The Meeting Place

Today's Chat, No Set Topic


.........................................Something comes into your mind? share it, as everyone is different so all topics have followers :) Happy thoughts, sad thoughts or just reflective thoughts - let's enjoy chatting without agro or nastiness. Who knows what we might learn from each other..........................................:) 

(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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1968 – The town of Meckering, Western Australia, is badly damaged by an earthquake.

One of Australia's largest recorded earthquakes tore through the Western Australian wheat-growing community of Meckering on 14 October 1968. Meckering is 130 km east of Perth along the Great Eastern Highway. The surrounding areas produce wheat and other cereal crops.

At 10:59 am on 14 October 1968, a 40-second earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter Scale destroyed the town, and had effect on a considerable area in the south western region of Western Australia. Surface faulting was up to 3 metres high, and almost 40 km long.

Of the 75 houses in town, 60 had been damaged by the earthquake or later would be condemned. Buildings such as the bank, churches, and the shire hall were irrevocably damaged. It was a bustling and vibrant community, but it had been inadvertently built near a fault line. Surrounding roads were cracked and impassable, water pipes had burst, and the railway line was twisted and buckled.

Despite the destruction and multiple injuries, no lives were lost in the earthquake — something locals credit to the time of day that it happened on a public holiday.

Makeshift accommodation was set up on the community's oval while houses and the town buildings were slowly rebuilt.

Buildings in the metropolitan area of Perth were damaged as a result of the earthquake, and tremors were felt as far away as Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Esperance, and Albany. The building codes and various structural issues for Western Australia were modified as a result of the earthquake and further development of earthquake engineering.

The ruins of the Snook family home, which was destroyed in the 1968 earthquake.

On 14 October 2018, the Meckering community will host a commemorative event to mark 50 years since the earthquake. Memories are relived in the ABC article below.

Remembering Meckering: 50 years after one of the most powerful earthquakes in Australia.


A 40-second earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter Scale is not to be sneezed at and 1968 isn't that long ago.

When we were looking at buying a house in the 70s in Perth and were surprised at the number of older houses which had cracks in the plaster we were then told it was due to the Meckering earthquake over 30 years later the repaired cracks hadn’t re-opened thank goodness. 

Vivity we are still getting settlement cracks in our new home!    The builder sends the poor painter to fix.

I think it has to do with the sand we have here in Perth and any development that is in progress around the area when they use the machinery to compact the sand.  Our Government is hell bent on trying to change zoning in many areas to bring in more strata development in already residential single occupancy properties.   [R20 is now being changed all around to R25 - R40]

We had Broadband connected on Friday and lost computer connection and phone connection and tv connection.

Son came around and reconnected the tv and the computer for awhile, got in contact with the Server who was not much use and Broadband which was not much use.  We were referred to the Manual!  Well not everyone is technically brilliant which makes life a bit difficult.

So we ended up getting the engineer/electrician who put our security in.    He found somehow one of the so called new plugs, [a minuscule plug mind you] which has or is meant to have 5 connections within this tiny thing, there was only 2 working.   So when we came to need the extra three connections they would not work for the phone and computers.

Not being an electrician  [!!] we would not have found it out ourselves.  Being in a new home we thought that was pretty off, looks if the builders electrician was happy to use the plug with the two connections, he didn't need the five!    Cannot trust tradesmen these days, they are in and out quickly and who checks upon their work?

I am sure they think,  'old people' and leaves us with the account and off they trott.

We are connected now, but will get new wiring put into the study to make sure everything works from now on.

What a pain Celia ... I'm due to switch from ADSL to NBN shortly. Dreading it quite frankly. My system works fine at present, both phone and internet.

Glad all is well now Celia, I'm dreading it too RnR, but not predicted here until middle of next year 

Thanks ladies, yes it was a bit off at the time, if it wasn't for my flip phone we would not have had any connection there for a time.   [husband had not charged his phone]

We are so technical these days, younger people forget we over 70 usually need HELP!         Glad number one son came up, he left work at 7pm to come up here having had a stressful day himself.    

We had ADSL too, everything was fine.

I should think yours will be fine, it is only the silly little plug that hindered our attempts at a connection that spoilt things.

The electical guy was testing all and sundry to find out where the problem was.  

I was explaining to him about my introduction to the modern computer, do you remember WANG?  We used to have to use cross keys to get the cursor to work.  Well I was going into the Office for CARE Australia back in the 80s, the receptionist said to me,  'have a look at this'  'What is it I asked'  she said 'it is called a mouse'!   Such was modern technology back then.  Not to mention the hard discs were massive too.

Global Handwashing Day was initiated by the Global Handwashing Partnership in August 2008 at the annual World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden. The date was appointed by the UN General Assembly. 2008 was also the International Year of Sanitation.


1529 – The Siege of Vienna ends as the Austrians rout the invading Turks, turning the tide against almost a century of unchecked conquest throughout eastern and central Europe by the Ottoman Empire.

The Siege of Vienna in 1529 was the first attempt by the Ottoman Empire, led by Suleiman the Magnificent, to capture the city of Vienna, Austria. The siege signalled the pinnacle of the Ottoman Empire's power and the maximum extent of Ottoman expansion in central Europe.

Thereafter, 150 years of bitter military tension and reciprocal attacks ensued, culminating in the Battle of Vienna of 1683, which marked the start of the 15-year-long Great Turkish War.

An Ottoman depiction of the siege from the 16th century, housed in the Istanbul Hachette Art Museum. Suleiman I in 1529.

As the Ottomans advanced towards Vienna, the city's population organised an ad-hoc resistance formed from local farmers, peasants and civilians determined to repel the inevitable attack. The Hofmeister of Austria, Wilhelm von Roggendorf, assumed charge of the defensive garrison, with operational command entrusted to a seventy-year-old German mercenary named Nicholas, Count of Salm. Salm arrived in Vienna as head of the mercenary relief force and set about fortifying the three-hundred-year-old walls surrounding St. Stephen's Cathedral, near which he established his headquarters.

The final assault on October 14th could be seen as a last desperate throw of the dice, demonstrated by the Ottoman army’s retreat of its own accord after two hours because they no longer believed they would win the battle. The Siege of Vienna ended on 15 October 1529.

Siege of Vienna in 1529.

The inability of the Ottomans to capture Vienna in 1529 turned the tide against almost a century of conquest throughout eastern and central Europe. The Ottoman Empire had previously annexed Central Hungary and established a vassal state in Transylvania in the wake of the Battle of Mohács. According to Arnold J. Toynbee, "The failure of the first Siege of Vienna brought to a standstill the tide of Ottoman conquest which had been flooding up the Danube Valley for a century past."


1764 – Edward Gibbon observes a group of friars singing in the ruined Temple of Jupiter in Rome, which inspires him to begin work on The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

Edward Gibbon FRS (1737–1794) was an English historian, writer and Member of Parliament. His most important work, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, was published in six volumes between 1776 and 1788 and is known for the quality and irony of its prose, its use of primary sources, and its open criticism of organised religion.

The work. Edward Gibbon portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds.

After Gibbon’s deactivation from the South Hampshire militia at the end of the Seven Years' War, the global conflict fought between 1756 and 1763, he embarked on a Grand Tour, which included a visit to Rome. In his autobiography Gibbon vividly records his rapture when he finally neared "the great object of my pilgrimage …at the distance of twenty-five years I can neither forget nor express the strong emotions which agitated my mind as I first approached and entered the eternal City.” And it was here that Gibbon first conceived the idea of composing a history of the city, later extended to the entire empire, a moment known to history as the Capitoline vision:

“It was at Rome, on the fifteenth of October 1764, as I sat musing amidst the ruins of the Capitol, while the barefooted fryars were singing Vespers in the temple of Jupiter, that the idea of writing the decline and fall of the City first started to my mind.”

The first volume of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, was published on 17 February 1776. The work covers the history, from 98 to 1590, of the Roman Empire, the history of early Christianity and then of the Roman State Church, and the history of Europe, and discusses the decline of the Roman Empire in the East and West. Because of its stress on objectivity and heavy use of primary sources, unusual at the time, its methodology became a model for later historians. This led to Gibbon being called the first "modern historian of ancient Rome".

Although he published other books, Gibbon devoted much of his life to this one work (1772–89). His autobiography Memoirs of My Life and Writings is devoted largely to his reflections on how the book virtually became his life. He compared the publication of each succeeding volume to a newborn child.


…….Nations, Gibbon tells the reader, are bound to eventually fall, either as the result of outside pressures or internal flaws. It’s a cautionary tale, and it’s difficult to read without extrapolating Gibbon’s narrative approach to different times and places throughout history. The work includes explorations of the early days of both Christianity and Islam. Gibbon examines how each faith took root and established itself as a major factor in the everyday lives of countless people, and as a significant part of the political landscape……


1783 – The Montgolfier brothers' hot air balloon (tethered) makes the first human ascent in history, piloted by Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier.

The modern era of flight lifted off in 1783 when the Montgolfier brothers demonstrated their invention, the hot-air balloon, before a crowd of dignitaries in Annonay, France on June 4, 1783. The balloon rose 1,600-2,000 metres, stayed aloft for 10 minutes and traveled more than 2 kilometres.

The first public demonstration in Annonay, 4 June 1783.

Next, they constructed a balloon about 9 metres in diameter made of taffeta and coated with a varnish of alum for fireproofing. The balloon was decorated with golden flourishes, zodiac signs, and suns symbolising King Louis XVI. There was some concern about the effects of high altitude on living beings. The king proposed a test using prisoners, but the Montgolfiers instead suspended a basket below the balloon containing a sheep, a duck, and a rooster.

The first manned flight by Rozier in a tethered balloon ascent on 15 October 1783.

The Montgolfiers' next step was to put a person in the basket. On 15 October 1783, they launched a balloon on a tether with Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier, a chemistry and physics teacher, aboard. He stayed aloft for almost four minutes.

Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier later died when his balloon crashed near Wimereux in the Pas-de-Calais during an attempt to fly across the English Channel. He and his companion, Pierre Romain, thus became the first known fatalities in an air crash. 

More: Montgolfier brothers. Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier.

1815 – Emperor Napoleon I begins his exile on Saint Helena in the Atlantic Ocean.

Napoleon demanded asylum from the British Captain Frederick Maitland on HMS Bellerophon on 15 July 1815.

Imagine Napoleon’s dismay when he realised he was not being banished by Britain to America as he anticipated, but to the remote island of St Helena in the mid-Atlantic instead. Located 1,200 miles from the nearest landmass off the west coast of Africa, St Helena was the ideal choice for Napeoleon’s exile… after all, the last thing the British wanted was a repeat of Napoleon’s escape from Elba!

HMS Northumberland and HMS Myrmidon entering James Bay, St. Helena on 15 October 1815.

Napoleon arrived in St Helena on 15th October 1815, after ten weeks at sea on board the HMS Northumberland. William Balcombe, employee of the East India Company and one-time family friend of the French emperor, put Napoleon up at Briars Pavilion when he first arrived on the island. However a few months later in December 1815, the emperor was moved to nearby Longwood House, a property said to have been particularly cold, uninviting and infested with rats. It had fallen into disrepair, and the location was damp, windswept and unhealthy.

Longwood House in 1837. British Library.

The Times published articles insinuating the British government was trying to hasten Napeoleon’s death, and he often complained of the living conditions in letters to the governor and his custodian, Hudson Lowe, Governor of St Helena. Lowe’s main duty was to ensure that he didn’t escape but also to provide supplies for Napoleon and his entourage. While they only met six times, their relationship is well documented as being tense and acrimonious.

With a small cadre of followers, Napoleon dictated his memoirs and grumbled about conditions. Lowe cut Napoleon's expenditure. There were rumours of plots and even of his escape, but in reality no serious attempts were made.

The Death of Napoleon in St. Helena, 1828. After painting by Carl von Steuben, oil on canvas, Napoleonmuseum Thurgau, Switzerland.

Napoleon finally persuaded Lowe to build a new Longwood House. However he died just before it was completed, after six years in exile on the island. After World War II the new Longwood House was demolished to make room for a dairy.

Today the original Longwood House is considered to be the most poignant and atmospheric of all the Napoleonic Museums, as it is preserved with its original furniture from 1821, complemented by over 900 artifacts. Thanks to the island’s Honorary French Consul, Michel Dancoisne-Martineau, with the support of the Fondation Napoleon and over 2000 donators, visitors to Longwood House can now also view an exact replica of the room where Napoleon died on 5th May 1821.

100th Anniversary of Napoleon’s death at his original tomb on Saint Helena, 1921. Saint Helena Island Info.


St Helena is part of the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. Saint Helena measures about 16 by 8 kilometres (10 by 5 mi) and has a population of 4,534 (2016 census). It was named after Saint Helena of Constantinople.

In 1961 the Volcano on Tristan Da Cunha erupted, the whole population of 264 people were evacuated. They were kept together as a group and went into accomadation/barracks in Hampshire. They got jobs with local farmers etc, a group worked at Beaulie House where I still being at school worked week-ends and school holidays. Having lived such an isolated life they were like visitors from the past, shy with a different dialect and speech patterns and kept very much to themselves, shy but always pleasant. They all voted to return to Tristan as soon as they could. 

Tristan da Cunha: Remembering the extraordinary evacuation of the world's most remote island to Britain - BT

Those island are certainly well spread out Toot. Saint Helena and Tristan da Cunha are 2,161 km apart and Ascension Island lies some 2,802 km to the north of Tristan.

Thanks for the story about the evacuation Viv. Really interesting.

Tristan da Cunha now has 275 inhabitants. Most of the families on Tristan farm, growing vegetables and breeding cows, sheep, chickens and ducks as well as working in a variety of jobs across the island. This includes jobs in the lucrative Tristan lobster market.

Today, the island may be remote, but that’s not to say that it doesn’t get any luxuries. The island was given a postcode in 2005 by the Royal Mail, so residents can order goodies from Amazon to be delivered. They may just have to wait a while for the mail ship to arrive as the only way of travelling in and out of Tristan is by boat, a six-day trip from South Africa.

1894 – The Dreyfus affair: Alfred Dreyfus is arrested for spying.

The Dreyfus Affair was a political scandal that divided the Third French Republic from 1894 until its resolution in 1906. The affair is often seen as a modern and universal symbol of injustice, and it remains one of the most notable examples of a complex miscarriage of justice. The major role played by the press and public opinion proved influential in the lasting social conflict.

The court-martial of Alfred Dreyfus, illustration from Le Petit Journal, December 1894.

The scandal began in December 1894 with the treason conviction of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a young French artillery officer of Alsatian and Jewish descent. Sentenced to life imprisonment for allegedly communicating French military secrets to the German Embassy in Paris, Dreyfus was imprisoned on Devil's Island in French Guiana, where he spent nearly five years.

Alfred Dreyfus in his room on Devil's Island in 1898. Stereoscopy sold by F. Hamel from Altona-Hamburg.

Evidence came to light in 1896—primarily through an investigation instigated by Georges Picquart, head of counter-espionage—identifying a French Army major named Ferdinand Walsin Esterhazy as the real culprit. After high-ranking military officials suppressed the new evidence, a military court unanimously acquitted Esterházy after a trial lasting only two days.

The Army then accused Dreyfus with additional charges based on falsified documents. Word of the military court's framing of Dreyfus and of an attempted cover-up began to spread, chiefly owing to J'accuse!, a vehement open letter published in a Paris newspaper in January 1898 by famed writer Emile Zola. Activists put pressure on the government to reopen the case.

In 1899, Dreyfus was returned to France for another trial. The new trial resulted in another conviction and a 10-year sentence, but Dreyfus was given a pardon and set free. On 12 July 1906 Dreyfus was officially exonerated by a military commission and reinstated as a major in the French Army. A week later, he was made a Knight of the Legion of Honour.

Lucie Dreyfus embraced by her husband in the small courtyard of the Ecole Militaire where Alfred Dreyfus was made Chevalier of the Legion of Honor.

He served during the whole of World War I, ending his service with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. Dreyfus died in Paris aged 75, on 12 July 1935, exactly 29 years after his exoneration.


1940 – Peter Doherty, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1996, and Australian of the Year in 1997, was born in Brisbane.

Peter Charles Doherty, AC, FRS, FMedSci (born 15 October 1940) is an Australian veterinary surgeon and researcher in the field of medicine. He received the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research in 1995, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly with Rolf M. Zinkernagel of the University of Zurich in 1996 and was named Australian of the Year in 1997. In the Australia Day Honours of 1997, he was named a Companion of the Order of Australia for his work with Zinkernagel. He is also a National Trust Australian Living Treasure. In 2009 as part of the Q150 celebrations, Doherty's immune system research was announced as one of the Q150 Icons of Queensland for its role as an iconic "innovation and invention".

Peter Doherty. Rolf Zinkernagel.

After obtaining his PhD in 1970 from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, he returned to Australia to perform his Nobel Prize-winning research at the John Curtin School of Medical Research within the Australian National University in Canberra. Doherty's research focuses on the immune system and his Nobel work described how the body's immune cells protect against viruses.

When the body's cells are attacked by viruses, the immune system begins killing the infected cells. By studying mice, Peter Doherty and Rolf Zinkernagel proved in 1973 how the immune system recognises virus-ridden cells. A kind of white blood cell, T-cells, kills the virus-ridden cells, but only if they recognise both the foreign substances, viruses, and certain substances from the body's own cells. The discovery has provided an important basis for vaccines and medicines for infectious diseases, but also for inflammatory diseases and cancer.


1970 – A portion of the West Gate Bridge in Melbourne collapses, killing 35.

Two years into construction of the bridge, at 11.50 am on 15 October 1970, the 112 m span between piers 10 and 11 collapsed and fell 50 metres to the ground and water below. Thirty-five construction workers were killed and 18 injured, making it Australia's worst industrial accident. Many of those who perished were on lunch break beneath the structure in workers' huts, which were crushed by the falling span. Others were working on and inside the girder when it fell.

The whole 2,000-tonne mass plummeted into the Yarra River mud with an explosion of gas, dust and mangled metal that shook buildings hundreds of metres away. Nearby houses were spattered with flying mud. The roar of the impact, the explosion, and the fire that followed, could be clearly heard over 20 kilometres away. On the following morning, 16 October, Sir Henry Bolte (Premier of Victoria) announced that a Royal Commission would be set up immediately to look into the cause of the disaster.

Westgate Bridge Memorial Park. 35 names on the West Gate Bridge Memorial plaque.


…In a 293-page report released in August 1971, the Royal Commission found that the project was riddled with errors, infighting and poor management.

“Error begat error and the events which led to the disaster moved with the inevitability of a Greek tragedy,” the report stated.

It said the disaster was “utterly unnecessary” and “inexcusable”….



When I was reading about Dr Karl yesterday after you posted his pics Toot, I found this:

After university, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki's first job as a physicist was working for a steel works in his home town of Wollongong where he had to test the strength of steel made for use in Melbourne's West Gate Bridge, which was under construction at that time. Kruszelnicki designed a machine to test the steel.


1997 – Cheryl Kernot, leader of the Australian Democrats defected to the Australian Labor Party.

Cheryl Zena Kernot (born 5 December 1948) is an Australian politician, academic, and political activist. She was a member of the Australian Senate representing Queensland for the Australian Democrats from 1990 to 1997, and the fifth leader of the Australian Democrats from 1993 to 1997. In 1997, she resigned from the Australian Democrats, joined the Australian Labor Party, and won the seat of Dickson at the 1998 federal election. She was defeated at the 2001 federal election. Kernot later stood as an independent candidate to represent New South Wales in the Australian Senate in the 2010 federal election.

Kernot was first elected as a Senator for Queensland at the 1990 election, taking over from the retiring Democrats Senator Michael Macklin. She surprised party members by immediately contesting the parliamentary leadership, even before taking her place in the Senate on 1 July 1990. In 1991, she then controversially acted to discredit and depose the elected leader, Janet Powell, resulting in Powell's replacement by John Coulter. Kernot finally achieved her ambition to become the Democrats' Senate leader after the 1993 election. Meg Lees was elected as her deputy. Inside the party, she spearheaded a drive for central control of the state-based organisations, which resulted in protest resignations of members and the temporary closure of the Western Australian Division.

Cheryl Kernot announces her resignation from the Democrats at a press conference with Gareth Evans and Kim Beazley at Parliament House in Canberra, 15 October 1997.

On 15 October 1997, Kernot abruptly moved to the Australian Labor Party, resigning her Senate seat and leaving the leadership of the Democrats to her deputy, Meg Lees, in what was described by Monica Attard as a "defection that took the country by storm".

In her resignation speech, Kernot did not criticise the Democrats, saying her motivation was due to a "growing sense of outrage at the damage being done to Australia by the Howard Government" and that her position leading a minor party in the Senate meant she "had a limited capacity to help minimise that damage". She also stated that she was "well aware of the political risks in this course of action". Kernot narrowly won the outer metropolitan Brisbane seat of Dickson for Labor at the 1998 election, before losing it at the 2001 election to the Liberal Party candidate Peter Dutton.

On 3 July 2002, in his regular weekly column in The Bulletin, political journalist Laurie Oakes criticised Kernot for failing to mention an extramarital affair she had with Gareth Evans while she was leader of the Democrats. Evans was deputy leader of the Labor Party and key advocate of her move to Labor. Oakes claimed that the relationship began several years before Kernot joined Labor, and ended in October 1999. Initially, Kernot and Evans made themselves unavailable for comment; however, Evans subsequently confirmed the nature of their relationship.


I remember their relationship was hot gossip for a good while.

Reminds me of Jim Cairns and Juni Morosi and the gossip about them.

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