Records 1988

About 1988 records

An historical overview of the Territory at the time

22 January, Australia’s biggest earthquake occurs at Tennant Creek. Three consecutive earthquakes occurred, with the largest having a magnitude of 6.6.

2 February, Prince Charles and Princess Diana commence a two day visit to the Northern Territory.

11 March, the Spencer and Gillen Gallery (later renamed the Central Australian Museum) a regional branch of the Museum and Art Galleries Board of the NT, officially opens in Alice Springs.

27 March, Singapore Airlines becomes the fifth international airline to operate regular weekly services to Darwin.

6 April, the fifth Hatton Ministry is appointed.

23 April, the Atrium Hotel on the Esplanade, Darwin, is opened.

26 May, the Cullen Bay Marina Agreement was signed between the developer Darwin Marina Estates and NT Government, allowing work to commence on the marina and housing development.

12 June, Prime Minister Bob Hawke is presented with the Barunga Statement at the annual Barunga sporting and cultural festival. Written on bark, the Statement calls for Aboriginal self-management, a system of land rights, compensation for loss of lands, respect for Aboriginal identity, and end to discrimination, and the granting of full civil, economic, social and cultural rights. Prime Minister Hawke responds by saying that he wishes to conclude a treaty between Aboriginal and other Australians by 1990.

July, Headquarters Northern Command, responsible for coordinating Australian Defence Force access and support for combined maritime surveillance and security Operations, is created in Darwin.

1 July, from this date for inter-governmental financial purposes the Northern Territory is treated by the Commonwealth as a state.

1 July, the Northern Territory celebrates a decade of Self Government.

2 July, the first Greek Glenti, is held in Darwin.

14 July, Marshall Perron is elected Chief Minister, succeeding Steve Hatton. The First Perron Ministry is appointed. Mike Reed replaces Steve Hatton in the Ministry.

31 July, the second Perron Ministry is appointed following the resignation of Don Dale due to ill health.

31 October, Darwin Private Hospital, the Northern Territory’s first private hospital is officially opened on Rocklands Drive, Tiwi.

25 November, Alice Springs celebrates the centenary of its proclamation as a town.

Community Education Centres are established in major remote communities by the NT Department of Education.

[Swearing in of Chief Minister Perron, 14 July 1988] Image courtesy of Northern Territory Archives Service, Department of the Chief Minister, NTRS 3823 P1, BW 2735, Item 1[New Executive Council meeting, 14 July 1988] Image courtesy of Northern Territory Archives Service, Department of the Chief Minister, NTRS 3823 P1, BW 2735, Item 7[Kahlin Marine Estate (Cullen Bay) signing, 26 May 1988] Image courtesy of Northern Territory Archives Service, Department of the Chief Minister, NTRS 3823 P1, BW 2726, Item 22Image courtesy of Northern Territory Archives Service, Department of the Chief Minister, NTRS 3822 P1, Scenic Katherine Region, Slide 46 [Elsey Falls, 8 June 1984]Image courtesy of Northern Territory Archives Service, Department of the Chief Minister, NTRS 3822 P1, Scenic Darwin Region, Slide 155 [Florence Falls, 23 July 1985]Image courtesy of Northern Territory Archives Service, Department of the Chief Minister, NTRS 3822 P1 Box 12, Item NN Tourism/Scenic/Katherine, [no date] [Katherine Gorge/Nitmuluk National Park circa 1980’s]

National Scene

26 January, Sydney Harbour is the focal point for Bicentenary celebrations marking 200 years since the arrival of the First Fleet to Botany Bay.

26 January, more than 40,000 people, including Aboriginal people from across the country, staged the largest march in Sydney since the early 1970s Vietnam Moratorium demonstrations. The protesters marched through Sydney chanting for land rights.

30 April, the World Expo 88 opens in Brisbane, Queensland. The theme of the Expo is "Leisure in the Age of Technology", and the mascot for the Expo is an Australian platypus named Expo Oz. The exhibition runs for 6 months hosting pavilions from over 70 countries and thrusts Brisbane into the international spotlight.

9 May, Queen Elizabeth II opens the new Parliament House in Canberra.

3 August, Federal Opposition Leader John Howard's draft One Australia policy taps into latent concerns over Asian immigration and sparks damaging debate on this issue within the Coalition.

17 August, Foreign Minister Bill Hayden is announced as the next Governor-General. In the subsequent ministerial reshuffle, Gareth Evans receives the Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio, Ralph Willis receives Industrial Relations, and Robert Ray receives Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs.

19 August, the Gazettal is signed by the Governor General, Sir Ninian Stephen, declaring Australia's floral emblem officially to be the Golden Wattle, Acacia pycnantha.

1 September, a ceremony is held at the Australian National Botanic Gardens to mark the declaration of the floral emblem, where the Prime Minister's wife, Mrs Hazel Hawke, plants a Golden Wattle.

3 September, the 1988 Australian Referendum asking questions on four issues including 4 year maximum terms for members of both Houses of the Commonwealth Parliament, to provide for fair and democratic parliamentary elections throughout Australia, to recognise local government, and to extend the right to trial by jury, to extend freedom of religion, and to ensure fair terms for persons whose property is acquired by any government. None were passed with the failure generally attributed to the open ended and nondescriptive wording of the proposed amendments to the Constitution.

5 November, Olympic Dam, the world's largest uranium deposit and the largest underground mine in Australian opens, 560 kilometres north of Adelaide, South Australia.

29 November, the four acts granting the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) self-government are given Royal Assent.

International Scene

15 May, after more than 8 years of fighting, a truce is called and the Soviet Army begins withdrawing from Afghanistan.

3 July, Iran Air Flight 655 is accidentally shot down by a missile launched from the USS Vincennes, killing a total of 290 people on board.

11 August, Al-Qaeda is formed by Osama bin Laden

20 August, The Iran–Iraq War ends, with an estimated one million lives lost.

29 September, NASA resumes Space Shuttle flights, grounded after the Challenger disaster, with Space Shuttle Discovery.

17 September to the 2 October, The Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIV Olympiad, was opened in Seoul, South Korea.

8 November, George HW Bush is elected in the United States presidential election.

1 December, The first World AIDS Day is held.

2 December, A cyclone in Bangladesh leaves 5 million homeless and thousands dead.

21 December, Pan Am Flight 103 is blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing a total of 270 people. Those responsible are believed to be Libyans.

Popular Culture

2 January, Imparja Television starts broadcasting to remote Central Australia via satellite, having an official launch on 15 January.

17 January, The first episode of Australian soap drama Home and Away goes to air.

17 January, A Current Affair debuts on Channel Nine, hosted by Jana Wendt.

Among the highest grossing Hollywood films of 1988, included are Rain Man starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise, Who framed Roger Rabbit starring Bob Hoskins and the voice of Charles Fleischer as animated character Roger Rabbit, Coming to America starring Eddie Murphy, Crocodile Dundee II starring Australian Paul Hogan and Linda Kozlowski. Comedy Twins starring Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rambo III starring Sylvester Stallone, Big starring Tom Hanks, and Die Hard starring Bruce Willis.

Australian movie releases included Young Einstein, starring Yahoo Serious, The Man from Snowy River II starring Tom Burlinson and Sigrid Thornton, John Hillcoat directed Ghosts of the Civil dead starring David Field, and Nick Cave, and Fred Schepisi directed, Evil Angels, starring Meryl Streep and Sam Neill.

Top 10 Selling music singles in Australia included (I’ve had) The time of my life, Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes (featured in the film Dirty Dancing); Simply Irresistible by Robert Palmer; The Flame by Cheap Trick; Get outta my dream, get into my car by Billy Ocean; I should be so lucky by Kylie Minogue; Perfect by Fairground Attraction; What a wonderful world by Louie Armstrong; Never gonna give you up by Rick Astley; Age of reason by John Farnham; and Better be home soon by Crowded House.


NT News publication, various editions from 1988

Office of the Administrator 1999, Northern Territory Chronicle 1974-1998

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Last updated: 14 April 2021

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