Sunday, February 21, 2010

Oz history myths exploded...part one of many parts depending on how many miffed people get indignant!

Yes, you may debate and argue the toss on any of the following.

#1. John Macarthur created the Merino sheep breed.
No, he did not.
He may have outlined what he wanted to achieve by cross-breeding the Spanish Merino with a Saxon sheep but he was so busy quarreling with every man and his dog John was twice exiled back in England leaving his missus, Elizabeth, to do the work.
Several years before his death John was declared insane, removed from the Legislative Council by Gov Bourke and, according to one report, locked up in his library.
Further details HERE.

#2. Australia created the Pavlova.
No, we did not.
It was first created in 1926 by a chef in a NZ hotel who was moved by Anna Pavlova's performance in Swan Lake.
It was also printed in several Kiwi recipe books and mags some years before the Aussie chef is purported to have created it.
Facts detailed by NZ food historian HERE.

#3. Convicts were poor put-upon people.
Err, sorry to burst the bubble but, not so poor and they helped stir the birth of trade unions in Oz.
Not only were they on a 'go slow' to decrease the actual work they did during unpaid govt work hours but as laws determined the hours convicts could be employed on govt work it left the convict able to negotiate privately with land-owners for wages for the rest of the day. Many convicts were able to compete with free men in the employment market and were fed well (In Union is Strength; History of Trade Unions in Australia 1788-1974, Ian Turner, 1976, pp12-13).
'They thrashed seamen they caught straying near the women's quarters and bundled them back to their ships' (Birth of a Nation, William Joy, 1962, p17).
This is one (perhaps the true) reason behind the demand for a cessation to convict transportation.
Further facts HERE.

#4. Harry Houdini piloted the first aeroplane in Australia.
No, he did not.
On December 5, 1909 George Taylor flew the first heavier than air machine at Narrabeen.
December 9, 1909 Colin Defries flew the first powered heavier than air machine.
March 18, 1910 Harry Houdini flew the first controlled powered flight of an aeroplane.

#5. Russell Crowe is an Aussie.
Like Phar Lap he was pupped in NZ then crossed the ditch for work.
Please feel free to take him back home again.....


  1. lol you can keep Mr Crowe lol. The pav is such a issue between our two countries. But I did enjoy winding a friend up about it all. I then sent her a tea towel last year about pavs and how we invented them. That was interesting about Harry, who knew? Clearly I didn't lol.

  2. These are GREAT! I adore the pav saga... and Elizabeth Macarthur's greatness.

    And while some of the best people DO come from NZ, we'd appreciate all exports getting lessons in humility if they wish to pass themselves off as Aussies on the world stage... not that I am referring to ANYONE specifically here...

  3. "They thrashed seamen they caught straying near the women's quarters..."

    A bit like a giant condom then.

  4. hAHHAA AT NUMBER 5 :)

  5. Genial post and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Gratefulness you for your information.

  6. Speaking of NZ, did I hear the other day that they have claimed our waratah flower and it is being sold overseas as the Kiwi Rose.

  7. When is someone going to tell New Zealand that they are just the 7th state?

    (sit back to watch fireworks)

  8. And America can keep Mel Gibson too.

    In Russell's defence, despite being, you know..., he's put a lot into the local community near here where he has property. Not all bad - but then Kiwi's aren't all bad either!! ;)

    I'd heard that about the pav. What about lamingtons, Jayne?!!

  9. I don't care who invented the Pavlova, as long as I get to eat them.

  10. "#5. Russell Crowe is an Aussie.
    Like Phar Lap he was pupped in NZ then crossed the ditch for work.
    Please feel free to take him back home again....."

    No, have 'im. He's all yours. ;-)

    Not sure about the "Kiwi Rose"/waratah link. First I've heard of it -- some sites say it's just an unusual cultivar of the waratah, others say we Kiwis have patented an export version which we're selling, therefore applied the name. Sounds bizarre, though. A waratah is a waratah is a waratah ...

  11. Jeanie and her comment made me laugh....we say NZ has three islands North and South and then the West(Australia)....giggles