Warning: This resource may contain references to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who may have passed away.

Australia in the 1990s

The Arts

In 1991, the Yothu Yindi single 'Treaty' became a national and international hit. Their album Tribal Voice went double-platinum. In the same year, the children's music group The Wiggles began performing and Tim Winton's novel Cloudstreet was published. It won the 1992 Miles Franklin Award.

In 1992, the romantic comedy Strictly Ballroom, directed by Baz Luhrman, was released to a local and international audience. In the same year, a portrait of Paul Keating, The Prime Minister by Bryan Westwood, won the Archibald Prize for portraiture.

In 1994, two film comedies, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and Muriel's Wedding, were released.

In 1995, the teenage Newcastle rock group Silverchair released their debut album Frogstomp.

In 1996, the NSW government gave Rupert Murdoch's Fox Studios permission to develop Fox Studios Australia at the Sydney Showground. The studio opened in 1999.

A snapshot of 1998

  • February
    • A Constitutional Convention was held in Old Government House, Canberra, and gave in principle support to Australia becoming a republic.

  • April
    • Patrick Stevedores sacked its workforce on the Australian waterfront, thus beginning the Waterfront Dispute with the Maritime Union of Australia.

  • May
    • The first Sorry Day was held on 26 May to commemorate the forced removal of Aboriginal children from their families.

  • June
    • In Queensland's state election, Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party won 23 per cent of the vote and 11 seats.

  • July
    • The Senate passed the Native Title Act Amendment Bill 1998 (Cth) after a debate lasting 105 hours.


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