Staff and students, past and present, gathered on the McKinnon Lawn at the University of Wollongong yesterday to celebrate 40 years of independence.

Since its establishment in 1975, UOW has blossomed into a vibrant hub of culture and learning that ranks among the top two percent of young universities in the world.

While still considered a young university, much has changed for UOW and the world over the last 40 years.

Prepare to be taken on a trip down memory lane (for those of you who were there), with some significant moments from 1975.

Ten memorable moments from 1975


The Vietnam War ends – the city of Saigon surrenders on April 30, ending the United States and allies involvement in the fighting. Of the 60,000 Australians who served in Vietnam from 1962 to 1975, 521 died and over 3,000 were injured.


Gough Whitlam dismissal – On November 11, Governor General Sir John Kerr dismisses Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam from government and replaces him with caretaker PM Malcolm Fraser. The dismissal went down as one of the most dramatic events in Australian political history.


Thrilla in Manila – Boxing legend Muhammed Ali retains the world heavyweight boxing championship after defeated arch-rival Joe Frazier in arguably the greatest fight of all time.


SNL debuts on NBC – The first Saturday Night Live show went to air on October 11, 1975 on NBC in the United States. Nearly 800 episodes later, SNL continues to entertain audiences across the world.


Bic launches disposable razor – The 70s mustache began getting the chop after European company Bic started producing disposable razors. Despite ‘the mo’ making a comeback in recent years, Bic still generates close to two billion dollars revenue per year through its razors and other products.


Mr Potato Head – One of the hottest children’s toys on the market was Hasbro’s Mr Potato Head. Despite being released in the 50s, Mr Potato Head was still a sought after product in the mid 70s.

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North Melbourne’s first VFL premiership – North Melbourne became the last of the 12 VFL clubs to win a premiership, beating Hawthorn by 55 points under coach Ron Barrassi. North went on to play in the next three VFL grand finals.


Eastern Suburbs wins NSW Rugby League – The late Arthur Beetson led Easts to their 11th NSW Rugby League title in a dominant 38-nil victory over St George at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

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Box office blockbustersJaws and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest were two of the biggest films that took the box office by storm in 1975.

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Celebrity birthdays in 1975 – For all you 40-year-olds out there, we wish you a happy birthday – whenever you special day might be in this year. Golf superstar Tiger Woods and actress Angelina Jolie are two of many celebrities who share a birth year with you.