Home Decades 1980s 1985



02 – USA officially withdraws from UNESCO.

07 – Nine striking miners in the UK are jailed for arson.

10 – Sir Clive Sinclair’s ill-fated C5 battery-operated tricycle takes to the road.

10 – Eight die when a gas explosion wrecks a block of flats in Putney, South London.

13 – 390 people are killed when an Ethiopian train bound for Addis Ababa falls into a ravine.

14 – Israeli cabinet decides on a three-stage withdrawal from occupied Lebanon, beginning in February.

20President Reagan and Vice-President Bush are inaugurated for their second terms.

21 – A record cold snap kills 40 people in 15 US states.

25 – New Zealand refuses US warships entry to ports.

25 – South African president Botha opens a three-chamber parliament for whites, Indians and coloureds.

25 – Bernhard Goetz, who has admitted to shooting four black youths on a New York subway on December 22 last year, is to face illegal weapons charges only. Goetz is regarded as a hero by many New Yorkers, and a dangerous racist by others.

29 – Dons at Oxford University refuse to grant Mrs Thatcher an honorary degree.


05 – Libya releases four detained UK nationals after negotiations by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s envoy, Terry Waite.

07 – Four secret police officers in Poland are convicted of the murder of Fr J Popieluszko.

11 – 17 RAF bandsmen are killed when their bus collides with a petrol tanker near Munich, Germany.

16 – Israel begins withdrawal from Lebanon.

17 – Cricket is played under lights for the first time at the MCG (Melbourne Cricket ground). Australia defeat England by seven wickets.

26 – Michael Fairley, the hooded rapist known as The Fox, is given six life sentences.

28 – Nine officers of the Royal Ulster Constabulary are killed in an IRA mortar attack on a police station in Newry, Northern Ireland.


03 – UK miners end their year-long national strike.

07 – Two IRA men are jailed for 35 years for planning the month-long IRA bombing campaign in London in 1981.

10 – Soviet President Chernenko dies aged 73.

11Mikhail Gorbachev is appointed as the new Communist Party leader following the death of President Chernenko.

11 – The Egyptian Al-Fayed brothers win control of House of Fraser, owners of Harrods.

21 – 19 people die in Uitenhage, South Africa when police fire on crowds on the 25th anniversary of Sharpeville.

27 – The South African Broadcasting Corporation bans Stevie Wonder’s music in response to Wonder dedicating the Oscar he had won the night before, for I Just Called To Say I Love You to Nelson Mandela.

28 – Painter Marc Chagall (born Moyshe Shagal in 1887) dies.

30 – ‘Last Suspect’ wins the Grand National.


15 – South Africa abolishes ban on mixed marriages.

18 – The first ever western pop album is released in China. It is by Wham!.

23 – Coca-Cola announces that it will release its new formula for the soft drink Coke within the next month. “New Coke” will look the same but taste different.

26 – Australian bantamweight boxer Jeff Fenech becomes world champion after defeating Japan’s Satoshi Shingaki in Sydney.


01 – In Poland, 10,000 Solidarity supporters clash with police during a May Day parade.

05Reagan‘s wreath-laying visit to Bitburg war cemetery in Germany (which contains the graves of 49 Nazi SS Soldiers) angers Jews.

10 – Sikh extremists bomb three cities in India, killing 84 people.

1985bradford11 – Over 40 soccer fans die as fire sweeps through the packed main stand at the Bradford City football ground during a match against Lincoln City. More than 150 others are injured (pictured at right).

11 – A man is killed during violent clashes at a Birmingham City v Leeds United football (soccer) match.

13 – Philadelphia police toss a knapsack filled with plastic explosives onto the roof of the HQ of Move, a black political organisation. The explosion destroys two city blocks, kills 11 people and leaves 240 homeless.

14 – 146 die during Tamil separatist attacks in the holy city of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.

18 – Manchester United beat Everton 1-0 to win the FA Cup Final.

26 – At least 34 die when two oil tankers explode at the port of San Roque in Spain.

28 – Tidal wave and cyclone batter Bangladesh. More than 10,000 dead.

29 – Liverpool soccer fans riot at Heysel Stadium in Brussels during the European Cup Final match with Juventus. The ensuing crush leaves 38 Belgian and Italian supporters dead and several hundred injured.

31 – The Football Association bans English clubs from playing in Europe next season.


02 – The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) bans English soccer clubs from playing in Europe “indefinitely”.

04 – Actor Stacey Keach returns to the US after serving six months in a British prison for cocaine smuggling.

06 – Corpse of Josef Mengele is exhumed near Sao Paolo, Brazil. Nicknamed the “Angel of Death”, Mengele aided in the torture of 4 million Jews in Auschwitz.

10 – Israel completes withdrawal from Southern Lebanon apart from a ‘security zone’.

14 – Shi’ite Muslim gunmen hijack a TWA airliner after taking off from Athens, and demand the release of over 700 prisoners held by Israel.

15 – First mixed-race marriage is performed in South Africa.

23 – Mystery bomb kills all 325 onboard an Air India Jumbo flying from Canada. The plane plunges into the sea about 120 miles off the Irish coast.

30 – 39 TWA hostages freed after 17 days.

30 – Frenchman Bernard Hinault wins Tour de France for a fifth time.


02 – Andrei Gromyko is named president of the USSR. Eduard Shevardnadze becomes foreign minister.

04 – Girl prodigy Ruth Lawrence wins a first-class degree at Oxford after completing the course in only two years. She is 13 years old.

06 – Martina Navratilova beats Chris Lloyd in the women’s single final at Wimbledon.

07 – 17-year-old West German Boris Becker beats Kevin Curren to become the youngest Wimbledon men’s champion in history.

10 – The Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior is blown up in Auckland Harbour, New Zealand while protesting against French nuclear testing in the area. One crew member is killed. French secret agents eventually confirm their responsibility.

13 – Rock star Bob Geldof organises two simultaneous Live Aid concerts (London and Philadelphia) watched on TV by over 1.5 billion people worldwide and raising over £50 million for famine victims in Mozambique, Chad, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, the Sudan and Ethiopia.

13President Reagan has a cancerous tumour removed from his intestine.

16 – New Jersey teens hack into Pentagon computers.

19 – Over 260 people die after 55 million gallons of water flood from a burst dam and engulf the village of Stava in the Italian Dolomites.

25 – Actor Rock Hudson is admitted to the American Hospital in Neuilly, France, where he continues his battle against AIDS.

30 – Australian cricketers banned for touring South Africa.

31 – Dr Geoffrey Edelsten buys Sydney Swans football club in Australia for AU$6.5 million to become the first private owner of a VFL club.


02 – 140 die in a plane crash at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.

06 – Giant Australian retailer G J Coles buys the Myer department store chain. The new retail giant, Coles-Myer, will be Australia’s biggest retailer.

09 – Arthur James Walker, 50, retired naval officer, is convicted by a federal judge of participating in Soviet spy ring operated by his brother, John Walker.

10Duran Duran vocalist Simon Le Bon’s 77-foot yacht Drum capsizes in a force eight gale three miles off Falmouth during the annual 608-mile Fastnet race around the southern tip of Britain. The singer has to be airlifted to safety.

12 – JAL’s Boeing 747 Flight 123 crashes near Tokyo. 520 passengers and crew die, making this the worst single-plane crash in aviation history.

14Michael Jackson outbids Paul McCartney to acquire the ATV music publishing catalogue, which includes a big section of the Lennon/McCartney catalogue. Jackson pays $47.5 million.

15 – In South Africa, President Botha reaffirms commitment to apartheid and rules out the possibility of parliamentary representation for blacks.

15 – With a new Atlantic crossing record almost in sight, Richard Branson’s powerboat Virgin Atlantic Challenger sinks just 100 miles from home.

16Madonna celebrates her 27th birthday by marrying Sean Penn in Malibu two weeks after her first UK #1 with Into The Groove.

16 – The Tube‘s five-hour Summer Special is cancelled because of a lightning strike by auxiliary staff at Tyne Tees Television.

22 – A British Airtours Boeing 737 bursts into flames during an aborted take-off in Manchester killing 54 people.


01 – Wreck of the Titanic is found in 12,460 feet of water off Newfoundland by US and French researchers, 73 years after it went down. The sea floor is littered with wine bottles, saucepans, spoons, safes, shoes, boilers and the two halves of the ship itself.

05 – Andrew Peacock resigns as Australian Opposition Leader. John Howard is new leader.

09President Reagan announces comparatively mild sanctions – a ban on the sale of computers and the importing of Kruggerrands – against South Africa in protest of apartheid.

13 – Britain expels 25 Soviet diplomats for alleged spying. The next day the USSR expels 25 British diplomats.

13 – European rocket Ariane III explodes nine minutes into flight.

17 – Welsh-born fashion designer Laura Ashley (b. 1925) dies in a fall at her home.

19 – Mexico earthquake – Death toll reaches 2,000.

22 – French Defence Minister resigns over Rainbow Warrior attack after admitting that French agents bombed the Greenpeace vessel.

28 – Rioting breaks out in the South London suburb of Brixton. Over 200 arrests are made.

28 – Essendon 26.14 (170) defeat Hawthorn 14.8 (92) in the Australian VFL Grand Final.

29 – Canterbury Bankstown defeat St George 7-6 in the Australian Rugby League Grand Final.


01 – Israeli air force planes bomb the PLO headquarters in Tunis, killing 60 people in retaliation for the murder of three Israelis in Cyprus.

02 – Actor Rock Hudson dies of AIDS at 59.

05 – Cynthia Jarrett, an African-Caribbean woman, dies of heart failure during a police search at her home in North London. The event sparks riots in the Broadwater Farm estates area of Tottenham, during which police officer PC Keith Blakelock is hacked to death. He is stabbed 43 times and an attempt made to decapitate him.

07 – The US announces that it will no longer automatically comply with World Court decisions, charging that its procedures have been “abused for political ends”.

07 – Palestinians seize Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro and murder a US hostage.

10 – Orson Welles dies at age 70 in Hollywood, California.

10 – Actor Yul Brynner (born Taidje Kahn in 1915) dies of lung cancer.

13 – 32-year-old Ricky Wilson of The B-52s dies of AIDS.

16 – Italian government toppled by political crisis over Achille Lauro hijacking.

21 – 13 die in Britain’s worst motorway accident when a coach bursts into flames in an M6 pile-up.

27 – Prince Charles and Princess Diana visit Australia.

27 – In Australia, Ayers Rock and the Uluru National Park are handed back to Aborigines.

28 – John A. Walker and his son, Michael I. Walker, 22, are sentenced in a US Navy espionage case.


01 – American comedy legend Phil Silvers dies in California.

05 – ‘What A Nuisance’ wins Melbourne Cup.

09 – Gary Kasparov, 22, becomes world chess champion.

13 – In Columbia, at least 25,000 people die when the Nevado del Ruiz volcano erupts for the first time since 1845.

19/21President Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev meet in Geneva, Switzerland, and issue a joint statement condemning nuclear war.

21 – The two French agents who bombed the Rainbow Warrior are jailed for ten years.

29 – Crack, a type of Cocaine becomes the drug of choice in New York City.


06 – Britain joins the ‘Star Wars’ project.

12 – Jetliner carrying American soldiers home for the holidays crashes.

30 – Martial law ends in Pakistan.

30 – Palestinian terrorists kill 14 people in attacks at Rome and Vienna airports.

31 – Former US teen idol Ricky Nelson is killed in a plane crash on New Years Eve. He is 45 years old.

Also this year . . .

  • The CD-ROM is invented – You can now put 270,000 pages of text on a CD.
  • Cellular telephones go into cars.
  • US TV networks begin satellite distribution to affiliates.
  • Sony builds a radio the size of a credit card.
  • ‘Pay-per-view’ TV channels open for business.
  • The A H Robbins Company, producer of the Dalkon Shield IUD, declares bankruptcy as thousands of women file lawsuits claiming they were injured or made infertile by the birth-control device.

Quote of the year

“I am not prepared to lead white South Africans on a road to abdication and suicide”
South African President P W Botha