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(A combination of Lets Chat and Today in memory of Gerry, Geomac and Seth.) 

Please keep it general so all can be included not about subjects that can aggravate like Politics or Religion. 

Today's Date Sunday 7th May 2017   

Many thanks to RnR and Toot for making this into such an interesting topic on past events for us all to learn so much. 

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1975 – Jack Lang, Australian politician and Premier of New South Wales, died in Auburn, aged 98.

John Thomas Lang (21 December 1876 – 27 September 1975), usually referred to as J.T. Lang during his career, and familiarly known as "Jack" and nicknamed "The Big Fella", was an Australian politician who was Premier of New South Wales for two terms (1925–27, 1930–32). He is the only Premier of an Australian state to have been dismissed by the state Governor.

During the banking crash of the 1890s which devastated Australia, Lang became interested in politics, frequenting radical bookshops and helping with newspapers and publications of the infant Labor Party. After the Australian Labor Party lost government in 1922, Lang was elected as Opposition Leader in 1923 by his fellow Labor Party MPs. He led the ALP to victory in the 1925 NSW general election and became Premier.

Crowd listening to Jack Lang.

During his first term as Premier, Lang carried out many social programmes, including state pensions for widowed mothers with dependent children under fourteen; a universal and mandatory system of workers' compensation for death, illness and injury incurred on the job, funded by premiums levied on employers; the abolition of student fees in state-run high schools and improvements to various welfare schemes such as child endowment.

Various laws were introduced providing for improvements in the accommodation of rural workers, changes in the industrial arbitration system, and a 44-hour workweek. Extensions were made to the applicability of the Fair Rents Act whilst compulsory marketing along the lines of what existed in Queensland was introduced. Adult franchise for local government elections was also introduced, together with Legislation to safeguard native flora and to penalise ships for discharging oil. His government also carried out road improvements, including paving much of the Hume Highway and the Great Western Highway.

A political cartoon depicting Lang losing the 1927 NSW elections.

During his second term, in 1930, more than one in five adult males in New South Wales was without a job. As Premier, Lang refused to cut government salaries and spending, a stand which was popular with his constituents.

At an economic crisis conference in Canberra in 1931, Jack Lang announced his own programme for economic recovery. The "Lang Plan" advocated the temporary cessation of interest repayments on debts to Britain and that interest on all government borrowings be reduced to 3% to free up money for injection into the economy.

Jack Lang delivers an impassioned speech, undated.

Since the Commonwealth Government had become responsible for state debts in 1928 under an amendment to the Constitution, the new UAP government of Joseph Lyons paid the interest to the overseas bondholders, and then set about extracting the money from NSW by passing the Financial Agreement Enforcement Act 1932, which the High Court held to be valid.

In response, Lang withdrew all the state's funds from government bank accounts and held them at Trades Hall in cash, so the federal government could not gain access to the money.

The Governor, Sir Philip Game, advised Lang that in his view this action was illegal, and that if Lang did not reverse it he would dismiss the government. Lang stood firm, and on 13 May 1932 the Governor withdrew Lang's commission and appointed the UAP leader, Bertram Stevens, as premier. Stevens immediately called an election, at which Labor was heavily defeated.

This was the first case of an Australian government with the confidence of the lower house of Parliament being dismissed by a Vice-Regal representative, the second case being when Governor-General Sir John Kerr dismissed Gough Whitlam's government in 1975.

Lang continued to lead the Labor Opposition until he was ousted in 1939. 

Lang was expelled from the ALP in 1942, and started his own parallel Labor Party. He remained a member of the Legislative Assembly until 1946, resigning to stand for the Division of Reid in the federal election. He was elected on a minority of the votes thanks to preferences given to him by the Liberal Party. In 1949 he was defeated and never held office again, despite a bid to be elected to the Senate in 1951. He spent his long retirement editing his newspaper The Century, and wrote several books about his political life.

Lang was re-admitted to the Labor Party in 1971, aided by his young protege Paul Keating.

Jack Lang died in Auburn on 27 September 1975, aged 98, and was commemorated with a packed house and overflowing crowds outside Sydney's St. Mary's Cathedral at his Requiem Mass and memorial service. His funeral was attended by prominent Labor leaders including then Prime Minister Gough Whitlam. He was buried at Rookwood Cemetery, Sydney.

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551 BC – Confucius, Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher of the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history is born.

Confucius (September 28, 551 BC – 479 BC) was a Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher of the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history. The philosophy of Confucius, also known as Confucianism, emphasised personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity. His followers competed successfully with many other schools during the Hundred Schools of Thought era only to be suppressed in favour of the Legalists during the Qin Dynasty.

Following the victory of Han over Chu after the collapse of Qin, Confucius's thoughts received official sanction and were further developed into a system known in the West as Neo-Confucianism, and later New Confucianism.

A portrait of Confucius by the Ming dynasty artist Qui Ying (1494-1552). Confucius statue at the Confucius Temple in Beijing.

Confucius is traditionally credited with having authored or edited many of the Chinese classic texts including all of the Five Classics. Confucius's principles had a basis in common Chinese tradition and belief. He championed strong family loyalty, ancestor veneration, and respect of elders by their children and of husbands by their wives, recommending family as a basis for ideal government. He is also a traditional deity in Daoism.

A Western Han (202 BC - 9 AD) fresco depicting Confucius and Laozi, from a tomb of Dongping County, Shandong province, China.

Throughout mankind's history, Confucius is widely considered as one of the most important and influential individuals in affecting the lives of humanity. His teaching and philosophy greatly impacted people around the world and still linger in today's society.

He espoused the well-known principle "Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself", the Golden Rule.

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935 – Good King Wenceslas is killed by his brother.

Wenceslaus I, circa 911 – 28 September 935, was the duke of Bohemia from 921 until his assassination. His younger brother, Boleslav or Boleslaus the Cruel, was complicit in the murder.

Wencelas was raised a Christian by his grandmother St. Ludmila, but his ambitious mother, Drahomíra, a pagan, had her murdered and acted as regent herself, until Wenceslas came of age in 924 or 925. Her court intrigues and the wishes of the people to end the conflicts between Christian and non-Christian factions in Bohemia led Wenceslas to take the reins of government. As duke he was pious, reportedly taking a vow of virginity, and encouraged the work of German missionary priests in the Christianisation of Bohemia. However, his zeal in spreading Christianity antagonised his non-Christian opponents.

Faced with German invasions in 929, Wenceslas submitted to the German king Henry I the Fowler. His submission provoked some of the nobles to conspire against him, and they prompted his younger brother, Boleslav to murder him.

Wenceslaus flees from his brother who is wielding a sword, but the priest closes the door of the church, Gumpold's Codex.

Waylaid by Boleslav en route to mass, Wenceslas was killed at the church door. Three nobles fell on the duke and stabbed him to death. As the duke fell, Boleslav ran him through with a lance. Frightened by the reports of miracles occurring at Wenceslas’ tomb, Boleslav had his remains transferred in 932 to the Church of St. Vitus, Prague, which became a great pilgrimage site during the medieval period. Wenceslas was regarded as Bohemia’s patron saint almost immediately after his assassination.

His martyrdom and the popularity of several biographies gave rise to a reputation for heroic virtue that resulted in his elevation to sainthood. He was posthumously declared to be a king and came to be seen as the patron saint of the Czech state. He is the subject of the well-known song "Good King Wenceslas", a carol for Saint Stephen's Day.

Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, Archbishop of Prague, with the skull of Saint Wenceslaus during a procession on 28 September 2006.

Wenceslaus' feast day is celebrated on September 28. On this day celebrations and a pilgrimage are held in the city of Stará Boleslav, while the translation of his relics, which took place in 938, is commemorated on March 4. Since 2000, the September 28 feast day is a public holiday in the Czech Republic, celebrated as Czech Statehood Day.

Crown of Saint Wenceslas.

The Crown of Saint Wenceslas is a crown forming part of the Bohemian Crown Jewels, made in 1346. Charles IV, king of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor, had it made for his coronation, dedicating it to the first patron saint of the country St. Wenceslas and bequeathed it as a state crown for the coronation of future Bohemian kings. On the orders of Charles IV the new royal crown was deposited in St. Vitus Cathedral, however, it was later transferred to Karlstejn Castle. It was used for the last time for the coronation of Ferdinand V in 1836.

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1791 – France becomes the first country to emancipate its Jewish population.

Jewish emancipation was the external (and internal) process in various nations in Europe of eliminating Jewish disabilities, e.g. Jewish quotas, to which Jewish people were then subject, and the recognition of Jews as entitled to equality and citizenship rights on a communal, not merely individual, basis. It included efforts within the community to integrate into their societies as citizens. It occurred gradually between the late 18th century and the early 20th century. Jewish emancipation followed the Age of Enlightenment and the concurrent Jewish enlightenment.

Various nations repealed or superseded previous discriminatory laws applied specifically against Jews where they resided. France was the first country to grant legal equality to Jews in 1791.

An 1806 French print depicts Napoleon Bonaparte emancipating the Jews.

Before the emancipation, most Jews were isolated in residential areas from the rest of the society; emancipation was a major goal of European Jews of that time, who worked within their communities to achieve integration in the majority societies and broader education.

Many became active politically and culturally within wider European civil society as Jews gained full citizenship. They emigrated to countries offering better social and economic opportunities, such as the Russian Empire and France. Some European Jews turned to Socialism, others to Jewish nationalism: Zionism.

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1800 – Phillip Gidley King becomes third Governor of New South Wales.

Captain Philip Gidley King (23 April 1758 – 3 September 1808) was the third Governor of New South Wales, and did much to civilise the young colony in the face of great obstacles. Philip Gidley King was born 23 Apr 1758 Launceston, Cornwall, England, son of Phillip King and his wife Utricia nee Gidley. In January 1788 King arrived in NSW as 2nd Lieutenant aboard HMS Sirius in the First Fleet.

When the fleet arrived , King was detailed to colonise Norfolk Island for defence and foraging purposes. As Governor of New South Wales, he helped develop livestock farming, whaling and mining, built many schools and launched the colony's first newspaper. But conflicts with the military wore down his spirit, and they were able to force his resignation.

Philip Gidley and Anna Josepha King, and their children Elizabeth, Anna Maria and Phillip Parker in 1799. Portrait by Robert Dighton, State Library of NSW.

King served under Arthur Phillip who chose him as second lieutenant on HMS Sirius for the expedition to establish a convict settlement in New South Wales. On arrival, in January 1788, King was selected to lead a small party of convicts and guards to set up a settlement at Norfolk Island, leaving Sydney on 14 February 1788 on board HMS Sirius.

Lieutenant Philip Gidley King established the first British settlement on Norfolk Island, 6 March 1788. State Library of New South Wales.

Suffering from gout, King returned to England in October 1796, and after regaining his health, and resuming his naval career, he was appointed to replace Captain John Hunter as the third Governor of New South Wales. King became governor on 28 September 1800.

He set about changing the system of administration, and appointed Major Joseph Foveaux as Lieutenant-Governor of Norfolk Island. His first task was to attack the misconduct of officers of the New South Wales Corps in their illicit trading in liquor, notably rum. He tried to discourage the importation of liquor, and began to construct a brewery.

However, he found the refusal of convicts to work in their own time for other forms of payment, and the continued illicit local distillation, increasingly difficult to control. He continued to face military arrogance and disobedience from the New South Wales Corps. He failed to receive support in England when he sent an accused officer John Macarthur back to face a court-martial.

The 1804 Castle Hill rebellion or the Second Battle of Vinegar Hill quelled by Philip Gidley King.

The mostly Irish rebels, having gathered reinforcements, were hunted by the colonial forces until they were sequestered on 5 March 1804 on a hillock nicknamed Vinegar Hill. Nine of the rebel leaders were executed and hundreds were punished before martial law was finally revoked a week after the battle.

While still aware that Sydney was a convict colony and always alert to the ebb and flow of the rebellious Irish political prisoners he established his own body guard. He gave opportunities to emancipists, considering that ex-convicts should not remain in disgrace forever. He appointed emancipists to positions of responsibility, regulated the position of assigned servants, and laid the foundation of the 'ticket of leave' system for deserving prisoners. Although he directly profited from a number of commercial deals, cattle sales, and land grants, he was modest in his dealings compared with most of his subordinates. Most famously he quelled the Castle Hill Rebellion in March 1804.

The increased animosity between King and the New South Wales Corps led to his resignation and replacement by William Bligh in 1806, and he returned to England. There his health failed and he died on 3 September 1808.

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1916 – Peter Finch, English-Australian actor is born.

Frederick George Peter Ingle Finch (28 September 1916 – 14 January 1977) was an English-born Australian actor.

Peter Finch is best remembered for his role as "crazed" television anchorman Howard Beale in the film Network, which earned him a posthumous Academy Award for Best Actor, his fifth Best Actor award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and a Best Actor award from the Golden Globes. He was the first of two persons to win a posthumous Academy Award in an acting category, and coincidentally also the first of the two Australian actors to have done so, the other being Heath Ledger.

In 1934–35 Finch appeared in a number of theatre productions. He also worked as a sideshow spruiker at the Sydney Royal Easter Show and in vaudeville. At age 19 Finch toured Australia with George Sorlie's travelling troupe. In the late 1930s he did radio work. He made his feature film debut in Dad and Dave Come to Town in 1938, playing a small comic role.

Finch enlisted in the Australian Army on 2 June 1941. He served in the Middle East and was an anti-aircraft gunner during the Bombing of Darwin. During his war service Finch was given leave to act in radio, theatre and film. He appeared in a number of propaganda shorts. He also appeared in two of the few Australian feature films made during the war, The Rats of Tobruk 1944 and Red Sky at Morning also in 1944. Finch produced and performed Army Concert Party work, and in 1945 toured bases and hospitals. Finch was discharged from the army on 31 October 1945 at the rank of sergeant.

The Rats of Tobruk 1944. L to R: Grant Taylor, Peter Finch and Chips Rafferty.

After the war, Finch continued to work extensively in radio and established himself as Australia's leading actor in that medium. He also worked as a compere, producer and writer. Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh toured Australia in 1948 with the Old Vic Company. Olivier was impressed with Finch's acting and encouraged him to move to London, his birthplace.

Finch left Australia in 1948. He was soon cast in his first British movie, playing a murderous actor in Train of Events in 1949. Finch's film roles increased in size and prestige through the early 1950s. He had one of his best film parts as the villain Flambeau in Father Brown 1954, opposite Alec Guinness in the title role.

A Town Like Alice 1956.

He was cast as an Australian soldier in A Town Like Alice 1956, which became the third most popular film at the British box office in 1956 and won Finch a BAFTA for Best Actor.

He followed it with The Battle of the River Plate 1956. Finch returned to Australia to make The Shiralee 1957, one of his favourite parts, and followed it with another Australian story, the bushranger tale Robbery Under Arms in 1957 in which he played Captain Starlight. Finch's career received a boost when Fred Zinnemann cast him opposite Audrey Hepburn in The Nun's Story 1959.

The late 1960s saw him support notable female stars: Sophia Loren in Judith 1966, Melina Mercouri in 10:30 P.M. Summer 1966 and Julie Christie in Far from the Madding Crowd 1967. Finch's career received another boost when he played the lead in Sunday Bloody Sunday in 1971.

Finch played the role of news presenter Howard Beale in Network 1976. The movie was his biggest commercial and critical hit in years.

Network 1976.

He then played Yitzhak Rabin in Raid on Entebbe in 1977. Shortly after Raid on Entebbe finished shooting, Finch undertook a promotional tour for Network. On 13 January 1977 he appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. The day after, he suffered a heart attack in the lobby of the Beverly Hills Hotel and died at the age of 60.

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1962 – Paddington tram depot fire destroys 65 trams in Brisbane.

The Paddington tram depot in Brisbane, Australia was destroyed by fire on the night of 28 September 1962, one of the largest fires in Brisbane's history. Sixty-five of Brisbane's trams were destroyed.

The destruction of the depot is generally seen as the beginning of the end for Brisbane's tram system, providing the justification for the subsequent closure of four tram routes and the gradual encroachment of bus operation on other tram routes, with the final closure of the tram system occurring on 13 April 1969.

A photo from 1915 shows the depot under construction.

The depot was constructed in 1915 on Latrobe Terrace, Paddington by the Brisbane Tramways Company. Initially the depot had 10 roads, but it was subsequently lengthened and widened to 13 roads. It was on the side of a hill and was largely timber and corrugated iron panels. The front of the depot was at street level, but owing to the slope of the site, the rear of the depot was supported by a forest of timber supports, some over 15 metres high.

Burnt out trams at the Paddington tram depot.

Around 7:30 pm 28 September 1962 depot staff were alerted by nearby residents who had noticed sparks falling from under the depot. Staff first secured the depot's cash in the depotmaster's car and then attempted to drive some trams out of the depot. Three trams were rescued before the fire cut the power to the depot. Firefighting was hampered by very low water pressure. As the fire progressed, burning trams periodically crashed through the weakened floor to the ground below.

When it became obvious that the building could not be saved, firefighters concentrated on ensuring the fire did not spread to neighbouring homes. The fire, fuelled by tyres, oil and grease stored under the depot, was visible from many areas of Brisbane.

Video: Paddington Tram Depot Fire, 1962. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services.

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1969 – A meteorite fell over the Murchison region of Western Australia, 100 kg of rock was recovered.

The Murchison meteorite is a large meteorite that fell to earth near Murchison, Victoria, in Australia, in 1969.

It is one of the most studied meteorites due to its mass of over 100 kilograms, the fact that it was an observed fall, and that it belongs to a group of meteorites rich in organic compounds.

On 28 September 1969 at about 10:58 local time, near the town of Murchison, Victoria, in Australia, a bright fireball was observed to separate into three fragments before disappearing, leaving a cloud of smoke. About 30 seconds later, a tremor was heard. Many fragments were found over an area larger than 13 square kilometres, with individual mass up to 7 kg; one, weighing 680 g, broke through a roof and fell in hay. The total collected mass exceeds 100 kg.

Several lines of evidence indicate that the interior portions of well-preserved fragments from Murchison are pristine. A 2010 study using high resolution analytical tools including spectroscopy, identified 14,000 molecular compounds including 70 amino acids in a sample of the meteorite. The limited scope of the analysis by mass spectrometry provides for a potential 50,000 or more unique molecular compositions, with the team estimating the possibility of millions of distinct organic compounds in the meteorite.

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1973 – The curtain rises on the first performance inside the newly completed Sydney Opera House.

The very first performance at the Sydney Opera House occurred outside the building long before the it was finished. On 9 November 1960, before the construction of the sails had even begun, American singer and civil rights activist Paul Robeson sang Ol’ Man River to construction workers.

Video: Paul Robeson sings for the workers at Sydney Opera House.

Nearly 13 years later, on 28 September 1973 and almost a month before its official opening by Her Majesty the Queen, the curtain inside the Opera Hall rose on its first production – Prokofiev’s epic War and Peace by the Australian Opera. The first performance in the Concert Hall was a program of works by Wagner performed by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and featuring the legendary Swedish soprano Birgit Nilsson and Australian conductor Charles Mackerras.

Video: Prokofiev’s epic War and Peace by the Australian Opera. ABC classic.

The opera calls for a large cast, so every member of the company was featured in the historic premiere performance. In fact, some singers were featured in more than one minor role. The production, reviewed by critics from London, New York and elsewhere was a huge success.

Official opening of the Sydney Opera House by Queen Elizabeth II on 20 October 1973.

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The is nothing nicer that listening to a Classical concert in the Opera House. 

1994 – The cruise ferry MS Estonia sinks in Baltic Sea, killing 852 people.

MS Estonia was a cruise ferry built in 1979/80 at the German shipyard Meyer Werft in Papenburg. The ship sank in 1994 in the Baltic Sea in one of the worst maritime disasters of the 20th century.

MS Estonia is, after Titanic, the second-deadliest European shipwreck disaster to have occurred in peacetime and the deadliest peacetime shipwreck to have occurred in European waters, with 852 lives lost.

The Estonia disaster occurred on Wednesday, 28 September 1994, between about 00:55 and 01:50 as the ship was crossing the Baltic Sea, en route from Tallinn, Estonia, to Stockholm.

Estonia was on a scheduled crossing with departure at 19:00 on 27 September. She had been expected in Stockholm the next morning at about 09:30. She was carrying 989 people: 803 passengers and 186 crew. Most of the passengers were Scandinavian, while most of the crew members were Estonian (several Swedish passengers were of Estonian origin). The ship was fully loaded, and was listing slightly to starboard because of poor cargo distribution.

The first sign of trouble aboard Estonia was when a metallic bang was heard, caused by a heavy wave hitting the bow doors around 01:00. Over the next 10 minutes, similar noises were reported by passengers and other crew. At about 01:15, the visor in which the ship's bow door opened separated, and the ship immediately took on a heavy starboard list as water flooded into the vehicle deck.

A Mayday was communicated by the ship's crew at 01:22, but did not follow international formats. The ship disappeared from the radar screens of other ships at around 01:50 and sank about 22 nautical miles from Uto island, Finland, in 74 to 85 metres of water.

MS Estonia memorials L: Stockholm R: Tallinn.

Of the 989 on board, 138 were rescued alive, but one died later in hospital. Ships rescued 34 and helicopters 104.

The accident claimed 852 lives. By the time the rescue helicopters arrived, around a third of the people who escaped from the Estonia had died of hypothermia, and less than a half of those who had managed to leave the ship were eventually rescued. About 650 of the 757 missing persons are believed to be still inside the ship.

The Estonia Agreement 1995, a treaty among Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Denmark, Russia and the United Kingdom, declared sanctity over the site, prohibiting their citizens from even approaching the wreck. The wreck is radar monitored by the Finnish Navy.

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