My dad, Tim Foster (53), remembers living in a small timber weather board house, built in the mid 60’s, in Shellharbour Village on Eastern Avenue. But he was not the only inhabitant of the family home. Along with himself, the house hosted his parents, an older brother, a younger sister, and a chook shed out the back, complete with annoying rooster that crowed in the wee hours of the morning.
Tim can always remember having a television that played in black and white, as it had fuzzy and often interrupted reception, which was also badly affected by weather conditions. The TV used to reside in the main living room settled on a little table or box – he can’t remember which – with a few of his mother’s ornaments adorning its top. To the TV’s right sat a standard lamp, to its left, an open fire with a brick hearth and huge copper domed hood. Garish white and gold trim wallpaper adorned the walls with imitation brick wallpaper on the wall behind the TV. Golden brown carpet, simple three light brass chandelier, brass wall lights with frosted glass shades, two arm chairs and a lounge that folded down into a bed, a much loved bean bag, a timber and glass wall unit stuffed with books and ornaments, a magazine rack, and the “obligatory three ducks on the wall, each flying diagonally off into the distance.” It is amazing how much Tim can remember about the space the television inhabited yet, he cannot remember when they got it.
He does, however, remember when they got a coloured television. Tim remembers his late father walking through the door one night with this Rank Arena colour television, so that he could watch the FA Cup as he was a big soccer fan. The initial reception wasn’t great so they needed a new antenna, but when they had that sorted out, they were the first ones in the street to have coloured television. The neighbours and their kids would frequent the house to admire this novelty, and watch cartoons in colour for the first time ever. “If you’ve ever watched cartoons in black and white, and then to see them in full colour, it’s chalk and cheese,” Tim said, “Instead of 50 shades of grey, it was like a technicolour yawn.”
Tim’s most vivid memory relating to television was seeing Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon in 1969, back when they had a black and white television. Tim and his siblings were allowed home early from school so they could witness the historic event. When asked if he believed what was going on he told me he did, because back then when you saw it on TV you took it as fact, it had to be true because you could see it with your own eyes. Other programs he used to run home after school to watch were ‘The Goodies,’ ‘The Ghost and Mrs Muir,’ and the ‘Mickey Mouse Club.’ Despite having a coloured television, the family would sometimes be disappointed when a show came on and it would be in black and white, my dad would have to smother a giggle while his mother cried, “we’ve paid all this flamin’ money for a coloured television and we’ve got to watch this show in black and white.”