2021: The year in review

As the rollercoaster ride of 2021 nears an end, let’s take a look back at the key events that shaped the year.

While COVID-19 continued to have repercussions at home and overseas, humanity gave us plenty of highlights over the past 12 months that (thankfully) had nothing to do with pandemics, variants, borders or vaccines.

Here’s a look back at some memorable moments of 2021: the year of the Ox and the UN’s International Year of Peace and Trust.


In January, Donald Trump was banned from social media and in February, Facebook became a black hole for Aussies one strange Tuesday when all Australian news websites were blocked from using the platform. In October, a six-hour outage affected Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, and Facebook changed its name to Meta.

Billionaire space-racers Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson launched separate human spaceflights in 2021. Who won? Bezos probably. He did have Captain Kirk (William Shatner) on board.

US troops withdrew from Afghanistan, China placed new restrictions on Australian imports and the climate emergency intensified with wildfires in Greece and California, snow storms in Texas and floods in Germany and China.

In Australia in November, four-year-old Cleo Smith was found alive and well, three weeks after disappearing from a WA campsite. And police examined new leads in the William Tyrrell case.


Tennis’ Australian Open was held in February – not January – after being postponed due to COVID-19. Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka claimed the titles. Novak also won the French Open in May and Wimbledon in July, where Aussie world number one Ash Barty also tasted victory.

In May, Chelsea beat Manchester City 1-0 in the UEFA Champions League final and Spain’s Jon Rahm won golf’s US Open. Tampa Bay won the Super Bowl, the Penrith Panthers defeated South Sydney in the NRL final, Melbourne claimed the AFL flag and Verry Elleegant won the Melbourne Cup. NSW triumphed in a memorable State of Origin series, with COVID-19 forcing game one to be played in Townsville.

The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics ran in August and September, featuring 2020 branding after a pandemic postponement. Australia finished sixth in the Olympic medal tally, eighth in the Paralympics.


Joe Biden became the new US President in January. He was inaugurated just weeks after Donald Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building to disrupt the election.

Here in Australia, Dominic Perrottet took over from Gladys Berejiklian as NSW Premier in October and tensions rose between Australia and France over a cancelled $90 billion submarine contract.


The federal government set a net zero emissions by 2050 target. Scott Morrison attended the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow where nations pledged measures to address global warming.


Italy won Eurovision, Squid Game was a Netflix hit, Nomadland was the toast of the Oscars and Oprah interviewed Meghan and Harry.
And the Collins Dictionary declared “NFT” as the 2021 word of the year.

Wishing you a safe and happy holiday season and we look forward to seeing what 2022 holds in store!

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