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Australian History

November 23, 1923 – Australia’s first public wireless broadcast begins


Family Listening to  ABC Radio Opening in 1932

Family Listening to ABC Radio Opening in 1932

The development of the wireless telegraphy system, which came to be known as “radio” is attributed to Guglielmo Marconi.

Marconi first demonstrated the transmission and reception of Morse Code based radio signals over a distance of 2 or more kilometres in England in 1896, and from this point began the development and expansion of radio technology around the world.

At 8:00pm on 23 November 1923, Radio 2SB in Sydney went to air for the first time from a studio located in the Smith’s Weekly building in Phillip Street.

2SB, Sydney Broadcasters Ltd, had been in competition with Farmer and Company, 2FC, since it had announced its intention to begin transmission in August of that year.

2SB originally set its first transmission date as November 15, but setbacks caused the broadcast to be postponed until the 23rd of the month.

The broadcast was a performance of ‘Le Cygne’, from ‘Carnaval des Animaux’ by Camille Saint-Saens.

2FC first aired two weeks later, on 5 December 1923, and the similarities of the stations’ names confused listeners. 2SB was changed to 2BL, for Broadcasters Limited, three months after its inaugural broadcast.

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