1966 in Australia
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|1966 in Australia|
|Governor-General||The Lord Casey|
|Prime minister||Sir Robert Menzies, Harold Holt|
- Monarch – Elizabeth II
- Governor-General – The Lord Casey
- Prime Minister – Sir Robert Menzies (until 26 January), then Harold Holt
- Premier of New South Wales – Jack Renshaw (until 1 May), then Robert Askin
- Premier of Queensland – Sir Francis Nicklin
- Premier of South Australia – Frank Walsh
- Premier of Tasmania – Eric Reece
- Premier of Western Australia – David Brand
- Premier of Victoria – Henry Bolte
- Governor of New South Wales – Sir Roden Cutler (from 20 January)
- Governor of Queensland – Sir Henry Abel Smith (until 18 March), then Sir Alan Mansfield (from 21 March)
- Governor of South Australia – Sir Edric Bastyan
- Governor of Tasmania – Sir Charles Gairdner
- Governor of Western Australia – Sir Douglas Kendrew
- Governor of Victoria – Sir Rohan Delacombe
- 26 January –
- 14 February – Decimalisation of the Australian currency; the Australian dollar replaces the Australian pound.
- The Australian Workers' Union affiliates with the Australian Council of Trade Unions
- the severe drought which has stricken large areas of Australia since 1957, particularly in rural NSW and Queensland, is finally eased by widespread rains
- Jørn Utzon resigns as architect of the Sydney Opera House, following a bitter struggle with the new Public Works Minister Davis Hughes over fees, costs and design changes
- Jack Brabham is named Australian of the Year
- The first National Service conscripts fly out from Richmond RAAF base in Sydney bound for Vietnam
- 7 April – New South Wales repeals the Sunday Observance Act, allowing theatres and cinemas to open, sporting events to charge admission and clubs to sell alcohol on Sundays.
- 21 June – NSW ALP leader Arthur Calwell is injured in an assassination attempt by 19-year-old Peter Kocan.
- Japan replaces Great Britain as Australia's largest trading partner
- the Council for the Defence of Government Schools (DOGS) is formed in Melbourne
- the Queensland government grants sand mining leases on Fraser Island without holding the required public hearings
- General Motors Holden becomes the first local car manufacturer to instal seat belts as standard equipment in all its new vehicles.
- Western Mining Corporation discover rich nickel ore deposits at Kambalda in Western Australia's Goldfields region.
- The Prince of Wales arrives in Australia to attend Geelong Grammar School's exclusive Timbertop preparatory school.
- the Federal government announces the formation of a military Task Force (including conscripts), increasing Australia's commitment to the Vietnam War to 4,500.
- US Vice-President Hubert Humphrey visits Australia to assure the Australian government that the war is being directed by Hanoi and Peking, and that it represents one of China's numerous offensives in Asia
- Victoria extends hotel trading hours from 6pm to 10pm, ending the infamous "Six O'Clock Swill". Driving with a blood alcohol level over 0.05% becomes a criminal offence.
- On advice from Immigration Minister Hubert Opperman, federal cabinet reverses a decision of September 1964, agreeing that non-Europeans could be selected on an individual basis to enter as immigrants with permanent resident status and naturalisation on an equal basis with European applicants
- The Arbitration Commission introduces a minimum weekly wage for adult male employees under federal awards
- Australian forces engage in their first major battle in Vietnam at the Battle of Long Tan, inflicting heavy losses on NLF troops
- 23 August – two hundred Gurindji people walk off Wave Hill Station in the Northern Territory in protest at low wages and poor conditions
- US President Lyndon Johnson arrives for a 3-day visit of Australian east coast cities, sparking rowdy demonstrations by anti-war protesters
- The Liberal Reform Group (which later evolves into the Australian Party) is founded
- Conscientious objector William White is forcibly taken from his home in Sydney and inducted into the army
- Australia negotiates an agreement for an American spy satellite base to be established at Pine Gap in the Northern Territory
- 22 September – Ansett-ANA Flight 149 crashes near Winton, Queensland, killing all 24 people on board.
- 26 November – The Liberal government of Harold Holt scores a massive victory in the 1966 federal election, and is returned to power with the largest majority in the federal parliament's 65 year history.
Science and technology
- Sydney industrial designer Harry Widmer wins the prestigious F.H. Edwards Laurel Award for his design for the Kriesler Mini 41–47 portable radio. The 41-47's innovative polypropylene plastic casing is the first use of this material anywhere in the world in consumer electronics
- Australia's first satellite communications earth station opens at Carnarvon in WA
Arts and literature
- Jon Molvig's portrait of Charles Blackman wins the Archibald Prize
- Fred Williams' Upwey Landscape is awarded the Wynne Prize
- John Cargher's Singers Of Renown begins on ABC Radio; Cargher is still presenting the show in 2007
- both Sydney's and Melbourne's Tivoli Theatres are closed
- Marion Street Theatre opens in Sydney
- Confectionery manufacturer Hoadley's inaugurates Australia's first national pop band competition, the Hoadley's Battle of the Sounds
- Trap by Peter Mathers is awarded the Miles Franklin Literary Award
- Patrick White: The Solid Mandala
- Geoffrey Blainey: The Tyranny of Distance
- The first edition of the pop magazine Go-Set is published in Melbourne
- The Seekers return to Australia for a triumphant concert tour.
- The Rolling Stones return to Australia for their second tour
- Bob Dylan makes his first tour of Australia, supported by The Band
- The Easybeats leave for London
- The Admiral's Cup wins the AFI Best Film award
- Bruce Beresford is appointed secretary of the British Film Institute's Film Production Board
- Gordon Chater wins the Gold Logie
- St Kilda defeats Collingwood in the VFL Grand Final
- Galilee wins the Melbourne Cup
- NSW yacht Cadence wins the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race
- The St George Dragons win their 11th consecutive NSWRL premiership defeating the Balmain Tigers
- 1 January – Anna Burke, politician
- 22 February – Brian Greig, politician
- 9 March – Tony Lockett, AFL football player
- 1 July – Simon Arkell, pole vaulter
- 30 July – Allan Langer, rugby league footballer
- 3 August – Simon Shirley, decathlete
- 4 September – Gary Neiwand, track cyclist
- 21 January – Richard Layton Butler (born 1885), Premier of South Australia