Australia in the 1960s


In 1960, less than five years after it arrived in Australia, nearly 70 per cent of homes in Sydney and Melbourne had television.

In 1962, Robert Menzies opened the Sydney–Canberra–Melbourne coaxial cable system, the first major step in the direction of 'subscriber trunk dialling' (STD).

In 1963, COMPAC (the Commonwealth Pacific Cable) was opened. It connected Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii and Vancouver in Canada.

In 1963, the federal government gave approval for the USA to set up a naval communication station at North West Cape, WA, and a space tracking station at Tidbinbilla near Canberra.

In 1969, the Parkes Radio telescope in NSW plotted the progress of the first crewed flight to the Moon and sent pictures of the Moon walk around the world.

The Parkes Observatory

A snapshot of 1968

  • January
    • Senator John Gorton becomes prime minister after the disappearance of Harold Holt, presumed drowned off Portsea, Victoria.
    • The Tet Offensive is launched during the Vietnam War. North Vietnamese troops attempt to take significant South Vietnamese strongholds in the one offensive action.

  • February
    • The Draft Resistance Movement is formed. They declare that the group not only opposes conscription, but intends to destroy it.
    • WC Wentworth is appointed the first minister for Aboriginal Affairs, although he has no department under his control.

  • May
    • A mineral investment boom begins on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX).
    • The Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi visits Australia.

  • December
    • The breathalyser test for drink-driving is introduced in NSW.


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