Monarch – George VI (until 6 February), then Elizabeth II
Governor-General – Sir William McKell
Prime Minister – Robert Menzies
Premier of New South Wales – James McGirr (until 2 April), then Joseph Cahill
Premier of Queensland – Ned Hanlon (until 17 January), then Vince Gair
Premier of South Australia – Thomas Playford IV
Premier of Tasmania – Robert Cosgrove
Premier of Victoria – John McDonald (until 28 October), then Thomas Hollway (until 31 October), then John McDonald (until 17 December), then John Cain I
Premier of Western Australia – Ross McLarty
Governor of New South Wales – Sir John Northcott
Governor of Queensland – Sir John Lavarack
Governor of South Australia – Sir Charles Norrie (until 19 June)
Governor of Tasmania – Sir Ronald Cross, 1st Baronet
Governor of Victoria – Sir Dallas Brooks
Governor of Western Australia – Sir Charles Gairdner
20 January – The first express trains run between Melbourne and Adelaide, following the completion of a railway between the two cities.
18 April – Owen Dixon becomes Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia.
29 April – The ANZUS Treaty between Australia, New Zealand and the United States comes into force.
14–18 June – Disastrous floods in the southeast corner leave 600 homeless and render a major rail line near Moss Vale unusable throughout the winter
The winter season is especially wet in the southeast of the continent, being the wettest on record in Melbourne and the fifth wettest on record in Sydney
1 September – Qantas Empire Airways commences the first air service between Australia and South Africa.
28 October – Premier of Victoria John McDonald resigns after the Victorian Legislative Council refuses supply. Thomas Hollway forms a short-lived ministry which lasts four days.
30 November – Lang Hancock discovers the world's largest deposit of iron ore in the Hamersley Range of Western Australia's Pilbara region.
6 December – A state election is held in Victoria.
Science and technology
3 October – The first British nuclear test in Australia, Operation Hurricane, commences on the Monte Bello Islands with the detonation of an atomic bomb of 25 kilotons yield.
Arts and literature
28 April – Joan Sutherland makes her debut at Covent Garden
William Dargie wins the Archibald Prize with his portrait of Essington Lewis
Frank Hinder wins the Blake Prize for Religious Art with his work Flight into Egypt
16 February – Robert Prentice wins his second men's national marathon title, clocking 3:19:26 in Melbourne.
Olympics: Marjorie Jackson wins gold medals in the Women's 100m and 200m
Olympics: Shirley Strickland wins the gold medal in the 80m Hurdles
New South Wales wins the Sheffield Shield
Olympics: Russell Mockridge wins the gold medal in the Men's 1000m Time Trial
Olympics: Lionel Cox and Russell Mockridge win the gold medal in the Men's 2000m tandem
14 and 16 June – for the only time in its history, the VFL plays matches for premiership points in country centres. Three other games are the first played interstate for premiership points since 1904 but flooding rains affect attendances and cause one game to be postponed and played under lights.
Victorian Football League premiership: Geelong defeated Collingwood 86-40
South Australian National Football League premiership: won by North Adelaide
Bledisloe Cup: retained by the All Blacks
Brisbane Rugby League premiership: Wests defeated Brothers 15-14
New South Wales Rugby League premiership: Wests defeated South Sydney 22-12
Australian Open: won by Norman Von Nida
Australian PGA Championship: won by William C Holder
Peshawar wins the Caulfield Cup
Hydrogen wins the Cox Plate
Dalray wins the Melbourne Cup
The Australian Grand Prix was held at Bathurst and won by Doug Whiteford driving a Talbot-Lago
Olympics: John Davies wins the gold medal in the Men's 200m breaststroke
Australian Open men's singles: Ken McGregor defeats Frank Sedgman 7-5 12-10 2–6 6-2
Australian Open women's singles: Thelma Coyne Long defeats Helen Angwin 6-2 6-3
Davis Cup: Australia defeats the United States 4-1 in the 1952 Davis Cup final
Wimbledon: Ken McGregor and Frank Sedgman win the Men's Doubles
Wimbledon: Frank Sedgman wins the Men's Singles
Nocturne takes line honours and Ingrid wins on handicap in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race
2 January – Graeme Strachan (died 2001), singer
1 March – Leigh Matthews, Australian Rules football player and coach
6 March – Ian Cooke, field hockey player
12 April – Mike Munro, journalist
6 June – Ross Stretton (died 2005), ballet dancer
15 June – Clare Martin, Chief Minister of the Northern Territory
26 June – Peter Farmer, hammer thrower
28 July – Glenn A. Baker, music historian
7 October – Graham Yallop, cricketer
4 September – Tom Maher, basketball coach
21 October – Trevor Chappell, cricketer
22 October – John Howard (Australian actor), stage and screen actor
18 November – Peter Beattie, Premier of Queensland
6 December – Ric Charlesworth, sportsman
18 December – Frank Holden, entertainer
6 February – George VI (born 1895), King
12 June – Harry Lawson (born 1875), Premier of Victoria
22 July – James Vinton Smith (born 1897), politician
14 September – John McPhee (born 1878), Premier of Tasmania
4 October – Keith Murdoch (born 1886), journalist
28 October – Billy Hughes (born 1862), Prime Minister of Australia