The victory of the Australian yacht Australia II in the America’s Cup of 1983 was a moment that captured the imagination of the nation. Nearly four decades later, the WA government is honouring this amazing achievement with a party to celebrate the fortieth anniversary.
Sunday September 25 will feature a day of celebrations featuring performances by well-known Australian acts Voyager, The Baby Animals and The Hoodoo Gurus. The day will culminate with a commemoration of the historic Australia II win at the Fremantle Maritime Museum.
The Perth victory was a classic tale of an Aussie underdog triumphing over the US who had previously dominated the event for 132 years. In one of his most memorable public statements, then-prime-minister Bob Hawke declared that anyone who fired an employee for not turning up to celebrate the milestone was a ‘bum’.
The museum exhibition will span the history and impact of the Australia II’s victory and feature a replica of the famous ‘Australia’ jacket that Bob Hawke was wearing in his interview that day.
John Longley, one of the crew of the Australia II, remarked on the comparison between the effect of the America’s Cup win 40 years ago and the Matildas’ World Cup victory earlier this year. He noted how the win had brought together a nation previously unfamiliar with the sport and challenged everyone to think differently about the notion of Australia being an ‘underdog’.
The anniversary celebrations are an opportunity for all West Australians to come together and reflect on the historic Australia II win 40 years ago. The Maritime Museum exhibition is open for all to come and enjoy and will remind us of the incredible moment when a small nation took on and beat the rest.
The nation that came together in 1983 was not just inspired, but pushed to challenge traditional notions of excellence and underdog status. 40 years on, the WA government nod in recognition of this revolutionary achievement