Sunday, February 4, 2018

February 4 On This Day in Australian History

1796 - Getting a tad big for their boots soldiers from the NSW Corps gate crashed and trashed John Baughan's 'umble 'ome, with the infamous Macarthur in the lead.
A carpenter, John Baugham, who slapped together mills for the great unwashed masses to use, kept a house of ill repute with his missus and got what for when the NSW Corps put his carpentry skills to the test and pulled it down.

1801 - The whaling ship Speedy left Sydney for whaling off the south coast.

1824 - Cornelius O'Brien was a lucky fellow when ,on this day, he was given an elephant stamp AND  permission to occupy 300 acres at Bulli.

1833 - James Lockhard was Hanged at Sydney for the murder of Murdoch Campbell in the Narellan area.

1846 - John Phillips was Hanged at Oatlands for setting fire to the magistrate's oatstacks following a conviction for sly grog selling.

1856 - The Brigantine Occator was blown ashore near North West Cape, WA. The one passenger and eight crew landed on Morion’s Island about 56 nautical miles from the wreck. Finding it deserted they decided to return to the ship to recover more water; about forty Aborigines menaced them with spears and stones, but a shot fired from the passenger’s gun scared them away. Four days later they reached Shark Bay and landed on Dirk Hartog Island. They were rescued by the schooner Favourite.

1859 - The schooner, Iris, was wrecked in rising winds when she drifted stern first onto the rocks at Bicheno, Tasmania.

1862 - Murder at Government House!
No, not an Agatha Christie novel but actually true!
 An auction was held in the ballroom of Government House, (Adelaide) . The Governor, Sir Richard MacDonnell, was returning to England and the sale was of some of the household's effects. Late in the afternoon a man entered the house, approached Inspector Richard Pettinger, who was in the lobby, and shot him in the head from short range with a pistol he had concealed under a black cloth. The Inspector, aged 32, died within a few minutes. The man was arrested outside the house shortly after; his wife was also charged with being an accessory before the fact.At the trial, the following week, it was revealed that the accused had been in the police force for a period but had left and, at the time of the murder, both he and his wife were employed at Government House. The man obviously held a grudge against the Inspector and had visited his home, behind the Police Barracks on North Terrace, earlier on the day of the murder, but finding he was not there had gone to Government House.
The jury found the wife not guilty of any offence and she was acquitted. The man was found guilty and sentenced to death. He was hanged at Adelaide Gaol on 11 March 1862. Inspector Pettinger was buried at St Matthew's at Kensington.

1874 - Mark Bell became the first Currency Born Lad to be awarded the Victoria Cross.

1875 - The Main Western Railway Line (NSW) opened from Raglan - Kelso.

1885 - Near Launceston the river steamer Empress of India struck the wreck of the cutter Ruth, which was evidently lying in shallow water, and lost her rudder. The steamer Tamar was then directed to haul the cutter out of the fairway.

1887 - The QLD choo-choo reached Wallangarra on the NSW border, allowing Banana Benders and Cockroaches to mingle freely.

1890 - The railway line from Terang to Mortlake (Vic)  opened.

1890 - And the other side of the track, Terang to Port Fairy (Vic) was opened.

1898 - Cyclone Eline caused considerable damage around Mackay.

1899 - The Richmond Guardian reported that the Public Works Committee had a knees up and decided that new steel tram plates weren't needed right at that moment so they declined the kind offer of scones, jam, tram plates and cream from James McEwan.

1913 - The North Coast Railway Line (NSW) was opened from Dungog - Taree.

1927 - The Berrima Branch Railway Line (NSW) was opened from Berrima Junction to Berrima Colliery.

1933 - The schooner Minnie was lost near the Fitzroy River, WA.

1939 - The first-ever mass strike of Aboriginal people in Australia occurred, called the Cummeragunja Walk-off. Over 150 Aboriginal people packed-up and left Cummeragunja Aboriginal Station in protest at the cruel treatment and exploitation of residents by the management. They walked 66kms and cross the border from New South Wales into Victoria in contravention of the rules of the New South Wales Protection Board. The opera Pecan Summer tells the story of the walk-off.

1940 - The wooden launch Snowy was lost off Sydney Heads.

1942 - Horror of Horrors ! Calamity! Authorities in Darwin announced, that due to wartime shortages, the city had run out of beer. Nooooooooooooooooooooooo!

1959 - The bean counters got their blood-thirsty teeth into the Koo Wee Rup to Bayles rail line and could almost be heard salivating when it was closed down, saving the debit side a whopping  £4,600.

1964 – Cyclone Dora struck north west Queensland.

1988 - Adelaide Gaol shut up shop for the final time today; at times it had held as many as 300 prisoners in a building which was originally designed for 140.

1993 - Oh, ho ho ho (she laughs with a not-so-jolly smirk).
The  Biggest Bunch of Wankers to grace God's Green Earth Vic Govt *cough* actually completed a compromise deal they made with tram workers by kicking the connies to the kerb removing them from trams but keeping services that were under the beady eye and chopping block of the bean counters.

 1997 - In Australia the parliament voted to begin the process of becoming a republic. A constitutional convention was planned for the fall and delegates would decide on how to put the issue to the electorate.

1998 - Maritime Union members began a strike at Webb Dock terminal in the Port of Melbourne as a political protest against their employer Patrick Stevedores leasing half the dock to the National Farmers Federation company, Producers and Consumers Stevedores.

2003 - The High Court declared Federal legislation designed to deny illegal refugees and asylum seekers the right of appeal to the Federal and High Courts as invalid.

2009 -  In northeastern Australia rain-battered residents were on alert for snakes in their bathrooms and crocodiles in the road following repeated storms that have sent local wildlife in search of dry land or a safe haven.

2012 -  Australia celebrated filmmakers Andrew Wight (52) and Mike deGruy (60)  died in a helicopter crash at Jasper's Brush. They were working on a documentary with Oscar-winning director James Cameron and National Geographic.

2013 - UNHCR released a report on the conditions in the offshore processing facility on Manus Island which similarly concluded that “the transfer of asylum-seekers to unsatisfactory temporary facilities, within a closed detention setting, and in the absence of a legal framework and functional system to assess refugee claims, do not currently meet the required international protection standards”. It also expressed concern about the situation of children transferred to Manus Island, noting that “the lack of any appropriate legal or regulatory framework for their treatment (in what UNHCR finds to be a mandatory, arbitrary and indefinite detention setting), and on-going delays in establishing any procedures to assess children’s refugee protection needs, and broader best interests, is particularly troubling”.


  1. A "currency born lad"?? Sheesh, haven't heard that description fer qite a while.
    And yep, the "currency born" lads and lasses ... quickly found that they were too tall to walk easily through the doors of "Captain Cook's Cottage" ... meh.

  2. Um ... sorry to bother you ... but there is a sort of ' personal' little known date approaching.
    The loss of B24 Liberator A72-80.

    But it's not really about them - sad as it may be ... but also the History of "Truscott Airbase".
    A shortish history ca be found on Gurgle and/or wikipedia ..
    and yep, i know; not really in your focus as it is in mine ... buuut ..
    John and Carol Beary wrote a definitive book about the details of that (forgotten?) Airbase .. now called 'Mungalalu".

  3. Ooops - 'John and Carol BEASY'