Australia in the 1970s


The muscle cars


In 1971, the Ford Falcon GTHO Phase III and the Holden Torana SLR 5000 and XU-1 were released and termed 'muscle cars'. A muscle car is a small to mid-size vehicle body with a large powerful V8 engine replacing the standard one. The car is often remade with special trim, designed for maximum acceleration on the roads or in drag-racing competitions.

Muscle cars, intended for high speed touring and road racing, were different from sports cars, which were generally smaller two-seaters or GTs. Other well-known muscle cars included the Holden Monaro and the Valiant Charger. Packs of playing cards were made using muscle cars as their theme and were collected by children.

The Rebel Machine, a muscle car produced by the American Motors Corporation


A snapshot of 1978

  • January
    • The Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Amendment Act 1978 (Cth) was proclaimed in federal parliament.
    • The Special Broadcasting Service, also known as SBS, was established.

  • April
    • The Migrant Services and Programs Report, also known as 'The Galbally Report', was presented to the prime minister.

  • August
    • The Malcolm Fraser conservative government announced the end of maternity allowances.

  • November
    • The West Gate Bridge over the Yarra River and Port Melbourne was opened. It is the second-largest single span bridge in Australia.
    • The Ranger Uranium Agreement was signed by the Northern Land Council and ratified by the traditional owners, allowing uranium mining in Arnhem Land.

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