Sunday, December 31, 2017

December 31 On This Day in Australian History

1790 - Twenty-five bushels of barley were harvested in the new colony of New South Wales, the first grain harvest and a boon to Sydney which was suffering severe food shortages. A damn fine reason to celebrate NYE !

1831 - George Augustus Robinson and his group of about 14 black envoys negotiated the surrender of 28 members of the Mairremmener people, an amalgam of Oyster Bay and Big River tribes. The tiny group of 16 men, nine women and a child, led by Tongerlongter and Montpeliater, was all that remained of what had once been one of the island's most powerful clans and much of Hobart Town's population lined the streets as Robinson walked with them through the main street towards Government House.They were sent to the Wybalenna settlement on Flinders Island, joining another 40 Aboriginal people who had previously been captured, although another 20 interned on the island had earlier died. By late May many more, including Kickerterpoller and Umarrah, had also contracted influenza and died.

1836 - Mary Thomas in South Oz wrote in her journal ;
"This morning we received intimation that the Governor had ordered ten men from the Buffalo to assist in getting our luggage from the shore. Accordingly they came, and, with their help, the men harnessing themselves to the trucks, all the heavy cases of goods and printing material were brought up. The latter was arranged in a rush hut, whence the Proclamation and other orders from the Governor were soon afterwards issued."

1838 - John Reynell planted South Australia's first vineyard - Reynella farm south of Adelaide. He plants South Australia's first vineyard in 1841.

1839 - The estimated population of Port Phillip district was 5,822 comprising 4,014 males and 1,718 females.

1839 - Frederick Stokes bought back the Sydney Herald from Ward Stephens.

1849 -  Today saw the abolition of the Port Phillip Aboriginal Protectorate which had failed miserably to drag the Indigenous people down to the European ways of life.

1852 - Those at Port Arthur and Hobart noticed the sudden rise and fall of the tide due to a tsunami somewhere.

1857 - The Yan Yean Reservoir was opened...holding the same amount of water then as it does now.

1859 - The Convict Establishment, Fremantle, WA, was completed.

1881 - A steam tramway, from Newtown to Marrickville in Sydney, began operating.

1887 - First issue of Mackay Banner Newspaper flew off the printing press.

1892 - Ballarat saw the demise of 66 Hotels which were closed by Local Option ( licensing bills which gave ratepayers the chance to close neighbourhood licensed premises by way of a majority vote).

1901 - Agriculturalist William James Farrer released his new drought resistant strain of wheat called Federation.

1903 - Australia ends the year as the world's largest producer of gold.

1912 - Australia was officially the preferred destination for British immigrants ahead of Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and India.

1913 - Australia's first oil and motor spirit merchant, Golden Fleece, was set up by Melbourne businessman Harold Sleigh. Golden Fleece ceased to exist in 1981 when its operations were taken over by Caltex.

1914 - Volunteers for the AIF enlisted so readily that a second convoy of reinforcements left within two months of the first. Many of those aboard its ships would land on Gallipoli on 25 April 1915.So young,so silly and so sad.

1919 - The toll of the Spanish Flu epidemic was 11,552 confirmed deaths.

1919 - 1919 was declared the year of the strike following many strikes by workers, including one involving 5,400 miners at Broken Hill who had been idle since May.

1920 - Prime Minister WM Hughes removed Walter Burley Griffin as director of construction at Canberra after disagreements over his supervisory role. Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahoney Griffin had won the competition to design the national capital on 14 May 1912.

1921 - Those in Hobart had reason to celebrate this date when Cadbury's opened their factory there.

1921 - And those in Melbourne were shouting Huzzah! when the 44 hour week came into play.

1921 - Sin City Sydney were out with the streamers at the newly opened Mascot Airport.

1924 - The Albury Daily News ceased to exist; it was incorporated in Border Morning Mail the following month.

1935 - The Cane Toad was introduced into QLD to control the grey-black beetle..unfortunately the Cane Toad quickly wore out its welcome despite the best efforts from golfers everywhere. The most humane way of disposing of them is to pop them in a plastic bag inside your freezer. Fore !

1946 - It was announced that rationing of clothing, tea, sugar, butter and meat was to still continue, the black market not withstanding, of course.

1955 - The Adelaide newspaper The Sunday Mail, was first published.

1958 - The New South Wales government legislated for equal pay for women...not before time either!

1964 - Donald Malcolm Campbell set a new world water speed record on Lake Dumbleyung, WA. He achieved a speed of 444.7 km/hr.

1964 - Test drilling in Bass Strait struck oil and gas.

1968 - A MacRobertson-Miller Airlines Viscount 700 crashed after catching fire near Port Hedland, killing all 26 on board. It was a former TAA aircraft, sold to Ansett ANA in 1961 to replace an Ansett-ANA Viscount that crashed into Botany Bay, Sydney, with the loss of 15 lives. It apparently cartwheeled through the air for about 43kms before crashing.

 1964 - Those in Katoomba got to hear and dance to The Missing Links playing in the New Year.

 1973 - And if those rockers were still around at Chequers in Sydney they probably witnessed the first public gig of a little-known band called AC/DC.

1974 - AC/DC found they were on to a good thing so they followed up their popularity with a New Years Eve concert at Melbourne's Festival Hall.

1974 - The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea opened an embassy in Australia. The following April an Australian embassy opened in North Korea. On 30 October 1975, North Korea withdrew its embassy from Canberra and on 6 November expelled the staff of the Australian embassy in Pyongyang.
1975 - Australian-born scientist John Warcup Cornforth was named the joint winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, sharing the award with Vladimir Prelog for their work on the stereochemistry of enzymes and the spatial arrangement of molecules in living cells.

1976 - Australian films boomed in overseas markets. Film enjoying success include Don Crombie'sCaddie; Peter Weir's Picnic At Hanging Rock; Fred Schepisi's The Devil's Playground; Helen Safran's Storm Boy; and Bruce Beresford's Don's Party.

1976 - The inaugural Festival of Sydney opened with a free concert at the Sydney Opera House.

1977 - The Darwin Reconstruction Commission finished up.

1981 - Yippie ! New South Wales announced it was to abolish death duties.

1982 - The Main North Railway Line )NSW) was opened from Saxonvale Junction - Saxonvale Coal Loader.

1985 - South Australia celebrated 150th anniversary.

1993 - It was announced today that Skin cancer claimed the lives of 1,215 Australians during the year, an increase of 21 per cent over the previous year.

1994 - 98% of New South Wales, 45% of Queensland and large areas of South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria were declared drought affected.

1993 - A total of 953 boat people landed on Australia's shores during 1994.

1998 - Australian businesses gear up for the biggest hoax in years - that the country's computers will go awry because of the so-called Year 2000 (Y2K) computer bug.

1999 - An Adelaide funeral firm offered to store a sample of a client's tissue containing their client's Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) for later cloning.

2002 - Australia's asylum seeker detention centers were in turmoil following an attempted mass breakout and riot in a Sydney centre, an armed stand off at another and fires burning in two.

2005 - Sections of the Trans-Australian Railway near Nurina on the Nullarbor Plain were washed away by flooding, halting passenger and freight services for up to five days.

2009 - Australia residents returned to survey the wreckage after Western Australia's worst wildfire in 50 years engulfed 38 homes in an isolated rural community.

2010 - In Australia floodwater rose across a vast area in the northeast, inundating 22 towns, forcing 200,000 residents out of their homes, and closing a major sugar export port.

2013 - A cyclone ripped across northwest Australia, closing ports and threatening mining operations in the sparsely populated Pilbara region.

2014 - As of this day over 27 per cent of the country had been successfully determined, with 249 Native Title determinations and thousands of negotiated agreements (including 949 Indigenous Land Use Agreements) to facilitate future development.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Victoria Parliamentary Library You-whooooo!

Those peeps reading my blog from the Victoria Parliamentary Library - yes, I saw your little footprints - could you PLEASE update the On This Day stuff, PLEASE!
The Victoria Parliament has been around for a bit more than 5 mins and, for goodness sake, you haven't added much or updated it for about a decade now.
I should know cos I've been prattling about on this blog for just as long and eyeballing your website in the hopes of titillating events to thrill my reader with - only to find the same old, same old...even down to some of the incorrect dates about the Infamous Missing Mace.
And where are the multitudes of mentions of the Aboriginal people you cast laws for, shifted all over the shop, denied human rights to, forced onto reserves, forced into institutions, stole from families, forbade them from meeting their families....?
Pull your digital digit out of the aether and start using your Finger Power for the good of History.

December 30 On This Day in Australian History

1788 - Governor Phillip ordered; ‘seize and carry off some of the natives’.
Two (2) of Supply’s dinghies rowed across to Manly where;‘courteous [kidnappers]…enticed…entered into conversation’with a group of Aborigines digging pippie for lunch.
‘At a proper opportunity…our people rushed in among them and seized two [2] men: the rest fled but the cries of the captives soon brought them back, with many others, to their rescue; and so desperate their struggles.
Only one [1] of them was secured, the other effected his escape…stones. spears, firebrands…[thrown]…nor did they retreat…until many musquets were fired over them’.
The kidnapped warrior, aged about thirty (30), was wrestled into a dinghy; ‘fastened by ropes to the thwarts of the boat’ and taken to Sydney.
Watkin Tench stood on shore reporting as the boat came to rest;‘his agitation was excessive, and the clamourous crowds who flocked around him did not contribute to lessen it’.
‘Many unsuccessful attempts were made to learn his name; the governor therefore called him Manly, from the cove in which he was captured; this cove has received its name from the manly undaunted behaviour of a party of natives seen there, on our taking possession of the country’.

Captain Arthur Phillip secured the capture of an Aboriginal person named Arabanoo to train as an interpreter.

1811 - The ship Speedwell arrived at Sydney with the first cargo of cedar from the Shoalhaven.

1821 - The NSW Government first permitted private distillation of grapes, sugar & grain...yippie, home brewed grog for New Years Eve!

1824 - A meeting between Wiradjuri resistance warrior Windradyne and Governor Brisbane took place at Parramatta; a great feast was held with 8 tribes comprising of approx. 400 Aboriginal People from far and wide (some travelling up to 200 miles) with Windradyne seeking an end to hostilities between settlers and Aboriginal people.

The Sydney Gazette reported in 1824 that...
"A SPORTING CENTENARIAN. - Margaret Evans died at the age 105. This extraordinary female was the greatest hunter, shooter, and fisher, of her time ; fiddled excellently, rowed stoutly, was a good joiner, was a blacksmith, shoemaker, boat builder, and maker of harps, and at 70 was the best wrestler in the country."

1828 - The Cascades female convict factory opens at Hobart.

1828 Whatshisname Stirling was told to spot his bot, park his arse and generally make himself at home by lounging about the Swan River to occupy it for the Brits.
Oh, and they pipped him up to Lt for the privilege.

1834 - Reverend Lancelot Threlkeld published ‘An Australian Grammar of the Language Spoken by the Aborigines of the Hunter River’. Threlkeldhad lived among with Aboriginal people since 1826, and had mastered theirdialect with the help of the tribal leader, Biraban.

1835 - HMS Beagle, with Charles Darwin aboard, arrived in Sydney...they said Charlie had a nose like a bloodhound for parties...

1836 - Robert Gouger, Colonial Secretary of South Oz,wrote in his journal ;"Decr 30th Wife & child both going on well. — A meeting of the legislature was held in my tent, at which two acts were passed – one establishing Courts of general & petty sessions, & another fixing the qualification of Jurors. Some Magistrates were also appointed at the meeting."

1837 - An overland mail service began between Melbourne and Sydney, using coach and packhorse.

1840 - Explorer Edward John Eyre and his party sallied forth from Fowlers Bay, SA, for their epic Sunday walk to Albany, WA.

1848 - The Atlas, Sydney Weekly, Journal of Politics, Commerce and Literature packed it in after a mere 4 years of publication.

1851 - Town of Bega, NSW, was gazetted.

1857 - Bet there were a few bending the elbow that day....The Sydney Stock Exchange opened for public business.

1865 - See?! Determined to keep everyone out of mischief and away from their new Playstation Chrissy toys - and trying to keep the party season going - the Victorian Govt had another general election.

1873 - Elizabeth Woolcock became the first and only woman to be hanged in South Australia; she had been 'tempted by Satan' to do her hubby a nasty mischief and got the glory of swinging from the gallows for her effort.

1900 - Edmund Barton aka Toby Tosspot, first PM of Oz announced his ministers for the first federal government.Now there was a chap who valued his drinking time!

1905 - First prohibition of a recreational drug made, by proclamation under the Customs Act 1901, when importing opium was prohibited except for medicinal purposes.

1921 - Ultimo College and East Sydney technical School (occupying the former Darlinghurst Gaol) opened in Sydney, providing training for up to 16,000 technical students.

1922 - Five Sydney businessmen, each calling themselves 'Mr Smith', treat children in a home for underprivileged children to a Christmas party. The charity they form, by which they intend to continue their anonymous work, is called the Smith Family.

1925 - Under the guidance of Nevill Westwood the Citroen 5CV became the first ever car to dance a lap of The Fair Isle of Oz, a mere 17,220km, which wasn't a bad effort considering the motor car was a second hand 1922 model with 48,000kms already on the clock !

1934 - The QANTAS hangar in Parap, NT, was built.

1935 - Now,pop those corks...At Wyong, New South Wales, jockey Laurie Sharpe rode in seven races for seven wins.

1939 - In Perth Daisy Bates' infamous book The Passing of The Aborigines was published.

1944 - Australians of the 25th Battalion occupied Pearl Ridge, Bougainville

1961 - Townsville gained a new resident when the College of the Uni of Qld opened...and then changed its hairstyle to become known as James Cook Uni of Nth Qld in 1970.

1970 - Evonne Goolagong led the way at Kings Park Tennis Club in Perth by thrashing Britain’s Virginia Wade in the opening match as the team went on to win the second Australian Federation Cup in 12 months.

1971 - Aunty Jack's Travelling Show made us howl with laughter on the ABC.

1974 - The Darwin Reconstruction Commission was established to over-see the rebuilding of the city on this day.

1975 - The Telford International Hotel, now called the Darwin Frontier Hotel, was opened.

1976 - The Everton - Beethworth rail line (Vic) was kicked to the kerb.
1985 - The Burswood Casino, Perth, opened.

1987 - A group of protesters greeted the arrival of the ‘Tall Ships’ in Brisbane.

1998 - One of a set of stegosaurus prints, stolen from a sacred Aboriginal site near Broome in Oct 1996, was recovered. The footprints were regarded by Aborigines near Broome, northwestern Australia, to belong to a mythical creature from their "Dream Time". The theft shocked and outraged Aborigines, as it violated an Aboriginal sacred site on the isolated coastline near Broome.
Police investigations found that the thieves had attempted to sell the prints on the Asian market, but had been unsuccessful, possibly because of the size and weight of the fossils. Each of the three toes of the large print measured 15cm. The 30kg block of rock in which the print was embedded measured 60cm by 40cm and was 13cm deep. Police did not elaborate on how they had recovered the missing fossil.

2004 - The Bakhtiari family was deported to Pakistan after four years of detention, appeals and legal battles. Their children were detained for over two and a half years and the family became a key rallying point against children in detention.
2005 - Across southeast Australia firefighters battled to contain scores of wildfires in scorching, tinder-dry conditions and were bracing for more blazes in the days ahead.

2007 - Bush fires killed three truckers on a highway near Coolgardie in WA.

Friday, December 29, 2017

December 29 On This Day in Australian History

1696 - The Flemish captain Willem de Vlamingh arrived at, and named Rottnest Island, after seeing large numbers of quokkas which he mistook for large rats. Rottenest is Dutch for "rat's nest". Just as well he didn't pack the Ratsack...

1788 - Today saw the decision of some bright spark with "We'll have to be able to communicate with the Aboriginals if we're to live together" which didn't go down as a party piece with the local Aboriginals at all.
Two days later those funny people captured/abducted/kidnapped Arabanoo and showed how hilarious they were by restraining him in handcuffs, ropes and chains.

1809 - Major Foveaux assured Macquarie, despite the military coup of January 1808 and, his own highly irregular assumption of power in July 1808, both he and the New South Wales Corps remained loyal to King George III.
And thus ended Australia’s second period of military dictatorship. 

1810 - D'Arcy Wentworth appointed Superintendent of Police in Sydney.

1827 - Captain Henry Smyth of the 39th Regiment of the British Army, Commandant of the British military outpost at Fort Wellington on the Cobourg Peninsula (NT but then part of NSW)  ordered a punitive mission against the local Iwaidja. A party of three armed convicts and three soldiers conducted an early morning raid on the native camp near to a beach on the Bowen's Straits. Many were wounded and at least five Aboriginals were killed including a child and her mother, who was bayoneted as she was fleeing to the beach. Smyth had previously utilised one of the three 18-pound carronades mounted at Fort Wellington against the Iwaidja on the 30th July. The reports of casualties from this cannon attack range from zero to thirty.

1835 - Mary Gilbert was, I imagine, sitting under the shade of a gum tree swatting at the damn flies thinking,
"Why, oh why did I listen to my husband's stupid idea to trot off to the ends of the earth?" as she was pushing out the very first European bub pupped in the Port Phillip settlement; James Port Phillip Gilbert.
Obviously she listened to another of her husband's stupid ideas and the kid probably spent time in therapy moaning about his name.
She, on the other hand,  was given 500 acres of land and a town allotment for her trouble.

1841 - An early newspaper the Monitor ceased and desisted further publication.

1851 - The Education Act of SA ended state grants to denominational schools.

1860 - Saw one of the first naval engagements of Oz when the Naval Brigades of HMS PELORUS, flagship of the Australian Station, and HMCS VICTORIA, landed at Kairau, New Zealand, to support British troops under attack from Maoris. They were under the command of CDRE Frederick Seymour, RN, commander of the Australia Squadron.
So, in other words, earlier conflicts than are currently pimped out by the MSM.

1864 - The present Ballarat Post Office building opened .

1866 - Following the two day Boxing Day cricket match (Dec 26 & 27)  between MCC v Aboriginal XI with the MCG ‘as full as on any day of the cricket match’, an athletics meeting was conducted on this day on the field, providing another showcase for the Aborigines’ skills.

1869 - An Act of parliament today incorporated the Public Museum, Library & National Gallery of Victoria.I suppose those politicians do have their uses after all...

1870 - The Victorian Parliament became the first silly buggers to begin paying the monkeys Members of Parliament.

1870 - Them in Sin-city (Sydney) didn't like the looks of the Yarra River so they birthed their own brewery called Toohey's.

1870 - A critic, local anthropologist A. W. Howitt, was more circumspect, only too aware that his views were ‘not in accordance with recent prejudices’ and unwilling to jeopardise his working relationships with the missionaries — he saved his scepticism ‘as to the utility of these missions’ for a private circle of family and friends which he wrote in letters dated this day.

1871 - Always having a knees up at the slightest excuse the Old Colonists held a festival held to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the settlement of the colony of South Australia. The convener of the dinner, Emmanuel Solomon, had gathered many of the early settlers still surviving, now noted citizens of Adelaide and the country, including Henry Ayers, Sir John Morphett, Sir George Kingston, Captain Hart and many more.

1877 - Lawless youths took over the night streets of Melbourne, Vic. The term 'larrikin' was coined here to describe them.

1881 - A law was passed in NSW limiting the sale of alcohol to before 10 p.m. on weekdays and all day on Sundays.

1884 - There were calls on this day to have women banned as barmaids in Melbourne because of the 'disastrous social consequences'.

1901 - The Commonwealth of Australia was inaugurated after an Act of the British Imperial Parliament. We was Federated !

1902 - The Cessnock Railway Branch line (NSW) was flung open for business.

1904 - Dr Walter Edmund Roth submits the Royal Commission on The Condition of The Natives report to the WA government which describes the atrocities against Aboriginal prisoners. One of his witnesses is a 14-year-old boy who had been sentenced to 2 years’ of hard labour for alleged killing of cattle.

1908 - Always remember....Twas on a Summery Tuesday, when all were bustling about the City of Melbourne and ladies were daringly trying out the horseless carriage racing on the new Wii, a general election was held.
But no one cared.

1915 - Cast a few filthy looks at the Qld Parliament if you're in the general vacinity today, boys and girls, as the stuffed shirt slave drivers pollies introduced the Queensland Land Tax.

1920 - In Australia, a special court enquiry was held into a 44-hour week for all trades...because those poor hard-done-by bankers just couldn't possibly keep up...?

1928 - Don Bradman, Australia’s and some say the world’s greatest cricketer, scored his first international test century. It was against England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in the third test of the
1928–29 Ashes series.

1929 - North East Tassie got shaken quite rudely by a 5.6 earthquake with significant damage to buildings in Launceston.

1948 - The Rookwood Cemetery Railway line (NSW) was closed from  Lidcombe - No 1 Mortuary Station,  No 1 Mortuary Station - No 3 Mortuary Station and from No 3 Mortuary Station - No 4 Mortuary Station.

1992 - The Main North Railway Line (NSW) was opened.

1998 - Six died as fierce storms battered Australia's annual Sydney to Hobart yacht race.

2007 - David Hicks, the only person convicted of terrorism charges at a US military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay, walked free and said he did not want to do "anything that might result in my return" to the prison in Cuba.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

December 28 On This Day in Australian History

1790 - Watkin Tench wrote in his journal;28 December, Sydney: ‘But if we could not retaliate on the murderer of M’Entire, we found no difficulty in punishing offences committed within our own observation.
Two natives robbing the potatoe [sic] garden…a party of soldiers dispatched…the[ir] ardour transported them so far, that, instead of capturing the offenders, they fired in among them…[one] Ba-g-ai…was dead’.

1799 - Oops!
The gaol at Parramatta was burnt down to the ground for some unfathomable reason....

1809 - Lachlan Macquarie arrived at Sydney Cove to take up his post as Governor on New Years' Day. HMS Dromedary and HMS Hindostan brought Governor-Elect Colonel Macquarie and four hundred Highlanders but gale-force winds forced the warships to shelter in Watsons Bay.

1809 - Boyd, a vessel chartered by Simeon Lord, was attacked and burnt by Maoris at Whangaroa, New Zealand, and about 60 persons on board were massacred. Only a woman and three children survived.

1811 - Sir James Youl, grazier, business agent and the bloke who introduced trout and salmon to Australia, was hatched ( although not in a salmon hatchery).

1814 - After the gaol incident Macquarie had a hard time calling a meeting of the local Aborigines to ask them to settle down in Parramatta, although the meeting was really to find potential students for his new school for aboriginal children.

1816 - Ten Aboriginal people were blacklisted from actions arising from the killing of five settlers on the Nepean River area earlier in 1816.

1816 - Governor Macquarie announced that there would be a ‘congress of friendly natives’ every year on this day. The first of these took place at the Parramatta market place on this day and the 170 Aboriginal people who attended enjoyed a feast of roast beef, potatoes and bread.

1824 - After witnessing the massacre of his Wiradjuri people, warrior Windradyne lead his family and surviving members of the tribe to Parramatta, where they paid their respects to Governor Brisbane.

1824 - Colonial Secretary’s Office issued a general order stating the Governor would hold his ‘Annual Conference with the Chiefs and Tribes of Natives’, on the 28 December, at 11.00 am at the market place in Parramatta.
Approximately four hundred Aborigines attended but the numbers began dwindling after this date.

1834 - After a miserable journey through the snowy plateaus and passes of western Van Diemen’s Land, George Augustus Robinson located what was thought to be the ‘last party’ of Aborigines. They were to join the remaining members of the Van Diemen’s Land tribes on Flinders Island.

1836 - Gov Captain John Hindmarsh had a few spare moments so he proclaimed the colony of South Oz was open for business!
Although he quickly became unpopular when he also proclaimed that cow tipping contests were now outlawed.

1847 – Augustus Short, the first Anglican bishop of Adelaide, South Australia arrived from England.

1850 - Henry Parkes, the 'Father of federation" began the Empire newspaper. Ahh, yet more yesterday's fish wrappings...

1860 - Adelaide was dancing with glee as they could finally quench their thirst with a drop of H2o as the Thorndon Park reservoir water supply was connected at long's amazing what you can do with a bit of Nylex hose, electrical tape, a paperclip and a hole in the ground!

1867 - Qld's Consitution Act was assented to.

1868 - Mrs. Maria Ann Smith of Ryde NSW discovered a new specimen of apple in her orchard. It grew from a number of gin cases of Tasmanian apples tipped out near a creek that ran through her property. The apple became known as the Granny Smith, named in her honour.

1938 – The Sydney Mail ceased publication.

1957 - Country singer Slim Dusty was awarded a gold record for his single 'A Pub With No Beer', when it became the biggest selling record by an Australian artist.

1963 - The final ever whistle blew on one of the largest gold mines in the Fair Isle of Oz, Sons of Gwalia; it had operated from 1897, and even boasted Herbert Hoover (who later became 31st President of USA) as the first manager but when the closure came the town dropped from a population of 1200 to 40 in less than 3 weeks.

1968 - The branch railway line from Wonthaggi to Kirrak (Vic) was closed.

1969 - Adelaide received its first supply of natural gas from the Cooper Basin.Finally, no more baked beans...yay.

1974 - Angie Baby, the song about the magically insane chick who stuffed her boyfriends inside a radio ( doesn't everyone?!) dragged Aussie singer Helen Reddy to number 1 on the US singles charts.

1989 - A 5.6 earthquake hit Newcastle leaving 13 dead, many others injured, 50,000 buildings damaged with 300 having to be demolished.

1989 - The old Reds under the beds would be turning in their graves!
The Communist Party of Oz decided to call it a day and disband the party.

1995 - Australia joined countries protesting against France’s renewed nuclear weapons testing. The French exploded nuclear devices at Mururoa Atoll in the south Pacific one month after a United Nations vote for an immediate ban on nuclear testing.

1998 - At least 6 sailors were feared dead from a gale that struck off Australia during the Sydney-to-Hobart yacht race. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison skippered the Sayonara to victory.
2000 - An Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA 1), a voluntary agreement about land use and management, was signed by the Arakwal and the NSW Government on this day.
2001 - Bush fires reached within 12 miles of Sydney. Some 150 home were already destroyed by over 100 fires across New South Wales. 80% of the Royal National Park had burned. A number of blazes were due to arson, and 3 teenagers and 2 men had been arrested.

2001 - WA Premier Geoff Gallop announced the terms of reference of a State Government Inquiry into domestic violence in Aboriginal communities. The Premier said the physical and sexual abuse of children in Aboriginal communities needed to be tackled head on.

2010 - Drenching rains pounded communities across the northeast, flooding major highways and prompting hundreds of evacuations.

2013 - Jacqueline Zwambila, Zimbabwe's ambassador to Australia, has asked for political asylum just days before her term ends saying she fears for her safety at home.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

December 27 On This Day in Australian History

1803 - A convict by the name of William Buckley, escaped from Port Phillip and lived with a group of Aboriginal people for the following 32 years.

1804 - Col. William Paterson moved his settlement to the West Arm of the Tamar River, and named the new settlement York Town.

1862 - Mackay River was renamed the "Pioneer River". Commodore Burnett of the HMS "Pioneer" in September 1862 traversed the Queensland coastline and as there was already a "Mackay" River in Rockingham Bay proposed to rename the river "Pioneer" to avoid confusion.

1872 - The Towers Jockey Club (Charters Towers, QLD) conducted its first Christmas meeting on this day.

1873 - First cricket game between English 11 and Victorian 18 began at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.The English team, captained by Dr. W.G. Grace, arrived aboard steamer Nubia.

1891 - Extensive bushfires in the Narrandra district of NSW damaged properties.

1907 - The Newnes Railway line (NSW) was opened.

1916 - The Dent Island and Flat Top Island lighthouses in the Whitsunday Passage, Qld, were damaged by a cyclone.

1916 - A cyclone swept the coast along the Whitsunday Passage, bringing heavy rainfall to Clermont, Sapphire and Peak Downs. They forgot to counter for the runoff from nearby catchments and creeks and the debris it carried with it at crushing speeds. The torrent smashed through houses and caused widespread damage. 65 deaths, 10 homes destroyed, 50 buildings damaged and 10,000 livestock killed.  The lower part of Clermont was submerged, so the town was rebuilt on higher ground.

1936 - The Pioneer Memorial on the west of Moseley Square, Glenelg was unveiled by the Governor, Major-General Sir Winston Dugan on this day.


1937 - A letter written by William Cooper on this day was written on behalf of the Australian Aborigines Progressive Association, and was aimed at Aboriginal communities and at churches.The association gathered together a wide circle of Aboriginal leaders including Douglas Nicholls, William Ferguson, Jack Patten and Margaret Tucker. In 1937 they were preparing for what would become the famous Day of Mourning in 1938.

W. Cooper Hon. Sec., AAL, 43 Mackay Street, Yarraville, 27 December 1937.
Australia Day 1938 Aborigines’ Day of Mourning
The Australian Aborigines’ Progressive Association of New South Wales has called on all aborigines in the advanced stages of civilisation and culture to observe a DAY OF MOURNING concurrently with the white man’s DAY OF REJOICING to celebrate the 150th year of the coming of the white man to Australia. The aborigines, by this means, hope to call the attention to the present deplorable condition of all aborigines, of whatever stage of culture, after 150 years of British rule. It is expected that such action will create such sympathy on the part of the whites that full justice and recompense will follow.

The “DAY OF MOURNING” has been endorsed by the Australian Aborigines’ League, the Victorian body, which also looks after Federal matters, and it is expected that meetings will be held at a number of places and suitable resolutions passed. This League now asks the Christian community to help us in another way.

We know that sympathy with the aborigines is widespread and growing and, because the aboriginal knows that the goodwill of the whiteman is essential to success they seek to justify the continuance of this sympathy. We now ask all Christian denominations to observe Sunday, 3rd January as ABORIGINES’ DAY. We request that sermons be preached on this day dealing with the aboriginal people and their need of the gospel and response to it and we ask that special prayer be invoked for all missionary and other effort for the uplift of the dark people.

We regret the unavoidable delay in submitting our request, which was not avoidable in all the circumstances, but we feel that a suitable notice from you in your church press will give that wide publicity that is so essential.

Very sincerely yours,

W. Cooper

1938 - Aboriginal people protested against the Australian March to Nationhood rally marking Sydney’s 150th anniversary.

1943 - Australian forces captured Shaggy Ridge, New Guinea after a four-month battle against the Japanese.

1964 - Australia's first offshore oil well was "spudded" in the Gippsland Basin off Bass Strait.

1967 - A third Australian infantry battalion and a tank squadron arrived in Vietnam for active service.

1971 - TheTim Burstall movie STORK, starring Bruce Spence,  premiered ; it featured an appearance by The Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band.

1974 – The Perth Entertainment Centre opened. It had a capacity of 8200 seats.

1996 - Lone yachtsman Raphael Dinelli was rescued off the Western Australian coast in treacherous conditions.

2002 – The first X'Trapolis train enters service with Connex in Melbourne.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

December 26 On This Day in Australian History

Boxing Day originated in England in the middle of the nineteenth century under Queen Victoria.
Boxing Day is so called because it was the custom on that day for tradesmen to collect their Christmas boxes or gifts in return for good and reliable service throughout the year.

1803 - Arrival of the ship Calcutta at Port Jackson. On board the Calcutta was convict John Fawkner, his wife and two children Elizabeth and John Pascoe Fawkner.

1836 - Mary Thomas, who had arrived in South Oz in November 1836, wrote in her journal;
"This day was extremely hot. The thermometer rose to 120 degrees F (48 degrees Celsius), the highest point we had yet seen it attain, and that in the shade, at least, in the tent, where it was generally hot, but I afterwards saw it at 150 degrees F (65 degrees Celsius), exposed to the sun."

1850 - William Beaumont and James Waller flung open the doors to their zoological gardens at their Sir Joseph Banks Hotel, Botany, NSW.

1855 - The eventual design of the Parliament was left to two employees of what was to become the public works department, John George Knight and Peter Kerr. The first foundation stones were laid on Boxing Day 1855. At double time and a half I should hope !

1856 - Sir Henry Barkly became Victoria's first constitutional governor.

1861 - The Ballarat East Town Hall Foundation Stone was laid.

1861 - A troop of native police under the command of Lieutenant Cave carried out a grim reprisal for the deaths of Horatio Wills and 17 others on the Comet River in Queensland. The troopers drove a large group of Aboriginal people to the edge of a precipice and shot about 60 or 70 of them.

1862 - Gold was discovered at Walhalla. Another glittery bauble for the Christmas tree perhaps?

1866 - A team of Aboriginal cricketers played a match against Melbourne Cricket Club on this day.

1877 - Over 1,000 people saw Aboriginal athlete Frank Clark win running and vaulting events at a Mortlake sports meeting.

1885 - Not wanting to leave a potential Boxing Day pressie unwrapped The Powers That Were opened the new South Coast Railway Line (NSW) on this day.

1887 - The work of a 17-year old poet named Henry Lawson is first published in The Bulletin.

1895 - At Eudunda (South Oz) a meeting of about 100 local farmers and residents was held to discuss the formation of a Farmer’s Co-operative Society.

1898 – Gatton murders: Three members of the same family (a brother and two sisters) were sexually molested and murdered near the town of Gatton, Queensland (unsolved).

1900 - Never letting them in NSW get the better of them The Vic Powers That Were unwrapped the brand-spanking new whole 2.5kms of the Bungaree Racecourse Railway Branch.

1902 – Brisbane, Rockhampton and Townsville, Qld, were declared cities.

1902 – Ada Evans became the first female law graduate in Australia.

1906 - The world's first feature movie (which vies for the title with another Aussie flick, Soldiers Of The Cross), The Story of the Kelly Gang, had its premiere in the Athenaeum Hall, Melbourne. Produced by the Tait brothers, it ran for over an hour.

1908 - Jack Johnson (1878-1946) of Texas knocked out Tommy Burns in Australia to become the 1st black world heavyweight boxing champion. He was not officially given the title until 1910 when he beat Jim Jeffries in Las Vegas. In 1913 Johnson fled the US because of trumped up charges of violating the Mann Act's stipulations against transporting white women across state lines for prostitution. Johnson held the title until 1915. In 1920 he returned to the US, was arrested and served a one year sentence in Leavenworth in Kansas, where he was appointed athletic director of the prison.

1910 - The Wondergraph Theatre, an open air picture theatre in between the Customs Boarding Station and the Semaphore Coffee Palace (South Oz), opened on this day.

1932 - A recent census showed Australia's "full-blood" (vomit) Aboriginal population had fallen to a record low of 60,101 persons.
1940 - The classic Australian movie, 'Forty Thousand Horsemen', directed by Charles Chauvel and starring Chips Rafferty, premiered in Sydney.

1945 - What was intended as a cruise soon became the Sydney to Hobart yacht race, the first being held on this day.

1947 – Heard Island and McDonald Islands became administered by Australia.

1958 - Aboriginal artist Albert Namatjira sentenced to serve a gaol sentence for supplying alcohol to a full-blood Aborigine in the open and in his own country. The conviction raised controversy over the denial of Australian citizenship to the majority of "full-blood" (vomit) Aboriginals.

1971 - The super-bloody-awesome Daddy Cool and La De Das headlined an outdoor concert at the 3XY Rosebud Show before an crowd of 50,000 people.

1971 - Townsville, Qld, was declared a disaster area after being hit by cyclone Althea.

1977 - Semaphore Cinema (South Oz) opened in the upstairs portion of the former Ozone Theatre on this date.

1980 - A $250,000 reward was offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction over a spate of bombings of Woolworths stores. It was the largest reward offered in Australia's history. Woolworth's Town Hall store in Sydney was bombed on Christmas Eve, becoming the third of the company's stores to be bombed in nine days.

1998 – Astronaut Andy Thomas became the first Australian to walk in space.

1998 - In a unique bid to encourage Indigenous participation in the Queensland Justice system, Kowanyama residents were urged to play a major role in the construction of a new courthouse in the community. Attorney General Matt Foley said residents would be encouraged to take ownership of the project by contributing to its final design through the provision of public art.

2004 - The Boxing Day Tsunami -  It originated in Sumatra and was felt along the coastlines of NSW, QLD, SA, TAS, VIC, WA, with 35 people having to be rescued from rip currents, boats were damaged in marinas (especially in WA, but also including as far as Tasmania). There was also some limited and localised inundation of immediate foreshores in a small number of WA coastal towns.

Monday, December 25, 2017

December 25 On This Day in Australian History

1643 - Captain William Mynors of the Royal Mary was swanning past a patch of dirt that took his fancy so, being Christmas Day, he named it Christmas Island.

1798 - George Bass climbed Mt Wellington during the Norfolk's stay at the mouth of the River Derwent, Van Diemens Land.
You party animal, George !

1798 -The Nautilus with Charles Bishop returned to Port Jackson  with 9,000 sealskins.

1825 - Knowing how to chuck a party AND a wobbly "they" were rioting in the streets of Newcastle. William Finnigan was part of the riots and escaped after being taken into custody by Guards. When he tried to hide in a nearby house he was stabbed with a bayonet by soldier.

1826 - British occupation of Western Australia began.
Major Edmund Lockyer and a party of soldiers and convicts in the brig Amity arrive at King George Sound to take possession of the western part of the continent and establish a settlement called Frederickstown on the site of present-day Albany.
The party found 4 Aboriginal men marooned on Michaelmas Island by sealers, one of the men badly injured. Lockyer returned the men to the mainland.

1829 - The first service was held in Perth's first church. The church, built partly of wood, with rushes filling up the sides, in the space of three weeks, was appropriately known as the 'rush church'. It was built on the corner of Hay & Irwin Streets. It lasted for seven years. Eighty people were present for the first service on Christmas Day, 11 of whom communicated, and the offertory amounted to two guineas.

1830 - (Christmas Day in Port Stephens)  A general holiday and Divine service in the forenoon. Extra mutton was service to officers and indented servants and a few extra allowances to the prisoners including half a pint of rum each.

1831 - (Port Stephens) Sunday - Holiday throughout the estate and the usual extra allowances given. Annual public examination at the Carrington School. Cricket game between officers of the Company and indented servants. Band of music by the prisoners.

1840 - Bushrangers Thomas Farrow and William Rowley were captured by Percy Simpson and the mounted police at Dungog - Muswellbrook.

1856 - John Devonald was the first victim to the railway in the northern district of Newcastle. He was driving in from Waratah one day and had just reached the spot where the high level crossing now stands when the train came along. A woman and child in a buggy were trying to cross the line, and were in danger because the horse became frightened. Devonald went to their assistance, but saved them at the cost of his own life. 

1859 - Thomas Austin was a very naughty boy but Santa didn't know that at the time (coz Santa was too full of eggnog) so when the ship Lightning docked in Port Melbourne with his live cargo Tommy wasn't struck down by lightning but successfully transported his imported animals back to his home, Barwon Park in Winchelsea, but some of the buggers escaped and caused the mother of all ecological headaches.
Yes, boys and girls, Tommy wasn't playing with a full deck but with rabbits.

1868 - The police found bushranger Captain Starlight aka Pearson hiding in a cave. He was desperate with hunger and thirst, he was almost naked and he was riddled with bull ant bites. On his capture, Pearson claimed to be 'Rutherford, Thunderbolt's mate' but soon changed his story. He gave his name as Frank Pearson and claimed to be a doctor. Cleary took him back to the Bourke police station. The district doctor there recognised him as 'Arnold', a former inmate of Cockatoo Island prison.

1871 - Hugh Mosman discovered gold at Charters Towers in Queensland. A very Merry Christmas was had by Hugh I suspect !

1873 - Explorer Ernest Giles reported that, after his party had drunk heavily from Aboriginal rock wells on this day, he noted a group of Aboriginal people who shouted abuse at them.

1882 - A tsunami of unknown origin was felt at Tassie with four successive waves with the third being three or four feet high reported at Stanley.

1885 - Prospector Charlie Hall found a huge 28-ounce (nearly 1 kilogram) gold nugget at a site that would eventually be named after him ; Halls Creek.

1892 - At Warangesda Mission (NSW) the temperature was 108°F (42 Celsius)  but the heat was suddenly ended in the evening by a southerly buster so severe that it forced the evening church service to be abandoned.

1896 -  The Summer heat was fatal for a small child at the Warangesda Mission and that evening there was a terrible dust storm “and as the lamp in the church would not burn there was no service.”

1930 - Sidney Myer (who founded that department store Myers) was a damn decent bloke who gave 12,000 poor,destitute people a proper Chrissy dinner at the Exhibition Building.

1952 - Just to remind us what the Isle of Oz climate is really all about....drought was grinding Qld, Westralia and NT under its boot heel.

1957 - The first Aussie Christmas stamps were issued...and who remembers the ones with Santa on his surf board in those board shorts ?!

1975 – Fifteen people were killed in an arson attack at the Savoy Hotel in Kings Cross, New South Wales.The tragedy led to a major overhaul of fire regulations in NSW.

2005 - Melbourne had the coldest Chrissy day on record with a massive peak of 14.5 degrees Celcius (58 F) which I can attest to as The Spouse and I shivered all the way home after our night shift on radio, expecting to see the ice land bridge forming at Flinders Street station and polars bears frolicking about the HQ coffee bar....

2011 - The Sydney Morning Herald reported that travellers are being warned to avoid getting tattoos in Bali, after a West Australian resident was apparently infected with HIV. “All the evidence points to a tattoo received recently in Bali as being the source of an HIV infection”, the West Australian Department of Health says on its website.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

December 24 On This Day in Australian History

1790 - Watkin Tench, on orders from Gov Phillip to "catch, kill and behead" Aboriginal people, wrote in his journal;
"Sydney: ‘Our final effort [to]…effect our purpose…bring in six [6] natives; or if that should be found impracticable put that number [6] to death…was made at half-past one next morning…after four hours toil, ended as those preceding it had done, in disappointment vexation’.. At nine o’clock we returned to Sydney to report our fruitless peregrination‘."

1791 - Christmas Eve: ‘From the state of the provisions the governor… could only give one (1) pound of flour to each woman in the settlement’.

1792 - The American trading vessel Hope arrived in Sydney. Lieut Francis Grose was obliged to buy 34,095 litres of spirits in order to obtain other cargo.

1798 - Flinders and Bass became the first Europeans to anchor in the Derwent River, Van Diemen's Land.

1818 - Thomas Raine established a whaling station at Twofold Bay - the first in New South Wales.

1818 - Captain James Morisset, 48th regt., was appointed Magistrate and Commandant at Newcastle in the room of Captain James Wallis.

1822 – Reverend Archibald Macarthur, the first Presbyterian minister in Australia, rocked up in Hobart.

1825 - Captain William Dumaresq was at a lose ends so he was appointed to temporary charge of Civil Engineers Dept.

1826 -  Edmund Lockyer arrived at King George Sound to found a penal settlement...hope he brought the tinsel and mistletoe with him.

1827 - Foolish behaviour from the soldiers of the 39th regiment in Newcastle. Principally composed of very young men.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.

1829 - The Perth burial ground was surveyed by John Septimus Roe on this day soon after the central portions of the Perth townsite had been surveyed.

1836 - Colonel William Light enthusiastically approved the site for Adelaide

1838 - James Hurtle Fisher (of Crow Eater Country aka South Oz) wrote to John Rundle, Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, requesting that elective municipal institutions should be given to towns as they reached a population of 2000.

1848 - Jacky Jacky and other survivors of the Kennedy expedition were rescued by the ship Ariel.

1852 - Bushranger, Captain Frank Melville, was taken prisoner with an accomplice near Geelong...leaving his hidden booty and his ghost in the Melville Caves. Which will you search for ?

1861 - The first English cricket team, led by H.H. Stephenson visited the colonies and arrived in the 'Great Britain' at Sandridge (Port Melbourne) to an overwhelming welcome.

1864 - The first art gallery in Australia opened in Melbourne.I always said Melbourne was full of artists...

1865 - Bushranger John Dunn is captured by police following a gun battle with three police on Tonamba Station near Coonamble, NSW. Badly wounded, Dunn is taken to Dubbo Gaol, NSW.

1868 - A tsunami of unknown origin washed the shores of Victoria's coastline.

1874 - Fire destroyed 45 houses in the small town of Windsor, NSW.

1874 - The district of Coburg, now part of suburban Melbourne, was declared a shire.

1875 - A cyclone hit Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia, killing 59.

1883 - A slight shock of earthquake was felt at Perth early this morning.

1886 - Fire destroys Adelaide's Academy of Music Theatre for the third time in as many years.

1892 - The Western Australian port of Onslow was hit by a cyclone, 20 people killed, 15 pearling luggers sunk.

1892 - The Daily Telegraph reported on a challenge to a duel in Adelaide:
“Considerable excitement was caused in the city to-day when a rumor gained currency that Mr. C. C. Kingston, Q.C., M.P., had challenged Mr. R. L. Baker, M.L.C., to a duel over a feud which lately has been brought prominently before the public in Parliament and elsewhere. Many rumors are in currency with reference to the affair. As far as can be ascertained the facts are these.”

1894 - The Murwillumbah Railway Branch line (NSW) opened.

1900 - The Western Australia's Goldfields Water Scheme, which pumped water from Mundaring Weir to Kalgoorlie, was completed.

1906 - The Wollongong Licensing District was a bit that Christmas as the North Helensburgh Workmen’s Club closed its doors on this day.

1906 - Repatriation of Australia's 3,600 Kanakas under way; they were being returned to the Solomon Islands by boat.

1910 - WA's first trotting meeting was held at the Claremont Showgrounds in Perth.With a one-horse open sleigh,hey ?

1914 - At Semaphore, South Oz, a two-storey kiosk on the inner T-head of the jetty opened. It included a restaurant, accommodation for the lessee and a dance hall upstairs.

1929 - The effects of the 24th October collapse of the New York Stock Exchange begins to flow on to the local finance industry.

1938 - The first Carols by Candlelight took place in Melbourne, Australia on Christmas Eve. Approximately ten thousand people came together at midnight in Alexandra Gardens to sing carols, backed by a choir, two soloists and the Metropolitan Fire Brigade Band. A larger production was organised the following year, and the tradition grew, continuing even through World War II. Since that time, Carols by Candlelight events have spread, continuing to be organised throughout the nation, with some sponsored by major organisations, and others quieter affairs in churches and community centres.

The concept of Carols by Candlelight was born in 1937 when radio veteran Norman Banks was on his way home after a late evening shift. Walking along St Kilda Road, Melbourne, he saw a woman through the window of her home, her face reflecting the soft glow of candlelight, singing to Away in a Manger as it played on the radio. The sight inspired Banks to create an event which could be enjoyed by many, and which would reflect both the reverence and the joy of Christmas. With the support of his employers and the Melbourne City Council, particularly Lord Mayor AW Coles, Banks organised a programme for the following year. 

1942 - Planning for a future
A Department of Post-War Reconstruction was established.

1943 - It was reported in The Sun (Sydney) newspaper that due to the large number of servicemen in town -
"One Shilling deposit is demanded on these glasses being handed to beer drinkers in a Townsville hotel. No beer is served until all glasses are issued. If glass is chipped or broken drinker forfeits the shilling.".

1945 - The Chemical Research Unit was disbanded.

1948 - The Shepparton Advertiser proclaimed,
Shepparton (Victoria) will have ample beer for the Christmas festivities. Two hotels were closed in yesterday's thirsty sultry afternoon. Partial cause of the drought was that a truckload of beer consigned to Shepparton was wrongly diverted to Wodonga. Arrival of supplies will enable all hotels to be in operation this afternoon. One enterprising publican, faced with dwindling supplies, made a special trip to the brewepr in Melbourne and returned with a load of bottles - to the delight of his customers.

1953 - Tooheys brewery went to the rescue of Sydney city hotels today with extra deliveries when thirsty shoppers crowded bars.

1956 - The Fairfax Group launched the magazine Woman's Day.

1959 - Australia's post-war migrant intake passed 1.5 million.

1964 - The Labor Premier of Queensland, Vince Gair, was elected to the Federal Senate.

1971 – Cyclone Althea hit Townsville and surrounding islands, killing three and damaging hundreds of buildings in Townsville. The TV series Barrier Reef had been filming nearby at the time, and the crew rushed to assist victims, as well as capturing actuality footage of the aftermath of the cyclone, which was later included in one of the episodes.

1972 – The official highest maximum temperature in Queensland, of 49.5°C (121.1°F), was recorded at Birdsville.

1972 - The Silver (Hitachi) suburban trains commenced trundling about the Melbourne rails.

1974 – Cyclone Tracy devastateed the city of Darwin. The official death toll was 71.

1974 - On the look out for the suspected murderer Lord Lucan, Melbourne police mistakenly arrested John Stonehouse but it soon came to light he was a former British minister who'd faked his death in Florida only weeks earlier, in fact doing "a Lord Lucan" ( a euphemism for disappearing).

1976 - The Govt of Western Oz finally lifted the state-wide ban on the importation of the German Shepherd breed of canine furbaby.

1981 - Administrators Office, on the corner of Smith Street and the Esplanade, opened after being repaired from the damage done by Cyclone Tracy.

1998 - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Minister, John Herron, announced the government would protect Boobera Lagoon– a significant Aboriginal sacred site near the NSW/ Queensland border.

2001 - Over 100 fires burned through parts of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. The fires of December 2001 were known as the "Black Christmas" fires and were the most serious fires to occur in the suburban areas of the Canberra for some years.

2008 - An Australian teacher (61), who allegedly stuffed his luggage with 2,000-year old animal mummies and religious figurines wrapped as gifts, was arrested and charged with smuggling antiquities.

2011 - Category 1 Cyclone Tasha crossed the Far North Queensland coast on this day.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

December 23 On This Day in Australian History

1789 - The ship Guardian carrying stores for the colony struck an iceberg and was forced back to the Cape. It never reached the colony in New South Wales.

1790 - During the second raid on Australia's First Peoples as ordered by Gov Phillip ;
Dawn they broke camp, the‘Christmas‘ tidal surge flooded in; ‘we were suddenly stopped by a creek, about sixty yards wide, which [before] appeared dry from the tide being out. We were immersed, nearly to the waist in mud, so thick and tenacious.
I am sinking resounded on every side. Our distress would have terminated fatally, had not a soldier called out to those on shore to cut boughs off trees and throw them to us; a lucky thought, which certainly saved many of us from perishing miserably. Our march ended at sun-set, without our seeing a single native’.
Having escaped what Captain Tench described ‘a Serbian Bog’ with guns ‘rendered unserviceable by the mud’ his exhausted troops spent another sleepless night under stars.

1825 - Surveyor Heneage Finch arrived in Newcastle from Sydney by crossing the Hawkesbury River at Wiseman's Farm

1829 - Arrival of ship William. Passenger Sir Edward Parry Commissioner of Australian Agricultural Company was on board.

1836 - George Steveson wrote in his journal whilst on board the Buffalo anchored off the South Oz coast;
"For the last three evenings we have neared the land just in time to be too late to proceed; & we have regularly tacked & stood out to sea a sufficient distance to occupy the whole day in returning.
The breeze however is a little fresher this evening & we shall probably go on. Our worthy captain has been openly bragging of having imposed upon the Commissioners by telling them of a 90 or 100 days passage;
while he says that he knew all along, & in fact told Mrs Hindmarsh, at Portsmouth, that we should not be at Port Lincoln before December 22 (yesterday) “For,” said he, (I record the words) “If I had said a longer time to them, I should not have been able to get the Buffalo” !! So our precious Governor feels no scruple in telling, & no shame in avowing that he has told a gross falsehood on a point of the last importance to the welfare of the Colony! What may we not expect in the way of imposition after this?"

1837 - Today saw the first sale of land on which stood the famously glamorous South Australian Hotel (originally built as a bank) in North Terrace, Adelaide (demolished by interstate faceless executives of Ansett Transport Industries in 1971).

1839 - A School for Aboriginal children opened in Adelaide.

1839 - The survey of the 4000 acre parcel of land otherwise known as the Seventh Special Survey was completed on this day; it would eventually become known as the town The Meadows, (South Oz).

1840- Bushranger Edward Davis (Teddy The Jewboy) and five of his gang were captured and sentenced to death. They were hanged 16th March 1841).

1841 - Arrival of the Emerald Isle from Plymouth with 150 emigrants. Some Australian Agricultural Company servants were also on board.

1841 - 1000 acres at Ebenezer Estate near Lake Macquarie was advertised for sale.

1856 - The Oneida ship parked its prow in Melbourne and dislodged the new Victorian Governor, Sir Henry Barkly from its depths.

1861 - Sydney's first horse-drawn tram began running along Pitt Street from Circular Quay to the Railway Station at Redfern.

1861 - The Main Western Railway line (NSW) was opened.

1867 - An Act was passed prohibiting the sale or supply of liquor to Aboriginal people in New South Wales.

1871 - Second Inter-University Rowing Race, Sydney Vs Melbourne, was held on the Parramatta River.

1878 - An £81,000 iron bridge across the Murray River at Echuca permited the completion of a railway line between Melbourne and Deniliquin in the NSW Riverina district.

1878 - The Bealiba to St Arnaud section of railway line (Vic) opened.

1881 - Railway steam locomotive number 17 had its boiler blow up at Wentworth Falls (NSW).

1882 -    Only 15 kms from Adelaide The Largs Bay seaside resort, the beginnings of Largs Bay, was opened. The project, built by the Largs Bay Land and Investment Company, was impressive and included a jetty to provide harbour facilities for overseas ships, a railway connected to the Fort Glanville line and a luxurious grand hotel for guests to stay. There were also six shops, to complement the Company’s land speculation ambitions for development of Largs Bay.

1889 - Preston - Reservoir (renamed Resevoir) to Whittlesea railway line (Vic) opened.

1895 - Sir Gerald Smith became Western Australia's Governor.

1901 - A new test was devised which seems sure to keep Australia as white as its population clearly wanted it to be. Under the Immigration Restriction Act of 1901, immigrants were to be requested to sit for a dictation test of 50 words in any European language.

1912 - The Oaklands Railway Branch line (NSW) was opened.

1914 - Electoral enrolment and voting became compulsory in Queensland.

1916 - The Belmont Railway Branch line (NSW) was opened.

1916 - Battle of Magdhaba, northern Sinai The capture of Magdhaba by Chauvel's Mounted Brigade and the Imperial Camel Corps helped open the way for the successful Allied campaign in Palestine.

1920 - Australia's mandate over New Guinea was confirmed by the League of Nations.

1922 - Remembrance Club was founded in Hobart, Tas, by Major-General Sir John Gellibrand.

1922 - The Semaphore Bathing Pavilion and Palais (South Oz) opened on the foreshore. Designed to accommodate over 500 bathers, it also included a kiosk, dance hall, roof garden and observation tower.

1924 - The Brisbane to Cairns, Qld, rail link opened.

1924 - The Dorrigo Railway Branch line (NSW) opened.

1928 - A glorious 274 kms stretch of The Ghan Railway line opened from Rumbalara to Oodnadatta, (South Oz).

1929 – The 1929 Timber Workers strike resulted from a decision of Judge Lukin of the Arbitration Court to reduce the wages and increase the hours for 20,000 timber workers from a 44 hour week to 48 hour week.

1932 - The P&O liner SS Strathaird became Australia's first cruise ship when she departed Sydney for a five-night cruise with just two ports of call - Brisbane and Norfolk Island.

1946 - East-West Airlines was established.

1983 – Australia recorded its first death from the HIV/AIDS virus.

1993 - Former Western Australian Premier Brian Burke and his secretary were charged with stealing funds from the State ALP between 1984 and 1988.

1959 - Formula One motor racing driver Jack Brabham becomes the new world champion.

1964 - A rail service was proposed  for the Kurri industrial area, NSW.

1973 - The Cessnock Railway Branch line (NSW) was closed.

1980 - The Hamer Liberal government decriminalised male homosexuality in Victoria.
A loosely worded "soliciting for immoral purposes" clause, inserted by dissident Liberals, saw police harassment of gays continue well into the 1980s.

1982 - Paul Caffyn finished his almost-but-only-5-days-short-of-a year long effort to circumnavigate The Fair Isle of Oz in a kayak.

1996 - The Australian High Court handed down its decision on the Wik Native Title claim. This process resulted in the Federal Government establishing theWik Ten Point Plan on Native Title. The High Court found by a majority of four to three that the grant of particular pastoral leases under Queensland legislation did not confer exclusive possession on the leases and that any native title held by the Wik and Thayorre peoples over the land was not necessarily extinguished.

2004 - A magnitude 8.1 earthquake was located at Macquarie Island, and was felt throughout Tasmania. The specific area affected was the Macquarie Rise in the Pacific Ocean about 800 km off the coast of Tasmania. At the time, this event was one of the largest earthquakes recorded anywhere in the world in almost four years. A wave height of 150 mm was recorded at Spring Bay, Tasmania.

2007 - The Mandurah to Perth railway line opened.

2009 - Australian officials said residents were "fleeing for their lives" as savage wildfires blazed out of control in South Australia, with several homes destroyed and more under threat.
The City of Port Lincoln was again directly threatened by bushfire just prior to Christmas in 2009, with 6 houses and around 30 sheds and outbuildings on the city fringe destroyed. The fire burnt an area of 650 hectares.

2010 - Melbourne men Wissam Mahmoud Fattal (34), Nayef El Sayed (26), both of Lebanese descent, and Somali-origin Saney Edow Aweys (27) were found guilty of conspiring to plan a terrorist act, which carries a possible life term. Two other men, Somali-origin Abdirahman Mohamud Ahmed (26) and Yacqub Khayre (23) were found not guilty after the three-month trial. 
2010 - Anglo-Australian resources giant Rio Tinto made a 3.9 billion US dollar offer for Australia's Riversdale, sparking speculation of a bidding war for its African steel-making coal with Indian and other rivals.

2011 - Cinema Seven opened in Hobart with a screening of The Women on the 6th Floor. Equipped with 70 comfy high-backed seats, high ceilings and regal red decor - and of course latest technology digital sound and projection, including 3D, C7 is fast becoming a new favourite for regulars.

Friday, December 22, 2017

December 22 On This Day in Australian History

1790 - Phillip ordered a second raid against the Bidjigal peoples of Botany Bay with the same orders "catch, kill and behead".
Watkin Tench wrote;
"Our first expedition having so totally failed, the governor resolved to try the fate of a second; and the ‘painful pre-eminence’ again devolved on me. The orders under which I was commanded to act differing in no respect from the last. A little before sun-set on the evening of the 22d we marched’. "
The second raid; ‘Lieutenant Abbot, and ensign Prentice of the New South Wales Corps, were two [2] officers under my [Tench] command with three [3] serjeants, three [3] corporals, and thirty [30] privates, completed the detachment’.
‘ A little before sun-set on the evening of the 22nd we marched...knapsacks burdened by…ropes to bind our prisoners, hatchets [to] cut off heads bags to contain heads’.

1808 - Arrival of the convict ship Admiral Gambier, under the command Captain Edward Harrison.
The Admiral Gambier and the Speke were the only two convict ships to arrive in New South Wales in 1808. The Admiral Gambier arrived in Port Jackson on 22 December 1808 with 197 male prisoners, including a future Early Bushranger of the Hunter Region, Isaac Walker.

1817 - Phillip Parker King, John Septimus Roe and Allan Cunningham, botanist, leave to explore the north-west coast of the continent. They are joined by Broke Bay Aboriginal Bungaree who acts as interpreter.

1823 - The Sydney Gazette reported on a meeting of Aboriginal tribes in Sydney.

1826 - Death of poet laureate/ convict Michael Massey Robinson aged 82

1832 - William Westbrooke Burton appointed Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court of Australia.

1836 - Robert Gouger (in South Oz) wrote in his journal ;
"Out shooting again with similar success. The 2 natives who were brought into the settlement on Decr 1st by Mr Williams remained with him about a week performing a variety of work & conducting themselves in a satisfactory manner, but suddenly left without assigning any reason. They however returned last Sunday bringing with them 4 others. They visited the different huts, receiving from each presents of sugar, biscuits etc. At night they had a “corrobboree” or native dance, but I was not so fortunate to witness this. The custom of these natives appear to differ from those of N. S. Wales, for instance the ceremony of knocking out a front tooth on the attainment of manhood is not enforced here, not one of the natives who have visited us having undergone the operation. Presents of clothes were given them, which they much valued & wore all day, but removed dust & dirt from them at night & (though lying in the open air) folded them up for a pillow!"

1836 - Six days before the proclamation of the colony, the barque Tam O’Shanter sailed up between the mangroves to anchor in what is now Port Adelaide. Tam O’Shanter Place off Grenfell Street was named after this ship.

1837 - Arrival of convict ship Henry Wellesley bringing female prisoners
"The ship arrived within the heads of Port Jackson on the 22nd December 1837 in a gale of wind which prevented us from proceeding up the harbour, and it was not until the 25th that we anchored at Sydney Cove, being a period of one hundred and fifty-eight days since our departure from Woolwich."

1845 - Land for the first gold mine in Australia was purchased.

1852 - The clipper Ticonderoga arrived at Port Phillip with 646 migrants, 96 having died on the way with typhus. The rest were quarantined, and a further 83 die while at the new Point Nepean quarantine station.

1857 - Hobart, Tas, was incorporated as a city.

1866 - Henry Parkes's Public Schools Act of NSW assents to: dual system abolished and Council of Education established to maintain state schools; government aid to Church schools greatly reduced.

1873 - Laws were passed to allow steam postal service between Sydney and San Francisco.

1886 - The railway line from Gordons (Gordon) to Ballan (Vic) opened.

1888 - The 1000th Act of the Victorian Parliament, the Discipline Acts Amendment Act 1888 operative 22 December 1888

1888 -  The North Rockhampton to Emu Park Railway line (QLD) opened.

1904 - The Register newspaper printed an extensive article by Charles White titled "The Story of The Blacks ; Native Art ; Cave Paintings" detailing the cave paintings discovered in South Oz by Captain George Grey in 1838.

1906 - The Middle Brighton to Brighton Beach Victoria Railways tram line opened.

1911 – The Commonwealth Bank of Australia was established.

1913 - Victoria's first Labour Government, under Premier George Elmslie, lasted only 13 days as Elmslie's Government was defeated in a censure motion 36 to 3.

1915 - The Main South Railway line (NSW) was closed.

1919 – Susan Grace Benny became the first Australian woman elected to a local government.

1931 - United Australia Party won federal election. Joseph Lyons became Prime Minister

1938 - 882 acres of land in the Parish of Jeebropilly were gazetted for Defence purpose at Amberley and RAAF Base Amberley commenced operations on 17th June 1940.

1941 - 3rd chemical field laboratory company docked at Brisbane.

1941 - The US ship convoy named Task Force South Pacific included the escort ship USS Pensacola and USS Chaumont, USS Republic and USS Meigs; they had been diverted from the Philippines. The convoy disembarked a total of 4600 personnel at Hamilton Wharf in Brisbane. The first camp (Camp Ascot) was established at Brisbane’s Eagle Farm racecourse. American service personnel were also located in and around the northern cities of Rockhampton and Townsville.

1943 - Hobart's floating road bridge across the Derwent River opened.

1955 - John Fairfax and Sons moved (from Hunter Street) into new buildings at Broadway, Sydney.

1964 - Victoria became the first state to introduce Consumer Protection laws.

1966 - Australia's military commitment to the Vietnam conflict was increased to 6300 troops, plus an additional 12 tanks, two minesweepers and eight bombers.

1967 - A memorial service was held at St Paul's Cathedral in Melbourne for PM Harold Holt, who went missing, presumed drowned at Portsea on December 17. Prince Charles and US President Lyndon Johnson are among many world dignitaries who attend. The televised service is also Australia's first multi-country international satellite broadcast.

1970 - The Victorian Government passed the Motor Cars (Safety) Act 1970 enforcing motorists and their passengers to wear seat belts in their cars. Victoria was the first place in the world to make the use of lap-sash belts compulsory in both front and rear seats - all other Australian states and territories followed by the end of 1971.

1975 - The Fraser Government transferred control of ASIO back to the Attorney-General's Department.

1989 – Two tourist coaches collided on the Pacific Highway north of Kempsey, New South Wales, 35 killed and 39 injured.

1992 - A $100 million Optus Telecommunications Satellite launched from Southern China was lost in space.

1993 - Native Title legislation was passed in Federal Parliament and came into effect on 1st December 1994.

1993 - APN took over Peter Isaacson Publications, Melbourne, publisher of more than 40 titles including the Daily Commercial News.

2010 - Kok Loong Wong of Malaysia appeared in a Sydney court charged with possessing 200 pounds (90 kg) of crystal meth in his home, the seventh-largest "ice" haul in Australian history.

2011 - Indonesian police arrested eight people in connection with an overloaded boat carrying 250 asylum seekers that capsized on Dec 17 en route to Australia, as the confirmed death toll reached 90.

2012 - Australian Geographic announced that the CSIRO were beginning to map Indigenous landscape knowledge into different seasonal calendars as part of the Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge research program. They depict a wealth of indigenous ecological knowledge based on the culture’s continued observation of the landscape over thousands of years.

2013 - Australia announced an aerial Customs and Border Protection mission to the Southern Ocean as a showdown looms between Japan's whaling fleet and Sea Shepherd activists, saying it would send a message to both sides that the world was watching.

2015 - Auswide Bank announced a merger with the Brisbane based Queensland Professional Credit Union.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

December 21 On This Day in Australian History

1817 - Macquarie had an ear for names and thought the title Oz-stray-lia was simply spiffing and would suit this new pile of dirt down to its little cotton socks.
Aren't we all relieved he didn't settle on Large Island of Flies?!

1835 - Protector of Aborigines George Augustus Robinson noted in his journal of the conditions for the Tasmanian Aborigines at Flinders Island: “it is cruel not to provide abundantly for this remnant of the aboriginal race… having placed them on an isolated spot. The least we ought to do is to abundantly supply their wants”.

1836 - George Stevenson, on board the ship Buffalo en route to South Australia, wrote in his journal;
"We lay to atabout seven leagues from the shore instead of standing in for a start in the morning so that there is no chance of doing any thing unless the breeze should freshen. A far more magnificent & glorious sky
to-night than ever we saw or conceived. A double rainbow with the full moon rising in the centre; clouds of violet & silver: on the opposite side the sun setting in majesty mid clouds of every hue, from darkest
masses to the scarcely perceptible shade. “These are thy works Parent of Good”."

1837 - Eyre attempted the first overlanding venture from Sydney to South Australia.

1838 - ‘You cannot overrate the solicitude of H.M. Government on the subject of the Aborigines of New Holland. It is impossible to contemplate the condition or the prospects of that unfortunate race without the deepest commiseration. Still it is impossible that H.M. Government should forget that the original aggression was ours’. Lord John Russell to Sir George Gipps.

1840 - Four Aboriginal people were shot by J.F. Francis in the Pyrenes, according to George Robertson’s listing of ‘Aborigines – Outrages Against’ in the 1879 Australian Dictionary of Dates and Men of the Time.

1853 - Freeman Cobb had a spare hour or two so he began a coaching service in Melbourne called Cobb & Co.

1853 - Gladstone in Qld was gazetted as a town site, which was handy for those already living there!

1855 - Victoria's Haines Government resigned over a secret ballot motion moved and carried by William Nicholson, however Nicholson was unable to form a government, so William Haines was reinstated.

1861 - The North Brighton to Brighton Beach Railway Line (Vic) opened.

1870 - Victorian MP's, the greedy devils, voted to give themselves 300 pounds per year for sitting on their dates and boring the pants off the public.

1881 - Measures were being taken to stop the spread of the Phylloxera bug which was decimating vineyards across Victoria.

1885 - The Broken Hill Railway Line (NSW) was opened.

1887 - Horse-drawn trams commenced trundling on the  Ballarat Gardens route in (where else?) Ballarat!

1889 – The poem "Clancy of the Overflow", by Banjo Paterson, was first published in The Bulletin magazine.

1889 - World champion rower Henry Searle was buried in Melbourne after dying of typhoid a week earlier.

1889 - Economists feared that the collapse of Melbourne's Premier Permanent Building Land and Investment Association could herald the end of a decade of colonial prosperity.

1890 - Western Australia's first ministry was sworn in under that state's first Premier, Sir John Forrest.

1903 - The North Geelong Railway loop opened (Vic).

1905 - Motor buses were brought into service in Sydney.

1909 - British Field-Marshall Horatio Herbert Kitchener rocked up in Australia to (tell Grandma how to suck eggs)  advise on the make-up of Australia's new military forces.

1910 - Opening of branch railway line from Kingsthorpe to Haden (QLD.

1916 - The Australian Light Horse captured El Arish.

1916 - A statue of Captain Charles Sturt was unveiled in Victoria Square, Adelaide on  this day, forty-seven years after his death in England..

1918 - The deadly influenza pandemic reached Oz.

1921 – The Gun Alley Murder: 12-year-old Alma Tirtschke was raped and murdered in Gun Alley, Melbourne. 28-year-old Colin Ross was hanged for the crime, but in 1992 was proved innocent (unsolved).

1926 - The first loop in Sydney's underground City Circle railway, between Central and St James Stations, opened.

1931 - The East Hills Railway Line (NSW) was opened from Kingsgrove - East Hills.

1934 - At the Darwin Police Court a man was sentenced to three months hard labour for supplying beer to Aboriginal people.

1938 – A direct radio-telephone link was established between Canberra and Washington, D.C..

1940 - The first wartime land action by Australian troops occurred outside Bardia in Italian Libya.

1941 - First United States troops arrived in Australia; Australia soon became a major base for US forces in the war against Japan. They were warmly welcomed as representing a defence for Australia.

1942 - The ban on the Communist Party of Australia was lifted.

1962 - Australia won 38 gold, 36 silver and 31 bronze medals at the 12th British Empire and Commonwealth Games, held in Perth, WA.

1969 - The last Steam train passenger Service in Queensland  tootled from Mackay Railway Station in Boddington Street to the Mackay Outer Harbour signalling the end of the steam era of the Queensland Railways.

1972 - A joint communiqué was signed in the Australian Embassy in Paris, which formalised the exchange of diplomatic recognition between the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) and Australia. The communiqué explained the Australian Government’s position, that the communist government was the sole legitimate government of China and that diplomatic recognition would be withdrawn from Taiwan.

1973 - The Faraday School kidnapper Robert Bolan was jailed for sixteen years.

1974 - An adult male skeleton believed to be some 30,000 years old was discovered at Lake Mungo in NSW. The skeleton was named Mungo Man.

1977 - Kerry Packer gave the world.... World Series Cricket.
And we partied....

1979 - The Botany Goods Railway Line (NSW) was opened.

1984 - Darwin Community College was renamed the Darwin Institute of Technology.

1987 - The East Hills Railway Line (NSW) was opened from East Hills - Glenfield Junction.

1988 - The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody produced an Interim Report, which was presented on this day.

1990 - A Royal Commission report into the Chelmsford Private Hospital deep sleep therapy programme condemns doctors and senior health administrators over their activities.

1993 - The Mabo Bill passes through Federal Parliament, thereby acknowledging that Australia was occupied prior to European settlement, and allowing Aborigines the right to claim native title over land under continuous occupation.

2001 - The Melbourne Herald-Sun printed its last afternoon edition, eleven years after the merger of the Herald with the Sun News Pictorial. Now commuters may read either the free MX newspaper or the garish graffiti as they travel home each evening...

2004 - Following a closure of 6 years and a $1.5 million refurbishment Newcastle's Playhouse Theatre was officially reopened on this day.

2006 - It was announced in The Age that Betty Wilson, terrifically talented all-rounder cricketer became the first chickybabe to be granted an Honorary Membership of the Melbourne Cricket Club.
In one test match against England in 1958 she took a record number of wickets in an innings (7 for 7 runs). Also in that test match she became the first person in international cricket, male or female, to achieve the double of 100 runs and ten wickets (including a hat trick) in a match.

2007 - New Australian PM Kevin Rudd met with al-Maliki during a surprise visit to Baghdad. Rudd said that after the troops withdraw in June, Australia will continue to help train the Iraqi police force and army.

2010 - The Australian Defence Force said steroids and unidentified substances had been seized in recent raids after a tip-off. A report claimed Australian sailors have been stashing large amounts of cocaine and heroin on navy ships and selling them in Sydney's red light district and that this has been going on "for years."

2014 - As part of the Government’s deal with backbenchers to support the passing of the Legacy Caseload Bill, 94 children, plus another 100 people, were moved from Christmas Island to Bladin Point detention facility in Darwin.