When Sir John Kerr presented the 1977 Melbourne Cup, it was almost exactly two years since he had committed his constitutional faux pas. He was dapper in a a three-piece suit and, it seemed, awfully drunk. His obvious inebriation, combined with his thicket of white hair and his aristocratic bearing, made him seem more like one of Barry Humphries' characters than the governor-general.
It was called the lottery of death.
Six former prime ministers helped lead tributes to Labor legend Gough Whitlam on Tuesday, highlighting his contributions to Australian life in the arts, civil society and on the international stage.
When Whitlam took office, only Queensland and Tasmania provided free public hospital treatment, and more than a million people could not afford insurance. While the government provided tax incentives to encourage people to purchase private cover, these were grossly inequitable.
The watchdog that oversees Australia's spy agencies is investigating an incident in which a Special forces soldier is reported to have pulled a gun on an Australian Secret Intelligence Service officer during a drinking session in Afghanistan.
History judges Gough Whitlam got China and Vietnam right - and East Timor so tragically wrong.
A generation of Australians will forever remember Gough Whitlam as the man who gave them a free university education. Whitlam's abolition of university fees cemented him as a Labor folk hero yet his higher education legacy remains contested and contradictory.
In aboriginal communities across the nation there are people named Whitlam, in tribute to the man who might be regarded as Australia's first Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs.
Gough Whitlam's three years as prime minister would be some of the most transformative and energised in Australian history. This was no more obvious than in the media coverage of Australia's 21st prime minister and his government.
Gough Whitlam is perhaps best known for the manner in which he prematurely exited from power rather than how he chose to wield it