FURNITURE was rearranged, evening schedules altered and wireless radios sidelined.
Shopfront displays mesmerised passers-by, newspaper after newspaper heralded its imminent birth. Some people even travelled to Melbourne to buy the equipment for themselves.
More than five years after dinner suit-clad Bruce Gyngell uttered "welcome to television" in a Sydney church hall, which doubled as a studio, the new medium finally arrived in south-west Victoria.
Crackling pictures could be received on some south-west televisions prior to the launch of Ballarat Television Victoria (BTV6) but its grand opening in April 1962 cemented the medium's influence.
Australian Broadcasting Commission chairman Sir James Darling opened the sparkling new station alongside BTV6 board chairman Alan Pittard after months of promotion.
Its early incarnation was rudimentary at best. Programming would start at 4pm and run until the royal anthem and test pattern rolled up again shortly after 11pm.
Television repair businessman John O'Rourke installed the south-west's first antenna in January 1957. He said people were transfixed by blurry transmissions from Melbourne picked up on his new set.
"I can proudly say that I had the first television in the Western District a Healing 21-inch set which cost me about 16 weeks' wages, but it was worth it," Mr O'Rourke beamed.
"We had a 100-foot (30 metre) tower out the back of the house, near where Hammonds Paints is.
"Only a few days after we installed the antenna, the wind picked up and we managed to get pictures.
"So after that got out, we had half of Warrnambool around at our place the following night.
"The weather wasn't as good, so we just had static and everyone went home disappointed."
Buying a new set was not an economical transaction. Televisions such as the AWA Radiola or the 58cm Kriesler cost anywhere between 149 to 210 guineas. According to the Reserve Bank, the same sets would cost between $3800 and $4200 in today's currency.
"Everything changed once television came in," Mr O'Rourke said.
"Radio and cards kept people entertained of an evening but here was this thing that came into our living rooms and the way we were entertained changed.
"Anyone aged 50 or under can't understand how revolutionary it was."
Live entertainment seen in concert halls was effectively translated to the small screen. Variety, music and American dramas dominated the earlier schedules.
The Bert Newton Show, Burns and Allen and Revue '62 all provided light and breezy entertainment on DuMont television sets.
"People would crowd around the electrical stores, like AG Smiths, to catch a glimpse of the showcase television set," Mr O'Rourke said. "It was pretty crackly and you really couldn't see much but people were amazed by it."
The way news was delivered to the south-west altered dramatically. World events such as the assassination of American president John F. Kennedy and the 1964 Olympic Games gave viewers a ringside seat to world events whereas they once relied on newsprint and radiowaves.
Long-serving BTV6 news editor Roy Taylor was at the centre of all the region's big news events over three decades.
He was at the channel's launch and worked as a film supervisor before his skills in front and behind the camera saw him thrust into the newsroom.
"News is delivered in an instant in the modern era with coverage around the clock, but 50 years ago television sped the news cycle up significantly," Mr Taylor said.
"Covering local news, local people and events was such a big drawcard at the time. I remember the first time BTV6 went to air. Vividly. The station logo flashed up on screen, then we had a Stuyvesant cigarette commercial. You wouldn't be able to get away with that now."
Both Mr Taylor and television presenter Val Sarah witnessed the introduction of colour television in March 1975, known in the industry as C-Day. Mrs Sarah said magazine and variety programs benefited from banishing monochrome, with viewers able to have a "real visual image" of what was being broadcast.
"Colour changed everything because the viewer expected more from the wardrobe and sets," Mrs Sarah said.
"This was 1975 of course, so the outlandish fashions were suited to the technicolor times."
Local programming extended across the genre spectrum. BTV6 produced magazine programs for female viewers, racing telecasts including the Warrnambool Cup, rural affairs and a football analysis panel show.
Variety was also a key part of local programming with Six Tonight and Thursday Night Live bringing a cavalcade of guests to the local small screen including actress Sophia Loren, comedian Reg Varney, singer John Farnham and all-round entertainer Harry Secombe.
Television presenter Daryl Somers started his career on Melbourne's GTV9 but the veteran entertainer also appeared simultaneously on BTV6 talent program Starquest from 1979 to 1981.
He told The Standard his career at that time was running at a frenetic pace with hosting and production duties on Hey, Hey it's Saturday alongside his role at BTV6 and music career.
"The program started off as Starquest and changed names to Showbiz 80 and 81. It was really a regional version of New Faces and gave a lot of up-and-coming singers, musicians and entertainers an opportunity to get in front of the camera," Mr Somers said.
"Those type of programmes fell out of favour but now we have Australian Idol and Australia's Got Talent, which are really updated versions of an old formula."
Mr Somers said most unique regional programs disappeared once station monopolies were broken up by the Hawke government in the late 1980s.
"Regional television's golden years were in the 1960s and 70s when stations such as BTV6 had a monopoly on the commercial content people watched," the former Hey Hey host said.
"BTV6 had the same feel as GTV9 during those early years with Graham Kennedy and Bert Newton on In Melbourne Tonight.
"But the writing was on the wall. I think most people were keen to see the same programming that people in Melbourne were watching."
Television in the south-west would be impacted by the breaking of the two-channel duopoly like no other time since its grainy inception 25 years beforehand.
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