1990 NT Cabinet records
Information about some key moments and events that happened locally in the Northern Territory, across Australia and internationally in 1990.
20 February – Northern Territory Legislative Assembly sittings begin in a temporary chamber in the Chan Building.
30 March – ABC radio station Triple J goes to air in Darwin.
2 June – Darwin Aviation Museum opens on a site near Darwin Airport. Displays include a US Air Force B-52 Bomber.
25 August – Darwin Symphony Orchestra stages a concert afloat in Katherine Gorge [Nitmiluk].
3 September – Mr Alec Fong Lim, former Lord Mayor of Darwin, dies.
1 October – Elsey National Park declared.
27 October – Northern Territory General Election for the Sixth Legislative Assembly is held. CLP retains government with 14 seats. ALP wins 9 Seats and Independents 2 seats.
9 November – Malaysian Airlines commences operation in Darwin.
13 November – Fourth Perron Ministry of 9 appointed. Shane Stone and Max Ortmann replace Tom Harris and Terry McCarthy.
13 November – Mrs Sarah Henderson of Bulloo Station wins the Bulletin/Qantas Business Woman of the Year.
4 February – Australia finishes the Commonwealth Games in Auckland with a total of 162 medals, including 52 gold.
5 February – Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Commission [ATSIC] is established as a mechanism for expression of Aboriginal self-determination within the Australian Government.
12 February – Carmen Lawrence becomes the Premier of Western Australia and Australia’s first female premier after Peter Dowding resigns.
24 March – A federal election is held. The government of Prime Minister Bob Hawke is re-elected for a fourth term with its lowest primary vote ever – 39.4%, and the loss of 8 seats. The number of Australian Democrats’ Senators increases to 8. Treasurer Paul Keating replaces the retired Lionel Bowen as Deputy Prime Minister.
3 April – Following the federal election, Dr John Hewson is elected as Leader of the Liberal Party of Australia, and Peter Reith as Deputy Leader.
May – The 80 Series Toyota Land Cruiser goes on sale in Australia for the first time. Dubbed the breadbox by some because of its rounded edges, the coil-sprung 80 Series was a huge leap forward in both design and technology.
10 August – Prime Minister Bob Hawke announces that Australia will send 2 guided missile frigates, HMAS Adelaide and HMAS Darwin, and the replenishment tanker, HMAS Success, to join the naval blockade of Iraq in the Gulf War which followed Iraq’s annexation of Kuwait. Protests ensue.
2 September – South African-born Australian entrepreneur Robert Holmes á Court, Australia’s first billionaire, dies suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 53.
9 September – Australian author, and winner of the 1973 Nobel Prize in Literature, Patrick White, dies.
24 September – Special Australian Labor Party conference endorses the privatisation of Qantas and Australian Airlines, the merger of OTC (Overseas Telecommunications Corporation Ltd) and Telecom, and the sale of AUSSAT Pty Ltd.
2 October – Opera singer Dame Joan Sutherland announces her retirement and makes her last performance at the Sydney Opera House.
1 November – The Australian domestic aviation market is deregulated.
12 November – Prime Minister Bob Hawke announces that the risk of war in the Persian Gulf is increased as 2 more Australian guided missile vessels leave for the Gulf.
29 November – Federal Treasurer Paul Keating announces that Australia is experiencing an economic recession. “The first thing to say is, the accounts do show that Australia is in a recession. The most important thing about that is that this is a recession that Australia had to have,” he said.
11 December – Media Company Fairfax is placed into receivership.
1 January – The first Internet companies catering to commercial users, PSINet and EUnet begin selling Internet access to commercial customers in the United States and Netherlands.
3 January – The United States invades Panama. General Noriega is deposed as leader and surrenders to American forces.
31 January – The first McDonald’s restaurant in Moscow opens.
11 February – Nelson Mandela is released from Victor Verster Prison near Cape Town, South Africa, after 27 years behind bars.
15 March – Mikhail Gorbachev takes office as the President of the Soviet Union.
20 March – Imelda Marcos, widow of the former President of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos, goes on trial for bribery, embezzlement and racketeering.
24 April – STS-31: The Hubble Space Telescope is launched aboard Space Shuttle Discovery.
June – Joanne Rowling gets the idea for ‘Harry Potter’ while on a train from Manchester to London’s Euston railway station. She begins writing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone which will be completed in 1995 and published in 1997.
13 June – The demolition of the Berlin Wall by East Germany officially begins, 7 months after the Wall was opened.
30 July – British politician and former Member of Parliament, Ian Gow, is assassinated by a Provisional Irish Republican Army car bomb outside his home in England.
2 August – Iraq invades Kuwait, which eventually leads to the Gulf War.
6 August – The South African Government and African National Congress (ANC) begin talks on ending Apartheid in South Africa.
12 August – “Sue”, the best preserved Tyrannosaurus rex specimen ever found, is discovered near Faith, South Dakota by Sue Hendrickson.
9 September – US President George Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev meet in Helsinki to discuss the Persian Gulf crisis.
12 September – A judge in Australia orders the arrest of media tycoon Christopher Skase, former owner of the Seven Network, after he fails to give evidence in a liquidator’s examination of failed shipbuilding company Lloyds Ships Holdings, an associate of Skase’s Qintex Australia Ltd.
1 November – Mary Robinson defeats Brian Lenihan and becomes the first female President of Ireland.
1 December – Channel Tunnel workers from the United Kingdom and France meet 40 metres beneath the English Channel seabed, establishing the first land connection between Great Britain and the mainland of Europe for around 8,000 years.
20 December – Tim Berners-Lee completes the test for the first webpage on the World Wide Web (www) at the CERN facility (the European laboratory for particle physics) in Switzerland.
In 1990 the estimated resident population of the Northern Territory is 75,200 people and the population of Australia is over 17 million people.
The Nintendo Gameboy is the must-have gadget for Australian children, having been released to the market the year before.
Arnott’s Tiny Teddy biscuits hit the market, becoming the most successful product launch in the company’s history.
In 1990 the first electronic barcode scanners at checkouts are introduced at the grocery store Franklins.
New South Wales Rugby League team the Canberra Raiders defeat the Penrith Panthers 18–14 to win the 83rd NSWRL premiership.
Australian Football League (AFL) premiership is won by the Collingwood Magpies, (13.11.89) defeating the Essendon Bombers (5.11.41). It is the first premiership won under the AFL banner, since being renamed from the Victorian Football League (VFL) on 1 January 1990, as well as Collingwood’s first premiership since 1958.
On Australian television Graham Kennedy’s Funniest Home Video Show begins, being renamed as Australia’s Funniest Home Videos after one season. ABC TV’s Lateline begins, and US series Baywatch is popular viewing, after premiering in the US the year before.
Actors Russell Crowe and Jason Donovan make their film debuts in the Australian drama Blood Oath. The film starring Bryan Brown and Ray Barrett wins the AFI Awards for “Best Achievement in Sound” and “Best Achievement in Costume Design”. Australian movie, The Big Steal, is released. Directed by Nadia Tass, the film is later nominated for 9 AFI awards, of which it won 3.
International feature film releases include Goodfellas, starring Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, and Joe Pesci; Edward Scissorhands directed by Tim Burton; Home Alone starring Macaulay Culkin and Joe Pesci; Pretty Woman starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere; Total Recall, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger; Ghost starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore; Dances with Wolves, starring Kevin Costner; and Misery starring James Caan and Kathy Bates.
Topping the Australian Recording Industry Association Singles (ARIAS) Chart is Sinéad O’Connor’s cover of Prince’s Nothing Compares 2 U, MC Hammer’s U Can’t Touch This, and Madonna’s Vogue. Australian artists’ songs include Midnight Oil’s Blue Sky Mine, Jimmy Barnes’ Lay Down Your Guns, ACDC’s Thunderstruck, and Absent Friends’ I Don’t Want To Be With Nobody But You.
Big-act live music tours include Mötley Crüe on the Dr Feelgood Tour playing in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney between 27 April and 4 May. US band Aerosmith performed concerts in all capital cities, except Darwin, between 29 September and 15 October and Jimmy Barnes was joined by Stray Cats on his Make It Last All Night Tour, playing concerts across multiple towns and cities on Australia’s east and west coasts in November and December 1990.
Last updated: 01 January 2021
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