Today in History, 17/3

AAP and agencies
2012 - Margaret Whitlam, wife of former Australian prime minister Gough Whitlam, dies aged 92

Highlights in history on this date:

45 BC - Julius Caesar defeats the Pompeiians at the battle of Munda in Spain. The Pompeiians, led by two sons of Pompey the Great, lose more than 30,000 men.

180 - Death of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, best remembered for his Meditations, about Stoic philosophy.

461 - Death according to the legend of St Patrick, patron saint of Ireland.

1649 - England's Parliament abolishes House of Lords.

1658 - Royalist conspiracy is discovered in England.

1776 - American revolutionaries under George Washington force British to evacuate Boston, Massachusetts.

1860 - Second Maori War breaks out in New Zealand.

1871 - Site of Alice Springs in central Australia is selected by John Ross.

1898 - The Constitutional Convention in Australia agrees that parliament has the right to choose where the seat of government will be.

1912 - Lawrence Oates, English polar explorer with Robert Scott's doomed expedition to the Antarctic, leaves the tent on his 32nd birthday saying, "I am just going outside, and may be some time." He never returns.

1929 - The University of Madrid is closed by the Spanish government after student protests and rioting.

1939 - British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain accuses Adolf Hitler of breaking his word after German troops crossed the Czech frontier.

1942 - US General Douglas MacArthur arrives in Australia in World War II and sets up headquarters in Melbourne.

1944 - Allied bombing on Austria begins with a raid by more than 200 planes on targets in Vienna.

1959 - A major uprising begins in Tibet against Chinese rule. The Dalai Lama flees the capital in disguise.

1963 - On Bali, the volcano Mount Agung erupts, killing at least 1100 people.

1968 - A meeting of central bank governors in Washington agrees on a two-tier gold system.

1969 - Golda Meir becomes prime minister of Israel.

1976 - Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen announces that his state will scrap death duties.

1992 - White voters in a referendum overwhelmingly support reforms toward ending apartheid in South Africa.

1995 - Death of Ronnie Kray, one of Britain's gangster twins.

1997 - Italian coast guard rescues 900 Albanians from a sinking gunboat off Brindisi.

1999 - Six International Olympic Committee members are expelled from the IOC in the Salt Lake City bribery scandal.

2003 - President George W Bush orders Saddam Hussein to leave Iraq with his sons by 4.15am on March 20 or face the might of the US military.

2006 - US fashion designer Oleg Cassini, who helped make Jacqueline Kennedy America's most glamorous first lady, dies aged 92.

2012 - Margaret Whitlam, wife of former Australian prime minister Gough Whitlam, dies aged 92.

2014 - Australia begins co-ordinating search for missing airliner MH370 in southern Indian Ocean.

2015 - Masa Vukotic, a 17-year-old schoolgirl, is stabbed to death in a frenzied attack in a Melbourne park by Sean Christian Price, who later pleads guilty to her murder.

2017 - South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill and federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg trade insults at an event to mark the launch of a 1000-strong network of solar batteries on Adelaide homes.

2018 - China says an independent Hong Kong is "impossible", while pro-democracy movements gain traction in the territory.

2019 - Former AFL rising star Rhys Palmer is in a critical condition after his motorbike collided with a car in Perth.


Kate Greenaway, English illustrator (1846-1901); Lloyd Rees, Australian artist (1895-1988); Nat "King" Cole, US singer (1919-1965); Rudolf Nureyev, Russian ballet dancer (1938-1993); Kurt Russell, US actor (1951-); Lesley-Anne Down, British actress (1954-); Rob Lowe, US actor (1964-); Melissa Auf der Maur, Canadian musician of Hole fame (1972-); Caroline Corr, Irish musician (1973-); Aaron Baddeley, US-Australian golfer (1981-); John Boyega, British actor (1992-).


It is my rule never to lose me temper till it would be detrimental to keep it. - Sean O'Casey, Irish playwright (1880-1964).