1978 in Australia

The following lists events that happened during 1978 in Australia.

1978 in Australia
MonarchElizabeth II
Governor-GeneralSir Zelman Cowen
Prime ministerMalcolm Fraser
Australian of the YearAlan Bond and Galarrwuy Yunupingu

Flag of Australia.svg

See also:


State and Territory LeadersEdit

Governors and AdministratorsEdit



  • 1 January
    • Another Vietnamese refugee boat arrives at night, from a camp off the Malaysian coast.[1]
    • The Festival of Sydney begins.
    • A jail warder, Victor Sullivan is struck on the head by a prisoner at Parramatta Jail.
  • 2 January – Senator Neville Bonner attacks the Queensland Government over delays in its housing reconstruction programme for Mornington Island, which was ravaged by Cyclone Ted more than a year ago.[2]
  • 3 January
    • Bela Csidei, a prominent Sydney businessman, is alleged in the Darwin Magistrates' Court to have been involved in growing marijuana in the Northern Territory.[3]
    • Acting Health Minister Mr McLeay reiterates the Federal Government's election promise to keep the Medibank levy and ceiling at the same level for the next six months.
    • Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen announces that he will ask churches throughout Queensland to hold a day of prayer for rain, suggesting a date of 15 January.[4]
  • 4 January
    • The Australian dollar is devalued from 89.4 to 89.2 due to a drop in the US dollar to bring the effect devaluation since November 1976 to 15.3%.[5]
    • Acting Prime Minister Doug Anthony announces that the Federal Government knew that Arab nations operated a blacklist for more than 20 years and that some Australian companies were on it, but that the Government had never been told officially that certain companies were being boycotted.[6]
  • 5 January
    • Corrective Services Commissioner, W. McGeechan, talks 120 maximum security prisoners back into their cells after a 5-hour protest sit-in at Parramatta jail.[7]
    • Aboriginal Senator Neville Bonner makes a complaint to the Queensland State Licensing Commission about the Mount Isa hotel which refused him service on Boxing Day.[8]
    • Immigration and Ethnic Affairs Minister Michael MacKellar reverses a department decision thereby allowing a Uruguayan woman to join her widowed brother, Ruben Molina, in Sydney.[9]
  • 18 January – New South Wales Premier Neville Wran meets with prison union officials about their demand that Bathurst Jail be reopened to relieve over crowding and staff shortages in other prisons.



  • 14 March – Stephen Matthews, aged 20, swept from the Natural Bridge off Albany, by a King Wave. Rescued by whale ship, the Cheynes II. First recorded survival of someone swept into the sea at The Gap and Natural Bridge.[10]
  • 30 March – Commonwealth Police (Federal Police) begin arresting 180 Greek-Australians said to be involved in a conspiracy to defraud the Department of Social Security.[11]








  • 21 November – Last day of commercial whaling in Australia. No sperm whales caught that day by the chaser ships (Cheynes II, III and IV) operated by the Cheynes Beach Whaling Company at Albany, Western Australia. The last whale caught by an Australian whaling company was the day before, 20 November.

Arts and literatureEdit





  • 9 January – Eddie Gilbert, (born 1905), Queensland cricketer
  • 5 February – Frank McIver, (born 1904), soccer player and administrator
  • 14 May – Robert Menzies, (born 1894), Prime Minister of Australia
  • 27 July – Robert Heffron, (born 1890), Premier of New South Wales
  • 6 October – Johnny O'Keefe, (born 1935), Australian rock and roll singer

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "38 refugees in latest boat to reach Darwin". Sydney Morning Herald, p1. 2 January 1978.
  2. ^ "Senator "disgusted" at Aboriginal homes delay". Sydney Morning Herald, p.2. 3 January 1978.
  3. ^ "Csidei named in drug case". Sydney Morning Herald, p.1. 4 January 1978.
  4. ^ "Rain prayers suggested". Sydney Morning Herald, p.1. 4 January 1978.
  5. ^ "Value of $ cut again". Sydney Morning Herald, p.1. 5 January 1978.
  6. ^ "Govt knew of Arab blacklist But it appears to have had little effect, says Anthony". Sydney Morning Herald, p.3. 5 January 1978.
  7. ^ "McGeechan talks angry prisoners back to cells". Sydney Morning Herald, p1. 6 January 1978.
  8. ^ "Isa Hotel complaint". Sydney Morning Herald, p.2. 6 January 1978.
  9. ^ "Immigration Dept refusal reversed by minister". Sydney Morning Herald, p.2. 6 January 1978.
  10. ^ "The Natural Bridge". GlobeVista. 2008. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  11. ^ Grabosky, Peter. N. (1989). "Chapter 6: The great social security conspiracy case". Wayward Governance: Illegality and its Control in the Public Sector. Australian Institute of Criminology. pp. 93–112. ISBN 0 642 14605 5. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  12. ^ Findlay, Tracey (3 August 2015). "Police renew appeal for information on local couple missing 30 years". Hornsby Advocate. Daily Telegraph-NewsLocal. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  13. ^ "Latest Media Releases Missing Persons Week 2015: Missing Persons Stephen Lapthorne & Michelle Pope". www.police.nsw.gov.au. 2 August 2015. Retrieved 7 August 2015.[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ Boys found dead were at centre of custody fight
  15. ^ "Fiona McFarlane". www.swansea.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 26 February 2018. Retrieved 27 February 2018.