1969 in Australia

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1969 in Australia
Monarchy Elizabeth II
Governor-General Richard Casey, then Paul Hasluck
Prime minister John Gorton
Population 12,008,635
Elections Federal, TAS, QLD
See also:


State premiers[edit]

State governors[edit]


  • 7 February – The Violet Town railway disaster: the passenger train Southern Aurora collides head-on with a freight train on the new Melbourne to Sydney train line. Nine people are killed.
  • 30 April – Sir Paul Hasluck becomes Governor-General of Australia after the retirement of Lord Casey.
  • 10 May – The 1969 Tasmanian election is held, resulting in a hung parliament with the ALP and Liberals winning 17 seats each. The deadlock is broken when Kevin Lyons of the Centre Party forms a coalition government with the Liberals and becomes Deputy Premier under Angus Bethune.
  • 12 May – The Age newspaper in Melbourne begins the process of moving from Collins Street to Spencer Street. The move is completed on 6 October.
  • 3 June – Melbourne-Evans collision – The Royal Australian Navy aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne collides with the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Frank E. Evans in the South China Sea. Frank E. Evans is cut in half and sinks, killing 74 crew.
  • 19 June – The Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission rules that equal pay for women doing the same work as men must be phased in by 1972.
  • 26 September – The Poseidon bubble begins when the small mining company Poseidon NL discovers a large nickel deposit in Laverton, Western Australia.
  • 25 October – A federal election is held. The incumbent Coalition government led by John Gorton defeats the Australian Labor Party led by Gough Whitlam.
  • 11 November - Prime Minister John Gorton makes the most sweeping changes to the Federal Ministry since the Liberal-Country Party Coalition took office in 1949. Mr Gorton dropped three Ministers, recruited seven back-benchers to the Junior Ministry and promoted four new men to the Inner Cabinet. The biggest change was the dropping of Mr William McMahon from the Treasury. Mr McMahon, Treasurer since 1966, will be the new External Affairs Minister. The vital Treasury post will be filled by Mr Leslie Bury (former Minister for Labour and National Service). Another major Cabinet change was the promotion of the former Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser) into the powerful Defence Ministry.[1]
  • 13 November - Former Minister for Air, Mr Dudley Erwin, expresses to journalists his belief that Prime Minister Gorton's young secretary, Miss Ainsley Gotto, was responsible for him being dropped from his ministerial position on 11 November, as well as asserting that Miss Gotto severely restricted access to the Prime Minister which he and other ministers had previously enjoyed. When asked what political manoeuvre had been used to get him out of office, he replied "it wiggles, it has a fine shape and its name is Ainsley Gotto".[2]
    • Victorian SEC workers strike for 24 hours from midnight for the fourth time this year, causing widespread disruption to power supplies.[3]
  • 29 November – The rebuilding of the Indian Pacific rail line between Sydney and Perth to standard gauge is completed.
  • 16 December – Prime Minister John Gorton announces that a withdrawal of Australian Army troops from the Vietnam War would begin in 1970.

Science and technology[edit]

Arts and literature[edit]


  • 27 March – 2000 Weeks (directed by Tim Burstall) is released. The film was one of the first features of the modern era in Australian cinema, although it was received poorly both critically and commercially.[4]





See also[edit]

  • 1969
  • 1960s


  1. ^ "Sweeping Ministry Changes- Four New Faces in Cabinet". The Age. 12 November 1969. 
  2. ^ Barnes, Allan (14 November 1969). "Ainsley's Champagne Toast Turns Sour". The Age. 
  3. ^ "At Midnight Tomorrow, Victoria Stops". The Age. 12 November 1969. 
  4. ^ 2000 Weeks (1969), Australian Screen.