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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1919 – Construction of the Great Ocean Road begins.

About 3,000 returned First World War servicemen built the Great Ocean Road between 1919 and 1932 in honour of fallen comrades, making it the world's biggest war memorial.

The Australian National Heritage listed 243-kilometre stretch of road runs along along the south-eastern coast of Australia between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Allansford.

The Great Ocean Road was first planned towards the end of World War I, when chairman of the Country Roads Board, William Calder, asked the State War Council for funds to be provided for returned soldiers to work on roads in sparsely populated areas in the Western District. At the time, the rugged south-west coast of Victoria was accessible only by sea or rough bush track. It was envisaged that the road would connect isolated settlements on the coast, and become a vital transport link for the timber industry and tourism.

Great Ocean Road Trust. Toll tickets.

Surveying for the road, tentatively titled the South Coast Road, started in 1918. Also in 1918, the Great Ocean Road Trust was formed as a private company, under the helm of president Howard Hitchcock. The company managed to secure £81,000 in capital from private subscription and borrowing, with Hitchcock himself contributing £3000. Money would be repaid by charging drivers a toll until the debt was cleared, and the road would then be gifted to the state.

Construction on the road began on 19 September 1919. It was built by approximately 3,000 returned servicemen as a war memorial for fellow servicemen who had been killed in World War I.

Construction was done by hand; using explosives, pick and shovel, wheelbarrows, and some small machinery, and was at times perilous, with several workers killed on the job; the final sections along steep coastal mountains being the most difficult to work on. Anecdotal evidence from ABC archives in 1982 suggested workers would rest detonators on their knees during travel, as it was the softest ride for them.

The soldiers were paid 10 shillings and sixpence for eight hours per day, also working a half-day on Saturdays. They used tents for accommodation throughout, and made use of a communal dining marquee and kitchen; food cost up to 10 shillings a week. Despite the difficulty involved in constructing the road, the workers had access to a piano, gramophone, games, newspapers and magazines at the camps.

On 18 March 1922 the section from Eastern View to Lorne was officially opened with celebrations. However it was then closed from 10 May 1922 for further work; opening again on 21 December along with tolls to recoup construction costs. The charge, payable at Eastern View, was two shillings for motor cars plus sixpence for the driver, and 10 shillings for wagons with more than two horses.

In November 1932, the section from Lorne to Apollo Bay was finished, bringing the road to completion. The road was officially opened with Victoria's Lieutenant-Governor Sir William Irvine holding a ceremony near Lorne's Grand Pacific Hotel, and the road subsequently being acknowledged as the world's largest war memorial.

Travelling the Great Ocean Road, Devil's Elbow 1922.

In its original state, the road was considered a formidable drive, fitting only a single vehicle comfortably at a time. Areas with sheer cliffs would be most hazardous, with only few places for drivers to pull over to allow others to proceed in the opposite direction.

On 2 October 1936, the road was handed to the State Government; with the deed for the road presented to the Victorian Premier at a ceremony at the Cathedral Rock toll gate. It was at this time that the tolls were also removed.

Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch.

The Memorial Arch is made out of wood, with the sides being made out of stone and cement for support. The first arch was erected in 1939, and was replaced a few more times over the decades, including a time when a truck ran into the side of the arch, and another was created in 1983 when it was destroyed in the Ash Wednesday Bushfires. With all of the rebuilds and tear downs, the original sign still sits on the top of the arch, for all to see. Alongside the arch is a sculpture also commemorating the returned servicemen, which was commissioned and placed during the 75th anniversary of the road constructions.

19 September 2019: After 100 years the Great Ocean Road is feeling the pressure of being 'loved to death' ... The Guardian.


Enjoyed driving this road and appreciate all their hard work.

1954 – Australian author Miles Franklin dies.

Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin, known as Miles Franklin (14 October 1879 – 19 September 1954) was an Australian writer and feminist who is best known for her novel My Brilliant Career, published by Blackwoods of Edinburgh in 1901. While she wrote throughout her life, her other major literary success, All That Swagger, was not published until 1936.

Miles Franklin circa 1902. Miles Franklin. Photo, State Library of NSW.

She was committed to the development of a uniquely Australian form of literature, and she actively pursued this goal by supporting writers, literary journals, and writers' organisations. She has had a long-lasting impact on Australian literary life through her endowment of a major annual prize for literature about "Australian Life in any of its phases", the Miles Franklin Award. Her impact was further recognised in 2013 with the creation of the Stella Prize, awarded annually for the best work of literature by an Australian woman.

Throughout her life, Franklin actively supported literature in Australia. She joined the Fellowship of Australian Writers in 1933 and the Sydney P.E.N. Club in 1935. She encouraged young writers such as Jean Devanny, Sumner Locke Elliott and Ric Throssell and she supported the new literary journals, Meanjin and Southerly.

Miles Franklin's waratah cup and saucer 1904. This cup is part of the collection of the State Library of NSW.

Miles entertained literary figures at her home in Carlton, NSW. An autograph book known as Miles Franklin's Waratah Book held by the State Library of NSW was used for autographs and inscriptions. Guests were encouraged to drink tea from the Waratah Cup and to write in the Waratah Book.


Love that cup and saucer, would love to add it to my collection.

1981 – The ALP government of Neville Wran is re-elected in New South Wales.

Neville Kenneth Wran, AC, CNZM, QC (1926–2014) was the Premier of New South Wales from 1976 to 1986. He was the national president of the Australian Labor Party from 1980 to 1986 and chairman of both the Lionel Murphy Foundation and the CSIRO from 1986 to 1991.

Neville Wran when premier of NSW in the 1970s.

Wran was born in the Sydney suburb of Paddington, the eighth and last child of Joseph Wran and his wife Lillian. He was educated at Nicholson Street Public School, Balmain, Fort Street Boys High and the University of Sydney, where he was a member of the Liberal Club, and from which he gained a Bachelor of Laws in 1948. He was admitted as a solicitor in 1951, called to the Bar in 1957, and became a Queen's Counsel in 1968.

Premier Neville Wran joins a group of children on the new inner-city cycle route.

During his 10 years as Premier of New South Wales, the government embarked on a program of reform and change. Priorities were public transport, the environment, consumer protection and job creation. He also achieved significant electoral institutional reform such as a democratic Legislative Council, four-year terms, public funding and disclosure laws and a pecuniary interests register for members of parliament.

Also during the time that Wran was Premier: homosexuality was decriminalised; the death penalty was abolished; crimes targeting the poor, like begging and busking, were repealed; anti-discrimination legislation was introduced; the Summary Offences Act was repealed and the NSW Legal Aid Commission was set up.

Neville Wran announces his resignation at the Sydney Town Hall. Photo by Ian Cugley.

Wran resigned both the premiership and his seat in Parliament on 4 July 1986, after continuously holding office longer than any other premier in the history of New South Wales until that time.

In his later years, Wran had dementia and from July 2012 had been under special care at the Lulworth House aged care facility in Elizabeth Bay. He died there on 20 April 2014 at the age of 87 and was survived by his wife Jill and four children. A state funeral was held at the Sydney Town Hall on 1 May 2014.


Mr Wran's legacy includes introducing Lotto, rate-pegging for councils, random breath testing, the Land and Environment Court, and laws allowing homosexual acts between consenting adults.

He also triggered the redevelopment of Darling Harbour and built the Sydney Entertainment Centre, but once said his proudest achievement had been creating national parks.

1992 – The Queensland Labor Government of Wayne Goss re-elected for second term.

Wayne Keith Goss (1951–2014) was Premier of Queensland, Australia, from 7 December 1989 until 19 February 1996, becoming the first Labor Premier in over 32 years. Prior to entering politics, Goss was a solicitor, and after leaving politics he served as Chairman of the Queensland Art Gallery and Chairman of Deloitte Australia.

Wayne Goss as a boy in school uniform, date unknown.

Along with others, Goss was a key figure in the 1970s-1980s Civil liberties fight against the Bjelke-Petersen Government, pursuing legal and political strategies against Bjelke-Petersen. He was elected Leader of the Opposition in March 1988. Goss and Labor won a strong majority government at the 1989 election, scoring a 24-seat swing, the worst defeat of a sitting government up until that time in Queensland.

Wayne Goss claims victory in the 1989 state election.

The Goss Government introduced several electoral and public sector reforms, the most notable being the elimination of the "Bjelkemander" malapportionment that had helped keep the Queensland Nationals in power. In addition to reforming the state’s electoral laws and boundaries, the Goss Government "introduced merit-based appointments to the Queensland public service, created new National Parks and oversaw a new regime of economic and budgetary management”.

It also introduced social reforms such as decriminalising homosexuality, appointing Queensland's first female minister in cabinet and first female Governor, abolishing the Queensland Police Special Branch and Imperial honours, and made provision "to buy thousands of extra university places and hire thousands of new teachers".

Goss' Chief of Staff as Premier was former diplomat Kevin Rudd, later leader of the federal Labor Party and Prime Minister of Australia, and Goss' 1989 campaign director was Wayne Swan, subsequently Deputy Prime Minister of Australia.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd with former Queensland Premier Wayne Goss.

Goss won a second term at the 1992 state election. After the 1995 election, Labor's majority hung on the Townsville seat of Mundingburra. However, several irregularities were discovered and a by-election was ordered for February 1996. This outcome brought about a hung Parliament; the balance of power was held by Gladstone Independent Liz Cunningham. Cunningham announced that she was going to support the Coalition on the floor of Parliament, leaving Goss with no alternative but to resign as Premier on 19 February 1996.

Goss battled a series of brain tumours for 17 years, undergoing four operations to remove them. He died aged 63 at his home in Brisbane on 10 November 2014, with his wife and children present.


2003 – Australian singer Slim Dusty dies.

Slim Dusty AO MBE (born David Gordon Kirkpatrick; 13 June 1927 – 19 September 2003) was an Australian country music singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer, who was an Australian cultural icon and one of the country's most awarded stars, with a career spanning nearly seven decades and numerous recordings, he was the archetypical "Father of Country Music". He was known to record songs in the legacy of Australia particularly of bush life and renowned Australian bush poets Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson that represented the lifestyle and also for his many trucking songs.

Slim Dusty was the first Australian to have a No. 1 international hit song, with a version of Gordon Parsons' "A Pub with No Beer".

He received an unequalled 37 Golden Guitar and two Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) awards and was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame and the Country Music Roll of Renown.

At the time of his death, at the age of 76, Dusty had been working on his 106th album for EMI Records. In 2007, his domestic record sales in Australia surpassed seven million.

During his lifetime, Dusty was considered an Australian National Treasure. He performed "Waltzing Matilda" at the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.


The Slim Dusty Centre, Kempsey, NSW

Built as a flexible multipurpose facility, the Centre offers a Visitor Information Centre, Function and Conference spaces, a Travelling Exhibition Gallery, Dusty’s Dinner Camp Café, and a Merchandise Shop with unique Slim Dusty gifts, as well as showcased local products from our region.

The Slim Dusty Museum, an “Australian Life In Song” is a major tourism drawcard, making this facility a must see on the national and international visitors’ scene.

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