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

Australia in the 1990s


In 1992, Australia came ninth in the Barcelona Olympic medal tally. Australia won gold across a range of events including swimming. Kieren Perkins broke his own world record for the 1,500-metre freestyle. Australia won rowing gold medals for the men's coxless four (the 'awesome foursome') and the men's double sculls. Other sports to win gold included kayaking, cycling and equestrian events.

In 1993, the Ashes test against England featured the extraordinary spin bowling of Shane Warne. He bowled his first ball as a perfect leg break, taking the wicket of the captain of the English team, Mike Gatting. This ball became known as 'the ball of the century'. Warne's introduction to international cricket launched a new era of spin bowling.

In 1994, at the Commonwealth Games in Canada, Australia won the most medals of any nation. Cathy Freeman was the first Indigenous Australian athlete to win a track event, winning the 200-metre and 400-metres sprint. She ran her victory lap holding both the Australian and the Aboriginal flags.

In 1997 and 1998, Pat Rafter won the US Open Tennis grand slam tournament.

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.


{tpl region name=footerbottom}