Tuesday, May 15, 2018

May 15 #OnThisDay in #Australian #History

1788 - The foundation stone for Government House was laid, not on the Hell Mouth as some in the UK would have us believe but in Sydney.
The convict builder James Bloodworth laid the foundations for a two-storied, six-roomed brick house destined to become the residence of all the early Governors of New South Wales, and the first permanent building to be erected in Australia.

1803 - The first public Mass under the new regulations was celebrated in Sydney, taken by Father James Dixon .

1804 - Lt-Colonel David Collins wrote to Gov King saying that in his view, 'there certainly can be no longer any advantage in maintaining an Establishment at Risdon Creek, as I am in a much more eligible situation'. Still Navy Lieutenant John Bowen continued to linger on in Hobart, and apparently rather enjoyed his last weeks there. In fact Knopwood, says that Bowen spent his time exploring, hunting and staying overnight with Martha Hayes his mistress at her farm at New Town.

1808 - Convicts seized the Harrington during the evening while the vessel lay at anchor in Port Jackson. The convicts numbered about fifty. The vessel was boarded whilst the master was on shore and the mate and twenty three of the crew were made prisoners. The ship's cables were cut, and passing the fort in the darkness the convicts cleared the harbour successfully.The Pegasus was sent in pursuit but failed to secure the pirates and returned to Sydney after an exhausting search. The names of the Harrington pirates seem never to have been identified nor the final number of those who escaped.

1809 - The Sydney Gazette resumed publication (lack of paper; no Gazette during Rum Rebellion on which overthrew Governor Bligh).

1815 - The Supreme Court unanimously adopted a rule that no attorney who had been struck off the roll should be admitted to practise before it.

1818 - Poor old Father Jeremiah O'Flynn got flung into gaol for not having the correct credentials for a priest.
Hmmph, his robes mustn't have flowed the right way or he liked the altar wine a little too much.

1819 - Lachlan Macquarie was getting his knickers in a twist when he penned;
It having been reported to me that a Banditti of about Twenty Armed Runaway Convicts had within the last two days made their appearance near the Stone-Quarry-Creek in the Cow-Pastures, I this day at 1. P.M. Sent off a Detachment of 22 Soldiers of the 48th. Regt., Commanded by Lieut. Close, with 7 days Provisons in pursuit of this Banditti, with Instructions to scour every part of the Cow Pastures, and to apprehend or destroy these Violators of the Public Peace.

1820 - Rev. John Joseph Therry wrote to Guv'ner Macquarie;
As I intend with your permission to celebrate Divine Service in Parramatta on Sunday next, and as I am not aware that any one of the Catholic inhabitants of that town possess a place adapted for it: I will feel much obliged if Your Excellency order any apartment that may be unoccupied in one of the Government stores, to be appropriated for the purpose on Sundays, until some more fit place can be provided.

1840 - Regulations had been published setting out the bounties that would be paid on various classes
of immigrants and other conditions which were to be met by those desiring to bring out immigrants to Tasmania.  Applications for immigrants were sent to the Colonial Secretary who passed them on to the Agent General for Emigration in London whose duty it was to select suitable immigrants.

1840 - South Oz settlers William Rollands and George Hall were both transported for seven years to Sydney on the ship Christina for 'stealing a quantity of bedclothes, the property of Frederick and William Allen' on 15 May 1840 in Adelaide.

1841 - Third Governor of South Australia, George Grey Esq.

1845 - The Port Phillip Patriot became a daily, Melbourne’s first.

1851 - After a story broke in the Sydney Morning Herald of the gold found in Ophir, NSW, for some odd reason a gold rush started there.

1861 - The Queensland Rifle Association was formed.

1866 - By proclamations issued on this day Thomas Clarke and Thomas Connell were declared outlaws under the Felons Apprehension Act.

1871 - George, Indigenous. Hanged at Rockhampton Gaol for the rape of Ellen Manning at Gracemere.

1877 - One of the worst of Kangaroo Island's many shipwrecks occurred in the early hours when the brig Emily Smith crashed on to rocks near Cape du Couedic. The ship, believed to be carrying 25 passengers and 14 crew, was on a voyage from Albany, Western Australia to Port Adelaide.
Most of her complement were trapped below decks, but miraculously five men and a woman, clinging to wreckage, managed to get ashore. From there they began a nightmare journey along the coast seeking help.
After six hours the woman and a youth fell exhausted. Four days later three wan, bedraggled Asiatic sailors reached Cape Borda Lighthouse. The search party observed bodies in the sea from the cliffs, but the three who expired on the walk were not found until many years later when a skeleton was discovered near an abandoned homestead.

1879 - A series of waves recorded at Fort Denison, Sydney Harbour due to the effects of a tsunami of unknown origin.

1882 - The Gwabegar Railway Line (NSW) was opened from Jct (Wallerawang) to Capertee.

1885 - William Barnes was anged at Melbourne Gaol for the murder of Joe Slack at South Melbourne.

1888 - Louisa Lawson's monthly magazine, Dawn, began publication. The mother of Henry Lawson, Louisa was writer, editor and publisher.

1888 - The rail line from Lilydale to Yarra Glen (Vic) was flung open with glee.

1894 - The Murwillumbah Railway Branch Line (NSW) was opened from Lismore to Mullumbimby.

1917 - The Rushworth to Girgarre Railway Line (Vic) was opened.

1917 - 1917 – Port Adelaide electric tramway system servicing Semaphore, Rosewater and Albert Park opened 3 April; service to Largs opened today.

1918 - The Aberdare Central Railway Branch Line (NSW) was opened from Aberdare Central Junction to Aberdare Central Colliery.

1924 - The Chullora to Sefton Goods Railway Line (NSW) was opened from Chullora South Junction to Sefton Park South Junction, and from Chullora North Junction to Chullora West Junction.

1928 - The Inland Mission's Flying Doctor Service began from Cloncurry in Qld. And they're still buzzing about up in the skies today.

1928 - A former senior officer of the First AIF, Brigadier-General James Cannan, convened a meeting with the aim of forming a Legacy Club, which became Legacy Brisbane.

1933 - The Corporation and the District Council amalgamated on this day to become known as the District Council of Gladstone.
That's in Crow Eater country, in case you actually cared.

1935 - On an airmail flight to NZ Southern Cross pilot Kingsford-Smith developed engine trouble and P.G Taylor climbed out under the wing to transfer oil from one engine to another for which he was awarded the Empire Gallantry Medal (later renamed the George Cross).
Pfft, show off!

1944 - Another good reason to keep Beaked Backyard Biatches... Due to war time rationing there were only 1-2 eggs per household each week and the milk supply was steadily decreasing in Melbourne. ..though it might be a little crowded with the cow squeezed in beside the pool, spa, tennis court, trampoline and entertainment area these days.

1957 - Monbulk Preserves Pty Ltd, formerly titled  D. Camm & Sons Pty Ltd. , then Camms Jams Pty Ltd, was registered as a public company.

1969 -  After a complex legal battle that had gone to the High Court of Australia, tram conductor and union official Clarrie O’Shea’s branch of the union was fined $8100 for strike action. He refused to pay and, on this day, Judge (Sir John) Kerr found him guilty of contempt of the Commonwealth Industrial Court and fined him $500. Again O’Shea refused to pay and was gaoled. Unions called protest stoppages in all mainland States on the following Monday. Two days later, with calls for a national stoppage mounting, a Sydney lottery winner, Dudley Macdougall, paid both fines, ‘to help the general public and the country’.

1982 – In the middle of the Franklin Dam dispute, the Labor government of Harry Holgate was voted out in Tasmania and replaced by the Liberal Party, led by Robin Gray.

1983 - : Representatives from over 20 gay groups in Sydney, including the Gays Counselling Service, Gay Rights Lobby, Gay Solidarity Group, Radical Women, the Metropolitan Community Church and the Gay Business Association, responded to the call for blood donor bans and the bad reception of the picket of the blood bank, by meeting and establishing an AIDS Action Committee. [This later became the AIDS Council of NSW or ACON].

1984 - A gay community rally was held at Parliament House.

 1984  - The Festival of Light held a rally in Macquarie Street.

 1984 - A debate on homosexual law reform was held in the Legislative Assembly.

1989 – Bond University, the first private university in Australia, opened.

1995 - The coast of NSW was getting a good scrub-a-dub-dub on this day due to the effects of a tsunami that began in New Caledonia.

2006 - A Sydney study, published in AIDS, showed that HIV-negative gay men were increasingly selecting other HIV-negative men for unprotected casual anal sex. The practice of deliberately selecting partners of the same HIV status is called “sero-sorting”. Investigators caution that sero-sorting by men who assume that they are HIV-negative may be highly problematic.

2007 - The Royal Australasian College of Physicians, which advises against circumcision, deeming it unnecessary, was reviewing its stance, as internationally, circumcision was making a comeback following research which showed the procedure can reduce the risk of HIV infection.

2010 - Jessica Watson (16) became the youngest person to sail around the globe solo, nonstop and unassisted when she cruised into Sydney Harbor in her pink, 34-foot (10m) yacht to a rock star welcome of thousands. Her feat will not be considered an official world record, because the World Speed Sailing Record Council discontinued its "youngest" category.

2012 - Australian researchers said a mystery liver disease, thought to be caused by introduced weeds, is causing hairy-nosed wombats in southern Australia to go bald and die.

2012 - Honourable Fiona Simpson MP was elected as Queensland's first female Speaker.

2014 - 69 year old gay activist, Lance Gowland and the Flotilla of Hope set sail to Nauru as a gesture of support to asylum seekers on the island.

2016 -  Australians cheered contestant and juries' favorite Dami Im for placing second at the annual Eurovision song contest in Sweden.

2017 - Hard demolition began on former Executive building clearing the way for Queen's Wharf Brisbane.


  1. If only the Catholic Church was still quick to jail those who don't have the correct credentials. Sadly in some areas child molestation seemed to be quite correct.
    Hooray for Lance Gowland and the Flotilla of Hope.

    1. Damn church is hell bent on crucifying anyone who besmirches the organisation instead of uplifting people.

    2. Damn church is hell bent on crucifying anyone who besmirches the organisation instead of uplifting people.

  2. How I do recall some of those happenings.
    Great read.

    1. Thanks, Margaret!
      Did you get Gov Phillips autograph at the foundation stone laying? (just kidding!!)