Australia in the 1980s

Arts and entertainment

In the 1980s, the Australian film industry produced a number of acclaimed films stimulated by tax concessions in the late 1970s. In 1980, Breaker Morant was released followed by Gallipoli in 1982 and The Man from Snowy River in 1983. The box-office hit Crocodile Dundee starring Paul Hogan appeared in 1986 in both Australia and the USA.

In 1980, the band AC/DC released their Back in Black album, which became the second biggest-selling album of all time. In 1988, two other Australian bands, INXS and Midnight Oil, achieved widespread international success with their albums Kick and Diesel and Dust.

By the mid-1980s, the boom in video cassettes resulted in a dramatic fall in attendance at cinemas. Many drive-in cinemas began to close.

In 1981, Olivia Newton-John's single Physical went to number one in the US charts. In 1989, Kylie Minogue's debut album, Kylie, sold more than 12 million copies in 20 countries.

In March 1985, the long-running Neighbours TV series made its debut on Channel 7 and was voted the most popular program.

In 1986, NSW celebrated their last 'cracker night'.

A snapshot of 1988

  • January
    • The first Aboriginal television station, Imparja, began transmission in Alice Springs.
    • Australia's Bicentennial celebrations began and the First Fleet re-enactment vessels arrived at Botany Bay.
    • The new Parliament House on Capital Hill in Canberra was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II.

  • June
    • Kay Cottee became the first woman to sail single-handedly and non-stop around the world.
    • The $2 coin went into circulation replacing the old $2 note.


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