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

Australia in the 1990s


Aurora solar racing car


In 1998, the Aurora solar car set a world record speed of 100.9 km/h over one hour, running on commercial solar cells and lead-acid batteries, from Hay to Balranald. The following year, the Aurora solar car became the first Australian entry to win the World Solar Challenge race from Darwin to Adelaide. Designed and built by the Aurora Vehicle Association and RMIT University in Melbourne, it beat 42 other contestants, completing the distance in 41 hours and 6 minutes at an average speed of 73 km/h.

The non-profit Aurora Vehicle Association has gone on to become one of the most successful solar car racing teams in the world.

The Solar Eagle built by California State University students at the 1990 World Solar Challenge


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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