In 1770, English Captain James Cook sailed half way around the world and found the "lands beyond the seas", the east coast of New Holland which he renamed New South Wales. His discovery led Captain Arthur Phillip to depart England in May 1787, with 759 prisoners on board 9 ships and 2 naval vessels representing "The First Fleet". 

The First Fleet arrived, some 7 months later, at a place called Botany Bay, on January 18, 1788. At the time, it was understood Botany Bay was unsuitable to live in because of its lack of fresh water. Hence Captain Phillip steered The First Fleet north to a place called Port Jackson. They arrived at Port Jackson on January 26, 1788. 

On January 18 1988, some 200 years later, the Nine network Australia resurrected the popular public affairs program, 'A Current Affair' with Jana Wendt as host. Jana's years in the "hot seat" were regarded 'A Current Affair's' "glory years". Jana had said, "I'm paid to be a reporter and that is degraded if I take a public stance on anything. It may not be an opinion shared by all my colleagues but it is mine.

"People misjudge what they think my political views are, and I find that extremely comforting. They think I am anything from the extreme radical left, to the extreme radical right. The conclusions I have drawn are that the extreme left and right have caused an absolute chasm in the lives of millions, so, if I have any rule for myself, it's to be wary of political extremities."  

Stephen Rice who was a producer with 'A Current Affair' at the time made known in 1998, "The most traumatic time of the day for any executive producer isn't that frantic 'where-are-the-bloody-scripts?' period just before the show goes on air. It comes at about 10 past 9 the next morning, in front of your computer, when A.C. Nielsen squirts the ratings figures down the line … These are the figures by which a television producer lives and dies and you can start to respond to them as if they’re some sort of Holy Grail." 

Melbourne, Australia's 2nd largest city, was founded by John Batman of Van Diemen's Land (present day Tasmania) in June 1835. The southern city was part of the colony of Port Phillip (present day the state of Victoria). It was mentioned after John Batman successfully negotiated with the Governor of Sydney to establish Melbourne, he became embroiled in a land dispute with John Pascoe Fawkner, also of Van Diemen's Land, resulting in both John Batman and John Fawkner losing all rights to their land claims when the government became involved.

For the 20 years between 1978 and 1998, Brian Naylor, who took over from Eric Pearce (1957-1978), was Melbourne's most watched newsreader. Brian made the comment in 1983, "The Melbourne public has a special quality, especially to people in the television industry. You would have to say that Sydney is more cosmopolitan and they tend to go out and about in the evenings because of the mildness of their winters. People in Melbourne want to get cosy in front of the fire during winter and therefore tend to be more attuned to the evening news." 

Debi Enker of 'The Sunday Age' reported in 1989, "This year (1989) it (the Brian Naylor's news) has won every ratings survey. Why is it thriving? The key isn’t content. It has built an image that is proving unassailable. It’s not that the raw material is so radical, but the packaging is a triumph. The foundations of Nine’s rock-solid structure might be roughly summarised as stability, slickness, director of news John Sorell and sex appeal. No other news service has homogenised the image so completely. It is not confined to news: at Nine, it extends to all areas of programming, including presenters and reporters like Jana Wendt (on 'A Current Affair'), Jennifer Byrne ('60 Minutes') and Liz Hayes ('Today'). The success of Nine’s news suggests there is a look we like." 

The former news director Terry Plane told 'The Australian' in 1996, "The reasons for the success or otherwise of a news bulletin are complex, but usually are simplified by programmers to 5 factors: presenter, content, promotion, lead-in, lead-out. The lead-in and lead-out programs – those scheduled before and after the news – set a viewing environment and the convention wisdom is that the bulletin has to sit comfortable in that environment." 

Debi Enker also noted, "If (channels) Seven and Ten often appear to be adolescents struggling through identity crises, Nine has assumed the aura of an adult who has transcended the vagaries of youth. An integral part of this aura is Brian Naylor, who, (since 1978) has assumed a persona of benign paternalism." 

Jay Clarke of 'Knight-Ridder Newspapers' reported in 1983, "For years, Melbourne has played second fiddle to Australia's biggest city, Sydney. But Melbourne began to change after World War II, and the catalyst of that change was the immigrant. Thousands of Greeks, Italians, Britons and others introduced new customs, new foods and new languages, rippling the placid complacency of the established order, the descendants of the original British settlers. They broadened the horizons of this once-provincial city and forever enriched it. 

"Today (in 1983), Melbourne is a classic melting pot, the most cosmopolitan of all Australian cities. It is the 3rd largest Greek city in the world, with close to a half-million Greeks. There are about as many Italians, as well as a large contingent of Yugoslavs and, of course, the British new and old. You find their influence everywhere, but particularly when dining out. 

"If there is one area in which Melbourne always has felt superior to Sydney, it is in culture. This is the theater capital of Australia (Australia became a nation in 1901). The people of Melbourne call themselves Victorians. Melbourne is a gracious city, and not simply because of its consuming interest in culture. It exudes a soft, lived-in ambience. It's a dressy place, too, and with reason: Melbourne is Australia's pace-setter in women's fashions."

Back in 1978, 'The St. Petersburg Independent' observed, "Architecture is important to Melbournians. Markets testify that Melbourne is a cosmopolitan city – more than 70 nationalities are represented, including the largest Greek population outside Greece. This culture, racial mix also manifests itself in Melbourne's impressive quantity and quality of restaurants, bistros and cafes, many of which rightly boast to be among Australia's finest.

"Melbourne is growing out rather than up. It has a dignified charm, befitting its role as the nation’s center of fashion and finance. It is a city, too, of trams. Melbourne has an abundance of museums and art galleries. In March, Melbourne stages its annual 10-day Moomba Festival – an Aboriginal word roughly translated as 'let's get together and have fun.' Melbourne has a population comparable with Rome, Madrid and Vienna."

Thomas Keneally published his 18th novel, 'The Playmaker’ in 1987. He told Rod Usher, the literary editor of 'The Age' "there needed to be a realization that Australia was 'not down or under or out there' but something to be accepted in its own right, 'something the Aboriginals always knew. These minor criminals (those 759) became people in Australia that they would never have become anywhere else.

'While the British Government looked upon Australia as something equivalent to death, there was always an aspect to Australia of spaciousness … Perhaps not in 1789 when these poor creatures were huddled, shell-shocked and disoriented but later, and increasingly, the country itself would offer the instruments of rehabilitation to these people. That is a remarkable conundrum. American society began with godly people who were fleeing religious persecution … 'justification' written all over their foreheads. Our Adam and Eve had 'crime' written all over their foreheads. The effects on the native populations were about equivalent, yet we have produced this remarkable society from all this.'"

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