The Land of Oz

October - December, 1970

October : Spans of Melbourne’s West Gate Bridge collapse and 35 workers killed, later Royal Commission hears engineers were still strengthening steel two hours before the collapse. Motor racing ace Jack Brabham announces his retirement from racing.  Gary Player wins his sixth Australian Open at Kingston Heath

November : An Australian Canberra bomber crashed in Vietnam near the Laos border, Flying Officer Michael Herbert (24) and navigator, Pilot Officer Robert Carver (24), were listed as missing until their remains were discovered in 2009. Victorian Government becomes the first in the world to legislate mandatory wearing of safety belts.  Penguin Books found guilty of printing and distributing Portnoy’s Complaint, rule an obscene publication.  Pope Paul VI becomes the first Pope to visit Australia.  Australian troops start withdrawing from Vietnam with return of the 8th Battalion with a Government statement “it will not be returned”..

December : 200,000 attend Mass by Pope Paul VI at Sydney’s Randwick racecourse during the visit of Pope Paul VI, the first Pope to visit Autralia and after surviving an assassination attempt in the Philippines.  Death of Sir William Slim, Australian Governor-General, 1953-60.  Perth inventor Ralph Sarich announces plans for design of a radical orbital engine.  New satellite station opens at Ceduna on the Western Australian coast