[Jan] [Feb] [Mar] [Apr] [May] [Jun] [Jul] [Aug] [Sep] [Oct] [Nov] [Dec]

  • Australia's estimated population = 11,550,463

    Visual Art
  • Jon Molvig's portrait of Charles Blackman wins the Archibald Prize
  • Fred Williams' Upwey Landscape is awarded the Wynne Prize
    Performing Arts
  • John Cargher's Singers Of Renown begins on ABC Radio
  • Sydney and Melbourne's Tivoli Theatres close
  • Marion Street Theatre opens in Sydney
  • Confectionery manufacturer Hoadley's inaugurates Australia's first national pop band competition, the National Battle Of The Sounds

    Literature
  • Peter Mathers' Trap wins the Miles Franklin Award
  • Patrick White's The Solid Mandala
  • Geoffrey Blainey's The Tyranny of Distance

    Film & Television
  • The Admiral's Cup wins the AFI Best Film award
  • Gordon Chater wins the Gold Logie
  • Bruce Beresford is appointed secretary of the British Film Institute's Film Production Board

    Society
  • Jack Brabham is named Australian Of The Year
  • Sydney industrial designer Harry Widmer wins the prestigious F.H. Edwards Laurel Award for his design for the Kriesler Mini 41-47 portable radio. The judges note that the 41-47's innovative polypropylene plastic casing is the first such application of this material anywhere in the world in consumer electronics. The use of polypropylene in consumer goods soon becomes almost universal.
  • Japan replaces Great Britain as Australia's largest trading partner
  • Council for the Defence of Government Schools (DOGS) is formed in Melbourne
  • The Qld government grants sand mining leases on Fraser Island without holding the required public hearings
  • NSW repeals the Sunday Observance Act, allowing theatres and cinemas to open, sporting events to charge admission and clubs to sell alcohol on Sundays
  • Holden becomes the first local car manufacturer to instal seat belts as standard equipment in all its new vehicles.


Jack Brabham - Australian of the Year 1966

Australia's most famous racing champion, Jack Brabham was born and raised in Sydney, NSW. He left school at 15 and became an apprentice mechanic in a local garage, while doing an evening course in engineering at Kogarah Technical College. After serving in the war he started his own engineering workshop in Sydney in 1946, where he built and raced a midget car for one of his clients. He honed his skills racing midget cars on oval cinder tracks before moving to road racing in the early Fifties. He won the 1947 New South Wales motor racing championships and the 1948 national title. He shot to the top of Australian motor racing in 1953; seeking further challenges, he moved to Britain in 1955, where he was eventually hired to drive for Cooper. It was also in a Cooper that Sir Jack shook the establishment at the Indianapolis 500, qualifying with the first modern mid-engined car at the '500' and finishing ninth. What seemed an anomaly at the time would in fact lead to a revolution at the Brickyard and the demise of the classic Indy roadsters.

Jack was the World Championship Racing Driver in 1959 and 1960. He quit the Cooper company to design, build and race his own cars. In 1962, Sir Jack teamed up with his old Australian racing colleague Ron Tauranac, now of Ralt Racing fame, to produce the first of the Brabham Marque, the Brabham BT-3. This particular car debuted in the '62 German Grand Prix and became the first of many successful Brabham cars that have run in Formula One up until the last few years. Sir Jack also introduced Honda to four-wheeled motor sport, their engines powering the successful Brabham Formula Two chassis in 1966. In 1966 he won his third World Championship Motor Racing Driver, becoming the first (and still the only) driver to win the Championship in a car of his own creation.

In 1967 the Brabham team won its second successive world championship when New Zealander Denny Hulme drove the BT20 to victory. Then the biggest manufacturer of racing cars in the world, Brabham won Constructors Championship of the World again in 1967. His cars were said to reflect their maker's personality: uncomplicated, honest and reliable. He was once described as "not the fastest driver in the world, but ... his finishing record is very high ... his style is unorthodox and basically untidy, but very effective".

Jack scored his final Grand Prix win in South Africa in 1970 after which he retired from motor racing, aged at 44. He has received several high honours: he was named Australian Of The Year in 1966, was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1967 and was knighted for his services to motor sport in 1979.

In a stellar racing career, Sir Jack was the Formula One World Drivers Champion in 1959, 1960 and 1966 and was Formula One World Constructors Champion in 1966 and 1967. He has fourteen Grand Prix wins, thirteen Formula One pole positions, ten second and seven third place finishes. He is still the only driver in Formula One history to win the championship in a car of his own construction. He contested 126 Grand Prix events between 1955 and 1970, won the British Saloon Car Championship in 1965, won both the Australian and New Zealand Grand Prix three times, and was a four-time winner of the European Formula Two Championship.

Photo: Robert Rice
Jack Brabham 1968
gelatin silver photograph, Fairfax Press

January 1966

1st The Carnival Is Over
The Seekers

8th Day Tripper / We Can Work It Out
The Beatles

15th Day Tripper / We Can Work It Out
The Beatles

22nd Day Tripper / We Can Work It Out
The Beatles

29th Day Tripper / We Can Work It Out
The Beatles

Federal Cabinet condemns the ABC broadcast of an interview with North Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh

Major overseas releases:
James Brown - I Got You (I Feel Good)
The Small Faces - Sha-La-La-La-Lee


1 The Psychedelic Shop opens on Haight Street, San Francisco

- Simon & Garfunkel's The Sounds of Silence tops the US charts.

5 Prison escapees Ronald Ryan and Peter Walker are recaptured outside Concord Repatriation Hospital in Sydney after one of the biggest manhunts in Australia's history. Ryan and Walker had been on the run for 17 days after a daring escape from Melbourne's Pentridge Prison in which they shot a warder dead and took a prison chaplain hostage.

8 2400 people attend the third Acid Test at the Fillmmore Auditorium in San Franciso. The Grateful Dead provide music, augmented by a psychedelic lightshow, cameras and Time-Lag audio equipment.

- The Spencer Davis hits the UK chart with their debut LP.

The final episode of American pop show Shindig! is broadcast on ABC-TV, starring the Kinks and The Who.

14 Robert Helpmann is named Australian Of The Year.

15 The Trips Festival is held in San Franciso, marking the accepted 'foundation of the Hippie movement'

20 Sir Robert Menzies retires from Parliament after a record 16 successive years in office, making him Australia's longest serving Prime Minister. He is succeeded by Harold Holt.

21-23 Ken Kesey and The Merry Pranksters hold The Trips Festival at the Longshoreman's Hall, North Point, San Francisco. The mulitmedia event features theatre performance, mime, lightshows, readings and films; performers include The Grateful Dead, Allen Ginsberg, The Loading Zone, Ron Boise, Neal Casady, and Big Brother & The Holding Company playing their first official gig.

26 Australia is stunned by a multiple child abduction in Adelaide. The Beaumont children -- Jane (9), Arnna (7) and Grant (4) -- disappear while on a trip to the beach. The children left their Somerton Park home at 10 am, catching a bus to nearby Glenelg Beach, and were expected home around midday, but they never returned. Seven witnesses later recalled seeing the children during the morning, and five of those testified to seeing them in the company of an unidentified man. Despite months of intensive investigation by SA police, no trace of the three children has ever been found. The case remains unsolved to this day and is one of the greatest mysteries in Australian criminal history. In August 1973 two more Adelaide children, Joanne Radcliffe and Kirste Gordon are abducted from Adelaide Oval, and disappear without trace. Descriptions of their alleged abductor closely match those of the suspect in the Beaumont case.

- Harold Holt and his new ministry are sworn in at Government House, Canberra. Dame Annabelle Rankin is appointed to the new Holt ministry, becoming the first Australian woman to hold a federal portfolio.

28 Western Mining Corp. discover rich nickel ore deposits at Kambalda in Western Australia's Kimberly region.

30 Prince Charles arrives in Australia to attend Geelong Grammar's exclusive Timbertop preperatory school.

- "Spontaneous Underground" premieres at The Marquee, Wardour St, London. Performers include Donovan, Graham Bond and Mose Allison.

Tennessee Waltz/I Am What I Am
Ray Brown & The Whispers

Just A Poor Boy / Mailman Bring Me No More Blues
Mike Furber & The Bowery Boys

February 1966

5th Day Tripper/We Can Work It Out
The Beatles

12th Day Tripper/We Can Work It Out
The Beatles

19th Day Tripper/We Can Work It Out
The Beatles

26th Day Tripper/We Can Work It Out
The Beatles

The Seekers return to Australia for a triumphant concert tour.

The Missing Links perform in Canberra, supported by The Chosen Few - their last gig outside Sydney before splitting up.

The Rolling Stones return to Australia for their second tour

The Federal government announces the formation of a military Task Force (including conscripts) increasing Australia's commitment to Vietnam to 4,500.

US Vice-President Hubert Humphrey visits Australia to assure America's ally that the war is being directed by Hanoi and Peking, and that it represents one of China's numerous offensives in Asia.

British underground identities Barry Miles, John Dunbar and Peter Asher (formerly of singing duo Peter & Gordon and brother of Paul McCartney's girlfriend Jane) open Indica Books in Mason's Yard, London

Major overseas releases:
The Beach Boys - Barbara Ann
The Kinks - Dedicated Follower Of Fashion, Kinks Kontroversy
Simon & Garfunkel - Homeward Bound
The Temptations - Get Ready
The Yardbirds - Shapes Of Things
The Rolling Stones - 19th Nervous Breakdown
Otis Redding - Satisfaction
The Beatles - Nowhere Man


1 Victoria extends hotel trading hours from 6pm to 10pm, ending the infamous "Six O'Clock Swill". Driving with a blood alcohol level over 0.05% becomes a criminal offence.

2 The first edition of Go-Set is published in Melbourne. The new weekly is the first in Australia devoted entirely to popular music. The first issue of 24 pages has a cover feature on Tom Jones, stories on The Groop, Pat Carroll and DJ Ken Sparkes and a feature on mod fashions by leading designer Prue Acton.

14 Decimal currency is introduced in Australia.

16 The Rolling Stones arrive in Sydney for their second Australian tour, supported by Max Merritt & The Meteors.

17 The Stones film a "Bandstand" TV special in Sydney

18 The Rolling Stones perform 2 shows at Sydney Showground

19 The Rolling Stones perform 3 shows at Sydney Showground

- Heather McKay wins her fifth successive British squash title.

21 The Rolling Stones perform 2 shows at Brisbane City Hall

24-26 The Rolling Stones play 6 shows in three days at the Palais Theatre, St Kilda

28 Joern Utzon resigns as architect of the Sydney Opera House, following a bitter struggle with the new Public Works Minister, Davis Hughes, over fees, costs and design changes. Hughes (a Liberal) is determined to reign in escalating costs, and to put his own stamp on the project, which had been commissioned by the previous Labor government. A major controversy erupts, with many sections of the community calling for his reappointment, but Utzon is not reinstated and leaves the country soon after. He disowns the final design and does not return to Australia until 1998.

- The legendary Liverpool music venue The Cavern closes. The basement music club has become world famous as the place where Brian Epstein discovered The Beatles in 1962.

Beautiful Delilah / Happiness Street
The Bitter Lemons

Sweet and Tender Romance / Down In The Valley
Bobby & Laurie

You Stole My Love / It's Gonna Work Out Fine
Mike Furber & The Bowery Boys

How Is The Air Up There / The Pied Piper
The La De Das

Something's Got A Hold On Me / Something
Tony Worsley & The Fabulous Blue Jays

March 1966

5th Women (Make You Feel Alright)
The Easybeats

12th These Boots Are Made For Walkin'
Nancy Sinatra

19th These Boots Are Made For Walkin'
Nancy Sinatra

26th These Boots Are Made For Walkin'
Nancy Sinatra

The Seekers' Someday, Oneday reaches #4 in Australia and #11 in the UK

Matt Taylor forms seminal Aussie blues band Bay City Union in Brisbane. Members during its 2-year career include Phil Manning and Glenn Wheatley.

On advice from Immigration Minister Hubert Opperman, federal cabinet reverses a decision of September 1964, agreeing that non-Europeans could be selected on an individual basis to enter as immigrantswith permanent resident status and naturalisation on an equal basis with with European applicants.

LIFE magazine publishes an article on drugs entitled "LSD: The Mind Drug That Got Out of Control"

Major overseas releases:
The Byrds - Eight Miles High
The Mamas & The Papas - California Dreaming


1 The Soviet space probe Venera 3 becomes the first spacecraft from Earth to land on another planet, touching down on the surface of Venus afer a 14 week voyage.

3 Gough Whitlam narrowly survives an attempt by the executive to expel him from the Labor Party after he criticises the Federal Executive over its opposition to government funding for church schools.

4 The London Evening Standard prints Maureen Cleve's interview with John Lennon which contains an off-the-cuff remark about The Beatles being "...more popular than Jesus..." among teenagers. The quote enrages Christians, especially in the conservative American Midwest, and it sprks off a wave of protests and public burnings of Beatles records and merchandise; death threats are made against the group when they next tour the USA..

8 Harold Holt announces that the Australian government will triple the number of Australian troops in Vietnam to 4500, including 1500 National Service conscripts, to create a single independent Australian task force based at Nui Dat.
.

23 The Archbishop of Canterbury and Pope Paul VI takes place in Rome -- the first meeting of the heads of the two churches for 400 years.

25 Flinders University officially opens in Adelaide.

- Robert Whitaker shoots the infamous 'butcher' photograph of The Beatles at his London studio, in which the group pose in butchers's coats, draped with pieces of meat and dismembered baby dolls. Conceived as part of a triptych called "Somnambulant Adventure", the controversial photo is Whitaker's surrealist commentary on the freakish nature of Beatles' celebrity, and also makes clear reference to the escalating Vitenam war. Remarkably, the photograph is later used by Capitol as the cover of the US compilation LP Yesterday And Today, and becomes one of the most famous covers in rock history after it is hastily withdrawn just days after its release because of a flood of complaints from American record retailers. [ -> 15/6/66 ]

30 Ronald Ryan is convicted of murder and sentenced to death. His accomplice Peter Walker is found guilty of manslaughter.

Hitchhiker / You'll Come Around
Bobby & Laurie

April 1966

2nd
These Boots Are Made For Walkin''
Nancy Sinatra

9th
These Boots Are Made For Walkin''
Nancy Sinatra

16th
These Boots Are Made For Walkin''
Nancy Sinatra

23rd
These Boots Are Made For Walkin''
Nancy Sinatra

30th
These Boots Are Made For Walkin''
Nancy Sinatra

The Missing Links break up.

Bob Dylan & The Band tour Australia

Gough Whitlam unsuccessfully challenges Arthur Caldwell for the federal Labor leadership.

Swiss pharmaeucical company Sandoz stops supplying scientists with LSD

FBI agent G. Gordon Liddy (later a Watergate conspirator) raids the Millbrook commune where Timothy Leary is conducting 'research' into LSD.

Major overseas releases:
The Beach Boys - Sloop John B
The Rolling Stones - Aftermath
The Rolling Stones - Paint It Black
Brian Wilson - Caroline, No


3 Young Brighton solicitor Andrew Peacock wins Kooyong in Melbourne, the blue-ribbon seat recently vacated by retiring PM Sir Robert Menzies.

12 The Ubu film BLUNDERBALL premieres at the Sydney University Theatre

13 Bob Dylan & The Band perform at Sydney Stadium.

-- At Abbey Rd Studios in London, 18-year-old EMI apprentice engineer (and future Sherbet producer) Richard Lush makes his debut as Second Engineer at a Beatles recording session. Lush works as Tape Operator at a tracking session for the songs Love You To and Paperback Writer.

15 Bob Dylan & The Band perform at the Festival Hall, Brisbane

- Several people are arrested during a protest march on Garden Island naval base after an anti-war rally in Martin Place attended by 2000 people.

15 Time's cover story proclaims 'Swinging London' the city of the decade

16 Bob Dylan & The Band perform their second show at Sydney Stadium

19 Bob Dylan & The Band perform at the Melbourne Festival Hall

20 Bob Dylan & The Band perform at the Melbourne Festival Hall

22 Bob Dylan & The Band perform at the Palais Royal, Adelaide

23 Bob Dylan & The Band perform at their last Australian concert at the Capitol Theatre, Perth

19 The first National Service conscripts fly out from Richmond RAAF base in Sydney bound for Vietnam.

Gypsy Woman / Fever Burns My Brain
The Allusions

All My Dreams Come True/You Were The One
The Bitter Lemons

The Links Unchained (EP)
The Missing Links

May 1966

7th
Nowhere Man / Norwegian Wood
The Beatles

14th
Nowhere Man / Norwegian Wood
The Beatles

21st
Hitch Hiker
Bobby & Laurie

28th
Elusive Butterfly
Bob Lind

A Gallup poll shows that a 2:1 majority of Australians favour conscription, although a slight majority of the 'decideds' oppose service by conscripts in Vietnam

The government rejects a committee recommendation to introduce a separate televiion network for educational purposes.

Major overseas releases:
The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
Bob Dylan - Blonde On Blonde
The Mamas & The Papas - Monday Monday
The Small Faces - Small Faces (Decca)
Simon & Garfunkel - I Am A Rock
The Temptations - Ain't Too Proud To Beg
The Small Faces - Hey Girl


2 In China, Chairman Mao begins the purges of what are described as 'revisionist' generations, as his so-called Cultural Revolution gains momentum.

5 Eight thousand anti-Vietnam protesters attempt to levitate The Pentagon in Washington

17 Bob Dylan and The Band play at the Manchester Free Trade Hall, which is recorded. Die-hard folkies jeer, and one gains pop immortality by calling Dylan "Judas", to which Dylan famously replies "I don't believe you!"

21 Guitarist Jimmy Page makes his debut (as bass player) with The Yardbirds at the Marquee Club in London.

25 PM Harold Holt announces the death of Pvt Errol Wayne Noack, 21, the first National Service conscript to be killed in Vietnam

29 Harry Chan MLC is elected Mayor of Darwin, the first Australian of Asian descent to hold such a position.

I Can't Get Enough / ABC Song
Ray Brown & The Whispers

The Loved One / This Is Love
The Loved Ones

Raining In My Heart / Knocking On Wood
Tony Worsley

June 1966

4th Come And See Her
The Easybeats

11th Come And See Her
The Easybeats

18th Tar And Cement
Verdelle Smith

25th Strangers In The Night
Frank Sinatra

The Twilights win the inaugural Hoadley's National Battle of the Sounds.

The world's largest solar still is set up in Coober Pedy SA to supply town water

Major overseas releases:
The Beatles - Rain / Paperback Writer
Georgie Fame - Get Away
The Hollies - Bus Stop, Would You Believe
The Kinks - Sunny Afternoon


5 African-American activist James Meredith is shot and wounded in Mississippi

10 British fashion designer Mary Quant is awarded an OBE

- Janis Joplin performs for the first time with Big Brother & The Holding Company at the Avalon Ballroom, San Fancisco

15 Capitol releases The Beatles' Yesterday And Today album in the US. The LP is originally issued with the controversial "butcher cover" photograph by Robert Whitaker, but it is hastily recalled the same weekend after a storm of complaints by retailers. Figures vary but it is estimated that between 25 and 60,000 copies are released, and although most of these are subsequently pulped, some are reissued with an alternative photograph by Whitaker hastily glued over the butcher photo. When fans dicover this, many steam off the new photo to reveal the butcher shot, and in the years that follow, the butcher sleeve becomes one of the most famous and collectible album covers in history.

21 NSW Labor leader Arthur Calwell is injured in an apparent assassination attempt as he leaves an anti-conscription meeting at Mosman Town Hall, on Sydney's lower north shore. 19-year-old Peter Kocan fires a sawn-off rifle through the window of Calwell's car but luckily the closed window deflects the bullet, which lodges in the lapel of Calwell's coat without causing injury. Calwell suffers only minor facial injuries from broken glass.

27 PM Harold Holt leaves for a visit to the USA, Vietnam and the UK.

29 Bob Dylan falls off his Triumph motorcycle while riding around the farm of manager Albert Grossman in Woodstock, NY and is hopsitalised with minor injuries. The accident marks the start of Dylan's years-long withdrawal from public appearances, and the end of the intensely creative period which saw his conversion from folkie icon to rock star, the release of his trio of landmark albums, Bringin' It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde On Blonde, and his famous World Tour with The Band, which had visited Australia only two months earlier. Following the accident, Dylan effectively withdraws from live performance for eight years, except for a few one-off appearances at events like the Isle Of Wight Festical and the Concert for Bangladesh. He does not undertake another major concert tour until the "Before The Flood" Tour which reunites him with The Band in 1974.

30 While visiting Washington, Harold Holt promises complete support for the escalation of US military involvement, making his infamous "All the way with LBJ!" declaration. His visit coincides with the first US bombing raid on Hanoi.

- The Australian census is conducted; the result records the population at 11, 550, 462.

Monday's Rain / All My Life
The Bee Gees

Very Last Day / Let It Be Me
Ronnie Burns

Don't You Stand In My Way / I Take What I Want
The La De Das

Shake / I Can't Help Myself
Max Merritt & The Meteors

July 1966

2nd Strangers In The Night
Frank Sinatra

9th Strangers In The Night
Frank Sinatra

16th Strangers In The Night
Frank Sinatra

23rd Strangers In The Night
Frank Sinatra

30th Born Free
Matt Monro

The Australian government supports the Arbitration Commission's decision to raise the basic wage by $2/week.

Major overseas releases:
John Mayall with Eric Clapton - Blues Breakers
The Byrds - Fifth Dimension


3 Shortly before leaving for London, The Easybeats record their legendary Coca Cola Special at the Channel 7 studios in Sydney.

- Australian racing driver Jack Brabham wins the French Grand Prix in a car of his own design.

4 Tragedy strikes Easybeats guitarist Harry Vanda just after the recording of their famous Coca Cola Special. Returning to his Sydney flat in the early hours of the morning, Harry Vanda finds his wife Pam dead from a overdose of sleeping pills.

7 In London, PM Harold Holt sharply criticises the lack of support from Britain and France for the joint US-Australian involvement in Vietnam.

10 The Easybeats leave Australia for England. The trip goes ahead in spite of the death of Harry Vanda's wife the previous week. Later in the day, a planned performance during a brief stopover at Perth airport has to be cancelled when 4000 fans break down barrier fences and invade the tarmac. A bomb threat then forces the band to evacuate the plane before they finally re-embark and leave for London.

11 The Arbitration Commission introduces a minimum weekly wage for adult male employees under federal awards.

High Noon / Tonight When I Come Around
Bobby & Laurie

Easyfever (EP)
The Easybeats

You / That's When Happiness Began
Mike Furber & The Bowery Boys

Everlovin' Man / More Than Love
The Loved Ones

Shake / I Can't Help Myself
Max Merritt & The Meteors

August 1966

6th Born Free
Matt Monro

13th Born Free
Matt Monro

20th Too Much / I'll Make You Happy
The Easybeats

27th Too Much / I'll Make You Happy
The Easybeats

In London, The Easybeats record four new tracks at Abbey Rd Studios, including their classic song Friday On My Mind.

They're A Weird Mob premieres at the State Theatre in Sydney and goes on to become the highest-grossing locally-made film in Australian cinema history. Its box-office record is not beaten until the release of Alvin Purple in 1973.

The federal budget increases defence spending by 18% but is accompanied by a Treasury demand to cap defence spending at $1000 million.

The federal government announces that it will removes the bar which prevents married women from holding permanent postions in the Public Service.

Rains help to ease the drought that has affected many areas of Australia.

Major overseas releases:
The Beach Boys - Wouldn't It Be Nice?
The Beatles - Yellow Submarine / Eleanor Rigby, Revolver
Jefferson Airplane - Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
The Kinks - Dedicated Kinks (EP)
Simon & Garfunkel - The Dangling Conversation
The Small Faces - All Or Nothing


3 Controversial American satirist Lenny Bruce is found dead in his Hollywood home from a heroin overdose. His friend, producer Phil Spector, ruefully comments that Bruce died from "an overdose of police".

13 29 people die in a fire at a Salvation Army men's hostel in Little Lonsdale St in Melbourne.

18 Australian forces engage in their first major battle in Vietnam at the Battle of Long Tan, inflicting heavy losses on NLF troops.

27 200 Gurindji people walk off Wave Hill Station in the Northern Territory in protest at low wages and poor conditions. The Gurindji have been 'employed' as stockmen and farmhands by the huge Britsh-owned Vesty pastoral company, who pay Aboriginal workers far less than their white counterparts. The Gurindji seek title to their traditional lands, now occupied by the cattle station. The Gurindji walk-off is the first major land rights action by Aboriginal Australians seeking formal recognition of their prior occupation of Australia.

29 The Beatles perform the last official live concert of their career at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. Supporting acts are The Cyrkle, The Ronettes and The Remains

30 Sydney student Peter Kocan is sentenced to life imprisonment for the attempted murder of federal ALP leader Arthur Calwell.

The Dancer / Roller Coaster Man
The Allusions

True True Lovin' / Too Many People
Ronnie Burns

September 1966

3rd Too Much / I'll Make You Happy
The Easybeats

10th Yellow Submarine / Eleanor Rigby
The Beatles

17th Yellow Submarine / Eleanor Rigby
The Beatles

24th Yellow Submarine / Eleanor Rigby
The Beatles

Pop group Somebody's Image forms in Melbourne. Lead singer Russell Morris later goes solo, managed by Ian "Molly" Meldrum, who produces his breakthrough 1969 national hit The Real Thing

In Melbourne Tonight begins regular transmission to Sydney, via the newly-completed Coaxial Cable.

Major overseas releases:
The Byrds - Mr. Spaceman
The Rolling Stones - Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby?


3 Donovan's Sunshine Superman reaches #1 in the US charts

4 In Italy, Jack Brabham wins the Italian Grand Prix, earning him the World Formula 1 driver's championship.

16  One day before setting sail the MV Tiri is detained in Auckland, preventing Radio Hauraki, New Zealand's first pirate station, from taking to sea.

17 St George beats Balmain in the Rugby League Grand Final, the last in their record breaking run of eleven consecutive premierships.

21 American guitarist Jimi Hendrix arrives in London. Within weeks, his electrifying performances are the talk of the town and his shows are regularly attended by top UK stars like Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Pete Townshend and members of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones

22 An Ansett Viscount aircraft near Winton, Qld, killing all 29 on board.

24 St Kilda defeat Colingwood in the VFL Grand Final.

Spicks and Specks / I am the World
Bee Gees

Ain't It Strange / I Can't Get Enough
Ray Brown & the Whispers


October 1966

1st Yellow Submarine / Eleanor Rigby
The Beatles

8th Yellow Submarine / Eleanor Rigby
The Beatles

15th Yellow Submarine / Eleanor Rigby
The Beatles

22nd Step Back / Cara Lyn
Johnny Young

29th Step Back / Cara Lyn
Johnny Young

Singer Lynne Randell leaves for the UK and America

The Seekers' Walk With Me reaches #10 in the UK and #31 in Australia.

The Bee Gees Spicks and Specks reaches #4. It becomes their only Australian Top Ten hit before returning to England.

Jeff Beck quits The Yardbirds, bailing out of their second American tour after only five dates. Bassist Jimmy Page takes over as lead guitarist.

Major overseas releases:
The Beach Boys - Good Vibrations
Tim Buckley - Tim Buckley
The Hollies - For Certain Because
The Monkees - Last Train To Clarksville
The Supremes - You Keep Me Hangin' On
Otis Redding - The Otis Redding Dictionary Of Soul


6 The California legislature passes a law making the use and posession of LSD a misdemeanour.

7 Pioneering British rock singer Johnny Kidd (real name Frederick Heath) is killed in a car accident near the town of Bury, Lancashire, while on tour. Johnny Kidd & The Pirates were one of the biggest British rock bands of the pre-Beatles years and are best remembered for their hugely influential 1960 hit Shakin' All Over. The song was later covered by Australian singer Normie Rowe, whose 1966 version became one of the biggest Australian hits of the decade. The original Pirates (which included drummer Clem Catinni and guitarist Mick Green) later became known as The Tornados, and they worked as the "house band" for producer Joe Meek, and played on many Meek-produced hits, including Telstar. Catinni went on to become one of Britain's most prolific session musicians and is credited as performing on a record-breaking forty-two Number 1 British hits.

10 British underground newspaper International Times is officially launched with a party at the new London underground venue The Roundhouse, featuring Pink Floyd and Soft Machine.

13 Michael Powell's Australian-made film comedy They're A Weird Mob premieres in the UK.

15 Bobby Seale and Huey Newton launch the radical Black Panther Party in Oakland, California

18 In the UK, the Queen grants a posthumous pardon to Timothy Evans, who had been hanged in 1950 after being wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife in the infamous Christie murder case. After his execution it was revealed that Evans' wife had in fact been slain by the couple's landlord, serial killer John Christie. Evans' tragic fate was a major rallying point for the long-running campaign for the abolition of capital punishment in Britain. The case was later immortalised by the film 10 Rillington Place, starring Richard Attenborough.

20 US President Lyndon Johnson arrives for a 3-day visit to Australian east coast cities, sparking rowdy demonstrations by anti-war protesters. In one notorious incident in Sydney, demonstrators block the route of the Presidential motorcade by lying down on the road in front of his limousine. Angered by their action, NSW Premier Robin Askin famously orders his driver to "run over the bastards." The visit is criticised by the Labor opposition as a "cheap political gimmick", coming only a month before the impending federal election.

21 A crowd estimated at 750,000 turns out in Melbourne to welcome visiting US President Lyndon Johnson. Although most of the crowd are pro-LBJ, a vocal anti-war contingent demonstrates against the visit, chanting "LBJ, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?" and splattering the president's car with paint bombs.

Two of the paint bombers, Melbourne uni student David Langley and his brother John, former pupils at the elite Melbourne Boys Grammar, concocted the plan as their own personal protest against the Vietnam War. According to David, on the day before LBJ's visit to Melbourne, the brothers practised bombing cars with plastic bags of water thrown from a tall building. On the day of LBJ's visit, David and John join anti-war protesters in Carlton, but when the route of the LBJ motorcade is diverted from there, they make their way to South Yarra where the US President is attending a festival. There are no tall buildings in the area so they hide behind trees and wait for LBJ to emerge from the festival. As he leaves, John throws the bag of green paint and lays down in front of LBJ's car. David then throws his bag of paint. A beefy US security man punches David in the face and John is dragged off into a laneway by other security men and beaten up. Just as a stunned David is about to run off into the crowd, he is seized by Australian police.

The Langleys are both arrested and remanded in custody for three weeks at Pentridge Prison, where they are forced to undergo a psychiatric assessment, in which John is supposedly found to be a "latent schizophrenic". The paint-throwing incident makes headlines in the US, including page three in Time magazine. David was forced to complete his first-year university exams in a remand cell. The brothers were fined $680 and David believes if not for his privileged background, he and John would have been sentenced to jail. David Langley later recorded his story in a book, A decade of dissent: Vietnam and the conflict on the Australian homefront (Allen & Unwin, 1992). You can read more about the protests against LBJ's visit in this Green Left article by Peter Boyle

- Five coal miners are killed in a cave-in at Wyee, near Newcastle, NSW.


Above: the huge landslide that killed 144 people, including 116 children, at Aberfan, Wales.

- Britain's worst mining accident, the Aberfan Disaster kills 144 people in the village of Aberfan, located about 25 miles from Cardiff, in South Wales. For decades, millions of cubic metres of excavated debris from the Merthyr Vale Colliery had been piled up on the side of Merthyr Mountain, directly above the town. The huge piles, or tips, sat on top of a layer of highly porous sandstone that contained many underground springs and several of the tips had been built up directly over these springs.

Early on the morning of 21 October, after several days of heavy rain, there was a subsidence of about 3-6 metres which occurred on the upper flank of the tip. Then suddenly, at 9:15am, more than 150,000 cubic metres of water-saturated debris broke away and flowed downhill at high speed. It was sunny on the mountain but still foggy in the village, with visibility only about fifty metres. The tipping gang working on the mountain saw the landslide start, but were unable to raise the alarm because their telephone cable had been repeatedly stolen (although it was later established that the landslide happened so fast that a telephone warning would not have saved any lives). The front part of the mass became liquefied and moved as a series of viscous surges down the slope at high speed. 120,000 cubic metres of debris were deposited on the lower slopes of the mountain but over 40,000 cubic metres smashed into the village in a slurry some 7-9 metres deep.

The slide first destroyed a farm cottage in its path, killing all the occupants, then surged on down the mountainside, engulfing twenty houses and the Pantglas Junior School. The avalanche occurred only minutes after the children had gone into to class after singing All Things Bright and Beautiful at assembly. The tragic irony of the timing of the disaster was that Friday 21 October was the last day before the half-term break; if the landslide had occurred on the following day, or even a few minutes earlier, it's likely that the death toll would have been considerably lower. Nobody in the village saw anything, but everyone could hear the roar of the approaching landslide; some at the school thought it was a jet about to crash and one teacher ordered his class to hide under their desks. Gaynor Minett, an eight-year-old at the school, later recalled:

"It was a tremendous rumbling sound and all the school went dead. You could hear a pin drop. Everyone just froze in their seats. I just managed to get up and I reached the end of my desk when the sound got louder and nearer, until I could see the black out of the window. I can't remember any more but I woke up to find that a horrible nightmare had just begun in front of my eyes."

After the landslide there was total silence. George Williams, who was trapped in the wreckage, remembered: "In that silence you couldn't hear a bird or a child".

After the landslide stopped, frantic parents ran to the scene and began digging through the rubble, some clawing at the debris with their bare hands, trying to rescue the buried children. Hundreds of people drove to Aberfan to try and help with the rescue, but their efforts were futile. Water and mud rushing down the slope, and the crowd of untrained rescuers, severely hampered the work of the trained rescue teams. No survivors were found after 11am on the day of the disaster; by the next day some 2000 volunteers were working at the scene, some having dug continually for more than 24 hours, but it was nearly a week before all the bodies were recovered. The final death toll was 144; 116 of the dead were children between the ages of 7 and 10 -- almost half of the children at the school -- as well five of their teachers.

Incredibly, when news of the disaster reached him, the chair of the National Coal Board, Lord Robens, did not go immediately to Aberfan, but instead went ahead with his installation as Chancellor of the University of Surrey. NCB officers covered up for him, lying to the Secretary of State for Wales and claiming that Lord Robens was personally directing relief work. When he eventually reached Aberfan, Robens attributed the disaster to 'natural unknown springs' beneath the tip, a statement which the locals knew to be false -- the NCB had in fact been tipping on top of springs that were clearly marked on maps of the neighbourhood, and where villagers had played as children.

The Wilson Labor government immediately appointed Davies Tribunal of Inquiry. Its damning report, tabled in August 1967, blasted the actions and attitude of the colliery staff and the NCB:

"...the Aberfan disaster is a terrifying tale of bungling ineptitude by many men charged with tasks for which they were totally unfitted, of failure to heed clear warnings, and of total lack of direction from above ... Blame for the disaster rests upon the National Coal Board ... The legal liability of the National Coal Board to pay compensation for the personal injuries (fatal or otherwise) and damage to property is incontestable and uncontested ...".

The Tribunal found that repeated warnings about the dangerous condition of the tip had been ignored, and that colliery engineers at all levels had concentrated only on conditions underground. In one of its most memorable phrases, the Report described their reaction to the Inquiry's questions as "like moles being asked about the habits of birds". The tips had never been surveyed, and right up to the time of the landslide they were continuously being added to in a chaotic and unplanned manner. The authorities' callous disregard of the unstable geological conditions and its failure to act after previous smaller slides were major factor that contributed to the catastrophe.

That callous attitude continued after the disaster. It seems incredible that the Inquiry's findings and the actions of the NCB did not cause a major public scandal, but it is now apparent that government agencies, senior bureaucrats and politicians all conspired to brush the entire incident under the carpet. Incredibly, nobody in the NCB was ever prosecuted, dismissed or demoted, and no corporate sanctions or fines were ever imposed. Lord Robens' offer to resign as NCB chair (which even at the time was seen as a perfunctory gesture) was rejected, and it now appears probable that he knew that his resignation offer would not be accepted. Adding insult to injury, the NCB paid the bereaved families a mere 500 compensation paid for each child killed -- an amount which they described, with breathtaking effrontery, as "a generous offer". It was in fact little more than the compensation paid out to farmers for the animals that were killed. The final insult came in August 1968 when the Government forced the Trustees of the Aberfan Disaster Fund to "donate" a contribution of 150,000 from the money collected for the victims, which was put towards to the cost of removing the remaining NCB tips from above Aberfan.

23  "The Battle Of The Tiri". After several weeks of being detained in Auckland Harbour, the crew of NZ pirate station Radio Hauraki crew decide to set sail on their ship, the MV Tiri. As they set out, the ship gets stuck up against the drawbridge, but with help from a 200-strong crowd who are lined up along the wharf to see what is happening, the Tiri is set free and starts sailing. But eventually the police baord the vessel and stop the Tiri going any further by pulling out the fuel line and shutting down the main engine. The Hauraki crew are arrested and the Tiri towed back to its berth. The crew are set free on bail in the early hours of Monday 24 October 1966.

28 Lionel Rose wins the Australian bantamweight boxing title.

29 OTC opens Australia's first satellite communications earth station at Carnarvon in WA.

Looks Like Trouble / 97 Cigarettes
The Allusions

Every Second Day / First Sreet Blues
Bobby & Laurie

Respect/Too Late To Come Home
Ray Brown & the Whispers

Sorry
Easybeats Volume 3
(LP)
The Easybeats

Fannie Mae / Baby Come Home
Max Merritt & The Meteors

Karelia / Wheels
The Questions

November 1966

5th Step Back / Cara Lyn
Johnny Young

12th Step Back / Cara Lyn
Johnny Young

19th Step Back / Cara Lyn
Johnny Young

26th Let It Be Me (EP)
Johnny Young

The Seekers' re-recorded version of Morningtown Ride reaches #2 in UK.

Major overseas releases:
The Kinks - Dead End Street, Face To Face
Simon & Garfunkel - A Hazy Shade Of Winter
Simon & Garfunkel - Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme
The Small Faces - My Mind's Eye
Spencer Davis Group - Gimme Some Lovin'


1 Galilee wins the Melbourne Cup

3 The Liberal Reform Group (later renamed the Australian Reform Movement) is established. The group has been set up as a result of highly publicised opposition to the Vietnam War by businessman Gordon Barton.

8 Former movie actor Ronald Reagan is elected governor of California. His platform inlcudes promises to stamp out anti-war protests and "obscene" publications.

9 John Lennon meets Yoko Ono for the first time at her Unfinished Paintings and Objects exhibition at the Indica Gallery in London.

13 The Easybeats make their London debut at Brian Epstein's Saville Theatre, supporting The Four Tops, Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers and Bob Miller & the Millermen. The star-studded audience includes Eric Burdon, Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts and Georgie Fame.

21  New Zealand's first pirate radio station, Radio Hauraki, begins test transmissions on 1480 AM.

22 Conscientious objector William White is forcibly taken from his home in Sydney and inducted into the army. (<--12/65)

24 Qantas pilots begin a month-long world-wide strike.

24-25 Australia receives the first satellite TV broadcasts transmitted from the UK.

26 In the 1966 federal elections, the Liberal-Country Party coalition government led by Harold Holt is returned to power with the largest parliamentary majority in the federal parliament's 65 year history. The election outcome is a dramatic improvement over the precarious one-seat majority which Holt had inherited from Sir Robert Menzies in January. The campaign was largely fought over the Vietnam War issue; Labor leader Arthur Calwell pledged that Australian troops would be withdrawn, whereas Holt was firmly committed to supporting the U.S. military effort. The Liberal Party increases its majority from 52 to 61, the Country Party from 20 to 21 with Labor dropping from 51 to 41 seats, and one Independent. Among the new members elected is future federal Treasurer Phillip Lynch. In the wake of the election, Gough Whitlam again narrowly escapes expulsion from the Labor Party, this time for not fully supporting Calwell in his stance on the Vietnam War.

Undecided / Wars or Hands of Time
The Masters Apprentices

On Top Of The World / Hey Girl
The La De Das

December 1966

3rd Let It Be Me (EP)
Johnny Young

10th Friday On My Mind
The Easybeats

17th Friday On My Mind
The Easybeats

24th Friday On My Mind
The Easybeats

31st Friday On My Mind
The Easybeats

The Easybeats' classic Friday On My Mind is #1 in Australia and reaches # 6 on the UK Top 40

The severe drought which has stricken large areas of Australia since 1957, particularly in rural NSW and Qld, is finally eased by widespread rains.

NSW yacht Cadence wins the Sydney To Hobart Yacht Race

Major overseas releases:
Tim Buckley - Tim Buckley
Cream - I Feel Free, Fresh Cream
Donovan - Sunshine Superman
The Monkees - I'm A Believer
The Move - Night Of Fear
The Who - A Quick One
The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Hey Joe / Stone Free


9 Australia negotiates an agreement for an American spy satellite base to be established at Pine Gap in the Northern Territory.

10 A helicopter crash in Sydney kills three people, the pilot and a man and a woman from an ABC-TV film crew. The chopper gets into difficulty while filming over the centre of the city and attempts an emergency landing on the roof of the AMP building, but misses, careening off the wall of an adjoining office block before crashing through the roof of a third building. The helicopter narrowly misses the Rugby Union Club, where a Xmas party for 200 children is in progress. At the time of the crash UBU filmakers David Perry and Aggy Read are shooting a new film, Harbour, at Darling Harbour and Read manages to capture a dramatic still shot of the doomed helicopter moments before it crashes; his picture is widely used in subsequent media reports of the crash.

12 Lone round-the-world yachtsman Francis Chichester arrives in Sydney in his yacht Gypsy Moth IV

16 The BBC broadcasts the groundbreaking docu-drama Cathy Come Home as part of its regular Wednesday Play series. The teleplay was written by Jeremy Sandford, produced by Tony Garnett, directed by Ken Loach and starred Carol White as Cathy and Ray Brooks as her husband Ray. The episodic story follows the young Cathy as she marries and has children. After her husband is injured in an industrial accident, he loses his job, reducing the family to poverty. They are forced out of their home, taking refuge where they can in sub-standard and temporary accomodation until their children are finally 'taken into care' by the social services. The programme immediately became a TV classic, and has been regularly cited to by critics, researchers and programme makers ever since. Part of its unique status is due to its superb scripting, direction and acting, but it is also considered a landmark production because of its innovative mix of drama and documentary material, and its role in highlighting the power of television to focus attention on social problems, and it remains "an important marker in the long-running debate about television and truth". The screening focussed public debate on the problems of family poverty, homelessness and the methods adopted by local authorities to deal with them; it also led directly to the formation of the housing action charity "Shelter".

22 Australia's military commitment to the Vietnam conflict is increased to 6300 troops, plus an additional 12 tanks, two minesweepers and eight bombers

23 Conscientious objector William White is granted total exemption from military service. Magistrate Mr C. Ward upholds White's appeal against his conscription. His first appeal against his conscription had been rejected by magistrate Mr C. Rodgers in December 1965. (<--22/11/66)

- The UFO club opens at 31 Tottenham Court Rd, London. The promoters are Joe Boyd, Barry Miles and John "Hoppy" Hopkins. The first two events are titled "UFO Presents Night Tripper" after which it becomes simply UFO (Underground Freak Out). The first band on the first night is Pink Floyd.

26 Time magazine awards its Man of the Year honour to 'The Younger Generation'.

31 A New Year's Eve All Night Rave, "Psychedelicamania" is held at London's Roundhouse, featuring The Who, The Move and Pink Floyd

Chart information courtesy Oz Net Music Chart 1997