12 September 2001

Ansett Australia, Australia’s first commercial interstate airline, collapses due to increased strain on the international airline industry, leaving 10,000 people unemployed.

Ansett Australia was once one of Australia’s major domestic airlines, but it ceased operations in 2001.

Financial Troubles: Ansett Australia faced financial difficulties for several years leading up to its collapse. High operating costs, labor disputes, and competition from Qantas and Virgin Blue put significant pressure on the airline’s profitability.

Ownership Changes: Ansett went through a series of ownership changes and restructuring attempts in an effort to turn the airline around. In 2000, Air New Zealand acquired a majority stake in Ansett, but it struggled to integrate the two airlines effectively.

September 11, 2001: The terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001, had a severe impact on the aviation industry worldwide. Travel demand plummeted, and Ansett, already in a precarious financial position, was unable to recover.

Grounding of the Fleet: On September 13, 2001, just two days after the 9/11 attacks, Ansett abruptly grounded its entire fleet, leaving thousands of passengers stranded. This decision was due to its inability to secure further financing and meet its operational requirements.

Liquidation: Ansett Australia entered into voluntary administration and was eventually placed into liquidation in March 2002. The collapse of the airline had wide-ranging effects, including the loss of thousands of jobs and disruptions in the Australian aviation industry.

After Ansett’s collapse, Qantas and Virgin Blue (now known as Virgin Australia) emerged as the dominant players in the Australian domestic airline market. Various attempts were made to revive Ansett under new ownership, but none were successful, and the airline remains defunct.

12 September 1940

Cave paintings are discovered in Lascaux, France.

On this day in 12 September 1940, near Montignac, France, a collection of prehistoric cave paintings are discovered by four teenagers who stumbled upon the ancient artwork after following their dog down a narrow entrance into a cavern. The 15,000 to 17,000-year-old paintings, consisting mostly of animal representations, are among the finest examples of art from the Upper Paleolithic period. First studied by the French archaeologist Henri-Édouard-Prosper Breuil, the Lascaux grotto consists of a main cavern 66 feet wide and 16 feet high. The walls of the cavern are decorated with some 600 painted and drawn animals and symbols and nearly 1,500 engravings.

The pictures depict in excellent detail numerous types of animals, including horses, red deer, stags, bovines, felines, and what appear to be mythical creatures. There is only one human figure depicted in the cave: a bird-headed man with an erect phallus. Archaeologists believe that the cave was used over a long period of time as a centre for hunting and religious rites. The Lascaux grotto was opened to the public in 1948 but was closed in 1963 because artificial lights had faded the vivid colors of the paintings and caused algae to grow over some of them. A replica of the Lascaux cave was opened nearby in 1983 and receives tens of thousands of visitors annually.

12 September 490 BC

The Battle of Marathon: The Athenians and their Plataean allies, defeat the first Persian invasion force of Greece.


The Battle of Marathon took place in 490 BC, during the first Persian invasion of Greece. It was fought between the citizens of Athens, aided by Plataea, and a Persian force commanded by Datis and Artaphernes. The battle was the culmination of the first attempt by Persia, under King Darius I, to subjugate Greece. The Greek army decisively defeated the more numerous Persians, marking a turning point in the Greco-Persian Wars.

The first Persian invasion was a response to Athenian involvement in the Ionian Revolt, when Athens and Eretria had sent a force to support the cities of Ionia in their attempt to overthrow Persian rule. The Athenians and Eretrians had succeeded in capturing and burning Sardis, but they were then forced to retreat with heavy losses. In response to this raid, Darius swore to burn down Athens and Eretria. According to Herodotus, Darius had his bow brought to him and then shot an arrow “upwards towards heaven”, saying as he did so: “Zeus, that it may be granted me to take vengeance upon the Athenians!”. Herodotus further writes that Darius charged one of his servants to say “Master, remember the Athenians” three times before dinner each day.