1949 in Australia
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- Monarch – George VI
- Governor-General – William McKell
- Prime Minister – Ben Chifley (until 19 December), then Robert Menzies
- Chief Justice – Sir John Latham
- Governor of New South Wales – Sir John Northcott
- Governor of Queensland – Sir John Lavarack
- Governor of South Australia – Sir Charles Norrie
- Governor of Tasmania – Sir Hugh Binney
- Governor of Victoria – Sir Winston Dugan (until 20 February), then Sir Dallas Brooks (from 18 October)
- Governor of Western Australia – Sir James Mitchell
- 26 January – The Nationality and Citizenship Act is passed. Rather than being identified as subjects of Britain, the Act established Australian citizenship for people who met eligibility requirements.
- 10 March – A Lockheed Model 18 Lodestar crashes near Coolangatta, Queensland, killing all 21 on board.
- 16 March – Australia's domestic counter-intelligence and security agency, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) is established, by order of the Directive for the Establishment and Maintenance of a Security Service.
- 16 March – Indigenous Australians who are eligible to vote in state elections in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania are also given the right to vote in federal elections.
- 27 June – A seven-week coal strike begins, involving 23,000 miners and broken by the sending in of troops.
- 2 July - A MacRobertson Miller Aviation DC-3 aircraft crashes on take-off from Perth Airport, killing all 18 on board.
- 17 October – Construction of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme begins.
- 10 December – A federal election is held. The incumbent Australian Labor Party led by Ben Chifley is defeated by Robert Menzies' Liberal Party.
- 18 December – Prime Minister-elect Robert Menzies announces his cabinet, including Dame Enid Lyons as Australia's first female cabinet minister.
Science and technology
- November – Australia's first digital computer, CSIRAC, runs its first test programs.
Arts and literature
- Bledisloe Cup: won by the Wallabies
- Brisbane Rugby League premiership: Souths defeated Easts 22-8
- New South Wales Rugby League premiership: Western Suburbs defeated Balmain 8-5
- South Australian National Football League premiership: won by North Adelaide
- Victorian Football League premiership: Essendon defeated Carlton 125-52
- Horse Racing
- Motor Racing
- Australian Open men's singles: Frank Sedgman defeats John Bromwich 6-3 6-2 6-2
- Australian Open women's singles: Doris Hart defeats Nancye Wynne Bolton 6-3 6-4
- Davis Cup: Australia is defeated by the United States 1-4 in the 1949 Davis Cup final
- US Open: John Bromwich and Bill Sidwell win the Men's Doubles
- Waltzing Matilda takes line honours and Trade Winds wins on handicap in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race
- 11 January – Daryl Braithwaite, singer
- 14 January – Paul Chubb (d. 2002), actor
- 26 February – Simon Crean, trade union leader and politician
- 7 March – Rex Hunt, media personality
- 13 June – Red Symons, musician and TV personality
- 30 June – John Kobelke, Western Australian politician (died 2019)
- 1 July – John Farnham, singer and entertainer
- 16 July – Robert Proctor, field hockey player
- 18 July – Dennis Lillee, cricketer
- 18 August – Byron Kennedy (d. 1983), film producer
- 23 August – Rick Springfield, singer
- 22 September – Jim McGinty, politician
- 6 November – Malcolm Poole, field hockey player
- 24 November – Shane Bourne, comedian and actor
- Robbie McGregor, voice over artist
- 8 January – Mary Miller, soprano
- 26 April – Richard Crouch (born 1868), politician
- 26 April – Norman Brookman (born 1884), politician
- 14 August – Henry Ernest Boote (born 1865), editor and writer
- 15 August – Vida Goldstein (born 1869), politician and suffragist
- 27 August – Theodora Cowan (born 1868), sculptor
- 2 September – Jack Beasley (born 1895), politician
- 16 November – Margaret Battye (born 1909), barrister and jurist
- 21 November – Philip Lytton, actor and theatre entrepreneur
- Jack Lumsdaine (born 1895) composer, baritone, soldier
- Alfred Wheeler (born 1865) minister, composer