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45 Years Ago Today: Man Lands On Moon

Last updated on January 27, 2024

It is 45 years ago today since Apollo 11 landed on the moon.

The Lunar Module landed on the moon’s surface at 20:18 UTC. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the lunar surface six hours later at 02:56 UTC on July 21.

Richard Nixon was six months into his first term as President of the United States. It was three days after Mary Jo Kopechne died on Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts, in a car driven by Senator Edward Kennedy.

The 45th anniversary of the moon-walk will take place at 12.56pm on Monday, July 21, Australian Eastern Standard Time.

A Snapshot of Australian Politics in 1969

John Gorton had been Prime Minister for 18 months, taking over after the drowning of Harold Holt. Later in 1969, Gorton would face a leadership challenge after winning a narrow re-election against the new ALP leader, Gough Whitlam.

In the picture shown above, Gorton is in the middle flanked from left to right by: Sir John McEwen, leader of the Country Party and Deputy Prime Minister; Sir Paul Hasluck, a former Liberal minister, now Governor-General; William McMahon, Treasurer and future prime minister; and Doug Anthony, the Minister for Primary Industry and future Deputy Prime Minister to Gorton, McMahon and Fraser.

In Victoria, the Liberal Premier, Henry Bolte, was in his 15th year as Premier. He would go on to win one more election before retiring in 1972.

In New South Wales, Robert Askin was in his 5th year as the Liberal Premier and keeping the brown envelopes well hidden. He would remain premier until 1975.

Joh Bjelke-Petersen had been the Country Party Premier of Queensland for nearly a year. He would remain in the position for another 18 years.

In Tasmania, Angus Bethune had been the Liberal Premier for just two months, the first non-Labor premier since 1934. He would be defeated in 1972 by Eric Reece, the Labor premier who had ruled for nearly 11 years before him.

In South Australia, Steele Hall had been the Liberal Premier for 15 months. He had defeated the ALP’s Don Dunstan and would be honorably defeated by Dunstan in 1970 after Hall removed the electoral gerrymander that favoured his party.

In Western Australia, Sir David Brand was in his 11th year as Liberal Premier. He would lose office to the ALP two years later.

The Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory had not yet been granted self-government.

Newspaper front pages from July 21-22, 1969.




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Malcolm Farnsworth
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