On this day: the disappearance of Harold Holt | In Times Gone By…

On the 17th of December, 1967, Australia’s Prime Minister went swimming in the sea and was never seen again.

Harold Holt, who had been in office for twenty-two months at the time, was a strong swimmer. However, he ignored warnings not to swim in the rough surf and dangerous currents of Cheviot Beach and went out anyway. When he disappeared from view his friends…

Source: On this day: the disappearance of Harold Holt | In Times Gone By…

On this day: the Great Fire of Brisbane

On the 1st of December, 1864, a fire swept through Brisbane, in the Australian colony of Queensland.

Dozens of homes were lost, alongside banks, hotels and small businesses. The damage was made worse because there was…

Source: On this day: the Great Fire of Brisbane

Update: Rare Film of London in 1906 | National Film & Sound Archive of Australia

Following an informative comment from Jacqui North of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia on my original post, it appears that this film is from 1906, not 1904. Here is a documentary trailer that features the restored version.

Gallipoli 13: Turkey! Where’s Turkey?

First World War Hidden History

Map of the Gallipoli Peninsula and the NarrowsIf the Admiralty’s planning for the seaborne attack had been poor, the organisation for the military campaign was shambolic. As Les Carlyon put it so succinctly, ’Instead of being planned for months in London, down to the last artillery shell and the last bandage, this venture was being cobbled up on the spot, and only after another enterprise, the naval attack, had failed.’ [1] The only operation of similar stature that could be compared with this lay thirty years ahead on the beaches of Normandy, and the planning for that amphibious landing took not three weeks, but nearly two years. [2] Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett, British war correspondent at Gallipoli, wrote that no country other than Great Britain would have attacked the Dardanelles without months of reflection and preparation by a highly trained general staff composed of the best brains of the army. He added, ‘Never have I known such a collection…

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On this day: the Cataraqui sank in 1845

In Times Gone By...

Cataraqui_wreck.The 4th of August, 1845 was the date of the deadliest ship sinking in Australia’s history. The British barque Cataraqui

The Wreck

The 4th of August, 1845 was the date of the deadliest ship sinking in Australia’s history.

The British barque Cataraqui (also known as Cataraque) was cast onto jagged rocks and sank of the south-west coast of Bass Strait.

The ship had departed from Liverpool, England and was heading to Melbourne, Australia with 410 people (369 emigrants and 41 crew) on board. 400 people died in the sinking.

Before the sinking one crew member had already been lost overboard, five babies had been born and six others had died.

After the sinking, eight crew members survived by clinging to wreckage and one passenger, a man named Solomon Brown also survived.

The nine survivors were stranded on King Island for five weeks until being rescued.

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Fine Ships and Gallant Sailors | barbdrummondbooks

Originally posted on barbdrummondbooks.

I grew up in Australia where ANZAC Day is an annual holiday, but I had never heard of this battle. But if it hadn’t happened, the Australians and New Zealanders might not have made it to Gallipoli, and the history of the First World War could have turned out very . book is based on the journal of a friend’s grandfather who signed on to deliver Australia’s first light cruiser, the HMAS Sydney,  in 1913 and ended up in the middle of the first running gun battle of the First World War against the raider/pirate, the German SMS Emden.The Sydney was escorting the first of the ANZAC fleet from Freemantle to Gallipoli, which had been delayed repeatedly due to the risk of attack from the Emden. When the Emden attacked the telegraph station…

via Fine Ships and Gallant Sailors | barbdrummondbooks.

A new life in Australia for prisoner Sarah Bird (1763-1842) | All Things Georgian

Originally posted on All Things Georgian.

The Costumes of the Australasians: watercolour by Edward Charles Close

In light of the recent controversy surrounding the television programme ‘Banished‘ we decided to share this letter that we came across in the Chester Courant 13 November 1798. It is a fascinating letter from a daughter to her father after she was transported to Botany Bay and gives an insight into life in Australia from a female perspective, and shows how incredibly astute she was in her determination to succeed as a business woman. She seems totally undaunted by the fact that she has been sent thousands of miles away from home without a man to support her. She may well have had someone, possibly an officer keeping a watchful eye over her and possibly writing her letter for her, but there is no indication of that in the letter. Would she have had the same opportunity had she remained in England? possibly not. Draw your own conclusions from her letter. If she wrote the letter herself then it would imply that she was from a good family and reasonably well-educated, which begs the question as to why she…

via A new life in Australia for prisoner Sarah Bird (1763-1842) | All Things Georgian.

Making histories: Captain Cook and Indigenous Australia

British Museum blog

Maria Nugent, Research Fellow, Australian National University

Objects on display in the Indigenous Australia exhibition. Objects on display in the Indigenous Australia exhibition at the British Museum, London

There is a corner (literally) in the BP exhibition Indigenous Australia: enduring civilisation that features the famous British navigator Captain James Cook. It occurs at a pivotal point, where the exhibition’s narrative moves from the hard-to-fathom timescales of the Dreaming (the complex system of beliefs and stories that explain the meaningful creation of the world, and how humans reproduce that system through ceremony, art, storytelling and other meaningful action, which one anthropologist described as an ‘everywhen’) and the 40,000 plus years of human occupation of the continent, to the much shorter and more immediate timespan of the last 245 years since British encounters with Indigenous people there began. While Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese voyagers had visited since the early 1600s, Cook was the first British navigator to explore the region…

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Croatians Remember Sir Robert Menzies And Bleiburg Massacre

Croatia, the War, and the Future

Sir Robert Gordon (Bob) Menzies of Australia Sir Robert Gordon (Bob) Menzies of Australia

According to British documents, located in the British Public Records Office at Kew Gardens in London, over 500,000 Croatian civilians and 200,000 soldiers were handed over to Tito’s Yugoslav Partisan Army in May of 1945. Based on eyewitness testimony and independent documentation, we can only estimate that the vast majority were slaughtered. The Bleiburg Tragedy is, perhaps, the best kept secret of man’s inhumanity to man. Certainly, it serves as an example of man’s ability to ignore the suffering of the powerless and those who lack nation-state status. Let us pray that Croats always cherish their independence and always fight those that attempt to subjugate them,” Michael Palaich.

May 15th 2014 marks 69 years since the days after WWII ended hundreds of thousands of innocent Croats (disarmed soldiers, civilians including women and children, fleeing communist Yugoslavia into promised freedom in the…

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Indigenous Australia Exhibition Opens in British Museum

Tribalmystic Stories

Discover the remarkable story of one of the world’s oldest continuing cultures in this major exhibition.

The show is the first major exhibition in the UK to present a history of Indigenous Australia through objects, celebrating the cultural strength and resilience of both Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders. This culture has continued for over 60,000 years in diverse environments which range from lush rainforest and arid landscapes to inland rivers, islands, seas and urban areas today. Hundreds of different Indigenous groups live across this vast continent, each with their own defined areas, languages and traditions. The exhibition runs from 23 April – 2 August 2015.

And here is another view of the exhibition has sparked.

Exhibition Sparks Protests

Published on Apr 23, 2015 (YouTube)
On 21 April 2015, the British Museum’s BP-sponsored ‘Indigenous Australia: enduring civilisation’ press launch was disrupted by activists, criticising oil sponsorship and calling for…

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