ON THIS DAY
Britannicus, the teenage son of the Roman Emperor Claudius dies under mysterious circumstances, leaving Nero as heir to the throne.
Governor Arthur Phillip convenes the first sitting of the Court of Criminal Judicature in Australia.
Sydney Jail, built of double layers of logs at great expense, is burned down by arsonists who are never identified. Some of the 20 prisoners, clamped in irons, are rescued with difficulty.
St James’ Church, Sydney, designed by Francis Greenway, is consecrated by the Rev. Samuel Marsden, known as the Flogging Parson. It still stands, next to Hyde Park.
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini seizes power in Iran as prime minister Shahpur Bakhtiar, who took over from the Shah, resigns.
Joan Child, 61, becomes the first woman speaker of the House of Representatives. The grandmother holds the job for three years.
After more than 27 years in prison, Nelson Mandela, the world’s most famous political prisoner, is released.
Adventurer Steve Fossett completes the longest nonstop flight in aviation history with an emergency landing in England, flying 42,460km in about 76 hours but stopping early because of mechanical problems.
Navy diver Able Seaman Paul de Gelder, 31, is attacked by a shark while working underwater off Garden Island in Sydney Harbour, losing a hand and a leg.
American singer, songwriter and actor Vic Damone dies at the age of 89.