The Land of Oz

January - March, 1967

January :  British speed ace Donald Campbell, who had set land and water speed records in Australia is killed on Coniston Waters in Lancashire when his speed boat Bluebird flips over.  South Vietnamese president Air Vice Marshall Ky makes a brief tour of Australia to a hostile reception from anti-war protestors.  Australian pop group The Seekers perform before the largest audience ever seen at London’s famous Hippodrome Theatre.  The current four digit numeric postcode system was introduced in association with the first mechanised mail processing centre in Australia (from personal experience, Preston’s N.18 became 3072).
February : Nation-wide unemployment reaches 89,000 or 1.9%, “the highest since 1963”.  In Melbourne’s Pentridge Prison, Ronald Ryan become the last man to hang in Australia following a number of rejected appeals for clemency, 90 arrested in protests outside the jail. Tasmanian bushfires around Hobart and in the south-east claim 62 lives and destroy more than 1,000 houses.   After a Caucus ploy, Gough Whitlam succeeds the 70 year-old Arthur Calwell to become new Leader of the Labor Party.  An academic from Adelaide University publishes a paper claiming drinking beer inhibits tooth decay.  Australian troops kill more than 70 of North Vietnam’s crack D-445 Battalion at Nui Dat.

March : Australia lose 3-1 the last Test series to be played against South Africa for nearly 30 years.  The Seekers appearance at free concert series “Music For The People” at the Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne draws a crowd estimated at 200,000. The Bart Cummings-trained Galilee wins the Sydney Cup by six lengths to become the first horse to win the Caulfield, Melbourne and Sydney Cups I the one season. Twenty-one year old Bill Howard becomes the first runner in the 90 year history of the Stawell Gift to win in consecutive years.  Cyclones in Northern Queensland leaves thousands stranded between Townsville and Cooktown.  HMAS Hobart becomes the first Australian warship in action in Vietnamese waters.