canberra
Technical information
ERP50 kW (digital)
HAAT362 m (digital)[1]
Transmitter coordinates35°16′32″S 149°5′52″E / 35.27556°S 149.09778°E / -35.27556; 149.09778 (ABC)

ABC was the historic name of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's television station in Canberra which launched in 1962, with the "C" in the call sign standing for Canberra. It was also referred to as ABC 3 (not to be confused with ABC Me children's channel launched in 2009).


ABC Canberra studios

The station began broadcasting as ABC-3 on 18 December 1962, soon before prime minister Robert Menzies officially opened the new station at a special reception at Hotel Canberra.[2] The "C" in the call sign stands for Canberra.[3]

Unusually, the station commenced transmission before a local television studio was able to be constructed, with initial transmission of ABC-3 being a direct relay of ABN-2 in Sydney.[4] The station opened at 3pm on 18 December 1962 with a test card and music, followed by Kindergarten Playtime at 4:45pm.[2] ABC-3's main transmitter was constructed at Black Mountain.[5]

ABC-3 began broadcasting local programs on 3 June 1963 from a temporary studio in the existing 2CN/2CY building in Civic.[6] Mervyn Edie was the first person to read the local news on ABC-3.[6]

New ABC studios were constructed in Northbourne Avenue in Dickson.[7][8] Local ABC radio services commenced broadcasting from the new facility on 3 August 1964.[9] ABC-3 commenced television programs from the new studios on 8 October 1964 when the local news became the first program to be broadcast.[10] The new studios were officially opened by Postmaster General Alan Hulme on 22 October 1964.[11] ABC chairman James Ralph Darling and senator John Gorton also spoke at the event.[12]

Local television programs to be broadcast from the ABC-3 studios in the station's early years included Southern Gardener, Canberra Week, Studio 11, Canberra Camera along with local news, sport and weather.[13][14][15][16]

For 22 years, ABC-3's local news was a brief five minute bulletin which went to air each night at 6:55pm.[17] This ended on 15 February 1985 as the station prepared to produce a new 10-minute bulletin which was expected to go to air at approximately 7:20pm each night towards the end of the ABC's new national news program The National hosted by Richard Morecroft and Geraldine Doogue.[17][18] When The National ended and state based news bulletins were reinstated on 9 December 1985, local Canberra news continued to be provided in a brief segment during the New South Wales edition of ABC News until the first full half-hour ACT edition went to air in February 1989, read by Janet Wilson.[19] This continued until 1991 when local news production was entirely axed amid the Hawke Government's funding cut to the ABC totaling $15 million.[20][21] The local ABC News bulletin was replaced with the New South Wales edition presented by Richard Morecroft from Sydney.[20]

A local ACT edition of ABC News was re-introduced in 2001.[22] This was the same year that Southern Cross Broadcasting axed Ten Capital News, leaving the ABC and WIN Television as being the only stations to have a locally presented news bulletin from studios in Canberra.[23]

When WIN Television closed their Canberra studio in 2013 and relocated the production of their local WIN News bulletin to Wollongong, New South Wales, the ABC was left as the only remaining station to have a locally presented news bulletin produced in Canberra for ACT viewers.[24][25]

Canberra was the first city in Australia in which analogue television was switched off, in 2012, meaning that only digital television services are transmitted.[26]

In November 2014, it was announced the long-running weekly local current affairs program 7.30 ACT (previously known as Stateline) would be axed due to the Abbott Government's funding cuts to the ABC.[27] The final edition went to air on 5 December 2014.[28]

In 2019, the ABC in Canberra introduced an Acknowledgement of Country during ABC News Canberra.[29] Ngunnawal elders were presented in the television studio to witness the first edition of ABC News Canberra to include the Acknowledgement of Country go to air which saw newsreader Dan Bourchier sign off by saying: "And that's the latest from the Canberra newsroom, proudly broadcasting from the land of the Ngunnawal people. As part of our ongoing commitment to Indigenous recognition, the ABC is partnering with the United Ngunnawal Elders Council and pays respect to them — the first people of this land. I'm Dan Bourchier, Yarra, Goodnight".[29] Bourchier had opened the bulletin by saying "Yuma", the traditional greeting with graphics behind him including the words "Ngunnawal Country".[29]

ABC Television in ACT todayEdit

As of 2021 there are four transmitters broadcasting ABC channels 8, 36 and 41, with one still situated on Black Mountain.[30]

Local programmingEdit

ABC News Canberra is presented by Dan Bourchier from Sunday to Thursday and Craig Allen on Friday and Saturday. The weeknight bulletins incorporate a national finance section presented by Alan Kohler in Melbourne.[citation needed]

A new studio set was introduced in mid-2014 to match the rest of the ABC News network.[citation needed]

The weekly current affairs program, 7.30 ACT was presented by Chris Kimball[citation needed] until its cancellation in 2014 in a round of severe cuts to the ABC.[31]


  1. ^ HAAT estimated from using EHAAT.
  2. ^ a b "Birth of station celebrated: 'Important Place', PM tells ABC-3 viewers". The Canberra Times. 15 December 1962. Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  3. ^ "History of Australian Television". OnlyMelbourne. Retrieved 18 June 2021.
  4. ^ "'No studios' for ABC TV opening". The Canberra Times. 7 June 1962. Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  5. ^ "From bushland to TV in six months". The Canberra Times. 26 March 1962. Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  6. ^ a b "ABC telecasts soon". The Canberra Times. 24 May 1963. Retrieved 28 May 2022.
  7. ^ "Work well advanced on ABC building". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  8. ^ "New ABC studios will soon be completed". The Canberra Times. 28 February 1964. Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  9. ^ "New ABC studio in use today". The Canberra Times. 3 August 1964. Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  10. ^ "ABC moves into new studios". The Canberra Times. 12 October 1964. Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  11. ^ "ABC studios open tonight". The Canberra Times. 22 October 1964. Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  12. ^ "'Top TV service'". The Canberra Times. 23 October 1964. Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  13. ^ "The camera will come to the garden - public is invited to filmings". The Canberra Times. 18 July 1966. Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  14. ^ "Canberra Week back". The Canberra Times. 1 February 1965. Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  15. ^ "Local show gets fresh outlook on life". The Canberra Times. 13 June 1966. Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  16. ^ "New time for ABC-3 Canberra Camera". The Canberra Times. 13 April 1967. Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  17. ^ a b Waller, Hugh (16 February 1985). "An era ends at Auntie". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  18. ^ "The National, ABC's $25m news gamble". TelevisionAU. 4 March 2015. Retrieved 29 May 2022. The National also took the risky move of abandoning state-based news coverage, with New South Wales, Victoria, the ACT and Northern Territory all receiving the same program from Sydney (fronted by Richard Morecroft and Geraldine Doogue) with only a token 10-minute ‘window’ at the end of the program to allow Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Darwin to cover their own local news.
  19. ^ Zakharov, Jeannie (30 January 1989). "Reading the news for Auntie: A change of style and change of face for ABC TV's local news in 1989". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  20. ^ a b Wallace, Mark; Uhlmann, Amanda (8 August 1991). "ABC to axe ACT TV news". Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  21. ^ "ABC chief confirms cuts". The Canberra Times. 9 August 1991. Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  22. ^ Doherty, Megan (5 December 2018). "A familiar face is returning to Canberra airwaves at ABC radio". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 29 May 2022. ...worked on ABC’s 7pm News when Canberra's local bulletin was reintroduced in 2001
  23. ^ "50 years of TV in Canberra". TelevisionAU. 2 June 2012. Retrieved 29 May 2022. Capital continued to produce a nightly local and national news bulletin for the Canberra market until owners Southern Cross Broadcasting axed a number of local news services across its wider network at the end of 2001.
  24. ^ Doherty, Megan; Boland-Rudder, Hamish (27 June 2013). "Dismay grows over WIN shift to Wollongong". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  25. ^ Doherty, Megan (23 April 2018). "ABC ahead in news race after time shift a turn-off for WIN". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 29 May 2022. ABC News is now the only television news bulletin produced and presented in Canberra and we remain committed to providing our viewers with a reliable and comprehensive news service...
  26. ^ "TV viewers say adieu to analogue". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2 April 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2021.
  27. ^ Belot, Henry (18 November 2014). "Canberra 7.30 program to go as part of ABC funding cuts". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  28. ^ Hannaford, Scott (4 December 2014). "7.30 prepares to farwell Canberra with a bang". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  29. ^ a b c Johnson, Natasha (14 November 2019). "ABC News Canberra introduces Indigenous Acknowledgement of Country in news bulletins". ABC News. Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  30. ^ Australian Communications and Media Authority (April 2021). "Section 7: Television Callsign order (by state)" (PDF). Radio and television broadcasting stations: Internet edition (PDF). ACMA. p. 151. Retrieved 18 June 2021.   Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence.
  31. ^ Kidd, Jessica (24 November 2014). "Nearly 1 in 10 ABC staff facing redundancy as cuts bite". ABC News. Retrieved 18 June 2021.