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Post Info TOPIC: Today in History


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RE: Today in History


Also grew up on Robinson Crusoe, The Gorilla Hunters, And Treasure Island. We also saw the pictures like Prince Valiant. That convinced us to try Jousting. We (kid from another farm and I ) got a dustbin lid and sharpened up a couple of gum tree branches and mounted our horses and tried to joust. Fortunately the horses were wiser than us and veered away from the danger. Oh the memories. Thanks John. 



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December 20 Today in History


Gday...

1860  -             South Carolina becomes the first US state to secede from the Union, ultimately sparking the Civil War.

The first African slaves arrived in north America in 1526, and though the practice of slavery took many years to become popular, it thrived under British colonialism. On 1 January 1808 American Congress voted to ban further importation of slaves, but children of slaves automatically became slaves themselves. There was no legislation against the internal US slave trade, or against the involvement in the international slave trade and the outfitting of ships for that trade by US citizens.

Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States, did not favour abolition of slavery, but he opposed its expansion into new territories and states in the American West. It was this issue that led to the secession of the southern states to form the Confederate States of America, and ultimately also led to the Civil War. On 20 December 1860, South Carolina became the first state to secede. Within a few weeks, six other states also seceded, collectively forming the Confederate States of America. When the Civil War erupted, another four states joined the Confederacy.

1894  -             Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, twelfth and longest-serving Prime Minister of Australia, is born.

Robert Gordon Menzies was born in the Victorian town of Jeparit on 20 December 1894. In 1928 he entered politics after being elected to Victorias Legislative Council for East Yarra. After six years in Victorian state politics as Attorney-General and Minister for Railways (192834), he was elected to federal parliament as member for Kooyong. On 18 April 1939, he was elected leader of the United Australia Party following the death of Joseph Lyons eleven days earlier, and became Prime Minister on 26 April 1939.

On 28 August 1941, party dissension led Menzies to resign as Prime Minister. However, after forming the Liberal Party of Australia from the remnants of the UAP in 1944, Menzies regrouped to become Prime Minister for the second time on 19 December 1949 when the new Liberal Party, in coalition with the Country Party, beat Labor. He then remained as Prime Minister for another 16 years, a record which has not been broken in Australian politics. He retired in 1966, and died in 1978.

1922  -             Geoff "Tangletongue" Mack, who wrote the iconic Australian song "I've Been Everywhere", is born.

"Tullamore, Seymour, Lismore, Mooloolaba, Nambour, Maroochydore, Kilmore, Murwillumbah, Birdsville, Emmaville, Wallaville, Cunnamulla, Condamine, Strathpine, Proserpine, Ulladulla, Darwin, Gin Gin, Deniliquin, Muckadilla, Wallumbilla, Boggabilla, Kumbarilla"

This is just one verse of Geoff Mack's greatest claim to fame: the song "I've Been Everywhere", which incorporates dozens of uniquely Australian place names and earned him the nickname of "Tangletongue".

Albert Geoffrey McElhinney, better known as Geoff Mack, is a country music singer and songwriter. He was born on 20 December 1922 in Surrey Hills, Victoria, Australia. Mack's musical career developed during World War II, after he had enlisted in the RAAF and was serving in Borneo. His ability to sing and play the guitar was used to entertain the troops and visitors. After the war, he performed with the Occupation Forces, and was appointed to Radio WLKS as the voice of the British Commonwealth Occupation Forces.

Written in 1959, "Ive Been Everywhere" became a hit when singer Lucky Starr released a version he recorded, in 1962. that same year, Mack was called upon to write a version using American and Canadian names: this single became a #1 hit in America. The song has now been recorded in 131 different versions, with arguably its most famous version included on Johnny Cash's 1996 album "Unchained".

Mack has received numerous awards and commendations. He was inducted into the International Songwriters Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee in 1963, into the Hands of Fame at Tamworth NSW in 1978, and he received the Tamworth Song Writer's Association Song Maker Award in 1997. As well, he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2005 for his service to country music, and his support of community and senior citizens' groups. More place names included in "Tangletongue's" work are:

Moree, Taree, Jerilderie, Bambaroo, Toowoomba, Gunnedah, Caringbah, Woolloomooloo, Dalveen, Tamborine, Engadine, Jindabyne, Lithgow, Casino, Brigalow, Narromine, Megalong, Wyong, Tuggeranong, Wanganella, Morella, Augathella, Brindabella, Wollongong, Geelong, Kurrajong, Mullumbimby, Mittagong, Molong, Grong Grong, Goondiwindi, Yarra Yarra, Boroondara, Wallangarra, Turramurra, Boggabri, Gundagai, Narrabri, Tibooburra, Gulgong, Adelong, Billabong, Cabramatta, Parramatta, Wangaratta, Coolangatta

And there is still another verse ...        

1942  -             During World War II, the Japanese bomb Calcutta.

Calcutta, also known as Kolkata since 2001, is situated in eastern India in the Ganges Delta. With a population in excess of 15 million, it is India's third-largest city and the world's 14th largest metropolitan area.

The arrival of the British East India Company in 1690 had a profound effect on future development of the city. With India subject to British Imperialism, Calcutta was the centre of the revolutionary movement for India's independence. During World War II, there was a strong British Defence force presence in the city. Consequently, it came under frequent attack by the Japanese.

The first attack on Calcutta took place on 20 December 1942. Docks, airfields and shipping were the main targets in this, the first of many air-raids. The longer term effects of these raid, which spread over several days, were that many food grain shops were forced to close down, providing a catalyst to the widespread famine of 1943. Whilst the bombing resulted in casualties, far more of the Indian population died as a result of the famine that followed.

1957  -             The "King of Rock 'n' Roll", Elvis Presley, receives his draft notice.

Elvis Aaron Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, on 8 January 1935. He began learning the guitar at age 11, and often busked around the Lauderdale Courts public housing development, where he lived during his teen years. At age 20, he signed with RCA records, and began to make the music charts regularly. During the course of his career, he had 146 Hot 100 hits, 112 top 40 hits, 72 top 20 hits and 40 top 10 hits. A strong television exposure followed, with appearances on shows such as the Ed Sullivan Show. His next step was movies: between 1956 and 1969, Elvis Presley starred in 31 films.

On 20 December 1957, Elvis Presley received his draft notice to join the U.S. Army for National Service. Presley was sworn in as a private in the U.S. Army on 24 March 1958. He was sent to basic training in Fort Hood, Texas, after which he was shipped to Germany, where he served in Company D, 32nd Tank Battalion, 3rd Armor Corps, from 1 October 1958 to 1 March 1960.

1991  -             Archaeologists announce the discovery of a fleet of 5,000 year old Egyptian royal ships buried 13km from the River Nile.

On 20 December 1991, American and Egyptian archaeologists announced that they had discovered a fleet of 5,000 year old Egyptian royal ships. In itself, this was not unusual: what was unusual was the fact that the ships were buried in the desert at Abydos, about 13km from the River Nile. The wooden vessels, discovered in September of that year, were estimated to be between 15 and 21m long. Twelve boats were located in the initial discovery; to date, at least fourteen have been excavated.

The ships were found lying in formation adjacent to a gigantic mud-brick enclosure, thought to have been the mortuary temple of the Second Dynasty Pharaoh Khasekhemwy. In 2000, however, archaeologists determined that the ships were buried prior to the construction of the funerary enclosure. Originally coated with mud plaster and whitewash, they were most likely intended for the afterlife of a First Dynasty Pharaoh.

Cheers - John



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RE: Today in History


Thanks John - from yesterdays comments - I have to agree with the others Coral Island and The Gorilla Hunters were my favourite books when I was growing up I think I still remember the characters names Ralph, Peterkin and Jack some 50 years later. I didn't mind books like Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn and even some of the Biggles yarns either. Back in the 80s I used to get the same sort of sense of adventure reading Wilbur Smith's earlier novels.



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December 21 Today in History


Gday...

[been wandering around ... no internet .. got some this morning]

1140  -             Today marks the start of the legend of the Castle of the Faithful Wives.

Weinsberg is an historic town in southern Germany which was once the site of a long seige. Legend has it that the Duke of Welf inadvertently offended King Konrad III, who proceeded to berate the Duke in front of his own men. Humiliated by the incident, the Duke stormed from the castle, declaring he would never again pay any tribute (tax) to the royal crown. Consequently, the King sent an army to surround the Duke's castle with the intent to force the surrender of his entire estate.

Unbeknownst to the King, the Duke was well stocked with both secret tunnels and supplies and was therefore able to wait out the seige for many weeks. The King's men eventually discovered all secret entrances and tunnels, and barricaded the family and workers inside the castle. Threatening to set the entire village of Weinsberg alight, the King demanded the surrender of the men, although the wives and children would be free to leave.

On the morning of 21 December 1140, the women sent a message to the King, requesting that they be permitted to take whatever they could carry with them. The King agreed to these terms, not anticipating any difficulties. When the women exited the castle, the wives were carrying their husbands, while single women carried brothers or fathers. Dumbfounded, the King permitted them to leave in this way, refusing to dishonour his own promise.

In gratitude at the King's integrity, the Duke and his entire estate renewed their pledges of allegiance to the King. King Konrad III renamed the castle "The Castle of the Faithful Wives," the name by which it is still known today.

1620  -             The Pilgrim ship 'Mayflower' arrives at Plymouth Rock in North America.

The 'Mayflower' was the first ship containing emigrants to arrive on American shores. It departed Plymouth, England, on 6 September 1620 with 102 men, woman and children passengers. This group was known as the Pilgrims. The Pilgrims departed England because of their desire for religious freedom. All religion in England was strictly dictated by the government, and all were required to conform to such dictates and restrictions. Individual beliefs and forms of worship were actively discouraged, by jailing, torture or, at worst, execution.

On 21 December 1620, the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock in southeastern Massachusetts. They established a settlement that became the seat of Plymouth Colony in 1633 and part of Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1691.

1817  -             Governor Macquarie recommends the use of the name 'Australia' instead of New Holland for the continent.

The first known Europeans to set foot on Australias shores were the Dutch, doing so over 150 years before English explorer James Cook ever sighted eastern Australia. In 1642, Abel Tasman sighted and named Van Diemens Land. After Tasman had established in 1644 that the continent was separate from other land masses to the north, south and east, he referred to the entire continent as Nova Hollandia, rather than the previously used Terra Australis Incognita, meaning unknown southern land. Thus, the continent became known as New Holland, a name recognised by other European explorers, including the first English visitor, William Dampier, in 1688.

Although the continent was known as New Holland, James Cook claimed the eastern seaboard for Great Britain under the name of New South Wales. When Governor Phillip arrived with the First Fleet, he was instructed to extend the claim further west, but the western half remained known as New Holland.

In 1802-1803, explorer Matthew Flinders circumnavigated the entire continent, making meticulous observations while charting the coastline. In a letter he wrote to the British Admiralty from the island of Mauritius in 1804, Flinders used the name "Australia" rather than "Terra Australis" or "New Holland". Some years after his exploration, Flinders wrote an account of his voyages just after his return to England. "A Voyage to Terra Australis" was published in July 1814, just before Flinders died. It was in this account that Flinders proposed that the name "Terra Australis" should be adopted for the southern continent. In the introduction to A Voyage to Terra Australis", Flinders wrote: 'Had I permitted myself any innovation upon the original term, it would have been to convert it into Australia; as being more agreeable to the ear, and as an assimilation to the names of the other great portions of the earth.'

Discussion still ensued upon the naming of the continent. In an official despatch dated 21 December 1817, then-Governor of New South Wales, Lachlan Macquarie, recommended Flinders proposal that the continent should be named Australia, rather than New Holland. The name was later officially adopted by the British Admiralty in 1824.

1837  -             Eyre attempts the first overlanding venture from Sydney to South Australia.

Edward John Eyre was born on 5 August 1815 in Hornsea, Yorkshire. After coming to Australia, he gained valuable bush skills whilst droving cattle overland from Sydney through to the Liverpool Plains, Molonglo and Port Phillip. He was keen to open new stock routes through the country, and aimed to be the first to overland cattle from Sydney to the fledgling colony of South Australia.

On 21 December 1837, Eyre departed from Limestone Plains where Canberra now stands, with one thousand sheep and six hundred cattle. His route took him first to Melbourne where he replenished his supplies, then he hoped to head directly west to Adelaide, thus avoiding returning along the better-known route of the Murray River. Conditions were difficult, with the countryside in the grip of late summer drought, and he was beaten back by the impenetrable mallee country of western Victoria. Eyre was forced to retrace his steps to the Murray River. The overlanding venture ended up covering close to 2,500 kilometres and took nearly seven months. Because of his unsuccessful short-cut, Eyre was not the first to overland cattle to South Australia: he was beaten by drovers Joseph Hawdon and Charles Bonney.

1894  -             The South Australian government becomes one of the first in the world to grant women the right to vote.

Women in South Australia gained the right to vote in 1894, and voted for the first time in the election of 1896. It is generally recognised that this right occurred with the passing of a Bill on 18 December 1894. However, a letter from the Attorney-General advising Governor Kintore that Royal Assent would be required to enact the Bill, is dated 21 December 1894. The Bill was enacted when Queen Victoria gave Royal Assent on 2 February 1895.

South Australia was the first colony in Australia and only the fourth place in the world where women gained the vote. The issue of women voting had been discussed since the 1860s, but gained momentum following the formation of the Women's Suffrage League at Gawler Place in 1888. Between 1885 and 1894, six Bills were introduced into Parliament but not passed. The final, successful Bill was passed in 1894, but initially included a clause preventing women from becoming members of Parliament. Ironically, the clause was removed thanks to the efforts of Ebenezer Ward, an outspoken opponent of women's suffrage. It seems that Ward hoped the inclusion of women in Parliament would be seen as so ridiculous that the whole Bill would be voted out. The change was accepted, however, allowing the women of South Australia to gain complete parliamentary equality with men.

1988  -             Pan Am Flight 103 explodes over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270.

In the evening of 21 December 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 from London to New York crashed 38 minutes after take-off. The plane was at an altitude of 31,000 feet when a bomb hidden inside an audio cassette player detonated inside the cargo area. All 259 aboard the plane were killed, together with another 11 on the ground who died as the debris showered down. A large portion of the plane crashed into a petrol station in central Lockerbie, exploding into a 90m fireball. Aeroplane parts were scattered across 1,360 square kilometres and the impact from the crash reached 1.6 on the Richter scale.

After several years of investigation, Libyan intelligence agents Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah were identified as suspects. When Libya refused to hand over the suspects to be tried in the USA, the United Nations imposed sanctions against Libya. The sanctions were only lifted when Libyan leader Colonel Gadhafi agreed to turn the suspects over to Scotland for trial in the Netherlands using Scottish law and prosecutors. Following a three month trial, Abdel Basett ali al-Megrahi was jailed for life in January 2001. His alleged accomplice, Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, was found not guilty.

Cheers - John



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December 22 Today in History


Gday...

877  -   The tradition of the Twelve Days of Christmas begins.

King Alfred the great ruled England from ruled 871-899. He was considered a powerful, fair king who defended Anglo-Saxon England from Viking raids, established consistent, fair and just laws, emphasised the importance of genuinely pious religious observance and promoted interest in education and scholarly pursuits.

Alfred was born at Watange in the historic county of Berkshire, now Oxfordshire, in 847. At age five he was sent to Rome where, legend states, he was confirmed by Pope Leo IV who "anointed him as king." Alfred is revered as a Saint in the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church and is regarded as a hero of the Christian Church in the Anglican Communion, being honoured with a feast day on 26 October.

On 22 December 877, King Alfred the Great passed a law that stated no servant had to work during the 12 days of celebration which followed Midwinter. This coincided approximately with the 12 Days of Christmas instigated by Christians to replace the pagan festival of Saturnalia.

1817  -             Phillip Parker King sets off to map the northern coast of Australia uncharted by Flinders.

Phillip Parker King, eldest son of Governor King, the third Governor of Australia, was born on Norfolk Island in 1791. He entered the Portsmouth Naval Academy in Britain, but it was his introduction to Matthew Flinders which engendered an enthusiam to discover more of Australia's coastline. In 1817, King was given command of an expedition to complete the exploration of the north-western coast of Australia, filling in the gaps that Flinders had not yet mapped. He was instructed to explore all gulfs, inlets and other waterways "likely to lead to an interior navigation into this great continent".

King set out on 22 December 1817 in the cutter "Mermaid". Also on board was botanist and future explorer Allan Cunningham. King sailed via Bass Strait to North West Cape before commencing his survey along the coast towards Arnhem Land. During the four journeys that King ultimately made off the northern and north-western coasts, he named Port Essington and Buccaneer's Archipelago (after Dampier), proved Melville Island was indeed an island, and charted the coastline. He also surveyed the west coast from Rottnest Island to Cygnet Bay, in King George the Third's Sound, now King George Sound, and the entrance to Macquarie Harbour, Tasmania.

1845  -             Land for the first gold mine in Australia is purchased.

The first recorded gold discovery in Australia was in 1823 by James McBrien who discovered flecks of alluvial gold in the Fish River of New South Wales. Further traces of gold were discovered in areas of the Blue Mountains in the ensuing decades. Early discoveries of gold were kept secret as it was feared that the promise of easy wealth would incite riots amongst the convicts. Further, discoveries were usually made by settlers who did not want their valuable sheep and cattle properties to be degraded by the sudden influx of prospectors and lawlessness that would inevitably follow. There was little incentive to report gold finds in the early 1800s, as all gold was owned by the government, and would not provide any personal gains. However, some enterprising individuals still saw the value in prospecting, realising the benefits of minerals and metals as the Australian colonies grew.

Captain Charles Sturt, whose charting of the Murray River was a significant catalyst to the establishment of the southern colony, was among the first to recognise the likelihood of mineral wealth in the ranges of South Australia. His claims were backed by German immigrant Johannes Menge, who was employed by the South Australian Company as their Mine and Quarry Agent and Geologist. The men were proven correct when silver was discovered at Glen Osmond in 1841 and copper and traces of gold were discovered at Montacute in 1842. On the back of these discoveries, on 22 December 1845 Frederick Wicksteed, on behalf of the Victoria Mining Company, paid 799 pounds for 147 acres at Montacute, to be used for copper mining.

Within a few months of opening in 1846, the investment paid off. Captain John Terrill discovered high quality gold, and the copper mine became Australias first gold mine, five years before gold was officially discovered in New South Wales.

1858  -             Italian operatic composer Giacomo Puccini is born.

Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini was born on 22 December 1858 in Lucca, Italy. He descended from a long line of musicians, so from a young age was instructed in piano and organ in Lucca, later going on to study at the Milan Conservatory. He is best known for the operas he composed, beginning with the one-act opera "Le Villi" in 1884. Later operas included "Manon Lescaut" in 1893, "La Bohčme" in 1896, "Tosca" in 1900, "Madama Butterfly" in 1904, "La Fanciulla del West" (The Girl of the Golden West) in 1910 and "Turandot", which was produced posthumously and incomplete in 1926. His rich orchestration and expressive melodies have earned him the reputation as a composer of some of music's greatest and most famous operas. Despite receiving treatment for throat cancer, Puccini died in Brussels, Belgium, in 1924.

1933  -             The 'Mad Gasser of Roanoke' makes his first attack.

The 'Mad Gasser of Roanoke' was a mysterious character who ran amok in Botetourt County, Virginia, spraying poisonous gas into resident's windows, making them violently ill. His (or her) first attack occurred on 22 December 1933, at the home of Cal Huffman in the small country town of Haymakertown in western Botetourt County. Around 10pm, Mr Huffman's wife noticed a strong odour and became slightly nauseated. The smell returned half an hour later and again at 1am. At this time, the Huffman's daughter Alice became so ill that a doctor had to resuscitate her. A neighbour reported seeing a shadowy figure running away from the house and a woman's high heel shoe print was found under the window where the gasser had stood.

The second gassing occurred in Cloverdale, where Mr Clarence Hall returned home with his family after a Christmas Eve church service to find his house filled with poisonous fumes. The gasser struck several more times over the next two months. The final incident was on 11 February 1934, after which the whole series of attacks was dismissed as mere hysteria. The perpetrator, if there was one, was never caught.

1989  -             A bus crash in Kempsey, New South Wales, kills 35 people.

In the early hours of 22 December 1989, two tourist coaches were involved in a head-on collision at Clybucca Flat, twelve kilometres north of Kempsey, New South Wales. The McCafferty's Sydney-bound coach impacted five rows back into the cabin of the TransCity Brisbane-bound coach. Both drivers were killed instantly, another 33 passengers died, and 41 more were injured. A coroner's inquest found that neither coach was speeding at the time of the crash, and there were no mechanical faults present in either vehicle. The inquiry ultimately found that the driver of the Sydney-bound coach fell asleep at the wheel and failed to negotiate a left-hand bend on the highway, causing the bus to cross to the wrong side of the road.

A contributing factor to the high death toll was the fact that the impact snapped seats from their anchor bolts so that both seats and passengers were hurled about the vehicles with tremendous force. Subsequently, the report from the inquiry recommended research to improve coach seating, seat anchorages and seatbelts. Better emergency exits for coaches were also recommended, as rescuers were unable to enter the wreckage immediately because the exits were 2.4m above the ground.

1989  -             The Brandenburg Gate between East and West Berlin is opened for the first time in nearly thirty years.

Berlin, the capital city of Germany, was divided following World War II. With the development of the Cold War, tensions began to increase between the Soviet Union which controlled the East, and the western allies which controlled West Berlin. The border between East and West Germany was closed in 1952, but people continued to defect from East Germany via West Berlin. On 13 August 1961, construction commenced on a wall to separate the East and Western halves of Berlin. Ultimately, the wall included over 300 watchtowers, 106km of concrete and 66.5km of wire fencing completely surrounding West Berlin and preventing any access from East Germany. Even the famous landmark, the Brandenburg Gate, commissioned by Friedrich Wilhelm II in 1791 to represent peace, was incorporated into the wall.

The wall remained as a barrier between East and West until 1989, when the collapse of communism led to its fall. On 9 November 1989, an international peace conference began in East Berlin. At the conclusion of the peace conference, greater freedom of travel was announced for people of the German Democratic Republic. At midnight, the East German government allowed gates along the Wall to be opened after hundreds of people converged on crossing points. Many people then took to the wall with hammers and chisels, dismantling it piece by piece. On 22 December 1989, the Brandenburg Gate was once again opened, effectively ending the division of East and West Germany.

Cheers - John



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December 23 Today in History


Gday...

1888  -             Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh deliberately cuts off his own ear.

Vincent Willem van Gogh was born on 30 March 1853 in Zundert, in the southern Netherlands. Generally considered (posthumously) one of the greatest and most prolific painters in European history, he suffered a mental breakdown after only ten years working as an artist.

The story goes that on the evening of 23 December 1888, Van Gogh cut off the lower half of his left ear and took it to a brothel, where he presented it to a prostitute friend. The reason for this unusual behaviour has been theorised upon by many; the most likely cause was that it was the result of an argument with his painter friend Paul Gauguin, although that does not explain his bizarre behaviour. Regardless of the reason, shortly after this incident, van Gogh admitted himself to a mental institution. Two years later, suffering from severe depression, Van Gogh shot himself in the chest and died two days later, on 29 July, 1890.

1893  -             The South Australian Parliament gives assent to the Act which supports the founding of communal settlements, or village settlements, most of which are built along the Murray River.

When Great Britain colonised New South Wales in 1788, it was already aware of Frances interest in the continent. Thus, it sought to consolidate its claim by establishing further colonies in the south and, later, the north and west. Explorer Matthew Flinders was the first European to investigate the possibilities for settlement on the coast of what is now South Australia, doing so in 1802. The exploration of Captain Charles Sturt to chart the inland rivers led to him discovering that the Murray River was a mighty, navigable waterway which emptied into the ocean off the southern coast. This was a further catalyst to the establishment of a colony on the southern coast. Consequently, the British authorities moved to establish an official colony, which would be known as South Australia. The South Australia Act, enabling the founding of the colony of South Australia, was passed by British Parliament in 1834. The colony of South Australia was officially proclaimed in England two years later, in February 1836, and then in South Australia itself in December of that year, several months after the arrival of the first settlers in July.

The driest colony in the continent, South Australia utilised the Murray River as effectively as it could. Paddle steamers carried goods and passengers along the river between Goolwa and the eastern states, and river ports along its course played a vital role in trade. However, economic depression hit the Australian colonies in the 1890s, and the colonial governments sought ways to combat the effects. One of the means established by the South Australian government, under Premier Charles Cameron Kingston, was the establishment of communal settlements, known as village settlements. The scheme saw unemployed people from Adelaide resettled on the land, where it was hoped the villages would become self-sufficient. Within each settlement was to be a village association which would be governed by socialist-based rules allowing for the division of labour amongst the villagers, the distribution of profits and the regulation of industry and trade. Initially, coupons were used for currency, rather than a monetary system. The government granted each of the settlers an advance to establish agricultural production, with the first instalment of the repayment to be paid within three years. The Crown Lands Amendment Act, which included provision for village settlements, was introduced to parliament on 8 August 1893 and given assent on 23 December 1893.

In all, thirteen village settlements were founded in South Australia. Most of them were along the Murray River and included Lyrup, Waikerie, Holder, Pyap, Kingston, Gillen, New Era, Moorook, Murtho, Ramco and New Residence. Each village settlement floundered for a variety of reasons, usually the inability of the settlers to work communally, and the scheme in all settlements was disbanded by 1903. However, some of these settlements thrived as agricultural centres once the regions were incorporated into the respective Irrigation Areas in the early 20th century and land was leased to individuals.

1906  -             Australian invention, the surf lifesaving reel, is demonstrated for the first time.

Australia is a land of innovations and inventions: many of them developed out of necessity due to Australia's unusual or harsh conditions and environment. One such invention is the surf lifesaving reel.

The world's first lifesaving clubs were spawned in Australia, when the Bronte Beach Surf Club was formed in 1903. Early rescue equipment was primitive, being a simple pole in the sand with a coiled rope attached. In 1906, Lyster Ormsby of the Bondi Surf Bathers Lifesaving Club modelled the design he felt could be implemented, using a cotton reel and bobby pins. Ormsby's design intended for a lifesaver wearing a belt with a rope attached to reach a distressed swimmer, and be pulled back to the beach by his fellow lifesavers.

A full-scale working model taken from the original design was built by Sgt John Bond of Victoria Barracks in Paddington. Later, this was improved upon by Sydney coachbuilder G H Olding. The first surf lifesaving reel is believed to have been demonstrated on 23 December 1906 at Bondi Beach, although some sources say this occurred in March 1907. Local legend states that the first person to be saved by a lifesaver using a reel, rope and belt was an eight year old boy by the name of Charlie Kingsford-Smith, who later became one of Australia's most famous aviators.

The surf lifesaving reel was popularly used until 1993, when 'Rubber Duckies', inflatable boats with outboard motors, came into use.

1970  -             Construction of the World Trade Center (Twin Towers) in New York reaches its highest point.

The World Trade Center in New York City was a complex of seven buildings, designed by American architect Minoru Yamasaki, near the south end of Manhattan in the financial district. The World Trade Center was dominated by the Twin Towers. Tower One, the North Tower, featured a huge antenna and stood 417 m high, while Tower Two, the South Tower, was 415 m high and contained the observation deck which gave a view extending over 70km. On 23 December 1970, construction of the Twin Towers reached its highest point. The towers were completed in 1972 and 1973 and at the time were the tallest buildings on Earth. Within a few years, however, Chicago's Sears Tower at a height of 442m surpassed the record held by the Twin Towers.

On 11 September 2001, the Twin Towers were destroyed when two planes hijacked by terrorists crashed into the towers. Thousands were killed in the resultant fires and collapse of the once-proud buildings.

1972  -             Between 5,000 and 10,000 are killed as an earthquake hits Nicaragua.

The country of Nicaragua lies in Central America. It is bordered on the north by Honduras, on the south by Costa Rica, on the west by the Pacific Ocean, and on the east side by the Caribbean Sea. The capital city, Managua, and the two largest cities, Leon and Granada, lie in the Pacific lowlands where volcanic eruptions and earthquakes are common.

At 12:45 pm local time on 23 December 1972, Managua was devastated by an earthquake measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale. Water, electricity and communications were cut immediately as up to 80% of buildings collapsed. While over two dozen countries responded with aid worth millions, much of it never reached those in need: the overwhelming devastation meant the aid was not distributed properly and began being stockpiled. Exact figures for the death toll have never been determined, but in the end, it is estimated to have been between 5,000 and 10,000.

1993  -             Plans to destroy the remaining smallpox virus stockpile are reversed.

Smallpox is the only known major human disease to have been eradicated. It was a highly contagious viral disease unique to humans, caused by two virus variants called Variola major and Variola minor. V. major was the more deadly form, with a typical mortality of 20-40 percent of those infected. The other type, V. minor, only killed 1% of its victims. Smallpox was responsible for an estimated 300-500 million deaths in the 20th century. Survivors were left blind in one or both eyes from corneal ulcerations, and left with persistent skin scarring, or pockmarks.

In January 1967, the World Health Organisation (WHO), a specialised agency of the United Nations acting as a coordinating authority on international public health, announced the Intensified Smallpox Eradication Programme, involving the extensive distribution of the vaccine. In July 1978, WHO announced the successful eradication of the smallpox strain Variola Minor. The last natural case of the more deadly strain, Variola Major, had occurred several years earlier, in 1975.

Although the disease was eradicated from the general populace, there remained a stockpile of the virus in storage in 600 frozen vials in Atlanta and Russia. This was deemed necessary, should further vaccines be required in the future. This stockpile was supposed to be destroyed on 31 December 1993. However, just prior to this date, on 23 December 1993, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia reversed their decision, announcing that the remaining virus stockpile would not be destroyed, to enable scientists to continue studying the disease.

Cheers - John



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Today in History


Interesting that Van Gogh only painted for 12 years....and produced so many masterpieces in that short time.
Thanks for posting...I learn something new every day. NH

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Another good read John, so thanks for that

Re December 21, 1140 - Today marks the start of the legend of the Castle of the Faithful Wives.

A legend well worth passing down, (hope it was true).
A place where men obviously looked after the womenfolk, who in turn saved them
Also a place where leaders, (the King), kept their word



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Gday...

1798  -             Flinders and Bass become the first Europeans to anchor in the Derwent River, Van Diemen's Land.

Matthew Flinders and George Bass were early sea explorers who charted sections of Australia's coastline, adding valuable information to the current charts. In 1798, Bass explored along the southern coast of what would later become the colony of Victoria. His journeys led him to the belief that Van Diemen's Land (later Tasmania) was separate from the mainland. Governor Hunter wished for this theory to be proven conclusively, so he commissioned Flinders and Bass to circumnavigate Van Diemen's Land. The two men set out at dawn in the 'Norfolk' on 7 October 1798.

On 24 December 1798, Flinders and Bass entered the Derwent River. The ship anchored in Risdon Cove, and Flinders described the area as "Very beautiful country, with a rich and luxuriant soil".

1818  -             The Christmas carol 'Silent Night' is sung for the first time.

Josef Mohr was a young priest serving as parish priest at St Nikolas Church in Oberndorf, Germany. Two days before Christmas 1818, the bellows in the church organ were found to be rotted through, possibly eaten by rats.

Needing music that could still be appreciated by the congregation, Mohr wrote a poem. He then asked the church organist and choirmaster, Franz-Xaver Gruber, if he could set it to music which the two men could sing, accompanied by Mohr on the guitar. Late on Christmas Eve, the men practised the song for the first time, and performed it for Mass. The song that Mohr penned was "Silent Night", one of the world's most enduring Christmas carols, and it was first sung on 24 December 1818.

1836  -             Colonel William Light enthusiastically approves the site for Adelaide.

Adelaide is the capital city of South Australia. Although not the only Australian state to have been founded by free settlers, it is the only state to have remained entirely free of convicts during its history.

The site of Adelaide was originally determined by Captain Collet Barker. Barker was sent by Governor Darling in April 1831 to explore southern Australia, following up on Charles Sturt's discovery of the mouth of the Murray River. Barker explored around the eastern side of Gulf St Vincent, climbed Mt Lofty, and selected a suitable port for the future city of Adelaide. Late in April 1831, Barker arrived at the sandspit where the Murray River enters the Southern Ocean. He elected to swim the channel, but disappeared after he reached the sandhills on the eastern side. It was determined later, on the information of an aboriginal woman, that Barker had been speared to death by Aborigines and his body thrown into the sea.

The city of Adelaide was subsequently surveyed and designed by Colonel William Light, first Surveyor-General of South Australia, who arrived in South Australia in 1836 to follow up on Barker's expedition. Light explored Encounter Bay and nearby regions until he discovered Port Adelaide which Barker had noted in his journals. Towards the end of 1836, Light's deputy, George Kingston, discovered what he described as a short river flowing from the Mt Lofty ranges to the coastal plains. This was to be named the Torrens River. As a result of this discovery, Light approved the mouth of the river as the site for the settlement of Adelaide. On 24 December 1836 in his journal, he enthusiastically scribed:
"My first opinions with regard to this place became still more confirmed by this trip, having traversed over nearly six miles of a beautiful plat ... affording an immense plain of level and advantageous ground for occupation ... I was delighted with the appearance of the country ..."

Colonel Light began surveying Adelaide on 11 January 1837, and completed his survey on 10 March 1837. He then commenced the task of naming streets and squares in the new town on 23 May 1837.

1875  -             A cyclone hits Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia, killing 59.

Exmouth Gulf, on Australia's northwestern tip, is located in one of the most cyclone-prone areas of Australia's coast. As the pearling industry developed in the region in the late 1800s, pearling luggers from Port Hedland would often gather shells in Exmouth Gulf. As a cyclone hit on 24 December 1875, a pearling fleet bore the brunt of the storm. Fifty-nine people were killed and several boats were sunk, including the Mothership Fairy Queen.

1913  -             Dozens are crushed to death in a stampede at a Christmas party for copper miners in Michigan.

Coal mining has always been a dangerous occupation, with working conditions unhealthy and life-threatening. In 1913, workers at the Calumet & Hecla Mining Company copper mines, Michigan, USA, went on strike over their poor and dangerous working conditions and inadequate wages.

Despite the strike, the traditional Christmas Eve party was offered to the coal miners. On 24 December 1913, the workers and their families attended a Christmas party on the upper floor of Calumet's Italian Hall. Around 200 adults and 500 children were present when there was a cry of 'Fire!', and people stampeded for the stairways. In the rush, a couple fell, causing more to fall behind them; the result was a wall of human bodies clogging the staircase as terrified people continued to pour down the stairs. The weight of all the people crushed those at the bottom of the pile. In all, between 73 and 75 people died that day, 59 of them children. Most of them were Finnish immigrants.

There was no fire, and it was never established who had cried "Fire" and why, although much suspicion was cast upon members of the management at the coal mine. No arrests were ever made. Although Italian Hall was demolished in the 1980s, the tragedy remains strong in the folklore of the town. Singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie immortalised the event in his song "1913 Massacre".

1938  -             Australia hosts the first ever Carols by Candlelight.

Carols by Candlelight is a popular Australian Christmas tradition. Communities gather together in parks or churchyards to sing carols and Christmas songs on any given evening in the lead-up to Christmas. There is often extra entertainment during these events, with skits, plays and other performers, and participants may hold candles or other electric lights to enhance the festive atmosphere.

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.

The first Carols by Candlelight took place in Melbourne, Australia on Christmas Eve, 24 December 1938. 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.

1953  -             151 die in New Zealand as an express train plunges off a damaged bridge.

Mount Ruapehu, at 2,797 metres high, is the highest point on New Zealand's North Island. One of the largest active volcanoes in New Zealand, it is part of Tongariro National Park. On Christmas Eve 1953, a lahar, or flow of rock, mud, water and other volcanic debris, swept down the valley towards the railway bridge over the Whangaehu River at Tangiwai. The lahar swept away the fourth pier of the railway bridge and damaged the fifth, creating a yawning gap in the bridge just ahead of the Wellington - Auckland express train.

At 10:21pm on 24 December 1953, the locomotive and the first six carriages plummeted through the gap in the bridge and into the raging lahar torrent below. The force of the torrent carried one carriage 8 kilometres, while some bodies were found 50 kilometres away. Of the 285 people on board, 151 were killed in the tragedy. More would have been killed but for the actions of the postmaster from Taihape, a town situated 10km away, who saw the damage to the bridge and attempted to warn the approaching train by running along the track waving a torch. An inquest found that the driver was able to apply the brakes before reaching the bridge, which no doubt prevented the entire train from plunging into the lahar torrent.

1968  -             American astronauts on Apollo 8 become the first men to transmit a Christmas Eve message from space.

Whilst Apollo 11 is known as the first spacecraft to land men on the moon, earlier missions were vital in developing understanding of what the first lunar landing would entail. Apollo 8, launched on 21 December 1968, was the first manned flight to and from the moon. It was also the world's first manned flight to escape the influence of Earth's gravity.

On board were astronauts Frank Borman (Commander), James A Lovell Jr (Command Module Pilot) and William Anders (Lunar Module Pilot). Apollo 8's mission included testing various components during the twenty-hour lunar orbit, and returning photography of the lunar surface. Whilst in orbit around the moon on 24 December 1968, the crew transmitted a Christmas Eve television broadcast that is believed to be one of the most watched of all time. Apollo 8 returned to Earth on 27 December 1968.

Cheers - John



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1968....Christmas Eve....is it Christmas, Rocky confusewinksmile

Have a good one mate and keep Safe out there.



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"A cyclone hits Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia, killing 59."

Lived there for 6 years and didn't know that piece of history.

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December 25 Today in History


Gday...

                           Christmas 2016 - forum.jpg

336  -   Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Christ.

The birth of Jesus Christ is recorded in the Christian Bible, in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. Despite the fact that Christians celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25, there is very little evidence to suggest that He was born on that date. It is more likely that Christians substituted an already-existing pagan festival with their own Christmas festival, or "Mass of Christ".

History records that December 25 was originally the culmination of Saturnalia, a winter solstice celebration honouring Saturn, the Roman god of agriculture. Many Romans also celebrated the solstice on December 25 with festivities in honour of the rebirth of Sol Invictus, the "Invincible Sun god", or with rituals to glorify Mithra, the ancient Persian god of light. December 25 was adopted in the fourth century as a Christian holiday by the Roman Emperor Constantine, who converted to christianity in 312, to encourage a common religious festival for both the Christians and the Pagans. The first mention of December 25 as the date of Jesus' birth is found in an early Roman calendar from A.D. 336.

1758  -             The sighting of Halley's Comet establishes the fact that it returns in a 76-year loop.

Halley's Comet, officially designated 1P/Halley, is from the Kuiper belt and visits the inner solar system in a 76-year orbit. Its nucleus is potato-shaped, with dimensions around 8 by 8 by 16 kilometres. Its surface is composed largely of carbon, and other elements include water, carbon monoxide, methane, ammonia, other hydrocarbons, iron, and sodium.

A series of sightings of a particular comet seeming to have similar elements, resulted in the theory that the comets were all the same one. The comet in question was observed in 1531 by Petrus Apianus, then again in 1607, observed by Johannes Kepler in Prague. Edmond Halley's observation of the comet in 1682 led him to theorise on the possibility that the same comet reappeared every 75-76 years. Halley calculated that it would next appear in 1757, which was close, although it was first sighted on 25 December 1758 by Johann Georg Palitzsch, a German farmer and amateur astronomer. The delay was caused by the attraction of Jupiter and Saturn, and was in fact computed by a team of three French mathematicians, Alexis Clairault, Joseph Lalande, and Nicole-Reine Lepaute, prior to its return.

Following Halley's calculations, earlier visits of comets were noted in historical records. Chinese astronomers observed the comet's appearance in 240 BC and possibly as early as 2467 BC. Halley's Comet has reappeared in 1835, 1910 and 1986. It is due to return next in 2061.

1826  -             British occupation of Western Australia begins.

The area of Western Australia where Albany now stands was first discovered by George Vancouver in 1791. After being sent to explore the southern coastline of Australia, Vancouver first made landfall at Cape Leeuwin, then travelled southeast. On 28 September 1791, he discovered an excellent harbour which he named "King George the Third's Sound", later shortened to King George's Sound or, as it is now, King George Sound. Vancouver formally claimed this land as British territory on 29 September 1791.

British occupation of King George's Sound, the first settlement in Western Australia, did not begin until 1826. At that time, the western third of Australia was unclaimed by any country, and there were fears that France would stake its claim. To prevent this, Governor Darling of New South Wales sent Major Edmund Lockyer, with troops and 23 convicts, to establish a settlement at King George Sound. They arrived in the brig 'Amity' on Christmas Day, 25 December 1826. Lockyer initially named the site Frederickstown after His Royal Highness, Duke of York & Albany, Frederick Augustus second son of King George III.

1859  -             The rabbits responsible for Australia's current rabbit plague are introduced.

Rabbits were brought to Australia on the First Fleet but did not cause any problems for the first few years of the colony's settlement. Possibly their numbers were kept down by the native carnivorous marsupial, or dasyurid, population, and dingoes. Archaeological evidence of early foodstuffs from the late 18th century shows no sign that rabbits were eaten regularly or hunted for sport. Although rabbits became popular as pets and for hunting around Sydney in the 1840s, there is no evidence that their population proliferated. However, rabbits that were introduced into the Tasmanian colony were, by 1827, noted by a local newspaper to be in their thousands.

Thomas Austin was the owner of the property "Barwon Downs" near Winchelsea, Victoria. He is credited with introducing rabbits into Australia, leading to their current numbers of an estimated 200 million. Austin was a member of the Acclimatisation Society, a group which believed in introducing exotic species into new locations around the world. Austin imported 21 European rabbits for hunting, releasing them on 25 December 1859. Within two decades, the rabbits had bred and become a local pest. By the turn of the century, they had reached plague proportions in many parts of Australia.

1974  -             Cyclone Tracy leaves Darwin, in Australia's No rthern Territory, in tatters.

Darwin, the capital city of the Northern Territory, is located on Australia's far north-western coastline. With its tropical climate, it is regularly threatened by cyclones during the summer monsoon season. On 24 December 1974, Cyclone Tracy moved in. On Christmas Day, 25 December 1974, the cyclone left Darwin in shreds. The cyclone passed directly over Darwin just after midnight, with its 'eye' centred on the airport and northern suburbs. The wind gauge at Darwin Airport officially recorded winds of 217 kilometres per hour before being blown away itself. Unofficial estimates suggest that the wind speed actually reached 300 kilometres per hour.

Cyclone Tracy was a category 4 storm whilst still out at sea, but there is some evidence to suggest that it had reached category 5 status when it made landfall. Officially, 71 people were killed, and 9,000 homes destroyed, out of a city of 43,500 people living in 12,000 residences. Many buildings were not built to withstand cyclonic forces, despite being in the cyclone belt. Of the people aboard the 22 vessels at sea when the cyclone struck, 16 were never found.

Most of Darwin's residents were evacuated following the devastation, and many of them never returned. However, Darwin was rebuilt according to new building codes, and it is now regarded as a modern multicultural city of around 100,000 people. Another significant development which came from the cyclone was that of the Northern Territory's self-government. Until 1974, the Northern Territory had minimal self-government, with a federal minister being responsible for the Territory from Canberra. However, the cyclone and subsequent response highlighted problems with this arrangement that led directly to the decision of Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser to grant the Territory self-government in 1978.

1990  -             The first successful communication between an HTTP client and server over the Internet spawns the World Wide Web.

The Internet and World Wide Web have revolutionised modern life. Now, by pressing a few buttons on the computer, all your physical needs and wants can be met. But where and when did it all begin?

In the 1980s, English physicist Tim Berners-Lee was a software consultant at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (better known as CERN). He graduated from the Queen's College at Oxford University, England in 1976. He built his first computer with a soldering iron and an old television.

In March 1989, Berners-Lee gave his supervisor, Mike Sendall, a document entitled "Information Management: a Proposal". Tim Berners-Lee and Anders Berglund, both researchers at CERN, saw the need for a system of electronic document exchange. This proposal was an attempt to help make scientific papers readable on a large number of incompatible computer systems. Berners-Lee's creation was fueled by a highly personal vision of the Web as a powerful force for social change and individual creativity. An open, non-proprietary, and free format for all people to use. Unfortunately, CERN remained unconvinced, and another 2 proposals were shelved as an interesting idea only. It wasn't until 25 December 1990 that the first successful communication between an HTTP client and server via the Internet was achieved. And the realisation of the dream which continued to drive Tim for the next 3 years as he tried to convince people to use his invention. Robert Cailliau was a young student staff student at CERN who assisted Tim in his endeavours, and it should be noted that he was instrumental in seeing this now popular medium reach the populace.

2001  -             Bushfires that will continue for three weeks begin in Sydney.

Bushfires are common in Summer in Australia. Warmer weather in spring generates strong vegetation growth, and after a protracted dry period, such vegetation becomes a tinder-box waiting to be ignited.

The winter and spring of 2001 had been drier than usual in New South Wales, and the month of December had been hot and dry. On Christmas Day, 25 December 2001, bushfires started in the Sydney area. The failure of campers to extinguish a campfire in Cabbage Tree Rd, Grose Vale is believed to have been the cause of the initial fire. Strong westerly winds fanned the flames, sending burning embers to ignite more vegetation. Temperatures soared as high as 45 degrees Celsius in some areas. Arsonists contributed to further fires. By the end of the day, over 100 bushfires werer burning across the region. For three days, the city of Sydney smothered under a pall of black smoke. The worst affected areas were Lane Cove National Park, the Royal National Park & Blue Mountains National Park, where over 3000 square kilometres of bushland was burnt out. 180 homes were destroyed.

Bushfires across the state continued for another three weeks, affecting travellers and killing livestock and native animals north and south of Sydney. Surprisingly, there were no human fatalities.

2008  -             An Australian is reported to have been arrested for trying to smuggle animal mummies out of Egypt.

On 25 December 2008, Australian newspapers reported that a 61-year-old man from Victoria had been arrested in Cairo, Egypt, for trying to smuggle two animal mummies out of the country. Frank Bottaro, an antiques dealer from Melbourne, was arrested at Cairo International Airport, while on his way to Thailand.

Mummifying animals was common practice in ancient Egypt. The two mummies, a cat and an ibis dating back to 300 BC, were found among Bottaro's luggage. Also found in his luggage were nineteen religious figurines wrapped as gifts and placed among souvenir ceramic pots in Bottaro's suitcase. They were figurines of the ancient Egyptian gods of Horus, a falcon-headed being, and Thoth, who was revered for giving the Egyptians the gift of hieroglyphic writing. The artifacts confiscated from the man weighed about 5.5kg in total.

Cheers - John



-- Edited by rockylizard on Sunday 25th of December 2016 08:31:29 AM

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RE: Today in History


336....If I remember correctly, Rocky, you said you were a wise person back then confusehmmsmile

I will duck for cover when I see ya next mate biggrin

 

Keep Safe on the roads and out there.



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December 26 Today in History


Gday...

1871  -             Today is Boxing Day, also known as St Stephen's Day.

December 26 is known as Boxing Day in England and other countries in the Commonwealth, but it is unknown when it first began. It was gazetted as a national holiday in England, Wales, Ireland and Canada in 1871.

The holiday appears to have originated in the mid nineteenth century in England. Some historians believe the name 'Boxing Day' came about because the boxes placed in churches where parishioners deposited alms (coins) for the poor were opened, and the contents were distributed on December 26, which is also the Feast of St Stephen. (St Stephen was the first Christian martyr.) Others believe that the Boxing Day tradition originated as a holiday for members of the upper class to give boxes containing food, clothing or money to tradespeople and servants, in much the same way that many employers offer their employees bonuses today. These gifts were usually given in boxes; hence the name 'Boxing Day".

1945  -             The first Sydney to Hobart yacht race is held.

The Sydney to Hobart yacht race is a major Australian event held annually on Boxing Day. Hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, the race starts in Sydney on Boxing Day and finishes in Hobart, a distance of 1167km, or 630 nautical miles.

The first race was held on 26 December 1945, and included nine starters. The inaugural race winner was "Rani". Initially intended to be a cruise between the two cities, the race has grown over the years to attract international interest, with maxi-yachts from the US, the UK and Europe competing.

1947  -             The territory of Heard and McDonald Islands is transferred from Britain to Australia.

Heard Island and McDonald Islands together form one of Australia's external, offshore territories. Located in the Southern Ocean, about 4 100 km southwest of Perth and 1 700 km from Antarctica, they are the world's only volcanically active subantarctic islands. Mawson Peak, with an elevation of 2 745m, is situated on Heard island and is the highest peak in any Australian territory. Regarded as one of the world's wildest and most remote places, the territory has the distinction of being one of very few places where no known species has been introduced directly by Man. This is despite the fact that sealers regularly occupied Heard Island between 1855 and 1929.

Heard Island was believed to have first been sighted by British sealer Peter Kemp in 1833, and he is thought to have entered it on his 1833 navigation charts. The island was named after American Captain John Heard who, in December 1853, reported sighting the island a month earlier. Six weeks later, Captain William McDonald discovered the nearby McDonald Islands.

In 1910, the United Kingdom made a formal claim to Heard Island. They remained as British possessions until 26 December 1947, when effective government, administration and control of Heard and McDonald Islands was transferred to Australia.

2003  -             The Iranian city of Bam and its ancient Citadel are razed in an earthquake which kills 50,000.

The city of Bam lies in the Kerman Province of Iran, about 1000km south east of Tehran, near the Lut desert. Bam city is believed to have been founded during the Parthian empire which ruled from 250 BCE to 226 CE. Central to the city was the Bam Citadel, the world's largest adobe structure, believed to have dated back to before 500 BC, and remaining in use until 1850 AD. Prior to 2003, the estimated population of Bam was 97,000.

At at 5:26am local time on 26 December 2003, Bam was struck by an earthquake measuring 6.6 on the Richter scale. The epicentre was around 10 kilometres southwest of the city. Figures from January 17 indicate that 56,230 people were killed in the earthquake, which also destroyed 80 percent of the citadel and 70 percent of the city of Bam. Destruction was widespread as most buildings in the city were constructed also of adobe, and thus did not comply with earthquake regulations set in Iran in 1989. Many of the victims died because they suffocated from the dust released with the collapse of the adobe buildings. Another 29 serious aftershocks followed the initial quake.

Aid poured in from many countries to aid the homeless and to assist with the rebuilding of the ancient citadel. The city and the citadel are still being rebuilt.

2004  -             Hundreds of thousands of people die as a tsunami hits southern Asia.

Boxing Day, 2004, will long be remembered as the day southern Asia was devastated. An earthquake under the sea near Aceh, north Indonesia, in the Indian Ocean, generated a huge tsunami - the biggest the world had seen for 40 years. The earthquake, known by the scientific community as the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake, registered 9.15 on the Richter scale. It hit at one minute before 8:00am, generating a gigantic wave which quickly built up and spread out, extending to thirteen countries. Up to 275,000 people were killed, with at least 128,000 of them in Indonesia alone. Over one million were left homeless.

The wave, travelling at up to 800 kilometres per hour, hit the northern regions of the Indonesian island of Sumatra within fifteen minutes, while Sri Lanka, Thailand and the east coast of India were hit between 90 minutes and two hours later. Somalia was struck about seven hours later. Other countries hit included Bangladesh, Malaysia, the Maldives, the Seychelles and the Indian-owned Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Some 8,500 km away, the coastal village of Struisbaai in South Africa, a 1.5 m "high tide" surged onshore about 16 hours after the quake.

The rest of the world was quick to respond with aid which eventually totalled around 12 billion dollars. Even now, reconstruction of the devastated areas is still continuing, and many thousands remain homeless.

Cheers - John



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December 27 Today in History


Gday...

1675  -             King Charles II of England issues a proclamation suppressing coffee houses.

The first record of a public coffee house can be found in 1475, when the first known coffee shop, the Kiva Han, was opened in the Turkish city of Constantinople (now Istanbul). The popularity of coffee, and coffee houses, quickly spread, with Britain opening its first such establishment in 1652.

Coffeehouses were commonly frequented by members of the social upper-class of businessmen. They soon became meeting spots for intellectuals and, as Charles saw it, potential political subversives. Thus, on 27 December 1675, he issued a "Proclamation Suppressing Coffee-Houses". The proclamation sought to prohibit "scandalous papers, books and libels from being read in them" and to prevent the coffee-houses from allowing their patrons freedom of speech or the right to express dissatisfaction with the government.

Twelve days later, the edict was withdrawn, on 8 January 1676. Its withdrawal was forced because the proclamation denied basic human rights: it had also become the subject of considerable ridicule.

1803  -             Convict William Buckley escapes, spawning the Australian phrase "Buckley's chance".

William Buckley was born in Marton, Cheshire, England in 1780. He arrived in Australia as a convict, and was a member of the first party of Europeans to attempt the first settlement at Sorrento, on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria. On 27 December 1803, soon after his arrival, he escaped from custody.

Despite the friendliness of the local indigenous Wathaurong people, Buckley was concerned they might turn hostile, and initially chose to try to survive on his own. However, he soon realised his inability to fend for himself in the harsh bushland, and he sought out the Wathaurong again. On his way, he happened upon a spear stuck in the grave of a recently deceased member of the tribe; the Aborigines, finding him with the spear, believed he was their tribal member returned from the dead, and greeted his appearance with feasting and a corroboree. Buckley spent the next 32 years living among the indigenous Wathaurong people. Bridging the cultural gap between Europeans and Aborigines, he gained many valuable bush skills and was a crucial factor in reconciliation in those early days. To keep the peace between the two races, Buckley gave himself up to free settler John Batman's landing party on 7 July 1835.

Ultimately, Buckley was pardoned and became a respected civil servant. The Australian saying "Buckley's chance" means to have a very slim chance, and was spawned by his amazing story of survival in the bush.

1822  -             Biologist and chemist, Louis Pasteur, is born.

Louis Pasteur was born on 27 December 1822 in Dole, Jura, France. Known as the founder of microbiology, he moved into this field when he discovered the role of bacteria in fermentation. His experiments with bacteria conclusively disproved the theory of spontaneous generation and led to the theory that infection is caused by germs. Extrapolating from this knowledge, Pasteur then developed a process in which liquids such as milk were heated to kill all bacteria and moulds already present within them. This process became known as pasteurisation.

Recognising that infectious diseases are caused by microorganisms, Pasteur's research soon led others to investigate sterilisation, disinfection, vaccines, and eventually antibiotics. Pasteur created and tested vaccines for diphtheria, cholera, yellow fever, plague, rabies, anthrax, and tuberculosis.

Suffering from strokes since the age of 46, Pasteur eventually died in 1895 from complications as a result of these strokes.

1831  -             Charles Darwin, who developed the theory of natural selection, commences his 5 year voyage on the HMS Beagle.

British naturalist Charles Robert Darwin was born on 12 February 1809 in Shrewsbury, England. Darwin's claim to fame is his publication of "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life". The book put forth Darwin's theory of evolutionary selection, which expounded that survival or extinction of populations of organisms is determined by the process of natural selection, achieved through that population's ability to adapt to its environment. Ultimately, by following Darwin's theory of evolution to its conclusion, the controversial book suggested that man evolved from apes. Although Darwin is given the credit for the theory of evolution, he developed the theory out of the writings of his grandfather Erasmus. Large sections from Erasmuss major work, Zoonomia or the Laws of Organic Life are repeated in Darwins Origin of Species. There is evidence to suggest that many of the other ideas Charles proposed, such as the concept of modern biological evolution, including natural selection, were borrowed from ideas that had already been published by other scientists.

It was whilst studying medicine at Edinburgh University that Darwin developed his interest in natural history. On 27 December 1831, Darwin boarded the HMS Beagle to commence his five-year journey of scientific exploration. On this voyage, he collected a variety of wildlife and fossils, studying them to gradually develop his theory of natural selection.

During the voyage, the HMS Beagle visited ports along both the eastern and western coasts of South America. It continued on to New Zealand and Australia, Cape Town in South Africa and back to South America before returning to England. Interestingly, on this voyage, Darwin took a giant Galapagos Tortoise from the Galapagos Islands as a pet. This reptile ended up in Australia where it finally died in 2006, well over 170 years old.

1979  -             Soviet tr oops storm the Presidential Place in Kabul, Afghanistan, killing President Hafizullah Amin.

Afghanistan has a long history of violence and unrest. The catalyst to the Soviet invasion of 1979 was the growth of the communist People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA), which had close ties to the Soviet Union. Following years of coups and seizing of power by various parties, the PDPA imposed a Marxist-style "reform" program, which led to revolts and unrest among the various classes of Afghans. In December 1978, Moscow signed a bilateral treaty of cooperation with Afghanistan, which meant that the current regime became dependent on Soviet military equipment and advisers. Soviet advice to stabilise government in Afghanistan met with resistance and tensions between the two countries increased.

On 27 December 1979 700 KGB spetsnaz special forces troops dressed in Afghan uniforms stormed the Presidential Place in Kabul, killing President Hafizullah Amin. On that day, Soviet ground forces also invaded from the north. It was intended that such action would end the factional struggles within the PDPA. However, the Afghans mounted a resistance movement which ultimately meant that the Soviet-Afghan war continued for ten years. The war did not end until Soviet troops finally withdrew from the area in February 1989.

1983  -             Pope John Paul II visits the man who attempted to assassinate him almost two years earlier.

Pope John Paul II was elected to the papacy following the death of the popular "Smiling Pope", Pope John Paul, after just 33 days in office. Cardinal Karol Wojtyla of Poland took the name of Pope John Paul II in deference to his predecessor. At just 58 years old, the new Pope became the youngest pope to be elected in the twentieth century.

A major theme of John Paul II's papacy was his fight for freedom of religion in the Communist bloc and during his term as Pope, he was significant for his contribution to the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe. On 13 May 1981, the Pope was shot and seriously wounded while passing through St Peter's Square in Rome in an open car. The Pope was rushed by ambulance to Rome's Gemelli Hospital, where he underwent surgery as the bullet had entered his abdomen, narrowly missing vital organs.

The would-be assassin was 23-year-old escaped Turkish murderer Mehmet Ali Agca. Bystanders quickly overcame Agca and detained him until police arrived. Four days later, the Pope offered forgiveness from his hospital bed. Agca was sentenced to life imprisonment. On 27 December 1983, Pope John Paul II personally visited his would-be assassin in a meeting that lasted 20 minutes. The Pope never revealed the nature of their discussion. He merely stated, What we talked about will have to remain a secret between him and me. I spoke to him as a brother whom I have pardoned and who has my complete trust.

Cheers - John



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December 28 Today in History


Gday...

1612  -             Galileo becomes the first astronomer to observe Neptune, but catalogues it as a star.

Galileo Galilei was an Italian astrologer, physicist and astronomer. Born on 15 February 1564 in Pisa, Italy, he is best known for his improvements to the telescope, and his own subsequent celestial observations. He pioneered the use of quantitative experiments, analysing results mathematically - a legacy passed on to him through the influence of his father, a renowned mathematician of his time. Many of Galileo's experiments have been reconstructed and authenticated in modern times.

Galileo's achievements in the field of astronomy include his discovery of Jupiter's four largest moons - Io, Europa, Callisto and Ganymede. He was also one of the first Europeans to observe sunspots, and the first to report lunar mountains and craters, deduced from the patterns of light and shadow on the Moon's surface. He concluded that the surface of the Moon was rough and uneven, rather than the perfect sphere that Aristotle claimed. Galileo observed the Milky Way, previously believed to be nebulous, and found it to be a multitude of stars, packed so densely that they appeared to be clouds from Earth. He also located many other stars too distant to be visible with the naked eye.

On 28 December 1612, Galileo became the first astronomer to observe the planet Neptune. Initially cataloguing it as a fixed star, Galileo considered the 8th planet as unremarkable, and it hardly warranted a mention in his copious notes.

1836  -             The Proclamation announcing the creation of the colony of South Australia is read by its first Governor.

Explorer Matthew Flinders was the first European to investigate the possibilities for settlement on South Australia's coast, doing so in 1802. Following Captain Charles Sturt's 1929 discovery that the mighty Murray River flowed from New South Wales right to the ocean off the southern coast of the continent, interest in establishing a southern colony increased. Such as colony would help to consolidate Great Britain's claim on the continent, and offset French interests in the region. The South Australian Colonisation Act was passed by the British Parliament in 1834, and the first settlers arrived in 1836.

South Australia had been officially proclaimed on 19 February 1836 in England, but the proclamation was not made in South Australia until later that year. The first Governor of South Australia, John Hindmarsh, arrived in the new colony on the HMS Buffalo, on the same day he read the official proclamation. He was accompanied only by free settlers, as no convicts were ever accommodated in the southern colony. The Old Gum Tree at Glenelg North, South Australia, was the location of the reading of the Proclamation by Governor Hindmarsh on 28 December 1836.

Every year, South Australia officially celebrates 28 December as Proclamation Day.

1850  -             Henry Parkes establishes the 'Empire' newspaper, later giving rise to his prominent political career.

Henry Parkes was born in Warwickshire, England, on 27 May 1815. A failed business venture prompted him to seek passage with his wife to Australia, and he arrived in Sydney in 1839. Moving up from a position of farmer's labourer, to clerk, to managing his own business, a number of failed ventures indicated that he did not have good business acumen.

Parkes established the "Empire" newspaper on 28 December 1850. Initially a weekly paper, it was soon being circulated daily. Although loyal to the British Empire, Parkes aimed to present an honest, independent journal that would not hesitate to identify flaws in the government. His vocal, but fair, criticism increased his prominence, and despite his lack of good business sense, it placed him in a position where he himself could be heard in government. Parkes was first elected to the New South Wales Parliament in 1854, was Premier of New South Wales several times between 1872 and 1891, and was knighted in 1877.

Although loyal to Britain, Parkes was a staunch supporter of the Australian culture and identity. As a politician, he is perhaps best remembered for his famous Tenterfield Oration, delivered on 24 October 1889, at the Tenterfield School of Arts. In this speech, he advocated the Federation of the six Australian colonies. Parkes convened the 1890 Federation Conference and subsequently the 1891 National Australasian Convention. He proposed the name Commonwealth of Australia for the new nation.

1879  -             75 people are killed when the Tay Bridge in Scotland collapses during a violent storm.

Tay Bridge, spanning the Firth of Tay in Scotland, was designed by railway engineer Thomas Bouch, and completed in February 1878. The Tay Bridge was nearly two miles long, consisted of 85 spans and at the time of its construction was the longest bridge in the world. Considered a magnificent feat of engineering, its construction earned Bouch a knighthood.

During a violent storm on the evening of 28 December 1879, the central navigation spans of the bridge collapsed into the Firth of Tay at Dundee. A train travelling along the single rail track plunged into the firth, killing 75 people on board. On board was the son-in-law of engineer Bouch. An inquiry into the disaster determined that the piers and wind bracing had not been properly constructed. Sir Thomas Bouch was held chiefly to blame for the collapse in not making adequate allowance for wind loading. Also, the cylindrical cast iron columns supporting the thirteen longest spans of the bridge, which were each 75m in height, were of insufficient quality for their purpose.

A second bridge was subsequently built, and opened on 13 July 1887. This bridge is still in use today; stumps of the piers from the original bridge still stand alongside the new bridge, a silent testimony to the tragedy of 1879.

1957  -             The two-millionth Volkswagen is produced.

The name 'Volkswagen' which translates literally as "people's car" is the name of an automobile manufacturer based in Wolfsburg, Germany. The VW Type 1, better known as the Beetle or Bug or Käfer (in German), is a small family car and probably the best known car made by Volkswagen. During the Beetle's production which commenced in 1938 and ended in 2003, over 21 million Beetles in the original design were made. One of the most affordable cars, it established a firm reputation for reliability and sturdiness.

On 28 December 1957, the two millionth Volkswagen was completed. The humble "people's car" went on much further to surpass other popular cars in production. In February 1972, the Volkswagen Beetle surpassed the previous production record set by the Model T Ford, to become the most heavily produced car in history.

1989  - Thirteen are killed as Newcastle, New South Wales, is hit by an earthquake.

Significant earthquakes in Australia are rare; however, on 28 December 1989, an exception to the norm occurred. Australia's sixth-largest city, Newcastle, situated on the mid New South Wales coast, was hit at 10:27am by an earthquake measuring 5.6 on the Richter scale. Effects of the quake were felt throughout central-eastern New South Wales. There were reports of damage to buildings in Scone, Gladstone and Sydney, the latter some 800km away. The shaking was even felt in tall buildings, in places over 5000km away.

Thirteen people were killed, and 35,000 homes, 147 schools and 3,000 other structures in the region collapsed. Most damage, and the highest death toll, occurred at the Newcastle Workers Club when walls and multiple floors collapsed, dropping 300 tonnes of concrete onto the ground-floor car park. Nine people were killed in this one location alone.

A US report on the earthquake suggested that the disaster was caused by stress resulting from 200 years of underground coal mining. Australian geoscientists disagree, claiming that the Hunter Valley has been prone to minor earthquakes for years. Other evidence suggests that the hypocentre of the earthquake lay too deep underground - 12 kilometres - for it to have been caused by mining.

Cheers - John



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December 29 Today in History


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1170  -             Archbishop of Canterbury and early Christian martyr, Thomas Becket, is assassinated.

Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, is believed to have been born around 21 December 1118 at Cheapside, London. Educated at Merton Priory, he entered the service of Archbishop Theobald, who appointed him to the Archdeaconry of Canterbury. In 1155, King Henry II made him Chancellor of England, and in this position, Becket became the King's confidant and trusted friend and advisor. However, after being elected to the position of Archbishop of Canterbury, Becket began to see the conflict of interest between the King's authority and that of the Church.

Becket clashed with Henry II over complete exemption of the Church from all civil jurisdiction, with undivided control of the clergy, freedom of appeal, and the acquisition and security of an independent fund of church property. He preferred to accept exile rather than any compromise with Henry II over the rights of the Church. Thus, Becket fled to France to appeal to the Pope, and threatened the King with excommunication. He returned to England, but became embroiled in a six-year conflict during which the King defied Becket and the Pope by causing his eldest son to be crowned by the Archbishop of York. The Pope suspended the Archbishop of York and the other Bishops who had taken part in the ceremony. This issue caused Henry II to utter, "Is there no one who will rid me of this turbulent priest?" Taking this as a blessing from the King to murder Becket, on the night of 29 December 1170, four knights made their way to Canterbury Cathedral, where they assassinated him.

Becket was subsequently recognised as a martyr for the cause of the Church. He was canonised in 1173.

1800  -             Charles Goodyear, inventor of vulcanised rubber, is born.

Charles Goodyear was born on 29 December 1800. Goodyear became famous for accidentally discovering the process of vulcanisation of rubber when he dropped some rubber mixed with sulfur on a hot stove. Vulcanisation, or curing, of rubber is a chemical process in which rubber molecules become locked together to a greater or lesser extent, making the bulk material harder, more durable and more resistant to chemical attack. The process also alters the surface of the material from a stickiness that adheres to other materials, to a smooth soft surface.

Goodyear did not benefit from his invention as Englishman Thomas Han**** copied his idea and attained a British patent for the process before Goodyear applied for a British patent. However, vulcanised rubber was later was made into tyres emblazoned with Goodyear's name. The Goodyear Tyre and Rubber Company adopted the Goodyear name because of its activities in the rubber industry, but it has no other links to Charles Goodyear and his family.

1876  -             The Ashtabula River Railroad Disaster, the worst rail accident in American history, occurs.

The Ashtabula River Railroad Bridge was the first Howe-type wrought iron truss bridge to be built. Designed by Charles Collins and Amasa Stone and completed in 1865, the bridge crossed the Ashtabula River near Ashtabula, Ohio.

The Ashtabula area had received heavy snow at the time of the disaster. On 29 December 1876, the Pacific Express of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway line departed Erie, Pennsylvania, making its way along the snowed-in railway line. At about 7:00pm, as the Pacific Express crossed a bridge over the Ashtabula River about 91 m from the railroad station at Ashtabula, a loud cracking sound was heard. Suddenly, the bridge fractured and the train plunged 21m onto the frozen river.

Leading locomotive, the "Socrates", made it across the bridge, but the second locomotive, the "Columbia", and 11 railcars fell into the ravine below, then exploded into a fireball. The fire melted the ice of the river, and the carriages sank further into the river, making rescue all but impossible. Of 159 passengers and crew aboard the train, 64 people were injured and 92 were killed or died later from injuries sustained in the crash or the ensuing inferno. 48 victims were unable to be identified due to the fire.

Within two years, both bridge designers had committed suicide, although there was some doubt whether Collins's fatal gunshot wound was actually self-inflicted. Later investigations suggested that the design was not at fault as much as fatigue of the cast iron lug pieces which were used to anchor the wrought iron bars of the truss together.

1940  -             London is bombed during the 'Blitz', resulting in almost 3,000 civilian deaths.

The Battle of Britain, or the Blitz, was an intense bombing campaign in England in World War II by the German airforce, the Luftwaffe. The Blitz took its name from the German word Blitzkrieg, meaning 'Lightning War'. Prior to the attacks on England, the German airforce had spent a month attempting to decimate the British airforce. Failure to achieve this objective had resulted in the Blitz, designed to crush the morale of the British people. Hundreds of civilians were killed and many more injured in the initial attack on London which took place on 7 September 1940. The first raids were concentrated on the heavily populated East End, as about 300 bomber planes attacked the city over a 90 minute period.

There were many more attacks over cities and towns in England in the ensuing months. One of the largest single raids occurred on 29 December 1940, and killed almost 3000 civilians. In all, the Blitz lasted for over 8 months, killed about 43,000 civilians and destroyed over one million homes. During the Blitz, the Luftwaffe lost most of its experienced aircrew and hundreds of aircraft. By drawing the focus away from the British air force, it gave the RAF time to regroup and rebuild. Despite the Luftwaffe's best attempts, the British people never lost their morale or their fighting spirit.

1967  -             Classic Star Trek episode "The Trouble With Tribbles" is aired for the first time.

Star Trek, the science fiction series which went on to spawn many more spinoff series and films, was created by Gene Roddenberry and debuted on 8 September 1966. Set in the 23rd century, Star Trek follows the adventures of the Starship Enterprise and her crew. Initially, the series did not rate well, and only a sustained campaign by its devoted fans kept the series going through two more seasons.

One of Star Trek's most classic episodes, "The Trouble With Tribbles", first aired on 29 December 1967. In this episode, the Star Trek crew encountered a previously unknown species - small, cute, furry and voraciously hungry creatures which multiplied at an astronomical rate. The tribble episode was very popular, and the original tribbles became sought-after collectors' items, with many of the toys disappearing later from the series' props department. 500 tribbles were used in the episode and the tribble-maker, Jacqueline Cumere, was paid US$350.

Six Star Trek movies based around the characters of the original series were later developed, as well as a number of spin-off series. The first of the spinoff series, 'Star Trek: the Next Generation', premiered in 1987. The Tribbles returned in a later spinoff series, 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine', in the episode entitled "Trials and Tribble-ations", during which the characters actually found themselves back in original Star Trek time. One of the scenes in the original tribble episode involved an avalanche of tribbles which took 8 takes to fall just right: this avalanche was alluded to later as two of the Deep Space Nine characters frantically dug through a pile of tribbles to locate a bomb.

1998  -             Six die as fierce storms batter Australia's annual Sydney to Hobart yacht race.

The Sydney to Hobart yacht race is a major Australian event held annually on Boxing Day. Hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, the race starts in Sydney on Boxing Day and finishes in Hobart, a distance of 1167km. The first race was held on 26 December 1945.

In 1998, the race was marred by tragedy when weather conditions caused five boats to sink, resulting in 6 deaths. Out of 115 boats that started the race, only 44 made it to Hobart. The winning yacht "Sayonara" was five hours outside the race record, finishing in a little over two days and 19 hours. A coronial enquiry criticised race management for taking insufficient safety precautions, given the adverse conditions. Questions were asked as to why race organisers had not delayed the start of the race, knowing the adverse weather conditions. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology was also criticised for not doing more to alert the race organisers of an upgraded forecast on the severe storm offshore near the New South Wales-Victoria border nearly a day before the fleet was due there.

Cheers - John



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RE: Today in History


Thanks John - hope your Chrissy Day was a good one, and that 2017 is going to be fantasticwinkwinkwinkwinkwink



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December 30 Today in History


Gday...
1903  -             The Iroquois theater fire in Chicago, USA, claims 602 lives.

The Iroquois Theater in Chicago, Illinois, was a grand building advertised as "Absolutely Fireproof" on its playbills. Constructed hastily in preparation for the holiday crowds, the theatre opened on 23 November 1903. On 30 December 1903, approximately 2000 people - almost 300 more than the theatre's actual seating capacity - had turned out to watch a Wednesday matinee performance. Many of them were children on their holiday break.

At around 3:15pm, an arc light shorted, igniting a curtain, the fire then spreading to the backdrops consisting of huge painted canvas scenery flats. The protective asbestos fire curtain between the stage and the audience could not be immediately lowered because the operator was in hospital and his substitute was unfamiliar with its operation. There were 6 firefighting canisters which were almost useless on the huge blaze. When the actors realised there was a fire, they quickly exited through a back door, and the resultant inrush of cold air fuelled the fire further.

Most of the fire exits were locked, and the patrons were unable to unlock them. Lobby doors were locked and the fire escapes outside were unfinished. Many people jumped to their deaths, yet ironically their bodies cushioned others who leapt out the windows to try to escape. 575 people died on the day, and another 30 died later from their injuries or burns. The fire lasted only twenty minutes, yet claimed a total of 602 lives.

The Iroquois Theater Fire remains the deadliest single-building fire in US history.

1922  -             The Soviet Union, or USSR, is established.

 The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was a former country of eastern Europe and northern Asia. It included Russia, Belorussia, Ukraine, and the Transcaucasian Federation, which in 1936 was divided into the Georgian, Azerbaijan, and Armenian republics. The USSR became the first country in the world to be based on Marxist socialism. Its formation was the culmination of the Russian Revolution of 1917, in which the Bolsheviks, led by Lenin, seized the government of Russia and overthrew Tsar Nicholas II. The Soviet Union was officially established on 30 December 1922.

Over the next few decades, the Soviet Union emerged as one of the world's two super-powers, along with the United States of America. It was not until decades after World War II that the increasing push for independence among the states, together with the gradual crumbling of communism in the 1980s, led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991.

1936  -             Mary Tyler Moore  is born.

Although she began her career as a dancer, Moore's success came from her TV roles, first as the secretary on Richard Diamond, Private Detective and then as Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show. She is best known, however, as the star of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, the most popular sitcom of the 1970s and the first show to centre on a happily unmarried career woman. Over the years, she has won multiple Emmys and Golden Globes

1982  -             A blue moon occurs simultaneously with a lunar eclipse.

A "blue moon" does not refer to the colour of the moon at a particular stage in its cycle: it means the second in a pair of full moons that occur in the same calendar month. A blue moon happens every 2.7 years and is due to a disparity between the Gregorian calendar and the lunar cycle. The lunar cycle, the time it takes for the moon to revolve around the earth, does not take 28 days, but takes 29 days, 12 hours, and 44 minutes. During the twentieth century, there were a total of 44 blue moons.

On 30 December 1982, a blue moon occurred in conjunction with a total lunar eclipse. This was the only time this happened in the twentieth century, although a blue moon did occur in conjunction with a partial lunar eclipse on three other occasions. It was also a perigee lunation, which occurs when the Moon is at or near its closest approach to Earth.

1998  -             One of a set of stegosaurus prints stolen from a sacred Aboriginal site near Broome is recovered.

On 16 October 1996, it was reported that a set of fossilised dinosaur footprints had been stolen from a sacred Aboriginal site in outback Australia. The footprints came from the best preserved trackway of a stegosaur in the world, and were the world's only known set of fossilised stegosaurus prints. They were also the only evidence that stegosaurs had once populated the Australian continent. The footprints were regarded by Aborigines near Broome, northwestern Australia, to belong to a mythical creature from their "Dream Time". The theft shocked and outraged Aborigines, as it violated an Aboriginal sacred site on the isolated coastline near Broome.

On 30 December 1998, one of the missing footprints was recovered. Police investigations found that the thieves had attempted to sell the prints on the Asian market, but had been unsuccessful, possibly because of the size and weight of the fossils. Each of the three toes of the large print measured 15cm. The 30kg block of rock in which the print was embedded measured 60cm by 40cm and was 13cm deep. Police did not elaborate on how they had recovered the missing fossil.

2006  -             Iraqi Dictator, Saddam Hussein, is executed by hanging following his trial.

 Saddam Hussein, born 28 April 1937 in Tikrit, Iraq, was dictator of Iraq from 1979 until 2003. He led Iraq through a decade-long war with Iran. He was also responsible for the invasion of Kuwait in 1990 which led to the Gulf War the following year. Following the terrorist attacks on New York's Twin Towers in 2001, Hussein, though not directly responsible for the attacks, came under renewed pressure from the United States, which sought to remove the dictator from power.

Early in April 2003, US tanks rolled into Baghdad, the capital city of Iraq, in preparation for the battle which would topple Hussein's regime. Hussein disappeared, but he was captured by US forces on 13 December 2003. He was located hiding in a small underground pit at a farmhouse in ad-Dawr near his home town Tikrit, in what was called Operation Red Dawn. His trial occurred over many months during 2006, and on 5 November 2006, Hussein was found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death by hanging. Saddam Hussein was executed on 30 December 2006 at approximately 06:10 local time, at Camp Justice, an Iraqi army base in northeast Baghdad.

Cheers - John



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Today in History


And in 1918 my mother was born at Kongwak in East Gippsland, Victoria - would have been 99 today.

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December 31 Today in History


Gday...

1600  -             Queen Elizabeth I grants a Royal Charter to the Company of Merchants of London Trading with the East Indies, later the East India Company.

The East India Company was an early English company formed for the purpose of developing trade with the East Indies. Not to be confused with the Dutch East India Company, the EIC was established as Governor and Company of Merchants of London Trading with the East Indies after being granted a Royal Charter by Queen Elizabeth I on 31 December 1600. The charter gave the company a monopoly on trade with the East Indies, specifically, all countries east of the Cape of Good Hope and west of the Straits of Magellan. This was to safeguard the profits of the 125 initial shareholders and the Governor, Sir Thomas Smythe.

The first four ships of the East India Company departed England less than two months later, under the command of James Lancaster, and returned in 1603, having successfully traded for pepper. During the ensuing years, Lancaster established a factory in the city of Bantam on the island of Java. At first, the English company faced considerable opposition from the Dutch-based United East India Company, which prevented the East India Company from obtaining other spices such as cloves, nutmeg and mace from the Bandas and Moluccas Islands in eastern Indonesia. However, after the British moved into India, establishing a profitable factory in the town of Machilipatnam on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal, the East India Company found itself in a position of greater power, which eventually consolidated its success in the Pacific arena.

1696  -             King William III introduces the window tax, causing many people to brick over their windows.

Travelling through parts of the United Kingdom today, numerous buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries with bricked-up window-spaces may be observed. This was a direct result of the window tax, introduced by King William III on 31 December 1696.

The window tax was a glass tax designed to impact on the wealthy who resided in larger houses with many windows. The people of England opposed income tax on the basis that it was an intrusion into one's privacy. The window tax was intended to circumvent this invasion of privacy. Initially, the tax involved a flat-rate house tax of 2 shillings per house and a variable tax for the number of windows above ten windows. Properties with ten to twenty windows paid a total of four shillings, and those above twenty windows paid eight shillings.

The tax was unpopular as residents saw it as a tax on light and air. In order to avoid paying, many bricked over their windows, whilst the extremely wealthy ostentatiously included even more windows on their properties, as a public display of their wealth. The window tax was repealed in 1851 and replaced by House Duty.

1790  -             Enough barley is harvested in the penal colony of New South Wales to alleviate impending starvation.

The First Fleet, containing the officers and convicts who would first settle Australia, arrived in Botany Bay on 18 January 1788. The colony's Governor, Captain Arthur Phillip, immediately determined that there was insufficient fresh water, an absence of usable timber, poor quality soil and no safe harbour at Botany Bay. Thus the fleet was moved to Port Jackson, arriving on 26 January 1788.

The penal colony of New South Wales struggled, but managed to survive largely through the efforts of Governor Phillip. He was a practical man who had suggested that convicts with experience in farming, building and crafts be included in the First Fleet, but his proposal was rejected. Phillip faced many obstacles in his attempts to establish the new colony. The convicts were not skilled in farming, and unwilling to work hard in the intense heat and humidity of Australia. British farming methods, seeds and implements were unsuitable for use in the different climate and soil, and the colony faced near-starvation in its first two years. On 31 December 1790, twenty-five bushels of barley were successfully harvested. This went a long way towards alleviating food shortages. The colony finally succeeded in developing a solid foundation, agriculturally and economically, thanks to the perseverance of Captain Arthur Phillip.           

1914  -             The second convoy of AIF troops departs Albany, Western Australia, to fight in World War I.

Australias involvement in World War I began in earnest in early August 1914 when Australian Prime Minister Joseph Cook pledged support, offering Britain 20 000 troops, and stating that "...when the Empire is at war, so also is Australia." Cook's offer was accepted by the British government, which requested that the troops be sent "as soon as possible". At this time, Australia had a population of approximately 4 million, meaning that the defence forces could draw from a pool of around 820 000 men of fighting age, i.e. 19-38. By the end of 1914, 50 000 eligible men who met the minimum height requirement of 5 feet 6 inches, or 168cm, had joined up, while thousands more were turned away on medical grounds. The first convoy of ANZACs, or Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, departed from King George Sound, Albany in Western Australia on the first day of November 1914.

The second contingent of troops departed Albany on 31 December 1914. Following training in Egypt and the Middle East, many of these troops were among those who landed in Gallipoli on 25 April 1915.

1918  -             The performance of Beethoven's Ninth by German POWs spawns a Japanese tradition of playing the symphony for New Year's celebrations.

Ludwig van Beethoven was a brilliant and passionate composer of the Classical-Romantic era. His talent was recognised when he was very young, but only began to develop fully after he moved to Vienna in 1792 and studied under Joseph Haydn. This marked his "Early" composing career, when he tended to write music in the style of his predecessors, Haydn and Mozart.

Beethoven's "Middle" period of composing began shortly after he was beset with deafness. His music of this period tended towards large-scale works expressing heroism and struggle, and included six symphonies, commencing with the "Eroica", and including the rich and penetrating Fifth Symphony.

The "Late" period of Beethoven's career encompassed the final eleven years of his life, and his compositions reflected his personal expression in their depth and intensity. Among the works of this period are the Ninth Symphony.

During World War I, the Japanese were treated for the first time to a performance of Beethoven's Ninth. In the Spring of 1918, German prisoners-of-war in the Bando POW camp in Tokushima prefecture performed the symphony using an improvised orchestra playing instruments they had partly made themselves. Following their rendition, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony became very popular in Japan. Since that time, the performance of the Ninth has gradually developed into an annual New Year's tradition. Indeed, the world standard of 72 minutes of playing time for CDs was set in Japan in 1970, to ensure the entire symphony could be recorded on a single CD.

1964  -             Donald Campbell breaks the world water speed record.

Donald Malcolm Campbell was born on 23 March 1921 in Horley, Surrey, England. He became the only person to ever break both the world land speed and water speed records in the same year. He broke the land speed record in July 1964 on a Lake Eyre salt flat in northern South Australia, with a speed of 648.72 km per hour.

Campbell set seven world water-speed records between 1955 and 1964. The first was at Lake Ullswater on 23 July 1955, where he set a record of 325 km per hour. He continued to break records until the culmination of his attempts, on 31 December 1964 at Dumbleyung Lake, Western Australia, when he reached 444.71 km per hour in his jet-powered boat, Bluebird. Prior to this, he had attempted to break the record at several other locations around Australia, including Lake Bonney, South Australia, where the weather had proved too unpredictable. Campbell's initial attempt at Lake Dumbleyung was thwarted by wild ducks which could not fly away because they were moulting. Winds then whipped up 61cm waves on the lake, preventing any attempt from being made. Campbell was about to move to another lake south of Perth when the weather suddenly calmed, allowing the attempt to be made at Dumbleyung.

Campbell was killed three years later while attempting to break his record yet again, this time on Lake Coniston, Cumbria. Just before his Bluebird K7 broke the record, travelling at more than 483 km per hour, the boat's nose lifted and it was catapulted 15m into the air. Campbell was killed instantly as the boat hit the water and disintegrated. His body was not recovered from the wreckage at the bottom of the lake for another 34 years.

1995  -             The final new Calvin and Hobbs comic strip is drawn.

Calvin and Hobbes is a cartoon strip by cartoonist Bill Watterson. It features a six-year-old boy, Calvin, whose mischievous nature is the bane of everyone around him, and his stuffed tiger Hobbes, which only Calvin sees as real and alive. The characters are named after 16th-century French Reformation theologian John Calvin, and Thomas Hobbes, an English political philosopher from the 17th century.

Watterson began drawing cartoons as a sideline while working in advertising. After experiencing numerous rejections for his work, Watterson was encouraged by some interest shown in one of his minor characters who was the younger brother of the main subject: this character became Calvin. The strip was picked up by Universal Press Syndicate, and first published on 18 November 1985.

Calvin and Hobbes enjoyed an immensely successful run, earning Watterson the Reuben Award from the National Cartoonists Society, in the Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year category, in both 1986 and 1988. He was also awarded the Humor Comic Strip Award for 1988. Despite his success, Watterson reached the point where he felt he could not develop the strip or the characters according to syndicate constraints any further and, fearing a stalemate, ended Calvin and Hobbes on a high, with the final cartoon being published on 31 December 1995. Many newspapers around the world continue to run the strip as a weekly feature. Watterson has never accepted any merchandising deals for his comic strup, feeling it would "cheapen" it. Because Calvin and Hobbes items are so rare, in 2012 an original 1986 comic strip by Watterson was sold for a record-breaking price of $203,150.

1999  -             Millennium celebrations are held around the world.

A millennium is a period of one thousand years. Because the Western calendar lacks a year numbered zero and begins instead with the year 1, there are two main viewpoints about naming millennia: whether each one begins on the year ending in '000' (e.g. the years 1000 and 2000) or whether the new millennium commences with the year ending in 001 (e.g. 1001, 2001). Australian Prime Minister John Howard made a point in favour of celebrating the millennium at the end of 2001, and was named "the party pooper of the century" by local newspapers.

Regardless of the semantic debate, the majority of millennium celebrations around the world were held on the evening of 31 December 1999. Celebrations began at 1000 GMT as the Chatham Islands, Tonga, Fiji and Kiribati experienced the new millennium first. The millennium arrived last of all in Samoa, 25 hours after arriving in Greenwich.

Cheers - John



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Today in History


Thanks John - happy new year!!!

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Thank you John for another wonderful year of Today in History and to its continuous read.

Have a awesome year.



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January 01 Today in History


Gday...

        New Year.jpg

1622  -             January 1 is declared as the first day of the year.

Today is New Year's Day, the first day of the year, and is celebrated as a holiday in many countries. Among the ancient peoples, New Year's Day was traditionally celebrated in conjunction with the vernal or autumnal equinox or the summer or winter solstice. In the Middle Ages it was set at the vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere, usually on March 25.

The Gregorian calendar, which is widely in use throughout the western world today, was adopted by many Catholic countries in 1582. However, England, Scotland and all countries within the British Empire did not adopt the Gregorian calendar until 1752. January 1 was declared as the first day of the new year on 1 January 1622.

1856  -             The name change from 'Van Diemen's Land' to 'Tasmania' comes into effect.

Tasmania was first discovered by Abel Tasman on 24 November 1642. Tasman discovered the previously unknown island on his voyage past the "Great South Land", or "New Holland", as the Dutch called Australia. He named it "Antony Van Diemen's Land" in honour of the High Magistrate, or Governor-General of Batavia.

When the First Fleet arrived in 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip claimed the entire eastern coast for the British Empire, including Van Diemen's Land, though it was not yet proven to be separate from the mainland. In January 1799 Bass and Flinders completed their circumnavigation of Van Diemen's Land, proving it to be an island. Van Diemen's Land was settled as a separate colony in 1803, but continued to be administered by the Governor of New South Wales. In 1825, Van Diemen's Land was separated administratively from New South Wales, and Hobart Town was declared the capital of the colony.

The push to change the name of the colony gained momentum through 1854, and in 1855 Queen Victoria approved the new constitution. In November 1855, the colony's first governor, Lieutenant-Governor Henry Fox-Young, signed the Order to change the name of the colony from Van Diemen's Land to Tasmania, in honour of its discoverer. On 1 January 1856, the colony gained self-government, and its new name became official throughout Australia.

1864  -             The Queensland Police Force is inaugurated.

Prior to Queensland's separation from New South Wales in 1859, there was no formalised police force for the settlers north of Tenterfield. Police were appointed by local police magistrates or justices of the peace. A separate Mounted police force was established at Goondiwindi, now on the border of Queensland and New South Wales. Under the command of Captain Fred "Filibuster" Walker, the Native Police Corps, comprising both European and indigenous troopers, protected the early settlers of the inland, and their property.

The "Police Act of 1863" came into effect on 1 January 1864, and with it, the Queensland Police Force was inaugurated, meaning the force began officially operating under its own legislation. Queensland's first Police Commissioner, David Thompson Seymour, headed up a force of between 143 and 157 police as well as the 120 members of the Native Police Corps. He was appointed in a temporary capacity in January 1864, and his appointment was confirmed in July of that year. He continued to command the Queensland Police Force for thirty years. Commissioner Seymour was nominally in charge of the Water Police in regard to appointments, dismissals and punishments but actual control sat with Water Police Magistrate William Thornton.

1866  -             The first Queensland route of famous coach company, Cobb & Co, is established.

Cobb & Co was the name of Australia's famous coach company which operated during the latter half of the 19th century and the early decades of the 20th century. It was begun by Freeman Cobb, John Murray Peck, James Swanton and John Lamber. Americans themselves, they started a network of horse and coach runs in a manner similar to what operated in the United States. Originally called the American Telegraph Line of Coaches, the name was later changed to Cobb & Co. Specially sprung coaches that could handle Australia's rough roads and rocky tracks were imported from America for the enterprise. Horses were replaced at changing stations 25 to 40 kilometres apart, meaning that fresher horses improved travelling time.

Cobb & Co's first run was on 30 January 1854, departing Melbourne for the Forest Creek diggings (now Castlemaine) and Bendigo. The network of routes was quickly expanded to deal with increased demand in the growing colony of Victoria. Initially a passenger service, Cobb & Co's reputation for speed and reliable service soon saw it being used for mail delivery and gold escort as well.

Headquarters were moved from Victoria to Bathurst in 1862. Workshops were built at Hay and Bourke in New South Wales and Castlemaine in Victoria, and the service was expanded to include Queensland. The first Cobb & Co coach in Queensland ran from Brisbane to Ipswich on 1 January 1866. The railway line took passengers from Ipswich to Grandchester, and another Cobb & Co service took the passengers from Grandchester on up to Toowoomba.

In the ensuing years, the service was expanded up the coast to Gympie in 1869, out to central western Queensland, including Clermont and Copperfield in the 1870s, and north to Palmer River, Charters Towers and Croydon by the 1880s. Major depots were established at Barcaldine, Longreach, Winton and Charleville, the latter also becoming the site for more Cobb & Co workshops.

1901  -             The Commonwealth of Australia is proclaimed.

Prior to 1901, Australia was made up of six self-governing colonies; New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania. These colonies were ultimately under British rule from the time the First Fleet landed, in 1788, until 1901. Numerous politicians and influential Australians through the years had pushed for federation of the colonies, and self-government. After not being accepted by the states the first time, the amended Commonwealth Constitution was given Royal Assent on 9 July 1900.

On 1 January 1901, federation of the colonies was achieved and the Commonwealth of Australia was proclaimed. Australia's first Governor-General, John Hope, made the proclamation at Centennial Park in Sydney. Australia's first Prime Minister was Edmund Barton.

This event did not mark independence from Great Britain: it gave Australia the right to govern itself. Independence was a gradual process which continued right up until the Australia Acts came into effect on 3 March 1986.

1908  -             The Australian Bureau of Meteorology is founded.

The Bureau of Meteorology is the main agency of the Australian Government which is responsible for observing and reporting on weather events in and around Australia. Compiling data from a number of sources, it provides forecasts, warnings and observations to the Australian public, as well as offering feature articles and educational resources.

The earliest regular weather observations in Australia were undertaken by Captain William Dawes in 1788, who established the first observatory at what is now known as Dawes Point on the western point of Sydney Cove. Dawes originally named the location Maskelyne Point in honour of his British sponsor, Nevil Maskelyne, the Astronomer Royal, who had secured Dawes's position upon the First Fleet. Successive observatories were built at strategic locations as colonial settlement spread across the Australian continent. Initially, following Federation in 1901, each of the states continued to maintain its own observatories. However, it was soon decided that a central national weather bureau was needed to consolidate all of the information from across Australia.

The Meteorology Act 1906 enabled such an institute to be founded and, on 1 January 1908, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology was established in Melbourne. Its inaugural Director was Henry Ambrose Hunt, who served in this capacity until 1931. During his time with the Bureau, Hunt developed several ground-breaking meteorological theories which were compiled in a 1929 book A basis for seasonal forecasting in Australia. This book was the catalyst to new research into the relationship between the weather cycle and droughts, an especially pertinent topic for Australians.

1911  -             The Commonwealth of Australia takes over control of the Northern Territory from South Australia.

The Northern Territory is a federal territory of Australia, bordered by the states of Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia. From 1825 to 1863, the Northern Territory was part of New South Wales. In 1863, control of the Northern Territory was handed to South Australia. This was as a result of the successful 1862 expedition of John McDouall Stuart to find an overland route through the desert from Adelaide to the north. This route was subsequently utilised for the building of the Overland Telegraph line, which provided an important communications link between Australia and the rest of the world.

On 1 January 1911, the Northern Territory was separated from South Australia and transferred to Commonwealth control. At the time, former Prime Minister Alfred Deakin made the comment that "To me the question has been not so much commercial as national, first, second, third and last. Either we must accomplish the peopling of the northern territory or submit to its transfer to some other nation."

1915  -             Four Australians are killed when two Turks attack a picnic train near Broken Hill.

Each New Year's Day in Australia, the Manchester Unity Lodge customarily held a picnic at Silverton, 25km northwest of Broken Hill in far western New South Wales. On 1 January 1915, at 10:00am, a train pulled out of the Broken Hill railway station at Sulphide Street, carrying 1200 men, women and children in 40 open trucks fitted with wooden seats. Just a few kilometres out of Broken Hill the train passed an ice-cream cart bearing a Turkish flag.

Two Turks lying in wait started shooting at the train, killing two picnickers immediately. A pipeline inspector cycling alongside the train was also killed, whilst a man chopping wood in the yard of a local hotel was killed by a ricocheting bullet from the Turks. Police and locals quickly descended on the scene and a gun battle ensued, during which the snipers were killed. Looking for scapegoats, the public descended on the local Muslim community, but further bloodshed was prevented by police and militia. Local Muslims did not condone the shooting and refused to be responsible for the burial of the Turks. The bodies were later buried away from the local cemetery, in an undisclosed location.

So there ya have it another year passes into obscurity. I wont be posting a Today in History this coming year as I will focus more on my own year.

If you want to continue learning about daily history, this site will give you all you need to know ... you can even subscribe to receive it each morning in our inbox.

http://today.wmit.net.au/

..... but once again I hope everyone has a happy, healthy, prosperous coming year and the expectations of you and your family are fulfilled.

Cheers - John



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The Happy Helper

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RE: Today in History


Thanks John -smilesmilesmilesmilesmilesmile



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Thanks you John, much appreciated. Enjoy your year. nod.gif

Aussie Paul. smile



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Another good read John, so thanks for that

Re December 25 1974 - Cyclone Tracy leaves Darwin, in Australia's Northern Territory, in tatters.

That was a Christmas day, which will always stay in my memory

Later on in life, I met a few people who were there, on that day
They said that it was terrifying

The call went out for tradesmen, younger brother who was still single, and just out of his time, put his name down
They were not looking for Boilermakers, but building trades people

 

Edit to say that I hope that I am not losing my manners, in my old age

Thank you for posting "This Day in History", John

It has been a very entertaining read for me, and I will assume many others

Hope that you have a very enjoyable 2017, without the stress of keeping this topic going

 



-- Edited by Tony Bev on Wednesday 4th of January 2017 06:24:30 PM

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Thanks John for all your work I'm sure that a lot of people on this forum, me included looked forward to reading and commenting on your daily instalments. Time for you to have a break and enjoy yourself.

Cheers BB smile



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On this day, I will not divulge the year as it will probably give my age away, and this is not an internet findable fact as the internet was not invented then, I lied in a doctors surgery attached to 240 volts whilst under local anaesthetic(my god, crosswords do work, I got it right first time), and had warts burnt off my feet. The smell of burnt pork was horrible. The sound of the machine as it burnt my flesh to a crisp and left a hole at least a quarter of inch deep which later got infected and needed packing and cleaning every day with the associated smells etc etc and so forth.

I figure this was a notable date for me in history.

Apart from that, Ronald Ryan, December whatever year, as a kids playing in a park in Avondale Heights, we were surrounded by armed, guns drawn police from all directions. Police cars in places police cars were not meant to be. Cousins down from Sydney for Christmas. We were all questioned and taken home, around the corner in police cars!  Apparently some one had seen Ronald Ryan in the playground!  That was my today in history!



-- Edited by Lancelot Link on Friday 3rd of March 2017 01:41:09 AM

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3-Jun-17 Mabo Day Indigenous Australians The Australian High Court delivered the Mabo decision on 3 June 1992, which recognised that Indigenous people have a special relationship with the land. This paved the way for land rights known as native title. Mabo Day is held 3 June to celebrate the life of Eddie Koiki Mabo.



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