Friday, April 20, 2018

7 years

It's been 7 years since Dad flew the coop into the aether, leaving us with memories and smiles.
We shall be celebrating in style - Dad style, that is.
Tonight will commence with a fish n chip supper, a hot night in front of the idiot box for Think Tank, Gardening Australia, Harrow and whatever else takes our fancy, with plenty of pots of tea.
Had enough G & T the other night ( 2 whole glasses) so Dad will have to be content with a Temperance-style toast.
Which he would have been fine with....maybe.
But, anyway, there'll be a few chippies flicked hither and yon to the furbabies in great frivolity.

April 20 #OnThisDay in #Australian #History

1793 - At a loss at how to dress that pesky flax?
Fear not!
For the vessel Daedalus has parked itself out front with Lieut. Hanson and the Maori flax dressers on board.

1817  - In an effort to avoid the usual house painting and wallpapering John Oxley went for a jaunt to the west, beyond Bathurst, to trace the Lachlan River.

1822 - George Lang got a little something something in the mail today!
And it wasn't even his birthday!
To George Lang.......
20 April 1822
I am directed by His Excellency Sir Thomas Brisbane to inform you in reply to your letter of the 5th March 1822, that he will make you a grant of one thousand acres of land and will assign you the services of four convict servants who with yourself will be victualled from the King's Stores for six months from the date of your taking possession of your said land
I am , Sir, Your Obedient Servant
F. Goulburn, Colonial Secretary

1830 - George Wyndham kept a diary 1830-1840 whilst in the Hunter Valley, and he recorded place names, exciting events, people.
Todays entry was not one of the exciting variety.
"Gathering cornstalks into heaps"
I did warn you.

1836 - John Batman and his missus and billy lids rocked up in Port Phillip to carve a comfy spot on Batman Hill for themselves (which is now the simply splendid Southern Cross Spencer Street Station yards).

1839 - George Grey's expedition was saved by friendly Aborigines.
After discovering the Gascoyne River, the longest in Western Australia, Grey's party continued southwards in two whaleboats. The boats were wrecked near today's Geraldton, so they continued the journey on foot. Leaving weaker members of the party behind to be rescued later, Grey took five of his men and set off for Perth. They finished all their provisions in four days, and for the next three days, travelled without food or water. They were sustained briefly by a pool of liquid mud until on this day friendly Aborigines found the party and gave them enough food to regain their strength to continue the journey.

1864 - Derrimut , a headman or arweet of the Boonwurrung (Bunurong) people from the Melbourne area, passed away on this day at the Melbourne Benevolent Asylum at the age of about 54 years.
He warned the early European settlers in October 1835 of an impending attack by "up-country tribes". The colonists armed themselves, and the attack was averted.
He fought in the late 1850s and early 1860s to protect Boonwurrung rights to live on their land at Mordialloc Reserve. When the reserve was closed in July 1863, his people were forced to unite with the remnants of Woiwurrung and other Victorian Aboriginal communities to settle Coranderrk Mission station, near Healesville.
The Melbourne suburb of Derrimut is named after him.

1875 - Southport, QLD was flogging of its blocks of land for huge, whopping amounts like 5 or 10 pounds.

1880 - The Great Northern tin lode on the Wild River, north Queensland, was tripped over by William Jack and John Newell.

1883 - Upon the Kulwin Railway Line the Koorong Vale to Charlton (Victoria, not the one in UK) section was flung open for the many passengers who enjoyed parking their posteriors on the seats until 1977.

1892 - The Yass Branch Railway Line (NSW) was opened from Yass Junction to Yass Town.

1894 - A meeting of women in Melbourne founded the Women's Suffrage Society.
Next they'll want to stand for parliament...!

1895 - Transcribed From The Richmond Guardian -
Things were finally getting interesting in Council chats when Mr Bennett had a jolly old whinge that when his cattle were caught out alone on the Richamond streets (after dark in fishnets and cheap perfume?) the Council impounded them and charged him the sum of 5 shillings per head to liberate them back into his clutches, no matter how short a moment the bovines had enjoyed the pleasure of the Pound.
One wonders if it ever occured to Mr Bennett he would have been better off investing those many 5 shillings into proper fencing?

1896 - The Carlingford Railway Line (NSW) was opened from Camellia to Carlingford.

1906 - The London Zoo mourned the passing of it's 26 year old wombat.
....and then Camilla roused herself yet again.....

1908 - The rail disaster at Sunshine, Victoria, involved holiday makers returning home from the Easter Long Weekend picnic; 44 lives were lost in a horrific collision between a Ballarat and Bendigo trains at Sunshine station, and over 500 injured.

1915 - The first Aussie Flying Corps, full of young lads, left for Mesopotamia.
This was the first use of Australian aircraft and aircrew in war.
But not the first , nor the last, use of young lives as bloody cannon fodder with which old men play war games.

1916 - The transfer of Australian forces to the Western Front area was not officially announced at first but rumours abounded. A contemporary newspaper account of April 20 noted “late rumours have been circulated to the effect that Australian soldiers are fighting on the Western Front. From letters received locally we learn that some at least of our troops are in France, and are likely to be soon in action. Our troops will soon have the opportunity they have been hungering for, of crossing swords with the detested Hun”.

1920 - Australia, being the party animal that she is, couldn't pass up the offer for another party and took part in the opening ceremony of the 1920 Antwerp Olympic Games. Among the Australian competitors were Frank Beaurepaire and Fanny Durack.

1921 - An immense crowd gathered at the shipyards of Poole and Steel at Osborne on the Port River to witness the launching of the Eurimbla by Lady Weigall, wife of the Governor, on this day. The cargo carrier with a capacity of 6000 tons dead weight, was 341 feet long, and was the first large vessel to be built in South Australia. She was commissioned by the Commonwealth Government and was named Eurimbla after a town in New South Wales.
Such was the interest in the launching that special trains ran to Port Adelaide and local schoolchildren were given a half holiday to celebrate the event.

1927 - Anglican Minister Reverend E Gribble stated that natives in Western Australia were the worst treated in the world at a Royal Commission into the alleged murder of Aboriginal people in the north of the State. It was also rumoured that when Aboriginal people became a nuisance, white station owners were permitted to put cyanide in meat supplies and arsenic in flour supplies to kill them off.

1934 - The first passengers to travel by air from Australia to England departed from Sydney.

1937 - Regular air mail services were established with the United States of America.

1939 - Sir Earle Page was Prime Minister for three weeks in April 1939, following the death of Joseph Lyons and pending the United Australia Party’s election of Robert Menzies as its new leader. On April 19, the House of Representatives met to express condolences for Lyons. On April 20, the House met again. At the end of proceedings, Page rose to move the adjournment motion. He then made a speech excoriating Menzies, who had just been elected leader of the United Australia Party. Page questioned his judgment and loyalty and his lack of war service.
Ahh, Pig Iron Bob.

1941 - ANZAC Corps withdrew to Thermopylae Line, Greece.

1947 - The Egyptian-registered SS Misr docked in Melbourne with its multicultural human cargo: 624 men, women and children from 26 different countries, plucked from ports in the Mediterranean, Middle East and East Africa.

1949 - The Superintendent of the Gorge Mission, at Mossman Gorge (QLD) started ‘a daily school’.

1954 - Mrs Petrov saw the light and hopped back off the plane to seek political asylum with her hubby in Darwin.

1961 - Native Welfare Conference developed a statement on the policy of Assimilation which the Hon Paul Hasluck MP presented to the House of Representatives on this day: “all aborigines and part-aborigines are expected eventually to attain the same manner of living as other Australians and to live as members of a single Australian community enjoying the same rights and privileges, accepting the same responsibilities, observing the same customs and influenced by the same beliefs, hopes and loyalties as other Australians.”

1965 - Budget Rent A Car was born, on the corner of La Trobe and Elizabeth Sts, Melbourne, the going rate was 6 shillings per mile.

1965 - Aussie winemaker Tom Angove created the first cask wine with a patent issued to the company on this day.

1966 - Bob Dylan & The Band performed at the Melbourne Festival Hall.

1971 - The inaugural meeting of the New South Wales Master track & field athletics club was held on this day.

1977 - The beaches of NSW & QLD were lathered, rinsed and repeated a few times today following a tsunami that originated in the Solomon Islands.

1982 -  Duran Duran played Festival Hall, Brisbane, during their RIO Tour.

1985 - Brisbane's Performing Arts Centre opened.

1986 Believing in public transport, The Queenslander train began zipping along between Brisbane and Cairns.

1997 - A meeting of Cape York residents established a working party to promote reconciliation between black and white, while asking Canberra and Brisbane to stay away and let Cape York work out its own solutions. The meeting, the first of its kind in the Peninsula region, was organised by the Cape York Peninsula Development Association (CYPDA) and attended by representatives from a diverse range of Cape York interests including the Cape York Land Council the Apunipima Cape York Health Council, the Cape York Land Defenders, the Cattleman’s Union and Cook Shire Council.

1998 - Federal Court Justice Merkel handed down a 120-page decision in Shaw and Another v Wolf and Others. A key element in that judgment establishing the status of Aboriginality was the declaration that to be Aboriginal one must, among other things, be descended from the inhabitants of Australia at the time immediately before European settlement.

2003 - An Australian navy vessel boarded a North Korean ship off Sydney and charged it with involvement in a $48 million heroin shipment to Victoria.

2008 - At 3pm there was a memorial service at Sunshine Railway Station to mark the 100th anniversary of the horrific crash between the two holiday trains and the unveiling of a plaque to remember those lives lost.

2009 - Prime Minister Rudd uttered the words recession and inevitable in the same breath during a speech in Adelaide, South Australia.

2010 - Australia’s PM Kevin Rudd said he had reached agreement with all but one of Australia's states on major health reforms which he hopes will spearhead his 2010 re-election campaign.

2011 - ALGA (Australian Lesbian Gay Archives) launched the much anticipated book Secret Histories of Queer Melbourne. The book is based on the popular Melbourne walks held during the annual Midsumma Festival. The Slap author Christos Tsiolkas launched the book at Melbourne University.

2013 - Black Sabbath began their first tour of Australia/New Zealand in 40 years.

2015 - Callum Clayton-Dixon, the chairperson of the Aboriginal Provisional Government, was initially refused re-entry into Australia from New Zealand when he presented his Aboriginal Passport.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Sketches In Australia By George Whitelaw, 1857-1864

I was sort of watching an old episode of Antiques Roadshow ("watching" = noise in the background while I researched Oz history) when I heard the above title mentioned.
Now, poor George was a consumptive bloke ( he was quickly fading away from TB) so he had a little time to fill in.
The sketches in his book aren't fabulously long-lost works of art BUT they are observations of people and Aboriginal people in and around the small settlement of Melbourne; rudimentary ink drawings show mia-mias (huts) and Aboriginal figures with notes on the back of the sketch detailing how they lived.
He also sketched figures waltzing off to the goldfields, showing the various classes by their dress, with the usual accoutrements of digging in their hot little hands.
In short,  rare wonderful glimpses of history.
After the value was given by the Antiques Roadshow expert, with comments that it would garner high interest in the Aussie market, the owner stated he wouldn't be selling.
Now, doing my sums that episode was from 2009 (I told you it was an oldie) so I had a quick Gurgle to see if the sketchbook ever made its way to The Fair Isle of Oz - and, yes, it did!
Mossgreen Auctions in Armadale, Vic, auctioned it last May; how much or who bought it I have not the foggiest, I can only hope it or a facsimile eventually finds its way into the National Library or into print for schools or some such.

You can read a lengthy description by the auction house of George's sketch book  HERE

You can read the transcript of the AR ep HERE.

April 19 #OnThisDay in #Australian #History

1623 - After kidnapping an Aboriginal bloke the previous day it wasn't surprising that the Dutch sailors of the Pera were then greeted by over 200 angry and hostile Aboriginals in North QLD.

1770 - Lieut Zachary Hicks eyeballed the point of land which now bears his name as Point Hicks (Cape Everard).

1805 - Aboriginal people defending their land managed to kill several colonists which resulted in a Government Order today to Captain William Bligh to send soldiers to protect the settlers.

1818 – Phillip Parker King discovers Port Essington , later one of the first British settlements in what is now the Northern Territory.

1831 - The Sydney Gazette reported that: - Elizabeth Smith, an importation by the Earl of Liverpool, who made her first appearance ashore on Friday last was charged with insolence to her mistress. It appeared that the prisoner was assigned direct from the ship, to the service of a gentleman in Sydney, to whose house she was sent on the day she landed. In the afternoon obtained permission of her mistress to go out, on some business of her own, for a limited time, which she exceeded, and on being reprimanded on her return home, told her mistress she was " a-good-for nothing hussy," and that she (Elizabeth) " knew by the cut of her jib" that the service would not answer her. The bench sentenced her to the third class in the Factory for three months. Elizabeth Smith had been assigned to William Foster in Sydney on arrival.

1836 - Governor Bourke visited Newcastle on the Ceres. He inspected the site for the New Military Barracks and other buildings which were to be erected at Newcastle, proceeded overland to Brisbane Water and returned to Sydney.

1856 - Stoke up your boiler, Aunty Maud, the first steam railway from Adelaide to Port Adelaide started chuffing along.

1876 - Those erstwhile Fenian convicts all gallivanting aboard the whaling ship Catalpa were called to hove to by the armed guards aboard the Georgette after they'd fired a shot across her bow; the master of the Catalpa claimed they were in international waters, inquiring would the Water Police Superintendent J. F. Stone like to trigger An Incident?
As Britain had just then lost a 3 million pound case in similar circumstances Stone decided his wage didn't quite stretch far enough to cover his backside so he let the Catalpa go sailing off into the sunset with the escaped political prisoners.

1877 - The Main Western Railway Line (NSW) was opened from Blayney to Orange.

1900 - Tired of twiddling their thumbs after the Sunday roast the Victorian pollies dreamt up a Royal Commission on local government laws.

From 1911 until 1916 today was proclaimed to be Discovery Day to celebrate the day on which Jimmy Cook tripped over some great lump of dirt now known as the coast of Oz; after 1916 teachers were encouraged to use ANZAC Day as a day to include patriotic pride in the European 'discovery' and exploration of our Fair Isle which no doubt resulted in the entwining of pioneer history with the ANZAC legend.

1931 - United Australia Party
Joseph Lyons formed the United Australia Party. It was a merger of the Nationalist Party and other groups, after Lyons left the Labor Party.

1940 - The Australian Labor Party formed.

1941 - Lady Muriel Barclay-Harvey, wife of the Governor, unveiled the Pioneer Women's Memorial Statue in the Garden of Remembrance just below Government House. The inscription on the pedestal of the statue reads:
"This Garden of Remembrance and the Flying Doctor Base at Alice Springs were established in the Centenary Year of 1936 by the women of South Australia as a tribute to the pioneer women of the State. "

1945 - Crash of a US Navy DC3 "Blue Goose" at Gooseberry Hill, Kalamunda, near Perth (WA).

1958 - Prime Minister Robert Gordon Menzies opened the Lucas Heights Nuclear Facility near Sydney.

1963 - Three weeks annual leave was granted to the majority of Australian workers.

1966 - Bob Dylan & The Band performed at the Melbourne Festival Hall.

1966 - Sydney: The first Australian conscripts flew out for Vietnam. Anti-conscription and anti-Vietnam War demonstrators could not get near the RAAF base at Richmond.

1967 - Oh, for a time machine to go back and see these line ups !!!!
Go-Set reported that Loved Ones members Gerry Humphries and Gavin Anderson were arrested, charged, convicted and fined £30 for stealing two blankets, two pillows and a lamp stand from the Palace Hotel, Kalgoorlie, after a visit to Perth, and that the Perth promoter had still not paid them the fee for their concerts there.
It also reported on the announcement of a forthcoming tour of the US by The Easybeats, Normie Rowe, Lynne Randell and Gene Pitney.
Go-Set also reported that top British group The Animals walked out of their second concert at Melbourne Festival Hall, because drummer Barry Jenkins has been left behind at the hotel and they refused to play without him, that support group Dave, Dee, Dozy Beaky Mick & Tich had also walked off during their performance because of technical problems and that the audience was also "unhappy" with the previous night's concert.
Aussie singer Lynne Randell broke her arm in a fall during a recording session at CBS Studios in Hollywood and would reportedly sue CBS over her injury.

1968 - The Desert Mounted Corps Memorial on ANZAC Parade was dedicated by PM John Gorton and is a replica of the memorial unveiled in Port Said, Egypt in 1932 by PM Billy Hughes that was destroyed during the Suez Crisis of 1956.

1974 - The New Art Cinema, in Glebe, NSW debuted The Rocky Horror Picture Show in all it's Reg Livermore- gartered glory.

1984 - Our national anthem became Advance Australia Fair, and the official colours were announced to be green and gold.
You'd think with all the sea we're girt by there'd have been a bit o' blue tossed in.

1985 - The Federal Government introduced controversial assets tests for pensioners.

1991 - A National Inquiry into Racial Violence, conducted by the Human Rights and Equal opportunities Commission, recommended major law reforms on racial violence and verbal abuse against Australian Aboriginal and ethnic minority communities.

1992 - The tip of Cape York, Queensland, is bought by the local Injinoo people from Australian Airlines for around $2.2 million.

1997 - Refurbished Darwin Civic Centre opened by Dr Neil Conn AO.

1998 - The Jack Russell Terrier Club of Australia celebrated 25 years with the National Show at Ballarat.

1999 - The annual Goldman Environmental Prize went to, amongst others, Jacqui Katona and Yvonne Margarula, Australian aboriginal women, who have led a fight against the mining of a uranium deposit by Kakadu National Park on lands owned by the Mirrar people.

1999 - Special envoy
Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser appointed special envoy of the Australian Government to seek release of CARE Australia workers Steve Pratt and Peter Wallace imprisoned in Yugoslavia.

2001 - The first Indigenous cricket match between the ATSIC XI and Prime Minister’s XI in Canberra.

2002 - An historic memorandum of understanding (MOU) covering the Miwatj (North East Arnhem Land) region was officially endorsed at a ceremony in Nhulunbuy on this day.

2006 - Severe Tropical Cyclone Monica makes landfall near the Lockhart River in Far North Queensland.

2005 - The issue of long-term detention has again been the focus of the latest visit to Baxter detention centre by federal politicians.
"The idea that you can keep people indefinitely is an idea that should never have come and should you know be immediately set behind," she said.
"It was a bad piece of policy and a bad piece of Australia's history."

2008 - The Oz 2020 summit had its get together to...get together to throw ideas around the room and to see which one would stick.
Which one did stick, after all that fuss...?

2012 - Australia vowed in an apparent U-turn to keep combat troops in Afghanistan through 2014 after PM Julia Gillard had indicated they would come home earlier than planned.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018


It's coming up to Dad's 7th anniversary of shedding his husk and flitting off into the aether.
I'm a tad teary.
Having a few G & T's to toast the old bugger, wishing I'd asked some more direct questions about his fathers Aboriginal mother, ignoring his firm "do not pass go, do not collect $200 " tone of voice which always ALWAYS slammed that door closed on further queries.
Still missing his humour, knowing he'd have loved Think Tank quiz show, he'd be hankering for the new Doctor Who series, he'd be looking forward to the new Miss Phryne Fisher Murder Mystery movies and books, watching The Drum and arguing with the idiots or telling Shaun Micallef how brilliant he is, each week.