Home Decades 1960s 1966


England win 1966 World Cup.


01 – Pope Paul VI appeals for peace in Vietnam.

01 – In Central African Republic, Colonel Jean-Bedel Bokassa seizes power.

05 – Pentridge Prison escapees Ronald Ryan and Peter Walker are captured in Concord, Sydney. The two have been on the run for 17 days since shooting dead a warder and walking out of Pentridge with a Salvation Army chaplain as hostage.

08 – 8,000 GIs launch war’s biggest attack against the “Iron Triangle”, a Viet Cong stronghold near Saigon.

10 – British PM Harold Wilson arrives in Lagos for a conference on Rhodesia with Commonwealth prime ministers.

11 – India’s Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri dies. Mrs Indira Gandhi comes to power.

12 – Three visiting members of the British parliament are attacked at a meeting in a hotel in Salisbury, the capital of Rhodesia. Labour MPs Christopher Rowland, Jeremy Bray and David Ennals are on a private fact-finding mission in the southern African country that illegally declared independence from Britain last year.

13 – Robert C Weaver is the first black member of the US cabinet.

14 – Robert Helpmann is named Australian of the Year.

15 – Nigerian Army led by General Ironsi seizes control of the country.

17 – A US B-52 bomber carrying four hydrogen bombs crashes off the coast of Spain. Three are recovered quickly. An intensive search is mounted for the fourth – it is finally recovered in April.

19Indira Gandhi, the only daughter of India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, is the new Indian PM. She was chosen at the end of a bitter leadership battle with former finance minister Morarji Desai.

20 – Australian PM Robert Menzies retires after 16 years in office. Harold Holt succeeds him.

21George Harrison of The Beatles marries model Patricia (Patty) Anne Boyd in Surrey, England. The two met on the set of the film A Hard Day’s Night.

21 – The Monte Carlo rally ends in an uproar over the disqualification of the British cars expected to fill the first four places. The first four to cross the finishing line were Timo Makinen (Finland) driving a British Motor Corporation Mini-Cooper, followed by Roger Clark (Ford Lotus Cortina), and Rauno Aaltonen and Paddy Hopkirk, both also driving BMC Minis. But they were all ruled out of the prizes – with six other British cars for alleged infringements of complex regulations about the way their headlights dipped.

24 – An Air India Boeing 707 crashes near the summit of Mont Blanc in the French Alps. All 106 passengers and 11 crew are killed on the aircraft as it prepares to land at Geneva airport in Switzerland.

26 – Dame Annabelle Rankin is the first woman to serve as a government minister in Australia. She will be Minister for Housing in the new Holt Ministry.

28 – Three children from the Adelaide Beaumont family, Jane (9), Arnna (7) and Grant (4) vanish from Glenelg beach. To this day the case remains unsolved and the children unfound.

28 – Film actress Hedy Lamarr is arrested for shoplifting in the US.

29 – A 57-year-old cleaner, Wilhemina Kruger, is brutally slain and mutilated as she works alone in the Piccadilly Arcade in Wollongong, NSW (Australia). The killer was never found and the murder remains unsolved to this day.

29 – Auckland International Airport is opened in New Zealand

30 – Fallen movie star Hedy Lamarr is imprisoned for shoplifting.

31 – The USSR launches the unmanned spacecraft Luna 9 to reach the moon.


01 – Star of the silent screen, Buster Keaton dies (b. 1895) in Hollywood, California.

01 – The drug LSD comes under Federal regulation in the USA.

01 – China protests to Britain about US warships in Hong Kong.

01 – Hotel trading hours in Victoria, Australia, are extended from 6 PM to 10 PM.

02 – Prince Charles starts his term in the bush at Australia’s Geelong Grammar Timbertop school, near Mansfield in Victoria’s high country.

03 – The Soviet spacecraft Luna 9 makes the first soft landing on the moon. TV pictures are sent back to Earth.

04 – The reward for the missing Australian Beaumont children is increased to £1,050.

06 – 1980s British pop fabrication, Rick Astley, is born.

07President Johnson meets South Vietnamese leaders in Honolulu. The purpose of the unexpected summit is for LBJ to review the economic, social and political conditions in Vietnam with South Vietnamese Prime Minister Air Vice-Marshal Nguyen Cao Ky and his Chief of State Nguyen Van Thieu.

10 – The first draft card burner is convicted in the USA as authorities try to suppress growing opposition to the war in Vietnam.

10 – In the UK, Watneys increase their beer prices by a penny a pint, which now costs 1/8d.

ozdecimal_4613 – In Australia, Gough Whitlam uses the TV program Seven Days to attack the Federal Labor Executive, calling them “12 witless men”, and risks expulsion from the Australian Labor Party.

14 – Goodbye £ – G’day dollars and cents. Australia changes over to decimal currency (pictured at right).

14 – An H-bomb lost when a US B-52 bomber crashed last month in Spain has been found completely intact.

21President de Gaulle of France calls for NATO to be dismantled.

21 – US resumes bombing raids on North Vietnam.

22 – Milton Obote, PM of Uganda, seizes power and two days later suspends the constitution.

23 – Italian Premier Aldo Moro forms a new Cabinet.

24 – In Ghana, President Kwame Nkrumah’s government is overthrown by the army while he is on an official visit to China.

28 – Danish architect Joern Utzon quits the construction of the Sydney Opera House he designed, following a series of confrontations with the NSW government.


01– The Venera 3 Soviet spacecraft crash-lands on Venus. It is the first spacecraft to reach the surface of another planet.

01 – The Chancellor of the Exchequer, James Callaghan, confirms that Britain will change over to decimal currency in February 1971.

03 – Postmaster General, Anthony Wedgwood Benn, announces that the BBC will begin broadcasting television programmes in colour from next year.

03 – Deputy leader of the Australian Labor party, Gough Whitlam, survives a bid by the left-wing controlled Federal Executive of the party to have him expelled from the ALP.

05 – All 124 people on board a BOAC Boeing 707 die when it crashes into Mount Fuji in Tokyo, Japan, 25 minutes after taking off from Tokyo International Airport.

08 – Nelson’s Pillar, situated opposite the General Post Office in O’Connell Street, Dublin, is blown up by the IRA (pictured below).


08 – Australia announces that it will triple its forces in Vietnam.

10 – France requests the removal of NATO bases from all French territory.

10 – Crown Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands marries an aristocratic German diplomat, Claus von Amsberg, in Amsterdam.

11 – President Sukarno of Indonesia is stripped of office and army commander General Suharto takes power.

15 – Black teenagers riot in Watts, Los Angeles; two men killed and at least 25 injured.

16 Gemini 8 carries out the first docking operation in space.

20 – The Jules Rimet trophy (awarded to the winner of the football World Cup) is stolen from Westminster Central Hall while it is being exhibited as part of the Stampex exhibition. The trophy is discovered in South London seven days later by a man and his dog. The dog, Pickles, briefly becomes a celebrity before passing away in 1967 after choking on his lead while chasing a cat. His collar is now on display in the National Football Museum in Manchester.

23 – The first official meeting for 400 years of the heads of the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches takes place in the Vatican. The Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury embrace and exchange a “kiss of peace”.

25 – Flinders University, Adelaide (Australia) is officially opened.

27 – The World Cup (which had been stolen a few days earlier) is found in a South London garden by a dog named ‘Pickles’.

30 – In Melbourne, Australia, Ronald Ryan is found guilty of the murder of a warder and sentenced to death.

31 – Labour landslide in British election. The final result confirms Harold Wilson has a majority of 96 seats.

31 – The USSR launches Luna 10 to reach the moon.


03Luna 10 reaches the moon and becomes its first artificial satellite.

07 – The US hydrogen bomb lost over Spain in January is recovered off the Palomares.

08Leonid Brezhnev, the Soviet Communist Party leader is now the top Soviet leader.

09 – Actress Sophia Loren marries Italian producer Carlo Ponti in France, although Ponti is still married in Italy (divorce does not exist there).

10 – English author Evelyn Waugh dies aged 62, at Combe Florey, Somerset.

12B-52 bombers used for the first time on North Vietnamese targets.

12 – Jan Berry (of surf vocal duo Jan & Dean) is seriously injured in a car crash on Whittier Boulevard, Los Angeles.

15 – 80’s Page 3 model and “singer”, Samantha Fox, is born.

18The Sound of Music wins the Academy Award for Best Film.

21 – The US combat toll in Vietnam reaches 3047.

24 – The first of the 4,500-man Australian Army task force, most of them conscripts or National Servicemen, leaves for Vietnam from Richmond RAAF base in Sydney.

27 – A bid to unseat the Australian opposition leader Arthur Calwell by his deputy, Gough Whitlam, fails at a caucus meeting in Canberra.

30 – Hoverlloyd begins the first regular English Channel hovercraft service, between Calais (France) and Ramsgate (England).


03 – US admits firing on targets in Cambodia for the first time.

03The Times prints news stories on the front page for the first time. The front page had been used for classified advertisements for 181 years.

06Moors Murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley are sentenced to concurrent terms of life imprisonment for the murders of Edward Evans (17), Lesley Ann Downey (10) and John Kilbride (12).

10 – NASA launches Surveyor 1 to reach the moon.

11 – Police in Barcelona, Spain, beat up 100 priests protesting against police brutality.

14 – Everton beats Sheffield Wednesday 3-2 in the FA Cup Final.

15 – 10,000 anti-war demonstrators picket the White House while the pledges of 63,000 voters to vote only for anti-war candidates are displayed at the Washington Monument.

16 – Ex-world middleweight champion Randolph Turpin shoots himself, leaving behind large debts to creditors and the Inland Revenue.

16Janet Jackson is born.

21Cassius Clay beats Henry Cooper in the sixth round to retain the world heavyweight championship in London.

22Jackie Stewart wins the Monaco Grand Prix.

25 – Private Errol Wayne Noack, 21, is the first Australian conscript to be killed in Vietnam.

23 – The British government declares a state of emergency a week after the nation’s seamen go on strike. The new emergency powers allow the government to cap food prices, allow the Royal Navy to take control and clear the ports and lift restrictions on driving vehicles to allow for the free movement of goods.

31 – A 17-year-old Buddhist girl sets herself alight in a street in the city of Hue, Vietnam, in protest against the South Vietnam regime. It is the fifth such death in three days.


01Surveyor 1 makes America’s first “soft” landing on the moon in the Ocean of Storms after a flight lasting 63 hours 36 minutes, and sends back more than 11,000 televised pictures before its batteries go dead.

02 – First Australian troops arrive home on leave from Vietnam.

03 – US spacecraft Gemini 9 is launched with two astronauts onboard

06 – James Meredith, the first black man to brave the colour bar at the University of Mississippi in 1962, is shot in the back as he enters Mississippi on a civil rights march. He is taken to hospital in Memphis and survives. Police arrest a 41-year-old white man named Aubrey James Norvell from Memphis on suspicion of carrying out the shooting.

06Gemini 9 splashes down safely after failing to dock with an independently launched satellite.

06 – The British comedy TV series Till Death Us Do Part screens for the first time on the BBC.

07Dr Martin Luther King leads a civil rights march through Mississippi, starting from the point on US Highway 51 where Meredith was gunned down yesterday.

08 – The British Conservative party request a copy of the script of Till Death Us Do Part which called Edward Heath a “grammar school twit”.

11Mary Quant and Peter Sellers receive OBE’s.

14 – A US pilot admits shooting down two South Vietnamese planes while high on drugs.

16Cliff Richard announces his Christianity to a crowd of 25,000 at a rally held by American evangelist Billy Graham at Earls Court in London.

20 – James White gets 18 years for his part in the Great Train Robbery.

21 – Leader of the Australian Federal Opposition, Arthur Calwell is shot at and injured as he leaves an anti-Vietnam conscription meeting in Mosman Town Hall in Sydney.

25 – James Meredith rejoins civil rights marchers near Jackson, Mississippi.

26 – A major civil rights rally is held in Jackson, Mississippi.

29US bombers hit Hanoi for the first time. Previously American policy has been to stay clear of the North Vietnamese capital while hammering military targets in the country. The bombers hit five large fuel storage areas.

29 – Barclays Bank introduces Barclaycard – the first credit card in Britain.


01 – France withdraws from NATO.

01 – Riots start in black ghettos across the USA.

01 – Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt promises the USA that Australia will go “all the way with LBJ” in Vietnam.

02 – France explodes a nuclear bomb on Mururoa Atoll in the South Pacific despite strong protest from Britain, America and Australia.

02 – Spain’s Manuel Santana beats Dennis Ralston (USA) in the men’s singles final at Wimbledon. Billie-Jean King beats Maria Bueno for the women’s title.

03 – At least 31 people are arrested in London after a protest against the Vietnam War turns violent. Police moved in after scuffles break out at the demonstration outside the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square.

06 – Malawi, independent since 1964, becomes a republic.

12 – In Australia, the Sydney Water Board bans its female staff from wearing miniskirts to work.

14 – Police in Chicago discover the bodies of eight student nurses who have been brutally murdered. Richard Speck is subsequently arrested and convicted.

15 – A West Indian man who was refused a job at Euston Station will now be employed there after managers overturn a ban on black workers. Two months ago Asquith Xavier, a train guard from Dominica, was refused a transfer from Marylebone Station to Euston because of his colour.

18 – US police charge a seaman with the murder of eight student nurses in their hostel in Chicago four days ago. Richard Speck is arrested in hospital where he has been taken after slashing his wrists in an apparent attempt to take his own life.

19Frank Sinatra marries Mia Farrow in Las Vegas.

23 – US actor Montgomery Clift dies (b. 1920) in New York.

29Bob Dylan suffers neck injuries in a serious motorcycle accident near his home in Woodstock, New York. He is admitted to Middletown Hospital.

30England win the World Cup for the first time, defeating a superbly organised West German team 4 – 2 in extra time at Wembley Stadium.


01 – Former marine Charles Whitman, 25, shoots 12 dead with a high-powered rifle at the University of Texas in Austin, USA, before being killed by a policeman.

01The Who fans riot at the National Jazz and Blues Festival at Windsor, UK.

01 – Colonel Yakubu Gowon seizes power in another Nigerian coup.

02 – Prince Charles departs for home from Australia, saying his stay at Timbertop school was “marvellous and a worthwhile experience”.

03 – US Comedian Lenny Bruce dies of a drug overdose (b. 1926).

04 – In Australia, a draft call of 46,200 is announced for October – The highest ever so far.

04 – The Kray twins are taken in for questioning by police conducting a murder investigation in London.

05 – Commonwealth Games open in Jamaica. For the first time, the word “Empire” is dropped from the old title of Empire and Commonwealth Games.

06 – Demonstrations against the Vietnam War are held across Australia.

11 – Indonesia and Malaysia end three years of undeclared war.

13Chairman Mao proclaims a Chinese cultural revolution at a mass rally in Peking.

16Orbiter I spacecraft is in orbit around the moon.

18 – 17 Australian soldiers are killed in a savage battle at Long Tan, where two platoons of the 6th Battalion are encircled by the Viet Cong.

19 – Over 2,000 people are killed in an earthquake in Turkey.

23The Beatles perform at Shea Stadium. They are paid $189,000 for the appearance.

26 – 20 US soldiers die in Vietnam when US planes napalm Americans by mistake.

27 – British yachtsman Francis Chichester sets off from Plymouth on a solo around-the-world voyage.

29The Beatles play their final live concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.

30 – Peter Raymond Kocan, 19, is sentenced to life imprisonment in Sydney, Australia, for his attempt on Arthur Calwell’s life on June 21.

31 – 92 die when a British airliner crashes in Yugoslavia.


06 – South African Prime Minister Dr Hendrik Verwoerd, the father of apartheid, is knifed to death by Dmitri Tsafendas, a parliamentary messenger in Cape Town. Tsafendas had told friends that he thought Verwoerd was “doing too much for coloured people and not enough for poor whites”.

08 – The Severn Bridge is opened in Britain.

13 – Balthazar Johannes Vorster is sworn in as new South African Prime Minister.

15 – Britain’s first Polaris submarine, HMS Resolution, is launched.

17 – St George defeat Balmain 23-4 in the Australian Rugby League Grand Final, to make a staggering 11 consecutive premiership wins for Saints in 11 years.

19 – Singer Joan Baez leads black children to an all-white school in Mississippi.

22 – All 29 onboard an Ansett ANA Viscount die when it crashes near Winton in Queensland, Australia.

24 – St Kilda 10.14 (73) beat Collingwood 10.13 (73) by one point to take their very first VFL Grand Final.

28 – US planes accidentally bomb a friendly South Vietnamese village killing 28.

30 – Bechuanaland becomes independent as the Republic of Botswana.


01 – Albert Speer, one of Hitler’s henchmen, leaves Spandau Prison after serving 20 years for war crimes.

04 – Basutoland becomes independent as the Kingdom of Lesotho.

05 – Spain closes the land frontier with Gibraltar, except for pedestrians.

07 – Johnny Kidd (born Frederick Heath), lead singer of Johnny Kidd & The Pirates, is killed in a car crash near Manchester (UK), aged 27.

08 – The hallucinogenic drug LSD is outlawed in the US.

09John Lennon meets Yoko Ono for the first time.

11 – Jensen presents its latest model cars – the FF and the Interceptor.

18 – The Queen grants a posthumous free pardon to Timothy John Evans, the 25-year-old lorry driver who was wrongfully hanged in 1950 for the murder of his wife and daughter in the house occupied by mass murderer John Reginald Christie.

18 – Canadian-born US cosmetics expert Elizabeth Arden (b. 1884) dies.

20 – US President Johnson arrives in Australia.

aberfan_3621 – A huge Welsh coal tip slips and engulfs a school, a row of cottages and a farm, killing 124 people (including 116 children) at the mining village of Aberfan in South Wales shortly after morning assembly (pictured at right).

21 – Demonstrators throw paint bombs at LBJ during his visit to Melbourne, Australia.

21 – Five miners are killed in a coal mine collapse in Wyee, NSW, Australia.

22 – George Blake, serving a 42-year sentence for spying for Russia, breaks out of Wormwood Scrubs jail in London and vanishes. He ultimately makes his way to Moscow and starts a new family in Russia where he is treated as a national hero.

25 – Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, Thailand and South Korea pledge aid and political self-determination to South Vietnam at the Manila Conference.

29 – The British Army drops its colour bar.

29 – Pope Paul VI refuses to review the Roman Catholic birth control prohibition.

30 – The Black Panther party is formed by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale in Oakland, California.

31 – King Ad-Rock (Adam Horowitz) of The Beastie Boys is born.


01 – At least eight people are killed and several wounded after Viet Cong artillery shells the South Vietnamese capital, Saigon.

01 – ‘Galilee’ wins the Melbourne Cup in Australia.

04 – Art masterpieces worth $120M are destroyed in severe floods in Florence, Italy. At least 600 paintings and over 1,000 old manuscripts and books have been severely damaged. Some masterpieces such as a 13th century Crucifixion scene have been totally ruined.

08 – Republican candidate (and former film actor) Ronald Reagan is elected Governor of California with 58% of the vote.

10 – Melbourne brothers John and David Langley are fined $680 each for throwing paint bombs at Lyndon B Johnson‘s car on 21 October during his Australian visit (pictured below).


13 – Israeli forces attack the Hebron area of Jordan.

15 – James Lovell and Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin splashdown after five days orbiting the Earth in Gemini 12, the last Gemini mission.

16President Johnson has surgery to remove a throat polyp and to repair a small hernia.

20 – Escaped British spy George Blake is reported to have turned up in East Berlin.

22 – General Franco introduces a new constitution in Spain.

23 – BP says it has struck the best gas-producing areas yet in the North Sea.

23 – Australian Prime Minister Holt is mobbed by anti-Vietnam demonstrators during his election campaign in Sydney.

25 – FBI chief J Edgar Hoover says all evidence suggests Oswald acted alone in killing Kennedy.

25 – Texas Governor John Connally, wounded in JFK’s assassination, reiterates his Warren Commission testimony for Life magazine. Connally swears that he was hit by a second bullet and not the same one that had killed President Kennedy.
Connally had been hit roughly 1.3 seconds after JFK – As Oswald’s rifle could not be fired faster than once every 2.3 seconds, Connally’s bullet would have come from the gun of a second assassin. Life calls for the case to be re-opened.

25 – Qantas pilots go on strike over salaries.

26 – First television satellite link-up between Britain and Australia takes place.

27 – Soviet Communist Party denounces the Chinese leadership.

28 – Australian Holt government sweeps back into power in a massive win over Labor.

30 – NASA releases close-up photos of the moon taken by Orbiter 2.

30 – Barbados becomes an independent state.


01 – Kurt-Georg Kiesinger is sworn in as West German Chancellor (Prime Minister), succeeding Ludwig Erhard. Kiesinger heads the first coalition government between the two main West German parties, the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats.

02 – 4,530 Qantas employees are laid off because of the pilot’s strike.

04Harold Wilson and Ian Smith meet onboard HMS Tiger to discuss the future of Rhodesia.

08 – Over 200 people die when the Greek ferry Heraklion sinks in a storm en route from Crete to Piraeus (Athens).

10 – A helicopter on charter to the Australian ABC TV station crashes at Circular Quay, Sydney, killing three people.

12 – The lone British yachtsman, Francis Chichester, sails into Sydney Harbour, exhausted after his 13,000 mile non-stop voyage from England.

12 – In Australia, the Victorian State Executive Council says Ronald Ryan will hang on January 9 next year.

15 – Walt Disney dies, aged 65, in Burbank, California. He suffered an acute circulatory collapse following surgery for the removal of a lung tumour.

20 – Australian Prime Minister Holt says 1,500 more troops are going to Vietnam, making a total of 6,000.

21 – The USSR launches Luna 13 to reach the moon.

21 – Actor Kiefer Sutherland is born in London.

21 – Strike by Qantas pilots ends in Australia.

22 – Southern Rhodesia quits the Commonwealth.

23 – Influential pop music TV show Ready, Steady, Go! broadcasts its final show in the UK.

23 – The Australian Supreme Court rejects Ronald Ryan’s appeal for a stay of execution.

24Luna 13 lands on the moon in the Ocean of Storms, and makes close-up pictures of objects.

31 – US troops in Vietnam now exceed 340,000, with the death toll up to 6,450.

Also this year . . .

  • Ultra-thin model Twiggy launches her career
  • Roman Catholics are no longer required to abstain from eating meat on Fridays
  • TV series Star Trek begins in the US
  • Casualty reports show that 5,008 US troops have been killed in Vietnam since the beginning of the year, with 30,093 wounded
  • Anthony Newley and Terence Stamp turn down the title role in Alfie, so Michael Caine wins the role with which he will forever be identified/confused

Quote of the year

“Some people are on the pitch! They think it’s all over . . . it is now!”
Kenneth Wolstenholme’s BBC TV commentary in the closing moments of the 1966 World Cup Final, when England beat West Germany 4–2 after extra time to win.