MILESAGO - Almanac

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

  • Australia's estimated population = 13, 968, 881
  • Visual Art
    Kevin Connor's portrait of Sir Frank Kitto is awarded the Archibald Prize, after the original winner, John Bloomfield's portrait of film-maker Tim Burstall, is controversially disqualified on the grounds of having been painted from photos rather than from life

    Performing Arts
  • composer Malcolm Williamson is appointed Master of the Queen's Musick
  • the Australian Council for the Arts becomes the Australia Council
  • the Seymour Centre opens in Sydney
  • Reg Livermore premieres his first one-man revue Betty Blokkbuster Follies
  • the last Sunbury rock festival
  • The La De Das break up

  • The Australian film industry undergoes a major revival with a record number of features produced
  • Sunday Too Far Away wins the AFI Award
  • Australian Film Commission established
  • Ashes [Barry Barclay]
  • Australia After Dark [John D. Lamond]
  • Autumn Fires [Barry Barclay]
  • The Box [Paul Eddey]
  • Down The Wind [Kim McKenzie, Scott Hicks]
  • End Play [Tim Burstall]
  • The Golden Cage [Ayten Kuyululu]
  • The Great McCarthy [David Baker]
  • How Willingly You Sing [Garry Patterson]
  • Hunting Horns [Barry Barclay]
  • Indira Ghandi [Barry Barclay]
  • Inn Of The Damned [Terry Bourke]
  • Island [Paul Cox]
  • Landfall [Paul Maunder]
  • The Lost Islands[Bill Hughes]
  • The Love Epidemic [Brian Trenchard-Smith]
  • The Man From Hong Kong [Brian Trenchard-Smith]
  • Melanie And Me [Christopher Fitchett]
  • Niugini - Culture Shock [Jane Oehr]
  • Nuts, Bolts And Bedroom Springs [Gary Young]
  • The Olive Tree[Edgar Metcalfe]
  • Picnic At Hanging Rock [Peter Weir]
  • Plugg [Terry Bourke]
  • Promised Woman [Tom Cowan]
  • Protected [Alessandro Cavadini]
  • Pure Shit [Bert Deling]
  • The Removalists [Tom Jeffrey]
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show [Jim Sharman]
  • Scobie Malone [Terry Ohlsson]
  • Side By Side [Bruce Beresford]
  • Sidecar Racers [Earl Bellamy]
  • Solo Flight [Ian Mills]
  • Sunday Too Far Away [Ken Hannam] is invited to screen at the Director's Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival
  • Test Pictures: Eleven Vignettes From A Relationship [Geoffrey Steven]
  • The True Story Of Eskimo Nell [Richard Franklin]

  • ABC Radio's The Hospital Hour ends after 37 years on air
  • 2JJ station coordinator Marius Webb becomes the first staff-elected Commissioner of the ABC

  • Ernie Sigley and Denise Drysdale win Gold Logies
  • Australia begins colour TV broadcasts on 1 March
  • The Company Men (miniseries) [ Michael Jenkins, Julian Pringle, etc]
  • Double Dealer (telemovie) [Alan Dickes]
  • Games For Parents And Children (telemovie) [Ray Alchin]
  • I'm Here, Darlings (telemovie)[Michael Jenkins]
  • Last Rites (telemovie) [Brian Bell]
  • Paradise (1975) (Telemovie) [Bill Hughes]
  • The Tichborne Affair (telemovie) [Carl Schultz]
  • They Don't Clap Losers (telemovie)[John Power]

  • Xavier Herbert's Poor Fellow My Country wins the Miles Franklin Award
  • Frank Hardy's But The Dead Are Many
  • David Malouf's Johnno
  • Peter Singer's Animal Liberation
  • Anne Summers' Damned Whores and God's Police

  • scientist Sir John Cornforth is named Australian Of The Year
  • the death of entrepreneur, club owner and "prominent Sydney identity" Sammy Lee, owner of the famous Latin Quarter club (later renamed The Cheetah Room).

Sir John Cornforth - Australian of the Year 1975

Sydney-born Cornforth, who was completely deaf by his early twenties, was awarded a scholarship in 1939 to Oxford where he experimented with penicillin under Howard Florey. Because there were no opportunities in Australia for research chemists who could not lecture, he spent the rest of his working life in England. He shared the 1975 Nobel Prize with Vladimir Prelog for their work on stereochemistry. Cornforth's share of the prize was for his study of enzymes, the catalysts that make possible the chemical processes of life. His wife Rita, herself a brilliant organic chemist, carried out much of the experimental work.

Among many other honours and awards, Cornforth received a knighthood in 1977, and the Royal Society's highest awards, the Royal Society and Copley medals in 1976 and 1982 respectively. He was Royal Society Research Professor of molecular sciences, 1975-82, and then Emeritus Research Professor at Sussex University. Sir John described the business of scientists as being 'not to believe but to test, check and balance all theories, including their own'.

Portrait by Julie Macklin: Sir John Cornforth
Research School of Chemistry, ANU 1992
gelatin silver photograph
Australian Academy of Science, Canberra




4th You're My World 
Daryl Braithwaite 

11th You're My World 
Daryl Braithwaite 

18th You're My World 
Daryl Braithwaite 

25th You're My World  
Daryl Braithwaite

North Vietnamese forces begin a major campaign to take control of South Vietnam in the wake of the withdrawal of American personnel following the singing of the Paris Peace Accord. The Vietcong conquer Phuoc Long province on the border with Cambodia. North Vietnamese regular units, supplemented by local guerrillas, rout the South Vietnamese army in a mere three weeks. More than 3,000 South Vietnamese troops are killed or captured, and millions of dollars' worth of supplies are seized. Although Phuoc Long is not particularly important in either military or economic terms, it is the first province the North Vietnamese have taken since 1972 and it is only 80 miles from Saigon. This crucial event is scarcely mentioned in the American news media. Although Washington has pledged to "respond with decisive military force" to any North Vietnamese violation of the 1973 accords, in the event it does nothing.

A huge month for Skyhooks. Their "Polaroid In Concert" TV special screens nationally. on TV screens across the nation, and hundreds wait ticketless in the foyer of the Dallas Brooks Hall when Skyhooks headline there. The Living In The 70's LP reaches #1 on the 3XY charts, Sydney's 2JJ opens transmission with the banned album track You Just Like Me 'Cos I'm Good In Bed, and the band in a free concert under the Harbour Bridge. At the end of the month Skyhooks prove to be "the explosion point" of Sunbury '75, winning rave reviews from Rolling Stone and The Age. Beating off strong competition, Michael Gudinski takes over as their manager.

Ariel return from the UK and add singer/guitarist Glyn Mason (ex-Chain) as fifth member. 

Drummer Phil Rudd (ex-Buster Brown) joins AC/DC

Australian content regulations for radio are increased to 15%

Police again clash with Aborigines at Laverton and Skull Creek in W.A. A subsequent Royal Commission finds that the arrest made were unjustified and that parts of the police report of the events had been fabricated.

Major overseas releases:
Bob Dylan - Blood On The Tracks
Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel - Make Me Smile
John Lennon - No. 9 Dream
Bob Marley & the Wailers - Natty Dread

1 The University of Wollongong is founded

- Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham join Fleetwood Mac.

2 A U.S. District Court rules that John Lennon should have access to Department of Immigration files pertaining to his deportation case. Lennon wants to know whether the case against him stems from his 1968 British drug conviction or from his anti-establishment comments and actions during the period of Richard Nixon's presidency.

3 Sir Robert Askin retires as NSW Premier

5 A benefit concert at the Sydney Opera House raises $75,000 for victims of the Cyclone Tracy disaster.

- The Australian National Line bulk carrier Lake Illawarra drifts off course while travelling down the Derwent River beneath the Tasman Bridge in Hobart. The ship rams a pylon, causing an entire span of the bridge to collapse into the river, sinking the ship. Seven of the Lake Illawarra crew are killed, along with five motorists who drown in cars which plunged off the bridge.

6 The musical The Wiz opens on Broadway.

- Boston's Mayor Kevin White cancels a Led Zeppelin concert after one thousand fans riot at the venue, breaking seats and doors, and causing an esimated $30,000 damage.

8  Three Led Zeppelin concerts at New York's Madison Square Garden - 60,000 tickets in all - sell out in a record four hours.

14 Little Feat, The Doobie Brothers and Graham Central Station start a European tour. Little Feat (led by former Mothers of Invention guitarist Lowell George) establishes a strong cult following during the month-long tour.

14 Gough Whitlam arrives in Moscow for talks with the Soviet government.

19 The ABC's new rock music station 2JJ (Double Jay) begins broadcasting in Sydney. It is the first non-commercial 24--hour rock music station in Australia, and the first new radio licence issued for a capital city station for 35 years. The station creates a furore with its opening track - Skyhooks' You Just Like Me Cos I'm Good In Bed - one of six cuts from Skyhooks' debut album which have been banned by commercial radio. Double Jay also thumbs its nose at the commercials by choosing Holger Brockmann as its first DJ on air. Brockmann is an ex-commercial radio DJ who had been forced to use the name "Bill Drake" at while working at 2SM.

25-27 The fourth - and last - Sunbury Festival is held over the Australia Day weekend. In almost all respects, it's a disaster - the event is rained out, only 16,000 people attend and organisers Odessa Promotions cop a massive loss, forcing them into liquidation immediately after the event. Jim Keays' special performance of his concept album The Boy From the Stars is one of the few successes of the weekend, and his supergroup backing band is the only local act who gets paid (having wisely pre-arranged an outside sponsor). Almost all the other local acts go unpaid while headliner Deep Purple's exclusive performance nets them a whopping $60,000 (at least 100 times the average fee for Australian bands at that time). Proceedings are also marred on the last day by the heavy-handed behaviour of Deep Purple's entourage, who provoke a fist-fight with ex-Easybeat George Young, AC/DC and the AC/DC roadies, after refusing to let AC/DC play after their set. AC/DC eventually leave without playing.




1st  My Little Angel 
William Shakespeare   
8th  My Little Angel   
William Shakespeare   
15th  My Little Angel   
William Shakespeare 

22nd  Please Mr Postman   
The Carpenters 

Skyhooks are nominated in 7 of 12 categories in the first Moomba National. Music Awards, eventually taking out the major prizes Record of the Year (for the album Living in the 70's) and Producer of the Year (Ross Wilson). They play a live televised Moomba concert on the banks of the Yarra, and are subsequently mobbed, causing a traffic jam two lanes wide and the band make their escape in a police divvie van.

Australia's first legal nude bathing beach is declared in SA

Major overseas releases:
David Bowie - Young Americans
Elton John - Philadelphia Freedom
John Lennon - Rock 'N' Roll
Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti
The Temptations - Shakey Ground
Yes - Yesterdays

9  Attorney General Lionel Murphy resigns to become a judge of the High Court of Australia

20  In Parliament, Deputy PM Jim Cairns is forced to defend his appointment of Juni Morosi after claims by Liberal backbencher Billy Wentworth that she was unfit for her position and a newspaper report suggesting a romantic link between Morosi and Cairns.

28  The ABC officially launches colour TV broadcasting in Australia with a five-minute special, Aunty Jack Introduces Colour, which runs from 11:58pm to 12.03am on 1 March.

Love Song (Oh Jene) / Baby Please Don't Go




1st  Please Mr Postman  
The Carpenters  
8th Please Mr Postman  
The Carpenters  

15th Please Mr Postman  
The Carpenters  
22nd Please Mr Postman  
The Carpenters  

29th Horror Movie  

A big month for hard rock outfit AC/DC, scoring their first Australian hit when their version of Baby Please Don't Go reaches #10, and making their legendary first appearance on Countdown, with lead singer Bon Scott dressed as a schoolgirl. They release their debut LP High Voltage, produced by Vanda & Young, which charts for 25 weeks and becomes the second biggest-selling Australian album of the year. Bassist Mark Evans also joins this month, completing the 'classic' 75-77 lineup of the group.

Syhooks perform on the ill-fated Graham Kennedy Show, and on Countdown's on the first day of colour transmission. The band kicks off an all-conquering national tour with the Australian Music to the World concert at Adelaide's Memorial Drive, whish is sold out ten days prior; 10,000 attend and hysteria ensues, although the Vice Squad confiscate the band's phallus prop. The tour smashes attendance records and huge crowds have to be  turned away at most venues.

Olivia Newton-John scores another US #1 single with Have You Ever Been Mellow?

Major overseas releases:
Jeff Beck - Blow By Blow
David Bowie - Young Americans
Joe Cocker - You Are So Beautiful
Jimi Hendrix - Crash Landing
Elton John - Philadelphia Freedom
The Kinks - Soap Opera
Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti
Lou Reed - Lou Reed Live

1 Colour television broadcasting is officially introduced in Australia. The ABC officially launches colour TV broadcasting with a five-minute special, Aunty Jack Introduces Colour, which runs from 11:58am to 12.03 on 1 March. One of the first commercial shows to be broadcast in full colour is the Seven Network's Sounds, the national two-hour music show hosted by former DJ and sometime pop singer Donnie Sutherland.

5  TV host Graham Kennedy performs his controversial "crow call" during a live advertising segment on his night-time variety show. The incident results in a flood of complaints and outraged newspaper headlines. After the comlpaints are investigated by the Broadcasting Control Board, Kennedy is banned from appearaing live on TV for an indefinite period. He quits the Nine Network soon after over the network's censorship of criticisms he made of Media Minister Doug McClelland's lack of support for stronger Australian content regulations.

8 The first edition of ABC Radio's The Coming Out Ready Or Not Show. Later shortened to The Coming Out Show, it is the first radio program to concentrate exclusively on women's issues and feminist politics.

10-12 North Vietnamese forces commanded by General Van Tien Dung take the city of Ban Me Thuot the capital of Darlac province, in the Central Highlands. It is the key strategic link in the South Vietnamese army's defences and its capture enables the pro-Communist forces to effectively cut South Vietnam in half. Dung's force disguises its real assault by first mounting pinprick attacks in the two northernmost provinces of South Vietnam. Although minor, these attacks trigger the exodus of more than 50,000 refugees, which has an immense effect on battles to come. The Vietcong then isolate the city by blocking the main highways, then three army divisions equipped with tanks begin a direct assault on the city, which is defended by two reinforced regiments of the 23rd Division. Despite a barrage of 122mm artillery fire, the South Vietnamese army, commanded by Maj. Gen. Pham Van Phu, fights well. However, they are finally worn down and by 12 March the Vietcong have taken control of the city. Ban Me Thuot was also the first occurrence of a phenomenon that would increasingly undermine the South's morale. Many of its army officers, including Phu himself, use helicopters to pick up their families and flee south. Thousands of South Vietnamese peasants crowd the main roads and pathways in a mass exodus for the coast, where they jam the seaports seeking transport to the south. The refugee stream includes not only civilians who had helped the South's army or the Americans, but also those who had no reason to expect bad treatment from North Vietnam's army but who were simply fleeing in the general panic. The refugee crowd also includes many South Vietnamese soldiers who left the line of battle to find their families and escort them to safety, and their desertion has a disastrous effect upon South Vietnamese resistance, accelerating the dissolution of the South's capability to resist.

13 Split Enz arrive in Sydney from New Zealand.

14 Panicked by news of the fall of Ban Me Thuot, President Nguyen Van Thieu secretly orders the withdrawal of South Vietnamese forces from the Central Highlands. Thieu's decision proves to be a monumental strategic error, and precipitates the complete collapse of South Vietnamese resistance to the renewed Vietcong assault. Because no plans for the withdrawal had been drawn up, the retreating troops are caught up in the mass of refugees already fleeing from the region. Their agonizing journey south comes to be known as "The Convoy of Tears". The refugees take any and every sort of vehicle available -- buses, tanks, trucks, armored personnel carriers, private cars, anything with wheels. Crawling nose to tail along Route 7B, the convoy vehicles are jammed with soldiers and overloaded with family members from babes in arms to aged grandparents, packed on top or clinging to the sides. Many of those who fall off are crushed by the vehicles behind. Thousands more flee on foot, carrying their few belongings with them. The convoy travels for fifteen blistering hot days and cold nights with no food or water, and the route is soon littered with those too ill or weak to carry on -- children, the elderly, the sick and infirm. To make matters worse, North Vietnamese troops of the 320th Division pounce on the refugee column and keep them under constant attack, killing thousands of people. Artillery units pick off vehicle after vehicle at near point-blank range, throwing body parts into trees and drenching the ground with blood. As many as 40,000 people die on the road, and the situation worsens even further when renegade South Vietnamese army troops also begin firing on the refugee columns. When the exhausted survivors finally make it to a seaport, they are callously exploited by their countrymen, who charge exorbitant prices for food and as much as $2 a glass for water. At this point discipline breaks down completely and the South Vietnamese troops denegerate into an armed mob, preying on civilians and looting whatever can be found.

18 Vietcong forces capture the northern cities of Kontum and Pleiku, putting their planned invasion of the South weeks ahead of schedule. South Vietnamese President Thieu's disastrous order to withdraw from the Central Highlands costs the South six provinces and two army divisions, along with more than US$1 billion in materiel. Clinging to an almost childlike belief that the Americans will intervene and repel the invasion, Thieu hastily improvises an "enclave" plan, concentrating his forces on holding coastal cities including Da Nang and Saigon and the Mekong Delta region.

21 Malcolm Fraser replaces Billy Snedden as federal Liberal leader

- "Wollongong The Brave", a new 4-part comedy series from the Aunty Jack team, premieres on ABC

24  Following multiple attacks on Quang Tri province and mass desertions by South Vietnamese troops, the northern city of Hue falls to the Vietcong. As Hue is shelled, other Vietcong forces surround Da Nang, to which over 1 million refugees have fled. Thousands attempt to escape by sea in anything that will float, and many drown. Over the next few days there is a chaotic civilian airlift evacuation. Edward J. Daly, president of World Airways, defies US Ambassador Graham A. Martin and sends two Boeing 727s to Da Nang, flying on the first one himself. On landing, his plane is mobbed by thousands of people, but only 270 manage to get on board, of whom all but a handful are armed soldiers rather than the civilians that Daly had intended to evacuate. The 727 takes off amid gunfire and a grenade explosion that damages the flaps. It hits a fence and a vehicle before staggering into the air. Desperate to leave, some try to climb into the wheel well, and one man is killed as the gear comes up and jams, crushing him to death. Somehow the 727 limps back to Saigon, managing to land safely despite the jammed landing gear and flaps. Ironically the death of the man in the landing gear saves four others who had also climbed into the wheel well, as his crushed body prevented the gear from fully retracting and killing them all. Later, when the details of the hair-raising takeoff are analysed by Boeing, they conclude that the 727 should not have been able to fly. The catastrophic evacuation by sea at Hue is repeated on an even greater scale at Da Nang, where people are trampled to death by crowds fighting to board the larger ships. More than 2 million people crowd into Da Nang, but only 50,000 manage to escape by sea. In what has become a familiar pattern, discipline breaks down as Communist artillery fire rake the city and widespread looting begins. Organized resistance crumbles, and fleeing civilians are caught in a murderous crossfire between North and South Vietnamese troops.

29 Vietcong forces conquer the city of Da Nang, former location of the main American airbase. They also capture billions of dollars' worth of materiel stacked over thousands of acres around the airfields.

31 Vietcong forces capture the city of Qui Nhon.

Keep On Dancing (With Me) / I'll Be Gone 

High Voltage (LP)

The La De Das

No Bother To Me / Malmsbury Villa
Split Enz (NZ only)




5th Horror Movie  

12th The Newcastle Song  
Bob Hudson  

19th The Newcastle Song  
Bob Hudson  
26th The Newcastle Song  
Bob Hudson 

Surprised by the rapid collapse of resistance, North Vietnamese General Van Tien Dung gives his forces a new goal -- completing the "liberation" of South Vietnam in time to celebrate the birthday of their late leader, Ho Chi Minh, on 10 May. Dubbing the new action "The Ho Chi Minh Campaign", Gen. Dung gives his troops a new slogan: "Lightning speed, daring, and more daring." Dung's forces soon cut all roads around Saigon and begin shelling Bien Hoa airbase. With the fall of the South now obviously imminent, the US begins a massive evacuation operation, using civilian and military airlift and virtually any water craft that will float. 57,700 people are flown out by fixed wing aircraft, and 73,000 more leave by sea. About 5,000 Americans are evacuated plus many foreigners. They also airlift out South Vietnamese citizens whose service to their government or to the United States would have made them candidates for reprisals from the Communists. One especially valiant effort is that of Francis Terry McNamara, the US Consul-General in Can Tho. At great personal risk, McNamara commandeers landing craft to ferry hundreds of Vietnamese down the Bassac River to safety during a fierce storm, undaunted by approaching North Vietnamese forces.

Skyhooks play major concerts in Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. Their Anzac Day in Melbourne, Festival Hall is sold out, packed with "a seething mass of Skyhooks fans ... scenes of hysteria and adulation that have not been seen here since the days of Beatlemania" (Listener In TV). "It was Skyhooksmania ... the crowd went mad. About 50 fans were carried semi-conscious onto the stage after being crushed in the crowd" (The Sun). The single Ego Is Not A Dirty Word is released and bounds up the national charts to overtake Horror Movie, their pervious #1 which is still  top ten in most states.

Ariel make a second trip to the UK

Split Enz move to Australia

Major overseas releases:
ABBA - I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do
Eric Clapton - There's One In Every Crowd
Kraftwerk - Autobahn
Led Zeppelin - Trampled Under Foot
John Lennon - Stand By Me

3 Vietcong forces capture the city of Nha Trang after a battle lasting just three hours. Cam Ranh Bay falls the same day after only 30 minutes' fighting.

4 The US begins "Operation Babylift", conducted between April 4 and 14, in which some 2,600 Vietnamese children are flown to the United States to be adopted. However Babylift is marred by a tragic accident on the first flight of the operation, when a C-5A transport suffers an explosive decompression at 23,000 feet, blowing out a huge section of the aft cargo door and cutting the control cables to the elevators and rudder. The pilot, Capt. Dennis Traynor does a masterful job of keeping the plane in the air, using power for pitch and ailerons for directional control. He manages to bring the aircraft back to within five miles of Tan Son Nhut, where he makes a semicontrolled crash. Of the 382 people aboard, 206 are killed, most of them children. All subsequent flights are completed safely.

5 A chartered jet carrying 212 Vietnamese war orphans arrives in Sydney.

9 North and South Vietnamese forces commence the last major battle of the Vietnam War, at Xuan Loc, on National Route 1, only 37 miles from Saigon. Southern forces fight valiantly in the bitter 15-day battle, particularly the 18th Division, which previously had a bad reputation, but which in this case fought on against the crack North Vietnamese 4th Corps, despite suffering 30 percent casualties and receiving no reinforcements.

12 The United States evacuates 276 Americans from Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in Operation Eagle Pull. The withdrawal sends Hanoi yet another signal that US intervention is not to be feared but South Vietnamese President Thieu clung to the hope of US intervention for another nine days.

17 The Cambodian capital Phnom Penh falls to the Khmer Rouge

21 President Nguyen Van Thieu of South Vietnam resigns, turning the government over to the aging and feeble Tran Van Huong. Thieu sends his personal belongings and money out of the country, then follows his valuables into exile in Taiwan and then Britain. Huong soon transfers power to Gen. Duong Van Minh (aka "Big Minh"), the man who had planned the Novemeber 1963 assassinations of then president Ngo Dinh Diem and Diem's brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu.

23 Victoria abolishes capital punishment

- the south Vietnamese city of Xuan Loc falls to the Vietcong. The same day, in an address at Tulane University, US President Gerald Ford states that the war in Vietnam "is finished as far as America is concerned". He receives a standing ovation.

- William Hartnell, star of the famous BBC-TV science fiction series Dr Who, dies from cardiovascular disease in Marden, Kent, aged 67. Hartnell had a long stage, film and TV career, appeared in many Brtitish films including Brighton Rock (1947) and This Sporting Life (1963) and was often cast as a policeman or a soldier. In 1963 he created the title role in Dr Who and remained with the series until 1966, when he was forced to retire due to ill health and was replaced by Patrick Troughton. His final screen appearance was in 1973 when he briefly reprised the role of the first Doctor in the four-part serial "The Three Doctors", a story specially commissioned to celebrate the program's tenth anniversary which featured all three actors who had portrayed the Doctor to date -- Hartnell, Troughton and John Pertwee.

25 Australia closes its embassy in Saigon, completing its withdrawal from Vietnam.

29 As North Vietnamese forces encircle and bombard the city, US Ambassador Graham A. Martin reluctantly gives the order for "Operation Frequent Wind", the helicopter evacuation of Saigon. Staff are airlifted from the Defense Attaché's Office at Tan Son Nhut and from the US embassy compound and in all some 6,236 passengers are removed to safety, despite severe harassing fire, although some believe that the DAO area and the evacuation process itself are deliberately spared by the North Vietnamese. At the embassy, large helicopters use the walled-in courtyard as a landing pad while smaller helicopters lift people from the roof. Despite the lack of time and inadequate landing facilities, crews perform with remarkable precision. On 29 and 30 April there are 662 US military airlift flights between Saigon and ships 80 miles offshore. Air Force and Marine Corps helicopters fly a total of 638 sorties, with a further 325 support aircraft sorties by Marine, Navy, and USAF aircraft. Air America, the CIA proprietary airline, also joins in, having already flown 1,000 sorties in the previous month. As the Americans and their allies flee, reporters capture unforgettable images of crowds streaming up the steps of the rooftop helipad, desperately trying to board overcrowded US helicopters, while hundreds more try to force their way onto the US Embassy grounds, with some even passing their babies over the barbed wire "to waiting hands and an unknown future".

30 In the early hours of the morning, as Vietcong forces move into the South Vietnamese capital, the last US personnel are alirifted from the city. At 4:58 a.m., Saigon time, a US helicopter with the call sign "Lady Ace 09", flown by Capt. Jerry Berry, takes the US Ambassador Graham Martin from the embassy roof to the waiting US fleet. At 7:53am the last US helicopter takes off from the embassy roof, carrying the Marines who had been guarding the American Embassy compound. They leave behind some 200-450 Vietnamese personnel who had been promised evacuation. Meanwhile, every available South Vietnamese helicopter is crammed with people and these are flown en masse to the waiting ships of the US 7th Fleet. As the helicopters land (sometimes on top of each other) the occupants are disarmed and led away, then the helicopters are then dumped over the side to make room for the next. At least 45 are disposed of in this manner. Fixed wing South Vietnamese aircraft flee across the Thai border, landing willy-nilly at various airfields in Thailand. Meanwhile, in Washington, the State and Defence Departments hastily assemble task forces to set up refugee processing centers at Ft. Chaffee, Arkansas, Ft. Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, and Eglin AFB, Florida. In the weeks following the fall of Saigon, 675,000 refugees are brought to the United States. Around midday, a North Vietnamese tank symbolically smashes down the gates of the Presidential Palace and the Vietcong flag is raised over the Presidential Palace, marking the fall of the city. South Vietnamese President Minh tries to surrender but is told that he longer controls anything that can be surrendered. At 3:30pm, Minh is allowed to broadcast a two-sentence speech announcing the surrender of Saigon and marking the end of the bloody, decades-long war.

- A Marine Court of Inquiry board finds that the captain of the Lake Illawarra was solely responsible for the Tasman Bridge disaster

Aunty Jack Sings Wollongong (LP)
Aunty Jack & The Gong

She Do It To Me / Terry's Tune
Greg Quill




3rd The Newcastle Song  
Bob Hudson  

10th Summer Love  
17th  Summer Love  
24th January  

31st January  

Dragon arrive in Australia from New Zealand

The La De Das announce their break up after ten years as one of Australasia's top rock bands

Split Enz record their debut LP Mental Notes in Sydney

A major political scandal erupts over the so-called "Iraqi Loans Affair" when it's revealed that Federal Minerals & Energy Minister Rex Connor had used a Pakistani financier, Tirath Khemlani, to broker a secret $2000 million loan from sources in the Middle East, against Treasury and Reserve Bank advice.

Arista Records boss Clive Davis signs Max Merritt & The Meteors to Arista's new UK division after seeing them live in London.

Major overseas releases:
The Bee Gees - Jive Talkin'
David Bowie - Fame
Elton John - Someone Saved My Life Tonight, Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy
King Crimson - USA
Wings - Listen To What The Man Said, Venus And Mars
The Rolling Stones - I Don't Know Why

1 The Sydney Daily Telegraph publishes its famous editorial on the fall on Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War:


A long and dreadful chapter of Asian history has ended ... another, unknown chapter is about to begin.

And suddenly there is nothing left to say.

The tears have been shed. A million words have described the agony and the horror and the bloodshed. Its over. Thank God.

Now we can only pray that the people of Vietnam will be shown the mercy they have for so long been denied."

5 "Newsvoice" replaces the "Young World" on ABC Radio, ending the 43-year run of the Children's Session

19 Federal Parliament votes in favour of groundbreaking reforms to family law, approving a "no fault" system which makes 12 months' separation the sole grounds for divorce.

26 The bushranger drama Cash & Co. premieres on the Seven Network

29 The Family Law Court is established.




7th January  

14th January  

21st January  

28th January  

Ariel return to Australia from the UK; original drummer Nigel Macara replaces John Lee who has stayed in the UK to join Dirty Tricks.

AC/DC's debut LP High Voltage is certified gold.

Ian Meldrum makes his first appearances on COUNTDOWN, presenting the "Humdrum" segment.

Major overseas releases:
The Beach Boys - Sail On Sailor
Bob Dylan/The Band - The Basement Tapes
Neil Young - Tonight's The Night
The Rolling Stones - Metamorphosis

2 Lance Barnard resigns as Deputy PM to become Ambassador to Sweden; Treasurer Dr Jim Cairns takes his place.

5 PM Gough Whitlam reshuffles his cabinet, appointing former Qld policeman Bill Hayden as the new Treasurer

15 Tim Burstall's film End Play is released

16 Multicultural radio begins broadcasting in Australia from 2EA in Sydney.

19 Manning Clark and Dame Joan Sutherland are amomg the first recipients of the newly established Order of Australia announced in the Queen's Birthday honours

23 Melbourne multicultural radio station 3EA commences broadcasting

28  David Bowie's single Fame (which features John Lennon on backing vocals and guitar) enters the US charts, where it subsequently goes to #1.

High Voltage / Soul Stripper

Mental Notes
Split Enz





5th January  
12th January  
19th  Before The Next Teardrop Falls  
Freddie Fender  
26th Bye Bye Baby  
The Bay City Rollers 

AC/DC cut their second album, TNT, at Albert's Studios in Sydney

Major overseas releases:
Lou Reed - Metal Machine Music

1 The federal governement initiates major changes to Commonwealth services. Medibank, a new national health insurance system is established, providing low-cost, rebated health care and funded by a new levy on income tax.. Two new bodies, Australia Post and Telecom Australia (later Telstra) takeover the functions of the old Postmaster-General's Dep't (PMG); Australian National Railways is established

2 The embattled federal Labor government is rocked by another major scandal when Deputy PM Dr Jim Cairns is sacked by Gough Whitlam. The sacking comes after the revelation of Cairns' involvement in a proposed $200 million loan to finance a real estate development in Melbourne's western suburbs. Whitlam says he was not satisfied with Cairns' explanations regarding a letter he signed, setting out terms of commission for the loan, and with the activities of Cairns' son Phillip, who was involved in promoting the scheme while a ministerial officer attached to his father's department.

4 Sydney activist and newspaper proprietor Juanita Nielsen disappears. She is last seen leaving her home in Kings Cross at 11am, when she leaves for a meeting to discuss advertising with Edward Frederick Trigg, an employee at the Carousel Club, a Kings Cross nightclub owned by "prominent Sydney buinessman" Abe Saffron. Ms Nielsen, the 37-year-old heiress to the Mark Foys retail fortune, is the publisher of Now, the independent newspaper which has taken a strong stance against vice and inner city redevelopment, and has strenuously opposed plans by the local council and developer Frank Theeman to demolish of the row of historic terrace houses in Victoria Street, Kings Cross where Ms Nielsen lives, and to redevelop the site as multi-storey housing. Ms Nielsen, who lived in one of the terraces in Victoria Street earmarked for demolition, had become the lone public voice of protest against the Kings Cross development after a Green Ban imposed by the NSW Builders Labourers Federation was lifted.

12 Dams and creeks in outer western Sydney are searched after personal effects belonging to missing activist Juanita Nielsen are found near the Western Freeway. Despite a large search, a lengthy police investigation and a Coronial Inquiry into her disappearance, Ms Nielsen's body is never found, and those responsible for her presumed death are never tracked down In 1977 Edward Trigg is charged with her murder but he absconds while on bail while awaiting trial in 1980. In 1981 Shayne Martin-Simmonds is tried on charges of conspiring with Trigg and persons unknown to kidnap Ms Nielson. Trigg is eventually captured in the USA in 1982 and returned to Australia, where he is gaoled for 3 years on conspiracy charges. Police reopen the case in 1998 when a new witness comes forward who says that a man told him he had killed Ms Nielsen.

- Don Dunstan is re-elected as SA Premier

14 Frank Crean replaces Jim Cairns as deputy PM

31 Bob Hawke gives an early hint of his political aspirations, when he pledges to give up drinking if he becomes Prime Minister. Hawke's fondness for drink, and his beer-sculling record, set while he was studying at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar in the 1960s, are almost as well-known as his academic achievements.

A Little Easier /
Max Merritt & The Meteors

Ego Is Not A Dirty Word (LP)




2nd Fox On The Run  
The Sweet  

9th Fox On The Run  
The Sweet  

16th Fox On The Run  
The Sweet  
23rd Fox On The Run  
The Sweet  
30th Fox On The Run  
The Sweet 

Major overseas releases:
Eric Clapton - E.C. Was Here
Bad Company - Feel Like Making Love
David Bowie - Fame
Bob Marley - No Woman, No Cry
Rod Stewart - Atlantic Crossing

2 Right-wing unionist Brian Harradine is expelled from the Tasmanian branch of the ALP

5 A seven year dispute between the national executive and the Tasmanian branch of the ALP climaxes with an ultimatum by federal secretary David Combe that the national executive will disband the Tasmanian branch if it does not back down from its decision to re-admit Brian Harradine. The dispute dates back to 1968 when Harradine, then secretary of the Tasmanian Trades and Labour Council, accused "friends of the communists" on the national executive of trying to silence him.

16 The Gurindji people of the NT are given partial title to some of their traditional land by PM Gough Whitlam

28 The Henderson Commission into poverty tables its report in Parliament. Established in 1972, the commission is chaired by Professor Ronald Henderson, director of the Institute of Economic Research at Melbourne University. Its key findings include revelations that an estimated 10% of Australian households were living below the poverty line in 1973, that fatherless families were the poorest, and that 250,000 dependent children were living in poverty. It also recommends the establishment of a guaranteed income scheme, and the boosting of pensions and child endowments which it declares to be "hopelessly inadequate" for large families on the minimum wage.

30 The first edition of ABC Radio's "The Science Show", presented by Robyn Williams




6th Fox On The Run  
The Sweet  

13th Love Will Keep Us Together  
The Captain & Tennille  
20th  Love Will Keep Us Together  
The Captain & Tennille  
27th  Love Will Keep Us Together  
The Captain & Tennille 

The Seymour Centre opens in Sydney

AC/DC make their second appearance on "Coundtdown", performing High Voltage

Major overseas releases:
Jethro Tull - Minstrel In The Gallery
Elton John - Island Girl
Wings - Letting Go

7 The historical drama Ben Hall premieres on ABC TV

16 Papua-New Guinea is declared independent, ending 90 years of colonial rule by Britain, Germany and Australia.

20 Eastern Suburbs defeat St George in the NSW Rugby Grand Final

27 North Melbourne defeat Hawthorne in the VFL Grand Final

- Controversial NSW Labor leader and former Premier Jack Lang dies in Sydney, just short of his 98th birthday.

Maybe / Titus
Split Enz

Blackmail / The Outlaw's Reply
Greg Quill

A Little Easier (LP)
Max Merritt & The Meteors



4th  Love Will Keep Us Together  
The Captain & Tennille  
11th I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do  

18th  I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do  

25th I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do  

AC/DC embark on their first major national tour

Major overseas releases:
Elton John - Rock Of The Westies
Kraftwerk - Exceller 8
John Lennon - Imagine
The Who - Who By Numbers

9 Sean Ono Lennon, the son of former Beatle John Lennon and artist/musician Yoko Ono, is born in New York on his father's 35th birthday.

- Bankcard, Australia's first credit card, is introduced

15 The Whitlam government takes another body blow when Minister for Minerals & Energy Rex Connor is forced to resign. The resignation comes after it was found that Connor had misled PM Gough Whitlam over his conduct of the "Loans Affair"[<-5/75]. He is the second Labor frontbencher forced out because of financial improprieties with three months [<- 2/7/75]. In Parliament that night, Opposition leader Malcolm Fraser provokes an unprecedented constitutional crisis by announcing that Liberal senators will use their numbers to block the government's supply bills to force an early election, and they defeat a key loans bill by 29-28.

16 Opposition senators block the government's supply bills for a second time, leaving the government unable to pay for public services salaries, recurring costs and capital works. In the weeks that follow, the opposition will block all attempts to pass the bills.

17 Five Australian journalists are murdered, and their bodies burned by pro-Indonesian soldiers in East Timor. Journalist Greg Shackleton, 29, cameraman Garry Cunningham, 27 and sound technician Tony Stewart, from Melbourne, and journalist Malcolm Rennie, 28, and cameraman Brian Peters, 29 from Sydney are executed while reporting on heavy fighting between around the town of Balibo during the Indonesian invasion of the former Portuguese colony. It will be eight days before Indonesia releases any "official" information about their fate.

24 Radio Kupang in Indonesian West Timor broadcasts claims that the five murdered Australian journalists have been killed "because they were communists".

31 The Commonwealth Racial Discrimination Act is proclaimed and Al Grassby becomes the first Commissioner for Community Relations




1st Mama Mia   
8th Mama Mia   
15th Mama Mia   
22nd Mama Mia   
29th Mama Mia   

Max Merritt & The Meteors score both an Australian Top 5 LP with the album A Little Easier, and an Australian and NZ Top 5 single with the song Slippin' Away.

AC/DC play their first headline concert at the Festival Hall, Melbourne.

Lead guitarist Wally Wilksinson is sacked from Split Enz and is replaced by former member Rob Gillies.

Major overseas releases:
David Bowie - Golden Years
Eno - Another Green World,
Fripp & Eno - Evening Star
Jimi Hendrix - Midnight Lightning
Kraftwerk - Radioactivity
Bob Marley & The Wailers - Live!
Joni Mitchell - The Hissing Of Summer Lawns
Neil Young - Zuma

4 Think Big wins the Melbourne Cup

11 In a day which combines political intrigue and high drama with moments of slapstick and farce, the month-long constitutional crisis reaches a climax in Canberra. In a move which stuns the country, Governor-General Sir John Kerr invokes his reserve powers and dismisses the Labor government led by Gough Whitlam, commissions opposition leader Malcolm Fraser as caretaker PM, dissolves both houses of parliament and issues writs for a full election of both houses.

In the morning, Whitlam attempts to end the deadlock which is preventing the passing of Supply bills through the Senate, telling opposition leader Malcolm Fraser that he intends calling a half-Senate election to break the opposition's stranglehold on the upper house. Fraser rejects the suggestion out of hand, insisting on a House Of Representatives election instead. What Whitlam - crucially - does not know is that over the preceding days Fraser has been holding secret talks with both Governor General John Kerr and Chief Justice Sir Garfield Barwick (a fact that later leads to accusations of conspiracy against all three) and that they had already agreed on Labor's dismissal as the means to end the crisis.

Whitlam had made an appointment to meet with Kerr at 1pm to have the election writs signed, but Fraser visits Kerr just before Whitlam was due to arrive, receiving his commission to lead a caretaker government, and he leaves by a one door of Kerr's office at virtually the same moment that Whitlam enters through another. Fraser speeds back to parliament, armed with the knowledge that Whitlam is about to be sacked, and he oversees the rapid passing of the the Supply bills, after which the news of his commission and Whitlam's dismissal are announced to the stunned Parliament.

By mid-afternoon the news has spread and a large crowd has gathered outside the House. At 4.45 Kerr's secretary David Smith appeared on the steps, and reads out the proclamation dismissing the government and dissolving Parliament. Whitlam then makes his classic address to the assembled crowd of media and supporters, during which he made his famous statement "Well may we say 'God save the Queen', because nothing will save the Governor General!" and his legendary declaration that Fraser would go down in history as "Kerr's cur" - a remark later censored from most reports of the event.

Another media legend is also born that day -- by coincidence, actor and comedian Garry McDonald was in Canberra and when he heard the news, he and an ABC film crew raced over to Parliament House. Adopting his popular satirical character, Norman Gunston, he briefly addressed the crowd and interviewed members of the ousted government on the steps of the house. This historic footage is later used for a segment on The Norman' Gunston Show.

Kerr and Fraser's controversial actions sparked a storm of protest across the country and pave the way for a snap election in which is called for December 13.

12 Malcolm Fraser is sworn in as caretaker Prime Minister.

14  30,000 people rally in Melbourne protesting the dismissal of the Whitlam government.

18  Malcolm Fraser is jeered and pelted with eggs while campaigning in Darwin.

19  A letter bomb addressed to Queensland Premier Bjelke Petersen explodes at his Brisbane office, killing two staff members.




6th  Mama Mia  

13th  Mama Mia  
20th  Mama Mia  
27th  Mama Mia  

AC/DC's High Voltage is certified triple gold

Rampage wins the Sydney To Hobart Yacht Race

Major overseas releases:
ABBA - Mamma Mia
Eno - Discreet Music
Paul Simon - Still Crazy After All These Years

8 AC/DC release their signature tune It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock'n'roll), which becomes their second national hit, peaking at #5 in January 1976. To promote it, ABC-TV's Countdown films the now-classic video-clip for the single, featuring the band playing the song live on the back of a flatbed truck as they are driven through Melbourne.

10  Champion swimmer Andrew "Boy" Charlton dies aged 68

13  The Liberal Party, led by Malcolm Fraser, wins a landslide victory in the Federal election. Aided by strong support from the media, including the formerly pro-Labor Rupert Murdoch and News Ltd, the Liberal-Country Party coalition win a massive 53-seat majority in the Lower House and also gain a majority in the Senate. One of the Liberals' first actions is to abolish the Department of the Media.

17  The High Court rules that the Commonwealth has sovereignty over the states in matters concerning territorial waters and the continental shelf.

25  Fifteen people die in a fire at Sydney's Savoy private hotel. The tragedy leads to a major overhaul of fire regulations in NSW.

31 Australian-born scientist John Warcup Cornforth (see top of page) is named the joint winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, sharing the award with Vladimir Prelog for their work on the stereochemistry of enzymes and the spatial arrangement of molecules in living cells.

I'll Take You High / I Can't Say What I Mean 

It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock'n'Roll)

Chart information courtesy Oz Net Music Chart (c)1997