We had cyclones Nelson and George. Bushfires, drought, sharks and Kangaroo stories; Japan continued to kill whales in the Southern Ocean, there were many arts events, alleged terrorists, Dick Cheney and the Dalai Lama came to visit, Pauline Hanson tried to get back into politics, the Australian dollar went up, the Teatre Lliure de Barcelona staged their “European House” in Melbourne and the government imposed the “intervention” on Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory.

A 15th century Ptolomy world map, which had been stolen from Madrid’s National Library, turned up at a shop in Bondi Junction… of all places! It was a truly puzzling story, which took me to the world’s most entertaining capital, the town of Canberra.

I covered the 4th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention, held in Sydney. Did a gorgeous trip to The Northern Territory, with the Foreign Correspondents Association (FCA) and covered, getting news from local journos over the phone, an earthquake and tsunami in the Solomon Islands, which resulted in 34 people dead and left thousands homeless.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit was held in Sydney. Internationally, the forum was about climate change, the Doha Round and security but, in Australia it was all about John Howard’s leadership of his Liberal Coalition ahead of Federal elections in November.

Labour’s Kevin Rudd defeated the leader of the conservative Liberal Coalition, John Howard, who had been in government for 13 years. I thought the Australia I knew was about to change, and it probably did. I worked late, missed out on another big street party and when I finished drove around collecting my mates, who were celebrating all over Sydney, so we could finish the party at home.

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