To misquote the Beatles, ‘30 Years Ago Today’ 1988 was Australia’s Bi-centennial year, making 2018 an ideal time for some reverse time travel through your lifetime memories. As a personal historian who first interviewed 100 aged care residents about their early days as a Bi-centennial project, that year is significant to me as I have been helping Australians to gather, organise and preserve their life stories in book form ever since.

The following events occurred in Australia:

  • Queen Elizabeth II opened the new Parliament House in Canberra;
  • Beacons were lit around the entire coastline of Australia on 18thJune, which could be seen from space;
  • Mr Bob Hawke, Labor, was Prime Minister of Australia;
  • The National Tennis Centre opened in Melbourne for the Australian Open in January;
  • The $2 coin went into general circulation, replacing the $2 note;
  •  Brisbane’s Expo attracted more than 100,000 people when opened on 1stMay;
  • Empire Rose won the Melbourne Cup;
  •  Hawthorn defeated Melbourne in the VFL Grand Final;
  •  In the ARIA Awards, John Farnham was Best Male Artist, Jenny Morris was Best Female Artist, with Crowded House winning Best Group.
  • Australian movies released – Crocodile Dundee II, Young Einstein and Evil Angels (starring Meryl Streep as Lindy Chamberlain;
  • The Australian Grand Prix in Adelaide was won by Alain Prost for McLaren Honda.

World events included:

  • A massive explosion killed more than 150 workers on an oil rig in the North Sea;\
  • 1000 people drowned in Bangladesh following monsoon floods, with 21 million left homeless;
  • Space Shuttle Discovery launched successfully from Cape Canaveral on 30thSeptember;
  • Two whales were rescued from beneath pack ice at Barrow, Alaska by a joint Russian/American effort;
  • A Pan Am jumbo jet crashed into the small Scottish village of Lockerbie, killing 250 people; 
  •  Hit movies included – Rain Man, Big, A Fish Called Wanda, Three Men and a Baby;
  • George Bush senior was elected the 41stPresident of the USA on 8thNovember;
  • Bobby McFerrin’s song ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’ won Record of the Year at the Grammys, George Michael’s ‘Faith’ won Album of the Year;
  • The Olympic Games were held in Seoul, Korea.

The memory triggers listed above form an important background to your life story collection and should be part of the framework in which to hang your own stories. As a life story professional since 1988, I have compiled lists of historic events, people and places covering the world, my nation of Australia and also of South Australia, the state where I live. When writing my narrator’s story (based on earlier interviews), I set their stories against these frames as none of us has lived in a hermetically sealed bubble during our lifetimes.

Your life stories will be of great interest and importance to future family generations, especially when set against the events of the times, adding veracity and depth to your stories. Start collating your personal history lists today or contact a life story professional to help. 

Annie Payne, History from the Heart, Personal Historian since 1988

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