Today in History

History of 8th April


1802: Matthew Flinders meets French explorer Nicolas Baudin in South Australia, leading to the naming of Encounter Bay.

1817: Australia’s first bank, the Bank of New South Wales (later Westpac) is established.

1930: Brisbane City Hall is officially opened.

1933: A secession referendum (voting card pictured below) in Western Australia passes, with 68 per cent voting in favour of secession from the Commonwealth.


1839: The Great Western, the earliest regular transatlantic steamer, embarked on its maiden voyage from Bristol, England, to New York City.

1911: Dutch physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes discovers superconductivity.

1974: American baseball player Hank Aaron hit his 715th career home run—breaking Babe Ruth’s record, which had stood since 1935—and in 1976 completed his career with 755 home runs.

1964: The Supremes record ‘Where Did Our Love Go’ at Motown Studios in Detroit. The song would become their first US No.1 single. 

1972: Written after the ‘Bloody Sunday Massacre’, in Northern Ireland Paul McCartney and Wings released ‘Give Ireland Back To The Irish.’ The song was banned by the BBC and the IBA. It peaked at No.16 in the UK and No.21 in the US.

1973: During his Ziggy Stardust world tour, David Bowie played the first of three sold out nights at Shinjuku Koseinenkin, Kaikan, Tokyo, Japan.

1977: CBS released the self- titled first album by The Clash in the UK. The album is widely celebrated as one of the greatest punk albums of all time.

1994: Electrician Gary Smith who was working at Kurt Cobain‘s house in Seattle discovered Cobain’s body lying on the floor in the greenhouse. Local radio station KXRX broke the news at 9.40am that the Nirvana singer and guitarist was dead. 

1998: Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood was rescued, along with 11 other passengers, in the nick of time, from a boat when an engine caught fire. The boat was exploring the islands near Angra Dos Reis, south of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil


1911: Melvin Calvin – American biochemist who received the 1961 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his discovery of the chemical pathways of photosynthesis.

1918: Betty Ford – American first lady (1974–77)—the wife of Gerald Ford, 38th president of the United States—and founder of the Betty Ford Center, a facility dedicated to helping people recover from drug and alcohol dependence.

1963: Julian Lennon, first son of Beatle John Lennon and the only child of Lennon’s first wife Cynthia Lennon

1968: Patricia Arquette – American actress whose performance in Richard Linklater’s film Boyhood (2014)—filmed in increments over a 12-year period—was praised for its naturalism and lack of vanity and won a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe, and an Academy Award so far in her career

1993: Zac Santo, Australian rugby league player

1997: Saygrace, Australian singer and songwriter


1938: King Oliver – American cornetist who was a vital link between the semimythical prehistory of jazz and the firmly documented history of jazz proper. Born 11.05.1885

1978: Ford Frick
– American baseball journalist and executive who was instrumental in the founding of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

2010: Malcolm McLaren – British rock impresario and musician who, as the colourfully provocative manager of the punk band the Sex Pistols, helped birth punk culture. Born 22.01.1946

2013: Margaret Thatcher – British Conservative Party politician and prime minister (1979–90), Europe’s first woman prime minister. Born 13.10.1925