After two years of news dominated by Covid-19, many had hoped 2022 would be filled with less controversies and crises.
From the shock deaths of Shane Warne, Queen Elizabeth II and Olivia Newton-John to Australia opening its international borders for the first time in two years – it’s been quite a year.
With the Covid-19 pandemic no longer dominating the news cycle – natural disasters, political triumphs and wacky headlines kept Aussies entertained throughout the year.
NCA NewsWire photographers have been there for every step of the ride – here is a wrap of 2022 in a series of our best photos.
JANUARY 5: NOVAK DJOKOVIC VISA SCANDAL
Tennis star Novak Djokovic had been upfront about his anti-vaccination stance since the start of the Covid pandemic, while the Victorian state government in October 2021 confirmed that all players at the Australian Open had to be vaccinated.
On January 4, Djokovic announced he was travelling to Australia with an “exemption permission”. Tennis Australia confirmed it with a statement – sparking a wave of outrage.
It was later revealed the basis of the exemption was that Djokovic had a recent Covid-19 infection, but in order to meet the requirement, he was supposed to stay in Spain for two weeks before his departure.
The nine-times Australian Open champion arrived in Melbourne on January 5 and was immediately detained for eight hours before his visa was cancelled and he was denied entry to the country.
The Australian Border Force said Djokovic failed to meet entry requirements and then prime minister Scott Morrison took to Twitter saying “Rules are rules”.
Djokovic took the fight to the Federal Court where the decision was overturned after a judge found Djokovic had not been afforded procedural fairness. But Immigration Minister Alex Hawke used his discretionary powers to reimpose the penalty, with three Federal Court judges upholding the decision.
In a statement, Djokovic said he was “extremely disappointed but respects the court’s ruling”.
JANUARY 25: GRACE TAME’S SCOWL AT SCOMO
A tense moment captured between former Australian of the year Grace Tame and former prime minister Scott Morrison went viral after it was photographed.
Ms Tame met with Mr Morrison before a morning tea for this year’s Australian of the Year finalists.
The 27-year-old looked unimpressed as Mr Morrison and his wife Jenny stood for photos with other people as she waited to enter the event.
“Hello Grace,” Mr Morrison said.
“G’day,” she responded.
“How are you going? Congratulations on the engagement,” Mr Morrison continued.
“Thank you,” Ms Tame said, not making eye contact with the then prime minister.
Ms Tame appeared visibly unimpressed while standing for photos next to Mr Morrison. She didn’t say anything before walking away.
The icy meeting sparked national media coverage and backlash from conservative MPs who called her “childish” and immature.
The Australian of the Year hinted she was making a political point with her body language, posting an image from the satire website The Betoota Advocate that stated “woman faces backlash for not pretending everything is OK”.
FEBRUARY 21: AUSTRALIA OPENS INTERNATIONAL BORDERS
In early February, Scott Morrison announced Australia’s international borders would finally reopen to tourists from February 21.
The Covid-19 pandemic had kept them closed for almost two years.
While borders had gradually opened to select visa holders towards the end of 2021, it wasn’t until February this year that international tourists, business travellers, family and friends were welcomed back into Australia.
Arrival caps were scrapped and, eventually, state-based quarantine arrangements also came to an end.
However, there was a catch – only double vaccinated international arrivals with a valid visa were allowed to enter Australia.
In a dig directed at tennis world No.1 Novak Djokovic, Mr Morrison said the events “earlier this year” should have sent a “very clear message to everyone around the world that (vaccination) is the requirement to enter Australia”.
FEBRUARY: HORROR FLOODING IN QUEENSLAND AND NSW
Horrific life-threatening floods smashed Queensland and NSW at the end of summer, beginning in Brisbane and slowly making its way south.
The weather situation in Queensland was something “never seen before” after almost a year’s worth of rain was dumped in a matter of days.
More than 15,000 homes were flooded in the Sunshine State, with horrific images showing the state’s key landmarks inundated with water.
Almost 1000 schools across Queensland’s southeast were closed and people were urged to work from home.
Towards the end of February as waters began to recede, the weather event began to move south towards NSW.
The Northern Rivers region was battered by the freak rain event in early March, with 4000 houses damaged and businesses wiped out completely.
Lismore was at the epicentre of the crisis, with images showing piles of debris lined up along streets for months in the aftermath.
It was one of the worst recorded floods in the nation’s history, with swathes of northern NSW and South East Queensland hammered by rain.
Twenty-two died during the horrific natural disaster.
MARCH 4: SHANE WARNE’S SUDDEN DEATH
Australia was in a state of shock in an early morning in March after news broke that legendary cricketer Shane Warne had died of a heart attack overnight.
The 52-year-old spin king was found unconscious at the Samujana Villas resort on the island of Koh Samui in Thailand in the early hours of the morning.
Hours before his sudden death, Warne took to Instagram to wish “good night” to his followers from the luxurious villa with an image of the island and the villa’s infinity pool.
The death was confirmed by his management company and rocked the sporting world.
It was revealed Warne’s group of mates desperately attempted CPR before an ambulance arrived and took him to Thai International Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Warne was known as the larger-than-life cricket larrikin with a passion for the game that was often matched by his headlines off the field.
He was farewelled in a private funeral by his closest family and friends at Warne’s beloved St Kilda Football Club.
The service was held in Melbourne with almost 100 high-profile names attending, including TV commentating colleagues, Melbourne media personalities and St Kilda Football Club figures.
A state memorial was also held at the MCG, while fans left heartfelt tributes to the cricket star and a statue was erected in his memory.
MARCH 25: BUDDY FRANKLIN KICKS 1000TH GOAL
Sydney Swans star Lance “Buddy” Franklin kicked his 1000th goal in his career and became the sixth AFL player to reach the milestone.
Images and video showed the insane moment spectators ran into the turf of the Sydney Cricket Ground in the final quarter and surrounded the Swans star.
He was mobbed by teammates and supporters as Foo Fighters song “My Hero” played in the stadium.
The ball was kicked into the crowd where fan Alex Wheeler grabbed the Sherrin and took it home.
There was panic when the match ball went missing, including Sydney posting a desperate SOS on social media.
But Mr Wheeler returned the ball the following Monday, saying he always intended to hand it to Franklin.
“We went out to one of the pubs locally for a little while and I just got too paranoid that someone was going to knock the footy off from my house, so I went home pretty early and cuddled it up to bed,” Wheeler said.
“It wasn’t probably until the next day … It was probably always my intention to give it back to the Swans and Buddy. It’s going to be no good to me, I don’t have a pool room to put it up in unfortunately.”
APRIL 10: SCOTT MORRISON CALLS FEDERAL ELECTION
After weeks of anticipation regarding when the federal election would be called in Australia, Scott Morrison finally made the announcement on April 10.
On the day of the announcement, Mr Morrison conceded his personal popularity was dragging on the Liberal Party but said the election was “not about me”.
“This election, others will seek to make it about me,’’ Mr Morrison said at the time.
“It’s actually about the people who are watching this right now. It’s about what we’ve demonstrated over these past three years.”
MAY 21: ANTHONY ALBANESE BECOMES PRIME MINISTER
After what was an entertaining six-week election campaign, Anthony Albanese was elected as the country’s 31st prime minister on May 21.
He became the first Labor prime minister since Kevin Rudd led the country in 2013, ending the Coalition’s almost decade-long reign.
Mr Albanese is the first PM to not come from an Anglo-Celtic background, as he was raised with Italian heritage.
He addressed his crowd of exuberant supporters who gathered at a venue in his electorate of Grayndler in Sydney’s inner west.
An emotional Mr Albanese took to the stage amid chants of “Albo, Albo” and thanked Australia for the “extraordinary honour”.
“Tonight the Australian people have voted for change. I am humbled by this victory and I am honoured to be given the opportunity to serve as the 31st prime minister of Australia,” he said.
“My Labor team will work every day to bring Australians together, and I will lead a government worthy of the people of Australia. A government as courageous and hardworking and caring as the Australian people are themselves.”
He thanked Mr Morrison for his “gracious” congratulations and his service.
JULY 6: UNVACCINATED TRAVELLERS ALLOWED INTO AUSTRALIA
After more than four months, unvaccinated travellers were finally allowed to enter (and return) to Australia, with no border controls keeping them out.
From July 6, overseas travellers no longer had to prove they were vaccinated.
The change marked the end of major Covid-based restrictions across the country, with foreign travellers no longer having to seek an exemption on limited grounds.
AUGUST 8: OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN DIES
Entertainment legend and icon Olivia Newton-John died suddenly at age 73 in August, shocking the world.
The actor, whose starring role in Grease in 1978 made her world famous, died at her ranch in California following a long battle with breast cancer.
Her husband, John Easterling, confirmed the news in a post to social media, saying that Newton-John was a “symbol of triumphs and hope”.
Newton-John was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992 and went into remission but it reappeared twice in 2013 and 2017.
In the family statement, Mr Easterling said Newton-John “passed away peacefully” surrounded by family and friends.
“Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer,” he said.
“Her healing inspiration and pioneering experience with plant medicine continues with the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, dedicated to researching plant medicine and cancer.”
AUGUST 27: ANTHONY ALBANESE MEETS SHAQUILLE O’NEILL
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese sought support from basketball superstar Shaquille O’Neal on the referendum to bring an Indigenous Voice to parliament.
The odd pairing held a brief press conference with Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney to discuss the momentous decision.
“Hello Australia, nice to see you,” the NBA superstar greeted, before moving Ms Burney’s hand to his forehead.
“And I want you to know: Shaq loves Australia. All right?”
O’Neal was only present at the press conference for around 10 seconds, but he towered over the two politicians.
AUGUST 30: CHRIS DAWSON FOUND GUILTY OF MURDERING WIFE
In a marathon 4.5 hour judgment, NSW Supreme Court justice Ian Harrison found Chris Dawson guilty of murdering his wife Lynette 40 years ago.
Justice Harrison specifically found Dawson had spun a web of lies that demonstrated a consciousness of guilt and said he had “resolved to kill his wife”.
Dawson pleaded not guilty to the murder of Ms Dawson, who disappeared from their Bayview home on Sydney’s northern beaches in the summer of 1982, and fought the allegations during his 10-week trial earlier this year.
Justice Harrison found Dawson guilty after accepting the Crown prosecution’s argument that he killed his wife and disposed of her body so he could be with the family’s teenage babysitter.
“The only rational inference that the circumstances enable me to draw is that Lynette Dawson died on or about 8 January, 1982, as the result of a conscious and voluntary act committed by Mr Dawson with the intention of causing her death,” Justice Harrison said.
Dramatic scenes played out in court as the judge read out his verdict.
There were gasps in the courtroom, and Dawson shook his head very slightly as his twin brother Paul muttered “bulls**t”.
Hundreds of people had arrived at the court building to watch on, with applause ringing out as two corrective services officers handcuffed Dawson before leading him away.
Dawson was sentenced on December 2 to 24 years in jail with an 18-year non-parole period, meaning he will first be eligible for parole in August 2040.
“The unavoidable prospect is that Mr Dawson will likely die in jail,” Justice Harrison said.
SEPTEMBER 6: HORROR CRASH KILLS FIVE TEENS
A horror crash rocked the small town of Buxton, southwest of Sydney, when a Nissan Navara ute that was allegedly driving at “high speeds” spun out of control and smashed into a tree.
Five teenagers, Summer Williams, Antonio Desisto, Gabriella McLennan, Lily Van de Putte and Tyrese Bechard, were all pronounced dead at the scene.
Tyrell Edwards, 18, was the sole survivor of the crash and has since been charged with five counts of dangerous driving occasioning death – driving in a manner dangerous.
Documents tendered to the court reveal police uncovered a video on Mr Edwards’ phone from an hour before the fatal crash that allegedly showed him driving dangerously while travelling at speeds exceeding 90km/h.
Police claim the video shows the 18-year-old holding his phone with one hand and “aggressively” turning the wheel with the other as the car swerves violently.
According to the police allegations, witnesses at the scene heard Mr Edwards say: “I f***ed up, I’m going to jail.”
SEPTEMBER 8: QUEEN ELIZABETH II’S SUDDEN DEATH
Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning monarch in British history, died peacefully aged 96 at her Balmoral home in Scotland in September.
Buckingham Palace revealed the Queen was under medical supervision hours before the shock announcement, with concerns escalating about her health.
She was 96 years old.
The Queen was the longest reigning British monarch after taking the throne in 1952 when she was aged 27.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced Australia’s federal parliament would take a 10-day suspension following the news before travelling to England to attend the Queen’s funeral.
Aussies from around the country showed their respect for the monarch, placing flowers and tributes at Government Houses.
The sails of the Sydney Opera House were also illuminated to honour Her Majesty.
SEPTEMBER 22: OPTUS HIT WITH CYBER ATTACK
A whopping nine million Australians had their personal details compromised in a major cyber attack on Optus in September.
“Information which may have been exposed includes customers’ names, dates of birth, phone numbers, email addresses, and, for a subset of customers, addresses, ID document numbers such as driver’s licence or passport numbers,” the telco said in a statement.
“Payment detail and account passwords have not been compromised.”
Nearly 2.8 million customers had all of their details taken in the attack, which is thought to have been launched through a weakness in the telco’s firewall.
Following the attack, 56 per cent of customers considered changing telcos as a result.
Optus published a grovelling apologising for the “devastating” cyber attack.
“We’re deeply sorry,” the message from the telco read.
“We’re deeply sorry that a cyber attack has happened on our watch. We know this is devastating and that we’ll need to work hard to regain your trust. The attack was quickly shut down, and we are working closely with authorities to understand how this attack on your privacy occurred.
“Our priority is preventing harm to customers. We are here to assist and support you through any personal concern that you may be feeling.”
OCTOBER 27: BRUCE LEHRMANN TRIAL ABORTED
After days of major media coverage, ACT Supreme Court chief justice Lucy McCallum was forced to abort the trial of Bruce Lehrmann.
He was accused of raping fellow Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins at Parliament House in 2019.
Ms McCallum sensationally discharged all 12 jurors after a sheriff‘s officer found an academic paper as part of one of the juror’s belongings during a “routine tidying”.
The subject of the paper, Ms McCallum said, was about the prevalence and reasons of false sexual assault complaints.
“I have heard an explanation, and it may be that no harm has been done, but that is not a risk I can take,” she told the court.
In the circumstances, Ms McCallum said, she had to discharge that juror and then the entire jury.
“This is not due to the inability on their part to reach a unanimous verdict,” she said.
One juror swore under their breath and put a hand to their head as the judge announced they could not continue.
But the juror in question will face no legal recourse for their actions.
“In NSW, this conduct would amount to an offence,” Ms McCallum said in her reasoning.
“There is no such offence in the Australian Capital Territory, but it is beyond question that the conduct of the juror is such as to abort the trial.
“Both counsel for the prosecution and for the accused agreed with my decision in that respect. It should go without saying that this outcome is both unexpected and unfortunate.”
The prosecution dropped the charges against Mr Lehrmann in December due to the “unacceptable” risk to Ms Higgins’ life from the trauma of the case continuing.
NOVEMBER 26: VICTORIAN STATE ELECTION
The Victorian state election was a messy campaign from both the Labor and Liberal parties, but Daniel Andrews came out on top for a third term.
After two years spent mostly in lockdown as a result of Covid-19, many Victorians were believed to have turned on Mr Andrews and his handling of the pandemic.
He also faced a bitter campaign focused mainly on tearing him down, with fears minor parties and independents were going to push him out.
But that didn’t stop Labor from getting the majority and Mr Andrews leading the state for another three years.
He became the third premier in the state’s history to win three elections.
DECEMBER 12: HORROR WIEAMBILLA SHOOTING
The horrific shooting that took place at a rural Wieambilla property, about three hours west of Brisbane, rocked the nation, with details continuing to emerge for days.
Conspiracy theorists Nathaniel Train, 46, his brother Gareth, 47, and his wife Stacey, 45, ambushed police before shooting two officers and a neighbour dead.
Constable Rachel McCrow, 29, and Constable Matthew Arnold, 26, were fatally shot during the ambush.
As they lay on the ground bleeding, their killers stood over them and shot them again from close range.
Neighbour Alan Dare was also shot and killed in the attack.
Two other brave police officers, Constable Keeley Brough and Constable Randall Kirk, both 28, narrowly survived the attack, with Constable Brough becoming trapped in burning bushland as the assailants tried to smoke her out.
Tactical officers later arrived and were also shot at as they tried to retrieve the bodies and rescue Constable Brough.
The trio, who have links to conspiracy theory forums, were shot dead by tactical police.
https://thewest.com.au/lifestyle/a-wrap-of-the-biggest-stories-and-best-photos-from-2022-c-9316431 A wrap of the biggest stories and best photos from 2022