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.

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