2023 YEAR IN REVIEW

We've wrapped up the biggest stories from each month, pulled out your most clicked items in the Squiz Today email, and picked a pic and podcast to note. You're welcome... So let's take a look back on the year that was 2023.

January

The Big Stories

A chopper tragedy on the Goldie - Two helicopters used for joyrides by theme park Sea World crashed in mid-air on 2 January, killing 4 people and injuring 9 others. An investigation later found the helicopter pilot who was about to land didn’t receive a call over the radio from the pilot who was about to take off.

Troubling times in Alice Springs - A growing crime crisis in Central Australia saw Alice Springs Mayor Matt Patterson ask for help from the Federal Police or the military. A federal intervention didn’t happen, but a review later saw alcohol bans that were scrapped in July 2022 reinstated.

Prince Harry’s memoir rattles the royals - Barely a month had passed since the Netflix series Harry & Meghan sparked a debate about the couple’s departure as senior royals, and the Duke of Sussex was back in the headlines as his long-awaited memoir Spare hit the shelves. There was a lot to unpack, and it became one of the biggest-selling non-fiction books in recent times.

The Most Clicked

Gossip (usually…) isn’t our bag, but Squizers were captivated by former Aussie cricket captain Michael Clarke’s private life as it played out very publicly in a park in Noosa.

Image Of The Month

Record flooding in parts of the Kimberley in Western Oz saw the Fitzroy Crossing resemble an inland sea. The waterway ballooned to 50km wide at some parts, reaching a record peak of 15.81m.

January

Shortcut Of The Month

February

The Big Stories

A spy balloon saga creates a lot of hot air - US-China tensions reached boiling point after a US fighter jet shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the South Carolina coast. China claimed it was a weather balloon, but the discovery led to several other unidentified aerial objects being shot down over Canada, Alaska and Latin America. By mid-year, the US confirmed no intelligence had been collected by the aerial interlopers.

A deadly quake in Turkey and Syria - About 60,000 people died, and more than 120,000 were injured following a massive series of earthquakes in southern Turkey/northern Syria. It was the deadliest earthquake in the world since the disaster that hit Haiti in 2010.

Bring it on, Beyoncé… - The superstar announced her first world tour in nearly 7 years off the back of her chart-topping 7th album Renaissance. It kicked off a big week for Beyoncé, who broke the record for the most Grammys won by any artist in this year’s ceremony with a total of 32 career wins. Still, actor Ben Affleck wasn’t too fussed

The Most Clicked

Squizers love a bit of royal content, and it doesn’t get much raunchier than this… “Love tap” is the term Vogue gave for what the Princess of Wales gave her husband William as they walked the red carpet at the BAFTA awards, much to the internet’s delight.

Image Of The Month

The 2023 WorldPride festival kicked off in Sydney, and the city went all out to mark the big occasion. There were a number of good/not-so-good brand tie-ins for the big event, but the Australian Museum’s Pride Shark was pretty cool.

Feburary

Shortcut Of The Month

March

The Big Stories

AUKUS is go - As Chinese President Xi Jinping was locked in for an unprecedented 3rd term, PM Anthony Albanese and his US and UK counterparts met up in San Diego to announce that Oz will buy 3-5 Virginia class subs from the US, and we'll eventually get 8 of a new kind built with British and American help. The bill: between $268-368 billion over the next 30 years…

Google releases a chatbot of its own - After a costly preview blunder, Google released an artificial intelligence tool called Bard, aimed at competing with OpenAI's ChatGPT. But opposition to the rapid rollout of AI technology was growing - more than 1,000 tech experts signed a petition calling for a halt to AI development. They said the technology poses "profound risks to society and humanity" without regulation.

Winning ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ - In the first Academy Award ceremony since 2022’s infamous slap incident, the independent film claimed 7 Oscars, including best picture and best director. And the top acting awards went to Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan and Jamie Lee Curtis, making it the third film in the awards’ history to almost sweep the pool.

The Most Clicked

One mum’s attempt to make an "epic" Bluey cake for her child's birthday using a TikTok hack was a bit disastrous. It reminded many of their own experiences with the Woman’s Weekly Birthday Cake Book

Image Of The Month

More than a few otherwise tech-savvy people were duped by AI-generated images of Pope Francis wearing a white puffer coat this week. It raised questions about why so many fell for ‘Swaggy Pope Francis’ and how AI could power a new age of misinformation.

March

Shortcut Of The Month

April

The Big Stories

The Coalition says ‘No’ to the Voice - …and the pundits said the lack of bipartisan support for the referendum would make it very difficult for it to succeed. (Wasn’t that the truth…) It was also the month when Senator Jacinta Nampajinpa Price replaced Julian Leeser as the Coalition’s Indigenous Australians spokesperson.

Donald Trump was indicted for the first time… - He became the first former US president to face criminal charges, and it was the first of 4 criminal indictments he would chalk up in 2023. US President Joe Biden also confirmed he would run for the White House again despite concerns about the 81yo’s capacity to serve another term.

A payday for our female cricketers - They became the highest-paid female athletes in Oz when a 5-year pay deal was struck. It sees our legendary female cricketers dive into an increased salary pool of $133 million and retain a revenue-sharing deal. It’s the kind of deal our netballers wanted later in the year, but we digress…

The Most Clicked

Skygazers rushed to Exmouth in Western Oz to see a rare hybrid solar eclipse. They’re particularly special because they only happen a few times per century and those who couldn’t get to see it in person made do with a photo gallery.

Image Of The Month

Well, you can’t go past the eclipse…

April

Shortcut Of The Month

May

The Big Stories

Back in black - Treasurer Jim Chalmers delivered Australia’s first Budget surplus in 15 years. And on Budget night, we saw the Albanese Government bed down its agenda with some of the big-ticket items, including a boost to aged care workers' pay, a crackdown on the National Disability Insurance Scheme, and more funding for our Pacific neighbours.

A tragic tasering - Clare Nowland, the 95yo dementia patient who was tasered in a nursing home by a NSW policeman, passed away in hospital after hitting her head in the fall. Senior Constable Kristian White was charged with recklessly causing grievous bodily harm - that was later upgraded to manslaughter.

King Charles and Queen Camilla take the throne - And no, we don’t mean they took a ‘comfort break’… Dining tables around the Commonwealth heaved with coronation quiche as the royal duo were crowned in the first coronation in 70 years.

The Most Clicked

Gee you’re a naughty bunch… This pic of a phallic-shaped iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland got Squizers clicking. Even more amusingly, the photographer hails from a Canadian town called Dildo…

Image Of The Month

Bright green water in Venice’s famous Great Canal initially baffled authorities - it later turned out that it came from a non-toxic chemical that tests wastewater quality. We’re not sure if the colour is a good or bad sign…

May

Shortcut Of The Month

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June

The Big Stories

A mutiny attempt in Russia - Remember this? An armed uprising led by the leader of the Wagner mercenary group Yevgeny Prigozhin saw him march his troops towards Moscow. It ended with a peace agreement brokered by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, but Prigozhin was killed in August after his private plane was shot down by Russia’s air defences.

The Titan submersible search captures the world’s attention - And this? A deep-sea submersible carrying 5 people to the century-old wreck of the Titanic was found to have imploded, killing everyone on board. OceanGate - the company that operated the Titan sub - suspended its operations, and an investigation is ongoing.

Ben Roberts-Smith loses defamation case - And if you needed more evidence that June was huge, one of Australia’s most decorated war veterans lost his defamation lawsuit against The Sydney Morning Herald/The Age/Canberra Times. They ran reports he said labelled him a war criminal and a bully, but the judge found most of what was published about the fallen decorated war hero was true.

The Most Clicked

The designer of a ‘chaise lounge’ double-decker airplane seat design reckons it’s the future of flying in economy. Let’s just say we have questions about how flatulence issues are mitigated…

Image Of The Month

This one comes with a warning - it's an image that will be permanently burned into the brains of millions of Aussie Swifties after they spent hours in Ticketek’s non-queue battling it out for a ticket to the superstar’s Down Under Eras Tour. Soz to remind you…

June

Shortcut Of The Month

July

The Big Stories

Australia’s worst peacetime military disaster in 20 years - That happened when 4 Aussie soldiers died in a helicopter crash near Lindeman Island in Queensland's Whitsundays. The chopper went down during a joint military training drill with US soldiers, who were in the country for the Exercise Talisman Sabre.

A scorcher of a summer in the Northern Hemisphere - Southern parts of Europe were officially scorchio, with wildfires raging in Greece while temperature records were smashed in Spain and Italy. Also dealing with extreme heat were China and the US, and there were record-breaking wildfires in Canada that kept burning into autumn. “The era of global boiling has arrived,” said UN boss António Guterres.

Victoria pulls the 2026 Commonwealth Games plug - Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said that it was beyond the state’s means after the cost blew out from an estimated $2.6 billion to up to $7 billion - a high number that no one ever really got to the bottom of… The Games are still without a host, in case you’re interested.

The Most Clicked

A lost phone with an ‘embarrassing’ lock screen was reunited with its owner after it was lost at the Perisher Ski Resort. The internet had a field day over the aspirational bullet points…

Image Of The Month

The race to save 50 pilot whales stranded at Cheynes Beach near Albany in Western Oz ended in tragedy as the animals that could be saved re-beached themselves. Scientists say that footage of the whales huddling together before they became stranded could offer some rare insight into what happened.

July

Shortcut Of The Month

August

The Big Stories

An alleged mushroom murder mystery - A lunch that left 3 people dead and one in hospital in Victoria’s Gippsland region sparked an investigation and international interest… All had eaten a meal served by Erin Patterson that was believed to contain highly toxic death cap mushrooms. She was arrested and charged with 3 counts of murder and 5 of attempted murder in November and has denied any wrongdoing.

India lands on the dark side of the moon - India became the fourth nation to successfully land on the moon, after the US, China, and Russia. Not only that, the Chandrayaan-3 landed on the moon’s south pole, becoming the first mission to pull that off.

Matildas fever at the World Cup - You didn’t have to be a football fanatic to get on board with the World Cup madness. The highlight - getting to the semi-final for the first time (after an epic 20-penalty shootout, no less…). We lost that, but broke a few attendance and TV viewing records along the way. What a bunch of legends… PS: Spain ended up on top, in case you’re interested…

The Most Clicked

Dry skin is the worst, and it seems we weren’t the only ones fighting that battle… We recommended this hydrating gel - it's not super expensive and you can pick it up at the supermarket/chemist.

Image Of The Month

In another record for Donald Trump, he became the first former prez to get a mugshot. "There are so many cardinal rules of photography that they are just not following," one professional photographer said. Everyone sees things through their own lens...

August

Shortcut Of The Month

September

The Big Stories

Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews resigns - Just a few weeks after qualifying for a statue after marking 3,000 days in office, Andrews announced he was gawn. A controversial figure who was later found to have overseen a regime where the public service was “ruled by a culture of fear”, he said it was time to move on and put his family first. He was replaced by Jacinta Allan, making her the state’s second female premier.

Trouble for a powerful public servant -  Home Affairs boss Michael Pezzullo stood aside from his great big job after text messages obtained by the Sydney Morning Herald/Age/60 Minutes showed he was secretly lobbying to influence the former Coalition Government. He was sacked following an investigation in November.

And Qantas gets a fresh pair of wings - After a string of controversies, Alan Joyce disembarked the national airline, pushing his exit forward by 2 months. That saw Vanessa Hudson step up, but a few weeks later, the saga claimed another high-profile name, with chairman Richard Goyder also confirming he would go.

The Most Clicked

Tennessee’s Tami Manis got herself a Guinness World Record for the world’s longest mullet on a female. She hadn’t trimmed her mane for 33 years, so what a pay off…

Image Of The Month

There was less dancing and more sloshing at this year’s Burning Man festival after heavy rainfall turned the Nevada desert into a mud bath. It didn’t stop attendees from having fun, with many taking the opportunity for some rolling in the mud...

September

Shortcut Of The Month

October

The Big Stories

Israel goes to war with Hamas - The terror group launched a surprise attack from the Gaza Strip that saw 1,200 killed in Israel and 240 people taken as hostages. In retaliation, Israel launched an attack on the Palestinian territory that’s ongoing. With accusations of war crimes levelled at both sides and calls for a ceasefire, it’s one of the year’s biggest stories that will continue to dominate headlines into 2024.

Australia says ‘No’ to an Indigenous Voice to Parliament - Not only did 60% of Aussies record a 'No' vote, but no state saw a majority of residents support the case for constitutional change. PM Anthony Albanese won’t pursue the Voice, but said it’s “not the end of the road” for reconciliation.

Vale Matthew Perry - He’d talked a lot about his addictions, but it was a shock when it was confirmed that the beloved Friends star died in his jacuzzi at home. The toxicology report released in December found he died from the acute effects of ketamine. His famous co-stars mourned his loss, saying they were “more than just cast mates. We are a family.”

The Most Clicked

A set of AI-generated national postage stamps reinforced Australia’s reputation for terrifying fauna. While countries like Greece and Italy look as picturesque as you would expect, Oz looks a bit weird

Image Of The Month

Large and in charge, mumma bear Grazer steamrolled her hunky competitor Chunk to take the 2023 Fat Bear Week crown, receiving nearly double his votes. What a #bearboss…

October

Shortcut Of The Month

November

The Big Stories

Hei ho, it’s off to Beijing our PM goes - It was the first time an Aussie leader has visited China since 2016, and there were smiles all around when PM Albanese met up with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Long story short, they talked about talking more, and things were going great for a couple of weeks until some Australian naval divers were injured by sonar blasts from a Chinese warship…

Political troubles brew at home - A High Court decision that saw the release of about 150 people from immigration detention prompted the federal parliament to rush laws through that will see the “worst offenders” re-detained. Cue the observation that Team Albanese is under pressure as we head into the break...

C’mon Aussie - Australia won the 2023 Cricket World Cup final against India. That wasn’t guaranteed after a bumpy start to the tournament, but Aussie skipper Pat Cummins said it was a defining moment for the team. And legendary women’s captain Meg Lanning decided to end her international career.

The Most Clicked

Nothing screams cozzie livs quite like a home built from rejected bricks taking out this year’s top architecture prize for best new house.

Image Of The Month

King Charles and Queen Camilla went on a royal visit to Kenya, and as far as cute goes, this encounter with an orphaned baby elephant takes the bottle.

November

Shortcut Of The Month - Part I and II

December

The Big Stories

The last COVID-era premier calls it quits - After nearly 9 years in the top job, Queensland’s Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk quit politics altogether. Her deputy Steve Miles took the top job and was immediately thrown into managing the disaster that unfolded in Far North Queensland in the wake of Cyclone Jasper.

Black-listing fossil fuels - For the first time, nations attending the UN’s annual climate summit took explicit aim at the use of fossil fuels. To be clear, there isn’t an explicit commitment to ‘phase out’ or even ‘phase down’ fossil fuels, but to do it “in a just, orderly and equitable manner, accelerating action in this critical decade, so as to achieve net zero by 2050 in keeping with the science”.

A clean record for Kathleen Folbigg - Jailed in 2003 over the deaths of her 4 children, her convictions quashed after new scientific evidence meant there was “reasonable doubt” over her guilt. Folbigg - who was once branded Australia’s worst female serial killer - had always maintained her innocence.

The Most Clicked

It might be the time of year, but it appears that Squizers were just as keen on this Vietnamese chicken salad as we were -potentially because of the salad dressing that’s worth quadrupling and using on everything.

Image Of The Month

TIME’s Person of the Year - why the heck not? Taylor Swift was everywhere in 2023, killing it with her new and re-released music, tour and movie. As she sang this year, “karma is a cat purring in my lap ‘cause it loves me”…

December

Shortcut Of The Month

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