- Retires as Chancellor of the University of Melbourne.
- "From the beginning of his convalescence, watching sport, a life-time interest, acquired greater significance as his other preoccupations narrowed and as his heroes almost affectionately took him under their wings."
A W Martin, Robert Menzies A Life Vol 2 1944-1978, 1999 p 562.
- Whitlam Government, December 5 1972-11 November 1975: first Labor government for 23 years.
- Labour Government ends Compulsory National Service, releases conscription defaulters from jail and brings the remaining 100 Australian troops home from Vietnam.
- Equal pay for work of equal value is introduced.
- The Women's Electoral Lobby is formed, a moderate, non-party, political group working to make women's rights an issue at elections.
The Macquarie Book of Events, 1983 p 354.
- Construction of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme:
"... was completed in October 1972, when Governor-General Sir Paul Hasluck opened Tumut 3 power station. ... The principal aim of the scheme was to utilise the water resources of the Snowy Mountains area for electricity production. Water would also be used for irrigation along the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers."
The Macquarie Book of Events, 1983 p 350.
- Swimmer Shane Gould wins three gold medals, one silver medal and one bronze medal at the Munich Olympic Games.
- Fahrenheit is replaced by the metric Celsius scale of temperature.
- Pastor Doug Nicholls is the first Aborigine to be knighted. Sir Douglas considered the award to be a recognition of the Aboriginal people.
- US President Nixon visits China.
- Vietnam peace talks take place in Paris.
- "Black September" Palestinian terrorists kill 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics.
- Direct rule is imposed by Britain on Northern Ireland.
- China becomes a member of the United Nations after Taiwan is expelled.
- 2.5 million year old skull found in Kenya.