Friday, June 8, 2018

June 8 #OnThisDay in #Australian #History

1629 - After the ship Batavia came to a watery end on a coral reef of the Houtman Abrolhos, on the WA coastline, Francisco Pelsaert set off today in the ship's boat with thirty men to look for fresh water in the neighbourhood. When this search proved unsuccessful he undertook the journey to Batavia.

1805 - Trouble-maker John Macarthur, stuck in England at Her Majesty's Leisure following the trial and court martial of his fellow cronies in the Rum Rebellion against Billy Bligh, returned to NSW as a civilian after the British Govt sensibly accepted his resignation from the NSW Corps.

1821 - Elizabeth Macquarie, with hubby Lachlan in tow, meandered along the River Lachlan (named after some governor or other) towards Hobart, eyeballing a new water mill near Elizabeth Town, then tripped merrily along the River Derwent under sunny skies to Austin's Ferry, Hobart.

1835 - After he'd paddled up the Yarra, landing near what became the (former) Customs House (ironically now the Immigration Museum) Batman scribed in his Dear Diary;
"So the boat went up the large river... and... I am glad to state about six miles up found the River all good water and very deep. This will be the place for a village."
He left 3 white fellas and 5 NSW Aboriginal blokes  at the site with orders to throw together a hut and start a garden, whilst he swanned back to Launceston to brag about being the biggest land owner in the world.

1849 - The convict ship Hasemy, carrying 212 convicts "of the better classes" - our betters what should have known better! - saw the light on in Port Jackson and thought they'd pop in after La Trobe sent it packing after refusing to allow it to drop off it's cargo in Port Phillip.

1952 - NSW policewoman Sergeant Margaret Lilian Jeffrey was specially commended by the commissioner for excellent work performed in association with other policewomen in connection with the arrest and successful prosecution of Thomas Edwin Junor on a large number of charges relating to sex offences.

1855 - That oh so delightfully racist Chinese Immigration Act came into effect in Victoria which imposed a tax of 10 pounds per head of new arrival and limited the new arrivals numbers to 1 Chinese for every 10 tons of shipping. But where there's a will, there's a way and the infamous Walk From Robe To The Victorian Goldfields became legend.

1856 - Pitcairn Island's entire population of 194 bodies and souls, descendants of the Bounty Mutineers and Tahitians, was resettled on Norfolk Island. *sigh* There goes the (Fletcher) Christian neighbourhood.
Thus becoming an annual celebration dubbed Bounty Day.

1876 - The Training School for Teachers in Grote Street , Adelaide, was opened.

1886 - William Liddiard was hanged at Grafton for the murder of Pat Noonan at Wardell.

1897 - Victoria Royal Commission on State Forests and Timber Reserves: fire-protection in country districts was established. This examined the measures necessary to prevent the careless use of fire, or the spread of bush or grass fires on public and private lands.

1921 - Brilliant children's author Ivan Southall was found in the Yowie patch.

1926 - Dame Nellie Melba gave her farewell performance at Covent Garden. Three Australians sang with her in three of her best-known roles: one of them (at her insistence) was John Brownlee, making his Covent Garden début.

1928 – Charles Kingsford Smith completed the first trans-Pacific flight from the United States to Australia in the Southern Cross.

1929 - The bohemian Pakie's Club was opened by Augusta (Pakie) Macdougall  in two large rooms on the second floor of 219 Elizabeth Street. The café was fashionable for its colourful modernist decor—designed with the assistance of Walter Burley Griffin and Roy de Maistre—and for monthly international nights featuring the culture and cuisine of a particular country. Because it came to cater for struggling artists and writers, the standard fare were salads and macaroni cheese. Unlike other bohemian cafés, it did not sell sly grog.

1942 - Japanese submarine I-24 surfaced about 4 miles off the coast of Sydney. The submarine fired 10 shells with its deck gun at Sydney, six of which failed to explode with the other four causing minor damage to houses and one casualty. 
Japanese sub I-21 attempted to destroy the BHP steelworks and take out a shipyard that was no longer operational. In total 34 rounds were fired over Newcastle, causing damage to a power station and other buildings but missing the actual targets.
The gunners of Fort Scratchley opened fire with the Battery's 6-inch guns firing two salvoes on the enemy vessel, drawing fire from the submarine.  Fort Scratchley is the only coastal fortification to fire on an enemy Naval vessel.

1942 - Bankstown Airfield  Lt George Leo Cantello of the 41st Fighter Squadron received a phone call saying that Sydney was being shelled. He was the only pilot on the base at the time. He took off immediately in his P-400 Airacobra aircraft, and climbed to 1000 feet. The aircraft engine failed about two minutes after takeoff and plummeted to the ground, exploding in a ball of flame.
In 1988, the citizens of Bankstown unveiled a memorial to memory of 1st Lt Cantello as part of a Bicentennial project. It is located in Lieutenant Cantello Reserve.

1950 - Sir Thomas Blamey was promoted to field marshal. A few days later he fell gravely ill.

1950 - Paul Hasluck MP introduced a motion urging co-operation between Commonwealth and state governments in measures for ‘the social advancement as well as the protection of people of the aboriginal race’. The motion was seconded by opposition member Kim Beazley Snr and it was passed unanimously. Hasluck believed ‘the debate was significant both as the first post-war occasion on which Parliament made the future policy towards Aborigines the sole subject of a debate and as an illustration that it was a subject on which a national and non-partisan approach might be achieved’.

1951 - That great Aussie icon, The School of The Air, began broadcasting to thousands of isolated students who were being homeschooled *gasp* all over the vast land from the Flying Doctor's Base in Alice Springs.

1951 - CIA documents revealed a "conference" between then-agency director Walter Bedell Smith and Sir Keith Murdoch – father of Rupert Murdoch – and Queensland Newspapers managing editor Colin Bednall on this day.

1964 - The Minister for Defence (Hon. Shane Partridge) announced the AATTV would be increased to 83 advisers with expanded role.

1965 - HMAS Sydney arrived at Vung Tau, South Vietnam, carrying the bulk of the Australian force.

1973 - The special Aunty Jack Rox On aired on ABC-TV.
Or she'll rip yer bloody arms orf!

1976 - Frank Hardy's Melbourne-centric book Power Without Glory, made more famous for the court trials and litigation surrounding it, was produced as a mini-series by the ABC....and had many a viewer nodding along in agreement.

1976 - Tasmanian conservationist Dr Bob Brown ‘came out’ on ABC-TV.

1978 - Naomi James, a tenacious yachtswoman from The Land of The Long White Cloud (NZ) became the first gal to sail completely around the world...not counting all those convicts and goats who'd done so before her.

1983 – The first triplets resulting from in-vitro fertilization were born at the Flinders Medical Centre in Adelaide.

1983 – Homosexuality was (about bloody time!) FINALLY decriminalised in the state of New South Wales.

1994 - State of Origin NSW 14 QLD 0, MCG.
A then-record rugby league crowd of 87,161 witnessed Phil Gould's Blues dominate their counterparts in a dour spectacle that did little to turn Victorians on to the 13-a-side code.

2000 - Closing of "Lamberts" department at "Centrepoint" shopping centre store a Mackay Icon after trading for 114 years.

2002 - Only 3,000 attended the last Hand in Hand dance party Playground, held at Fox Studios. The ACON fundraiser was be dropped as a result of rising costs of public liability insurance.

2007 - A wild storm lashed Australia's east coast, killing at least five people. The Pasha Bulker, massive coal ship, was pushed onto a sand bank off the port city of Newcastle, some 90 miles north of Sydney.

2011 - The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples got the first elected board, giving Aboriginal people the first elected national representative body since the abolition of ATSIC.

2011 - Lowitja O'Donoghue, the inaugural chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, declared there was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change the constitution, stating it would be good "for the nation's soul".

2013 - Australian authorities said a boat carrying up to 60 asylum seekers has capsized in the Indian Ocean near Christmas Island. 13 bodies were so far recovered with no survivors.


  1. I firmly beleive that our Nation's Soul is STILL in need of repair.