Degree Name

Master of Philosophy


School of the Arts, English and Media - Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts


The experience of many individuals living across rural Australia challenges the popular notion that television “arrived” in September 1956, then spread rapidly across the country quickly evolving into a pervasive nation shaping cultural force. Although by the end on the 1950s all state capitals could boast at least one commercial and one public station, outside of the metropolis access to the new technology was limited and was to remain so in some instances for decades.

Using the introduction of free-to-air television to the rural south eastern corner of Australia as a case study this thesis explores the local cultural consequences of poor access to media and communications technologies. Both archival and ethnographic research strategies have been employed, with data obtained from regional and rural newspapers; the records of historically relevant regulatory bodies and the oral histories of 21 residents drawn from across the district. The thesis demonstrates how theories of practice can be used firstly to provide an account of the establishment of a television service to an Australian country television district and, secondly to consider the relationship between access to communications technology and “sense of place”. Particular attention is paid to the role of television in bringing stability to the discursive association between the south-eastern corner of Australia and its sobriquet the “forgotten corner”.

I conclude that rather than promoting national unity, the sub-standard television service on offer to this rural populace reinforced long-standing feelings of separation and difference. The thesis also highlights the inequity of service that has historically distinguished metropolitan from rural Australia and highlights the need for further research that takes into account the diversity within the experience of television across time and place.