Australia in the 1960s


Railway expansion


In April 1962, the official Sydney–Melbourne standard-gauge train left Sydney for Melbourne. For the first time in 80 years, passengers were able to remain on the one train for the entire journey, and no longer had to change trains at Albury due to differences in rail gauges.

In November 1969, the final section of the Sydney to Perth standard-gauge railway line was completed. Two months later a goods train made the first-ever run over the entire coast-to-coast line. A month later, the first passenger train carried passengers on the Indian–Pacific line between Sydney and Perth.

Railways expanded rapidly during the 1960s.


A snapshot of 1968

  • January
    • Senator John Gorton becomes prime minister after the disappearance of Harold Holt, presumed drowned off Portsea, Victoria.
    • The Tet Offensive is launched during the Vietnam War. North Vietnamese troops attempt to take significant South Vietnamese strongholds in the one offensive action.

  • February
    • The Draft Resistance Movement is formed. They declare that the group not only opposes conscription, but intends to destroy it.
    • WC Wentworth is appointed the first minister for Aboriginal Affairs, although he has no department under his control.

  • May
    • A mineral investment boom begins on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX).
    • The Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi visits Australia.

  • December
    • The breathalyser test for drink-driving is introduced in NSW.

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