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

Australia in the 1990s

Advances and problems

In 1990, an ocean-going wave-piercing catamaran, designed in Sydney and built in Hobart, broke the New York–London passenger vessel record when it made the crossing in 3 days, 7 hours and 54 minutes.

In 1993, an Adelaide company gained a patent for a genetically engineered pig.

In July 1993, phone numbers throughout Australia began converting from seven- to eight-digit numbers.

In 1996, Professor Peter Doherty shared the Nobel Prize for medicine for his work in discovering how the immune system recognises virus-infected cells.

In September 1998, an explosion at Victoria's main gas plant near Sale in Gippsland cut gas supplies to most of the state for two weeks.

In September 1998, the largest recorded ozone hole over the southern hemisphere left more than 26 million square km of the planet unprotected from the Sun's ultraviolet rays.

In 1994, the 24-hour ABC news service NewsRadio began operating.


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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