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What do you remember about 1982?


Tony Moore

In 1982 the Commonwealth Games were held at QEII Stadium in Brisbane.

In 1982 the Commonwealth Games were held at QEII Stadium in Brisbane. Photo: Vic Sumner

Thirty-one years ago:

  • The world wide web had not been invented. Mobile phones were yet to be introduced.
  • Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen was premier, after a state election in November 1980 elected a National-Liberal coalition. Sir Llew Edwards, who was the leader of the Liberals, was treasurer.
  • Malcolm Fraser was Australia's prime minister.
  • Australia's population was 15.1 million. On Christmas Eve 2012 it was 22,850,994.
  • Queensland's population was 2.3 million, including just over one million in Brisbane. The Gold Coast, the state's second largest city, had almost 150,000 residents. Today Brisbane's population is 2,145,546 and the Gold Coast is about 537,000 people.
  • It was a time of bushfires and drought in regional Queensland.
  • Queensland's only uranium mine - Mary Kathleen, near Mt Isa - closed in October 1982 when ore supplies ran out.
  • Coal exports, particularly to Japan, were the new boom industry. A new power station was proposed at Stanwell near Rockhampton.
  • Work had just started on Wivenhoe Dam, just outside Ipswich.
  • The 12th Commonwealth Games were held in Brisbane from September 30 to October 9.
  • Stage One of the Queensland Cultural Centre at South Bank - the Queensland Art Gallery - was completed.

Working conditions

  • The weekly basic wage in December 1982 was $121 for men and $101 for women.
  • A loaf of bread cost 77 cents, and a 600ml bottle of milk was 76 cents.
  • In August 1982, for the first time in 70 years in Queensland, 52 unions declared a general strike over the introduction of a 38-hour week. The strike affected train services, petrol deliveries, mine, port and factory operations.

In national news

  • Lindy Chamberlain was convicted of murdering her daughter, Azaria. Last year, a coroner finally ruled the baby was taken by a dingo.
  • Queensland businessman Brian Maher was named as the biggest tax-avoidance operator in the country for his role in the "Bottom of the Harbour" tax avoidance scam.
  • In December, the fight against the Franklin River Dam in the Tasmanian wilderness began. UNESCO later agreed to list the Tasmanian Wild Rivers as a World Heritage Site.

On the international front

  • The Falklands War ended with British forces recapturing the South Atlantic islands after the Argentinian invasion.
  • Princess Grace of Monaco was killed in a car accident and Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev died a few days before Polish Solidarity leader Lech Walesa was set free from state detention.
  • Michael Jackson releases Thriller, the best-selling album of all time.


  • Life seemed less stressful and I had more time for leisure than I do now. My income had more purchase power.

    Date and time
    January 01, 2013, 5:47PM
    • Thirty years ago there was growing awareness that the industrialisation of the planet was impacting on the environment. It was called the greenhouse effect and thirty years on that impact is only just being accepted politically as climate change is happening as predicted. Other issues such as population growth; over-use of chemicals in agriculture, etc; banning nuclear weapons and the peace movement troubled some who were thought of as part of the alternative movement. Life to some may have been less stressful however the information sharing through the internet has made us so much more aware of the state of the planet, our only home. We need to take better care of it if we want to leave a healthy legacy for generations to come.

      Robyn Deane
      Sunshine Coast
      Date and time
      January 02, 2013, 8:51AM
      Comments are now closed

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