1968: The year of the Monkees – Putting the Monkees’ tour of Australia into context.

In “1968: The year of The Monkees”, Dr. Derham Groves will review some world events from 1968, the same year the American pop band The Monkees toured Australia. According to the author of 1968: The Year that Rocked the World (2005), Mark Kurlansky: ‘There has never been a year like 1968, and it is unlikely that there will ever be one again’. It was certainly a roller coaster of a year, as a series of tumultuous events made people celebrate one day and despair the next. On the plus side for example, NASA was quickly working towards a moon landing; inspiring things happened in the world of sports including Australian victories by Ralph Doubell (b. 1945) on the running track, Rod Laver (b. 1938) on the tennis court, Lionel Rose (1948–2011) in the boxing ring and Rain Lover (1964–1989) on the racetrack; the publication of some influential books including Myra Breckinridge by Gore Vidal (1925–2012) and The Margaret Fulton Cookbook by Margaret Fulton (b. 1924); the release of some groundbreaking films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and Planet of the Apes; and the debut of Julia (1968–71), an American TV sitcom about a black nurse starring Diahann Caroll (b. 1935). While on the down side, there was fierce fighting in Vietnam; the senseless murders of American civil rights campaigner Dr Martin Luther King Jr and US Senator Robert Kennedy (1925–1968) in the USA, a devastating famine in Biafra; and the end of a brief move towards democracy in Czechoslovakia. Dr. Groves’ talk will put The Monkees’ tour of Australia in 1968 into a wider cultural, political and social context.

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