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The Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) was established under the Australian Broadcasting Commission Act 1932 (Cth). The Act established a government controlled body that was closely modelled on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and was responsible for the broadcasting of music, current affairs, religious, educational and other programs.
The Commission commenced operations on 1 July 1932. It inherited twelve broadcasting stations from its predecessor, the Australian Broadcasting Company. These included Australia's first full-time radio station, 2SB (later 2BL and now 702 ABC Sydney), which went to air in November 1923. Another inherited station, 2FC (now ABC Radio National), went to air two weeks later.
The ABC gradually expanded its coverage in both regional and metropolitan areas and there were legislative changes affecting its activities. In 1947, the ABC introduced its independent news service and its first television stations were opened in 1956.
The Government accepted a number of recommendations of an independent review of the ABC (1979-1981) and, in the resulting legislation, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983 (Cth), the Australian Broadcasting Commission was abolished and replaced by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in1983.
The corporation's functions include the provision of innovative and comprehensive broadcasting and television services of a high standard that involve broadcasting and television programs of an educational nature and that contribute to a sense of national identity, inform and entertain, and reflect the cultural diversity of the Australian community.
The ABC had set up archival arrangements for its records by the 1970s. This is a combined directory entry for ABC Archives, including the previously three separate ABC Document, Radio and Television Archives directory entries.
Researchers into ABC programs and history should always also contact the National Archives of Australia (www.naa.gov.au) as ABC records are transferred to that organisation. Within the ABC, beyond a limited initial search, researchers may need to pay for further research through our Library Sales service.
Holdings include programs in audio and video formats; written records including online content; ABC publications (including ABC Weekly, 24 Hours) and photographs focusing on ABC programs, people and premises.