to visit the VEGEMITE Facebook
Fanpage and join the conversation
Download a PDF of the entire AUSTRALIAN Timeline
- January 4: Thousands of ancient rock carvings are discovered in the South Australian outback. Carbon dating tests suggest they are somewhere between 36,000 and 45,000 years old, making them the oldest surviving examples of human artistic expression.
- March 19: Federal Cabinet announces a complete ban on all political advertising on TV and radio.
- March 26: Australian cinematographer, Dean Semler, wins an Oscar at the Academy Awards for 'Dances With Wolves'.
- February 1: 1 and 2 cent coins are withdrawn from circulation.
- August 29: The Sydney Harbour Tunnel is opened by the NSW Premier, John Fahey. The 4.5 kilometre tunnel costs $560 million.
- March 10: Melbourne hosts the 1996 Australian Grand Prix. The race is won by Damon Hill with Jacques Villeneuve placing second.
- June 27: Optus Vision inaugurates nation wide local telephone service. The launching of the Optus Network ends Government owned Telstra Corp's longstanding monopoly over local phone service in Australia.
- September 27: The Australian Football League (AFL) celebrates its 100th season.
- January 9: Two shipwrecked sailors competing in France's Vendee Globe Challenge are rescued by the Australian Military. Both men survived for four days while exposed to high winds, freezing temperatures and wave swells of 50 feet (15m) before being located by the RAAF plane.
- March 11: Prime Minister John Howard introduces to Parliament a package of legislative reforms that requires unemployed youth to work for their benefits, aptly named ‘Work-for-the-Dole’.
- May 14: Susie Maroney becomes the first person to swim unassisted from Cuba to Florida. With favourable currents and weather conditions, Susie completes the swim in just over 24 hours, rather than 45 hours first anticipated. Prior to this amazing feat, there were 50 other unsuccessful attempts.
- August 4: Cathy Freeman wins the women's 400 metres in a time of 49.77 seconds. Freeman becomes the first Aboriginal athlete to win a gold medal at a major international track competition.
- September 3: ‘The Castle’, a film about little Aussie battlers that cost $700,000 to make and was shot in 11 days, records over $10 million at the box office.
- September 7: Pat Rafter defeats Greg Rusedski to win the US Open. Rafter becomes the first Australian to win a grand slam title since Pat Cash won Wimbledon in 1987.
- December 9: Ted Matthews, Australia’s last ANZAC, dies aged 101. Ted was one of the few survivors who went ashore in the first landing at Gallipoli on April 25, 1915.
- January 26: Cathy Freeman is named Australian of the Year.
- June 1: Susie Maroney completes another record swim - this time she swims from Mexico to Cuba in 38 hours and 33 minutes.
- A Perth man is the recipient of a hand and forearm transplant. The operation is a world first and is performed by an Australian doctor in France.
- September 20: Australia dominates the 16th Commonwealth Games held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Australia collects a record 198 medals, including 80 gold.
- October 20: Natalie Imbruglia wins six Aria Awards. The Aria Awards are the Australian Record Industry’s way of providing recognition to talented musicians for their efforts and excellence. Only 20 are awarded each year.
- January 24: Australian actress Cate Blanchett wins the prestigious Golden Globe award for Best Actress in the British film, Elizabeth.
- March 8: A crowd of 105,000 celebrate the official opening of Stadium Australia, the main venue for the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
- April 24: One of Australia’s most prominent artists, Arthur Boyd, dies aged 78. Boyd’s legacy includes a vast array of Australian landscapes and figurative pieces, pottery and ceramic works.
- May 29: A historic agreement between Prime Minister John Howard and Australian Democrat leader, Meg Lees, paves the way for the introduction of the most radical tax reform since Federation. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) sees the abolition of wholesale tax and Australians now pay an additional 10% on all goods.
- December 2: Australia defeats France to win the Davis Cup in Nice, France.
- December 8: Pat Farmer, ultra marathon runner, completes a 14,500 km run around Australia to raise awareness for the Centenary of Federation celebration. The run takes 191 days.