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Skip Navigation LinksQueensland State Archives > Researching the archives > Exhibitions > Queensland firsts > 26-50 > 1966 - The President pays a visit

1966 - The President pays a visit

In April 1965, Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies reinstated military conscription for men aged 19 by a birthday ballot. With a loophole in the Defence Act of 1909, conscripts were sent to Vietnam under the technicality that this was a military engagement not a declared war.

By late 1966 there were increasing protests from church groups, civil libertarians, university students and trade unionists over Australia’s participation in the Vietnam conflict.

As part of Prime Minister Harold Holt’s election strategy to diffuse this growing unrest, he invited United States President Lyndon B. Johnson to Australia in 1966, forming the first U.S. Presidential visit to Queensland.

Initially planned as a one-hour stopover on Sunday 23 October, the President’s visit was extended to an overnight stay, including a visit to Townsville where he reminisced about his time spent in the region as a young naval officer in 1942.

Map of Route 1 for the U.S. Presidential visit to Townsville, 23 October 1966

Map of Route 1 for the U.S. Presidential visit to Townsville, 23 October 1966
Queensland State Archives Item ID 1139504, Digital Image ID 2917 Premier and Chief Secretary's Department

U.S. President Lyndon Johnson and the First Lady Mrs Johnson holding koalas during their visit to Queensland, October 1966 Queensland State Archives Item ID 1140028, Digital Image ID 2987 Premier’s Department, State Public Relations Bureau, Photographic U

U.S. President Lyndon Johnson and the First Lady Mrs Johnson holding koalas during their visit to Queensland, October 1966
Queensland State Archives Item ID 1140028, Digital Image ID 2987 Premier’s Department, State Public Relations Bureau, Photographic Unit

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  • 1969 First humans walked on the moon
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  • 1970 The Beatles split
  • 1971 Swiss women got the vote
  • 1972 CD invented
  • 1972 Whitlam Government elected
  • 1973 Picasso died
  • 1973 Vietnam War ended
  • 1973 Sydney Opera House opened
  • 1974 US President Richard Nixon resigned
  • 1974 Cyclone Tracey hit Darwin
  • 1975 Whitlam Government dismissed

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Last updated 02 March 2012