Monday, September 1, 2008

Trivial History September 1

Tis Wattle Day, the first day of Spring!

Spring is sprung, the grass is riz,
I wonder where dem birdies is?
De little birds is on de wing,
Ain't dat absurd?
De little wing is on de bird!
Yes, yes, I know it's as old as Methuselah but it's a goodie.
1808 William Redfern was examined by a tribunal of surgeons and found to be competent.
Thank goodness!, said his future patients, for this was the first medical diploma issued on the Isle of Oz.
In Sept, 1940 Pilot Officer Fuller took off in a training bomber practice flight from Wagga Wagga when his plane and another became locked together, one on top of the other.
The two men in the other plane parachuted to safety but Fuller stayed in the cockpit and landed both planes under the power of his own engines.
Both planes were damaged badly but Fuller walked away without a scratch.
1888 An earthquake in The Shaky Isles aka NZ caused extensive damage throughout City, damaging the spire on the cathedral.
Oz Slanguage-
Ziff = beard, from the old saying (when beards were popular) "as ziff there wasn't a barber".
1894 Samuel "Frenchy" Hoffmeister, and others, burned down the shearing shed at Dagworth Station. The owner and 3 police gave chase but Frenchy refused to be taken, instead shooting himself at a waterhole.
Sound familiar?
Yep, it's what Banjo Paterson's Waltzing Matilda is based on, with recent claims that Frenchy was actually done to death by hands other than his own.
Place Name Origin-
Ardtornish in South Oz was named after the local farm (weren't they all?) that was first ploughed in 1839.
The family what owned it called it after the town of Ardtornish they'd been bred in, back in Scotland.
1895 Tassie standardised it's time from that of the Jurassic Period to Eastern Standard Time, like the rest of the civilised world.
Grandma Mehitabel's Menu-
(Just for LiD ...and other pet lovers).
Dried pet food recipe =
Mix 1 cup of plain flour with 1 cup of polenta then toss in 1/4 cup of soy milk, 1 cup of stock (flavour of choice) and 2 tablespoons of oil.
Mix thoroughly then turn out on a floured surface and shape into bite size bits (size of choice) for either dog or cat or both.
Bake in a moderate oven for approx. 15 - 25 mins or until slightly golden then let cool before placing in an air-tight bag. Should keep for approx. 1 week.
1912 The Golden Wattle was declared the national flower of Oz but was not an official floral emblem until 1988.
Aussie Love of Pubs -
Crossley Street was formerly known as Romeo Lane...not because ne'er do well Romeo's haunted it after dark but because it was close to the Shakespeare Hotel that was in Stephen St. 
Which is now Exhibition St.
A rose by any other name...
1939 Germany did a very stupid thing and invaded Poland.
This sparked off the whole shooting match, with UK and France declaring war against Germany and thus we had WW2.
Great Aunt Hepzibah's Handy Hints-
As a general rule of thumb, be very generous with bi carb of soda when sprinkling it in the bottom of freshly-cleaned rubbish bins and cat litter trays, as it will absorb most (if not all) odours.
And it's cheap.
1940 NZ Railways set a speed record of 125 kms per hour and remains the highest speed officially acknowledged on the rail network.
Kiwi Ghosts -
Arapawa Island is said to be the haunt of many a spirit with numerous witnesses calmly stating to have heard whole conversations between invisible persons, and to have seen strange lights bobbing about the island that have defied any rational explanation.
1974 Finally the populace of Oz could stop hiding their illegal TV's and radio's under the back verandah when licences for both were kicked to the kerb and done to death.
The magic of steam has us firmly in its thrall still as hundreds lined up to park their posteriors on the sprung leather seats, to stick their heads out (both old and young) to cop a faceful of smoke and cinders, to wave at the many cars tooting their horns, the cyclists grinning madly, the residents braving the cold to wave hankies, the photographers who lined the banks to capture the studly black beast of an engine in their lens, the dog walkers who paused to wave and the instant friendly conversation that began between many a traveller on the magical steam train yesterday.
Will they line up in 100 years to chance a ride on the cold and sterile Comeng or Siemens trains?


  1. I love Spring in Australia. Alas, my nose does not. :(

  2. Mine's just started itching like buggery, too. I'll be buying shares in some antihistamine soon!

  3. Thanks heaps Jayne. :) Sadly, my little critter doesn't like more than a nibble of fresh meat, which makes feeding her the healthy way quite tricky.

  4. Loved Great Aunt Hepzibahs tip :)

    Spring not so much fun for the allergies.

  5. I finally have my head around you having Christmas in the summer but how can you be entering spring when I have to wait til Sept.22 for autumn to begin.

    Something strange happens at the equator is seems.

  6. Ahh those itty bitty cat food things are very addictive for fussy felines LiD lol.

    Thanks Marita :)

    Elizabeth, waaaay back when the British first lobbed up here they decided that the beginning of each season would be designated by the first of the month when they handed out the new uniforms to the troops.
    Absolutely nothing to do with weather changes or such like - just a new pair of boots!

  7. Happy Spring to you! We're gearing up (or down, not sure which) for Autumn here in Canada...

    The dry pet food recipe sounds really good, I might make it for our cats. I wonder if one could add tuna or meat to it?

  8. Haven't tried it with either of those Lidian but you could give it a go :)

  9. "The Golden Wattle was declared the national flower of Oz."

    This 'ere is a wattle,
    It's the emblem of our land,
    Y' can stick it in a bottle,
    Or you can 'old it in y'r 'and.

    Monty Python

  10. Wow officer Fuller was a legend indeed. Love spring and a friend popped around yesterday and bought me two bunches of daffidols. Awww bliss. I love cleaning with baking soda and white vinegar.


    Springtime is here. Time to fly back to Europe where the joyous season of winter is just settling in.

  12. I've heard one can stick it somewhere else too, Brian, but it's a tad uncomfortable for the wattle :P

    Oooooo Janine you lucky thing, daffs are so cheery :)

    That's the reason walk-in freezers were invented for people like you Reuben lol.