Australian children's programmes

by dfle3 | created - 22 Sep 2014 | updated - 2 months ago | Public

All sorts!

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1. Adventure Island (1967–1973)

30 min | Family

Children's pantomime-style series about the characters from the Kingdom of Diddley-Dum-Diddley.

Stars: Brian Crossley, Lindsay Edwards, Liz Harris, John Michael Howson

Votes: 23

Mentioned on a segment of the ABC TV arts programme The Mix (17/04/2016), with relation to an exhibition of ABC TV programmes which aired between (from memory), 1964 and 1974.

2. The Adventures of Long John Silver (1955–1957)

30 min | Adventure, Family

Swashbuckling made for TVs episodes staring 'Legend' Robert newton as Long John Silver and argh 'Jim Larrd' as they face many new adventures......

Stars: Robert Newton, Connie Gilchrist, Kit Taylor, Eric Reiman

Votes: 122

Very surprised to see this was an Australian tv show! Stumbled upon this reference on the website Apparently Australia's first ever tv series! The site says, in part:

"The first television series to be produced in Australia was made before we had television. The Adventures Of Long John Silver was a 26 episode, half-hour series made for the English and American markets...It is somewhat ironic that this should be Australia's first television series".

3. Adventures of the Seaspray (1965– )

30 min | Adventure, Family

The story centred on widowed journalist Dan Wells, who is sailing the Pacific with on his 25-metre schooner "Seaspray", with his three children Mike, Noah and Sue, assisted by their Fijian crewman.

Stars: Susanne Haworth, Gary Gray, Leoni Lesinawi, Walter Brown

Votes: 56

I've got this in my Australian dramas list...Wikipedia not that informative about what its target audience was, but a link to another site describes it as a "family" series, so I'll include it here...where perhaps it most belongs...?

4. The Adventures of Sebastian the Fox (1963– )

10 min

The adventures of a cheeky fox who travels around Australia.

Stars: Barry Humphries, Judith Arthy, Tom Burstall, Michael Heron

Hmm...I wonder if this is the show I have vague memories of as a child...think I may have tried to look up this show some years ago but using a search term like "20th century fox".

5. Barrier Reef (1971–1972)

30 min | Adventure

Ted King is captain of research ship New Endeavor in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef. His crew is a mix of divers like Jack and scientists studying the ocean's mysteries. They have at ... See full summary »

Stars: Joe James, Harold Hopkins, Ken James, George Assang

Votes: 28

This came up via a link in Wikipedia to another site with information on "Adventures of the Seaspray". It's described at that other site as a "family" series, so I'll include it here too. Looking at the cast, it's notable for having famous Australian ocean photographers Ron and Valerie Taylor, who, I believe, were involved in the filming of the hit movie "Jaws". Also interestingly, it was picked up by the BBC and NBC in the well as in numerous other countries.

6. Curiosity Show (1974– )

60 min | Family

Educational show with a focus on science projects for children to make at home.

Stars: Patsy Biscoe, Alan Farwell, Deane Hutton, Rob Morrison

Votes: 66

"I'm glad you asked!".

Apparently the hosts of this interesting educational/science series have brought the rights to this show and now have a You Tube channel devoted to it. Aimed at teenagers, I'd say.

Here's their You Tube channel:

Wikipedia mentions that the format was picked up in the U.S. and had young hosts, as the network didn't believe that middle-aged hosts would rate well...even though it did in Australia. The U.S. version was called "3-2-1 contact".

I was very surprised to learn that the Australian show was a spin-off from "Here's Humphrey"!! Their segment was introduced as "Humphrey B Bear's curiosity show".

The Australian show also won "the coveted Prix Jeunesse in 1984, voted by peers from around the world as the best factual program for children".

Not sure if this show created the catchphrase "here's one I prepared earlier".

Another Pr. Julius Sumner Miller title. Makes me think: Boy, they don't make shows like this any more, do they?

Wikipedia states:

This program was a series of 45 shows (approximately 15 minutes each).

For pre-schoolers.

Suggested by JeiceWarrior.

Wikipedia states:

"Debuted 29 October 1956, the series aired live on Sydney station TCN-9...The series was aimed at children from ages four to twelve".

10. Gerry Gee's Jamboree (1958 TV Movie)

45 min

According to a TV listing, this was a variety special featuring ventriloquists and their dolls.

Star: Ron Blaskett

I can't find a listing for the "The happy hour" spin-off starring the ventriloquist doll of this name, "The Adventures of Gerry Gee "

11. The Girl from Tomorrow (1991–1992)

23 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

Alana, a teenage girl from the year 3000, finds herself trapped in 1990 with a criminal from the year 2500. Alone, and confused, she befriends a spirited girl named Jenny Kelly. Together ... See full summary »

Stars: Katharine Cullen, Melissa Marshall, James Findlay, Andrew Clarke

Votes: 989

Hadn't heard of this series until someone started lobbying for it to be included in my live poll on the best Australian mini-series of all time.

12. The Girl from Tomorrow (1992 TV Movie)

104 min | Sci-Fi

A teenager from the year 3000 takes part in a time-travel experiment, but due to a malfunction finds herself sent back to the year 1990, along with a criminal from the year 2500. She must ... See full summary »

Director: Kathy Mueller | Stars: Katharine Cullen, Melissa Marshall, James Findlay, Andrew Clarke

Votes: 213

Not exactly sure where this movie fits in...a sequel? A movie length adaptation of the original tv series?

Wikipedia states that the original title was "The happy show", which this site doesn't list. It changed its name later to "The Tarax show", after its sponsor.

14. Here's Humphrey (1965–2008)

30 min | Family

Humphrey is designed to entertain and educate its audience as they join in the fun with the character of Humphrey B Bear. Humphrey enjoys exploring and pretending. He likes playing, singing, dancing and being with his friends.

Stars: Anthony O'Donohue, Humphrey B. Bear, Tony Balzan, Joni Combe

Votes: 37

For pre-schoolers. Was on commercial tv but I recently heard that it was back on community television...which is now under threat by Malcolm Turnbull.

15. Hey Hey It's Saturday (1971–1999)

120 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Music

Hosted by Darryl Sommers, Hey Hey was a variety show, featuring sketches, performances, a talent show of sorts, and an array of celebrity guests, ranging from Australian television stars, to actors in big Hollywood blockbuster movies.

Stars: Russell Gilbert, Daryl Somers, David Strassman, Larry Emdur

Votes: 187

Incorrect title on this's "Hey, hey, it's Saturday".

Originally started as a children's programme but later morphed into an early evening institution...something adults would watch before going out for the night.

16. It's Academic (1961– )

30 min | Game-Show

A weekly quiz game featuring three teams of high school students from their respective schools. Each team had three members, one of whom was captain. Each game consisted of four rounds. In ... See full summary »

Stars: Mac McGarry, Katie Buenneke, Asher Morse, Bruce Nahin

Votes: 16

I can't find the listing for the first Australian edition of this show, which Wikipedia states:

"An Australian version of the show aired on Network Ten and the Seven Network from 1968–1975, and was revived by Seven's Perth affiliate in 2001. Seven took the show national in 2005".

I do remember a very funny parody of this show by The D-Generation...with VERY dumb student contestants!

17. The Judy Jack Show (1956–1957)

30 min

A children's program, featuring a mix of live and film segments.

Star: Judy Jack

Suggested by JeiceWarrior.

Wikipedia states:

"The Judy Jack Show was one of the earliest Australian television series, and is notable as one of the first children's series produced in that country. The series debuted in 1956 on Melbourne station HSV-7. It continued into 1957, running for about a year before it was replaced with Young Seven".

18. The Magic Boomerang (1965–1966)

30 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

A boy has a boomerang and when he throws it everything around him stopped,except him ,so he can do whatever we wants, including stopping crime.

Stars: David Morgan, Telford Jackson, Penelope Shelton, Rodney Pearlman

Votes: 45

Wikipedia describes this as a children's adventure series.

19. Mr. Squiggle and Friends (1959–1999)

Adventure, Family, Fantasy

Mr. Squiggle is a marionette with a pencil for a nose, who visits his friends from his home at 93 Crater Crescent on the Moon, flying in his pet rocket (named Rocket).

Stars: Norman Hetherington, Jane Fennell, Terry Dowling, Ian McLean

Votes: 114

Another iconic series for young children. Mr. Squiggle could, amazingly!, draw pictures which were upside down!!

20. Mulligrubs (1988–1996)

30 min

Children's television show aimed at preschoolers, featuring storytelling, music, puppets and a animated face.

Stars: Di Kidd, Jo England, Megan Harris, Coin Pyrlis

Was recently watching the special "Network Ten 50 years young" and some of the guests commented on how they were scarred by the hostess of this young children's show.

Wikipedia states:

"About 550 episodes were made, with about 425 being stored intact at the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.[1] The show was best remembered for the face (made up of just eyes, eyebrows, nostrils and mouth) on a blue screen that appeared occasionally during the program. The actress who played the part of 'the face' was Di Kidd".

21. Mustangs FC (2017– )

25 min | Drama

Mustangs FC is a goal kicking comedy drama about girls who are abandoning the sidelines and starting their local football club's first all female team.

Stars: Emmanuelle Mattana, Ashleigh Marshall, Gemma Chua-Tran, Molly Broadstock

Votes: 37

22. Nowhere Boys (2013–2018)

26 min | Adventure, Drama, Horror

This fantasy action-adventure series follows four teenage boys who get lost in the forest and discover, when they return home, that they are in an alternate world identical to theirs except... See full summary »

Stars: Darci McDonald, Nicholas Coghlan, Matt Testro, Dougie Baldwin

Votes: 1,853

Teen orientated adventure fantasy.

Wikipedia states that the show has been renewed for a 2nd series.

Update: There was an article in this week's Green Guide (13/11/2014) on a star of this show, Rachel Griffiths. She's appeared in numerous tv shows and movies, including U.S. shows like "Six feet under".

23. Pick a Pint (1960– )

15 min | Game-Show

A short-lived game show for children.

Star: Pat Hodgins

Suggested by JeiceWarrior.

Wikipedia states:

"Pick a Pint was an Australian television series which aired in 1960 on Melbourne station HSV-7. It was a game show for children and was hosted by Pat Hodgins. A 15-minute series broadcast on Fridays, it proved short-lived, running from February to May. The archival status of the series is not known".

24. Play School (1966– )

28 min | Family

Play School is an Australian Gold Logie award-winning educational television show for children produced by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. It is the longest-running children's show... See full summary »

Stars: Justine Clarke, Angela Moore, Karen Pang, Simon Burke

Votes: 228

Still extant series for pre-school children which has also had numerous hosts who became (or were already?) well known in the tv/industry industry.

An ocean based family adventure series, according to Wikipedia.

26. Seven Little Australians (1973)

294 min | Drama, Family

Captain Wolcott is a widower with seven children. He marries again and his new wife takes on all the trials of bringing up seven spirited children. They have many adventures, especially one... See full summary »

Stars: Barbara Llewellyn, Mark Clarke, Anna Hruby, Jennifer Cluff

Votes: 80

Based on the classic children's book by Ethel Turner. Am surprised to read in Wikipedia that the BBC also made an earlier mini-series of the novel, in 1953.

28. Skippy (1968– )

25 min | Adventure, Family

Sonny and his kangaroo Skippy live in Waratah National Park in New South Wales. Matt Hammond, Sonny's father is the park ranger. Skippy saves the day in many adventures.

Stars: Ed Devereaux, Tony Bonner, Ken James, Garry Pankhurst

Votes: 839

Iconic children's series about a kangaroo...kind of like Australia's "Flipper" or "Gentle Ben"...but unable to swim...or kill people! It could talk though! Tt tt tt.

29. The Stranger (1964– )

30 min | Family, Sci-Fi

Children's SF serial. A mysterious stranger comes among a group of people.

Stars: Ron Haddrick, Jessica Noad, Jannice Dinnen, John Faasen

Votes: 7

Mentioned in The Mix episode I refer to in my notes for "Adventure Island" at the top of my list here. Wikipedia states that it was a science fiction series made for children and was one of the first Australian shows to be sold overseas.

30. The Tarax Show (1957–1970)

60 min

Live Children's TV Show, presenting cartoons and featuring sketch comedy, competitions and variety entertainment.

Stars: Norman Swain, Joff Ellen, Geoff Corke, Ernie Carroll

Had a variety of names, starting off as "The happy show".

31. The Ten Again (1963– )

30 min | Adventure, Family

This is an ABC repackaged version of the GTV-9 series The Adventures of the Terrible Ten (1960).

Stars: Gary Gray, Gavan Ellis, Lynda Keane, Rhonda Larter

Votes: 10

Wikipedia describes this as a re-edited version of "The terrific adventures of the terrible ten" (see below) but with new footage added as well.

32. The Adventures of the Terrible Ten (1960– )

15 min | Adventure, Family

A group of kids create their own little town with its own rules.

Stars: Gary Gray, Gavan Ellis, Lynda Keane, Rhonda Larter

Votes: 16

Wikipedia's link in "Adventures of the Seaspray" to Classic Australian TV website lists this title as "The terrific adventures of the terrible ten" and has its debut as 1959.

33. Wandjina! (1966)

30 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

Wandjina. was about three young people who come across a mysterious valley. They find a cave which has wall paintings of the Wandjina spirit people. From then on they start to see some strange things.

Stars: David Yorston, Mark McManus, Bob Haddow, Anne Haddy

Votes: 8

A children's science fantasy series, inspired by Aboriginal "Dreamtime" mythology. I found this title after searching Jackie Weaver's filmography on Wikipedia...this seems to be her debut in acting.

Hmm, I seem to recall a title like "The professor and the enquiring minds". Its host, American physicist Pr. Julius Sumner Miller apparently hosted a show of the same name in the U.S. In Australia, he is quoted as saying "Australian straws ain't worth a damn!" (via Wikipedia). Perhaps to a 'younger' generation he is best known as a purveyor of a line of chocolates!

35. Wombat (1983– )

30 min | Family

Wombat was an Australian children's TV show produced at BTQ Channel 7 in Brisbane from 1979 to 1990. It was aired on weekday afternoons, and later Saturday and Sunday mornings, across Australia.

Stars: Eric Summons, Gayle Blakeney, Gillian Blakeney, Jamie Dunn

Votes: 17

Humourous magazine style programme hosted by former Skyhooks' frontman Graeme "Shirley" Strachan. Much of the humour came from the notable muppet "Aggro" who went on to host his own show.

36. Wonder World! (1979–1986)

24 min | Reality-TV

A hosted television current affairs program, about the world, and how it works from widgets to rock and roll.

Stars: Edith Bliss, Adam Bowen, Angela Catterns, Brett Clements

Votes: 16

I thought that this was called "Simon Townsend's wonder world"! Co-hosted by "Woodrow"!

37. Young Talent Time (1971–1988)

60 min | Family, Music

Young Talent Time was produced in Australia by Television House and Johnny Young, for the 18 years. It was a show only intended for a 13 week run, but ended up being a success.

Stars: John Young, Joey Dee, Philip Gould, Jane Scali

Votes: 35

Variety show where children/teens sing popular songs. Many regulars of this show went on to have music or television careers as adults, including Tina Arena and...Kylie's little sister!

38. Young Seven (1957–1960)

45 min | Family

A children's show originally aired in a 45-minute time-slot. Segments varied over the years, but included cartoons and "Youth Takes a Bow".

Stars: Don Bennetts, Madeline Burke

Suggested by JeiceWarrior who states:

"Children's series with a mix of local and imported segments. It evolved from "The Judy Jack Show" (Young Seven's host Don Bennetts hosted the last couple weeks of Judy Jack's series)"


"It featured a mix of live host segments and imported cartoons. Sounds similar to "Tarax Show" and "Happy Show", but since I haven't seen it, I don't know for sure".

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