Sunday, February 18, 2018

February 18 On This Day in Australian History

1793 - The first school in the new colony began thumping learnin' into young heads in an unfinished church building in Sydney with the first teacher being one Mr Stephen Barnes.

1796 - One of the Scottish martyrs, Thomas Muir, did a bunk and successfully escaped on an American ship Otter.

1804 - The first Russian to become an Aussie resident - before we were known as Aussies - was John Potocki who was given the Grande Tour of Tassie as a transported convict.

1815 - George Wood and others were lost en route from Illawarra to Shoalhaven to pick up cedar.

1844 - The foundation stone of the monument to Surveyor-General Colonel William Light, over his grave in Light Square, was laid on this day.

1856 - A bovine lad by the name of King Oscar was pupped on this day; being of a lowly state his fate was in the hands of others and, thus, he was sold to Mr Broadie and travelled to Oz where he spent the remainder of his days.

1858 - The HMS Sappho may have been armed with sixteen cannon but she still managed to disappear on her voyage from England ; she was last sighted a few miles off Cape Otway, Vic, on this day and then not seen again. Despite an extensive search in Bass Strait and a report that the masts of a ship were seen protruding from the sea near Wilson’s Promontory, no definite trace was ever discovered.

1862 - Margaret Coghlan was Hanged at Campbell Street Gaol, Tassie, for the murder of her husband.

1865 - John McDonald was another Melbournian who chose to chance it aboard the CSS Shenandoah; he popped out of his hiding place after the ship had sailed, becoming another of the OZ & NZ veterans of the American Civil War.

1869 - A transported Fenian, JB O'Reilly, took his unlawful leave from Fremantle in the American whaling ship Gazelle and sailed off into the sunset for USA.

1874 - Little Nell was a steam launch whose boiler exploded during a race with the tug Tamar, off Coulson, Tasmania.  In an attempt to beat the powerful tug, the safety valve of the launch’s boiler was clamped down and more fuel thrown on the fire. Eleven on board; the river cutter Margaret rescued three passengers, one dying a few days later, the other two badly scalded.

1874 -  I say, What!
That earnest explorer chappy Ernest Giles was nearly killed by one of his horses when he was thrown and dragged along, only narrowly escaping being killed.

1883 - Jessie Litchfield, a fantastically inspirational woman, was found in the tulip patch. She was an author, poet, Aussie and international journalist and editor of a NT newspaper, who helped push tourism in the Top End.

1893 - The Marlborough Express succinctly stated how both Tamworth and Toowoomba were out of railway and telegraph communication reach due to floods which had 'surpassed the last one'.

1903 - The Coonamble Branch Railway Line (NSW) was opened from Dubbo - Coonamble.

1907 -  D'Arcy Wentworth Uhr, policeman, prospector, drover, found not guilty for cattle stealing and organiser of reprisals against Aboriginal People (a PC way of saying revenge attacks) popped his clogs.

1911 - The MCG was hosting the test cricket match between South Africa and Oz when former Oz captain who had leapt the fence to play for the Old Dart, Billy Murdoch, turned up his toes during the lunch interval.

1911 - Beech Forest became home to the very first Bush Nurse, Mary Thompson, who no doubt patched together a great number of people in Australia's first Bush Nursing appointment.

1929 - Kanowna was steaming her way between Sydney and Melbourne when she ran on to rocks in foggy weather near Cleft Island (Skull Rock) south of Wilsons Promontory. Boats were immediately lowered and the passengers were transferred to SS Mackarra. It was first thought that the vessel could be saved, but owing to her boiler fires being extinguished she could not be beached. After remaining afloat for several hours, she sank the following morning.
Included in the £200,000 cargo lost was a racehorse, dog and three cars.
Vale the horse and dog.

1931 - Mawson landed at Cape Bruce – the first known landing in that part of East Antarctica.

1942 - Japanese air raid on Darwin;
Gunbar. Auxiliary minesweeper,Minor damage  One dead.
Coongoola. Channel patrol vessel.  Minor damage
Benjamin Franklin. United States oil tanker. Minor damage
Kangaroo. Boom working vessel. Minor damage. One dead.
Kara-kara. Boom defence vessel. Minor damage. Two dead.
Kookaburra. Boom working vessel. Minor damage. Two wounded.
Platypus. Depot/Repair ship. Minor damage, One dead.
Tulagi. Australian transport. Damaged during the Japanese air raid.

William B. Preston. Ex destroyer converted to a seaplane tender.Damaged during the Japanese air raid. Four dead.

Manunda. Australian hospital ship.Damaged during the Japanese air raid. Twelve died and 58 were wounded when she suffered several near misses and one direct hit.

Portmar. United States transport. Damaged during the Japanese air raid. She was beached, then salvaged and towed to Brisbane for repairs, only to be torpedoed and sunk on her first voyage.

1944 - Operation Jericho was off to a flying start when 19 de Havilland Mosquitos (comprising of RAF, RAAF and RNZAF pilots)  took off to bomb the walls of a Gestapo prison to liberate French political prisoners; of the 700 held there 258 managed to escape.

 1944 - The United States War department approached the Royal Australian Air Force on whether it should obtain its requirements of gas weapons and chemicals from American sources.

1954 - Bust out the popcorn and shove your mates in the car boot!
The first drive-in theatre opened in Oz at 6.30pm ; the Skyline Drive-in in Burwood, Melbourne.

1958 - 200,000 people went to Brisbane to peer at an old gal known as the Queen Mum.

1962 - The railway line from Upper Fern Tree Gully to Belgrave was re-opened after having been shaken but not stirred as it was converted from narrow gauge to broad gauge railway track.

1963 - Not to be outdone by the old gal, QEII and Phil the Greek beamed down from the mothership for some Aussie lovin'.

1965 - Esso-BHP struck gas, and later oil, at the Barracouta well in Bass Strait.

1965 - The editorial in The Australian on this day highlighted the need for all Aussies to face up to the fact that there was (and is) widespread discrimination against Aboriginal people, both obvious and subtly covert.
(My, my, how things haven'y changed)

1966 - There was a whole lotta shakin' goin' on at the Sydney Showgrounds when The Rolling Stones shook their thang during 2 shows.

1966 - The Canberra Times reported that Charles Perkins, in his role as Manager of the Foundation for Aboriginal Affairs, had stated that unless funds were donated the foundation would be forced to close within three months.

1967 - Those Aussie teens were shockers!
Go-Set published its first anniversary issue, which carried a story about a riot at a Loved Ones concert in Tasmania at which lead singer Gerry Humphreys had his trousers completely torn off by the crowd.
*gasp*

1989 - The Oh So Fabulously Wonderfully Out There Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras was celebrated with an estimated 200,000 peeps whilst the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence carried forth a platter on which the head of raging right-wing fundamentalist bible thumping God botherer Fred Nile lounged.

2001 – Four people were killed when a landslide forced a bus into a ravine at Cradle Mountain.

2006 – Six teenagers were killed and another was injured in a hit and run accident in Cardross, near Mildura.

2006 - The Pride History Group launched its new comprehensive history web site.

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