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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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1796 – The distilling of spirits is prohibited in the colony of New South Wales.

In 1796, the second governor of New South Wales, Governor Hunter found that a number of stills were operating, producing an evil and dangerous spirit. He gave orders forbidding distilling under heavy penalties and all stills found were destroyed. It was also evident that a greater quantity of liquor had been landed from ships than port permits had been obtained for.

Governor Hunter. Excerpts from article “Liquor Troubles Are As Old As Australia”, The Sunday Herald, 30 November 1952.

The Governor then granted licences for a year to 10 persons of good character selected by the magistrates. He also determined to put an end to the practice of the settlers selling their crops for spirits. Under the licensing system, Governor Hunter ordered an inquiry into the liquor black market in 1796.


Hard to believe that from 1787, rum was Australia's unofficial form of tender for three decades.

1904 – Alesund Fire: the Norwegian coastal town Alesund is devastated by fire, leaving 10,000 people homeless and one person dead. Kaiser Wilhelm II funds the rebuilding of the town in Jugendstil style.

The Alesund fire happened in the Norwegian city of Alesund on 23 January 1904. It destroyed almost the whole city centre, built mostly of wood like the majority of Norwegian towns at the time. The fire started around 2.00 am on the island of Aspoya, in the Aalesund Preserving Co.’s factory. It is actually stated that the fire started because a cow kicked a torch. In spite of valiant efforts at suppression, the wind-driven fire destroyed much of the town.

Alesund in 1900 before the fire. The view is from the east looking west as seen from the local mountain Aksla. The bulk of the island Aspoya can be seen in the foreground.

Although fire crews responded immediately the sky brightened rapidly in the direction of the Aalesund Preserving Co.’s factory. The weather was unfavourable and a strong gale blew out of the southwest. When the fire engines proceeded through the lower part of the Strandgate to the fire, they encountered heavy smoke and a rain of sparks, such that the horses panicked and had to be blindfolded and led to the fire.

The fire started late and spread quickly, leading to a hurried evacuation of people at very short notice into the cold January night. As the fire spread it became clear there was little local shelter to be had and the population of over 10,000 was forced to seek shelter elsewhere. A fortunate few were able to flee by boat. The old and the sick were loaded on wagons and carts, but most fled on foot with only what they could carry.

Alesund today.

Liberal aid was provided to Alesund both from within Norway and from abroad. Kaiser Wilhelm II had been a frequent visitor to the area and expressed a personal concern for the plight of the population. As a result, much of the international help was from Germany, sent in Kaiser Wilhelm’s name. His first telegram was received while the fire was still being extinguished. He dispatched four ships loaded with personnel, food, medicine, materials for shelters, and equipment.

The town was rebuilt in the then contemporary Jugendstil or Art Nouveau style.


It is actually stated that the fire started because a cow kicked a torch.

Regardless of the risk of fire, Norwegians still believe wood provides significantly better thermal insulation than brick, stone and concrete.

1943 – WWII: Fall of Rabaul: The capital of the Territory of New Guinea is overwhelmed and established as a major Japanese base from whence they landed on mainland New Guinea and advanced towards Port Moresby and Australia.

The New Guinea campaign opened with the battles for New Britain and New Ireland in the Territory of New Guinea in 1942. Rabaul, the capital of the Territory, fell on 23 January 1942 and was established as a major Japanese base from whence they landed on mainland New Guinea and advanced towards Port Moresby and Australia. The Japanese invasion force quickly overwhelmed the small Australian garrison at Rabaul, the majority of which was either killed or captured.

At the height of the occupation Rabaul was home to up to 100,000 Japanese soldiers and support staff. These included an estimated 2000 ''comfort women'' conscripted into sexual slavery in military brothels where NCOs could pay four yen for an hour's diversion and poor sailors were charged a more affordable 3.5 yen for the same period.

Japanese troops parade through Rabaul. Australian soldiers retreating from Rabaul cross the Warangoi/Adler River in the Bainings Mountains, on the eastern side of Gazelle Peninsula. Photographer: Sgt L. I. H. (Les) Robbins. January 1942.

Having had their initial effort to capture Port Moresby by a seaborne invasion disrupted by the U.S. Navy in the Battle of the Coral Sea, the Japanese attempted a landward invasion from the north via the Kokoda Track. From July 1942, a few Australian reserve battalions, many of them very young and untrained, fought a stubborn rearguard action against a Japanese advance along the Kokoda Track, towards Port Moresby, over the rugged Owen Stanley Ranges.

An Australian soldier, Private George "Dick" Whittington, is aided by Papuan orderly Raphael Oimbari near Buna.

Local Papuans, called Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels by the Australians, assisted and escorted injured Australian troops down the Kokoda track. The militia, worn out and severely depleted by casualties, were relieved in late August by regular troops from the Second Australian Imperial Force, returning from action in the Mediterranean theatre.

The fall of Rabaul on 23 January 1942, will forever be linked with another two tragedies, the massacres at Tol and Waitavalo that claimed at least 158 lives on February 4 that year, and the loss of 1054 soldiers and civilians aboard the Montevideo Maru on June 30. On 22 June 1942, some weeks after the fall of Rabaul to the Japanese, a large number of Australian prisoners were embarked from Rabaul's port on the Japanese POW ship Montevideo Maru.

The sinking is considered the worst maritime disaster in Australia's history. A nominal list made available by the Japanese government in 2012 revealed that a total of 1054 prisoners (178 non-commissioned officers, 667 soldiers and 209 civilians) died on the Montevideo Maru.

A catastrophe that scarred the lives of thousands of Australian families, the sinking of the Montevideo Maru has special meaning for - among others - Australia's ambassador to the United States Kim Beazley and Midnight Oil lead singer, Peter Garrett. Garrett's grandfather, Tom, was a copra and cocoa planter on New Britain when the Japanese attacked. Beazley's uncle, Sydney Beazley, had been a builder and technical teacher at the Methodist mission. Both men were aboard the Montevideo Maru when she went down after being torpedoed by the USS Sturgeon, an American submarine, off the Philippines coast on June 30.

More: Battle of Rabaul. Article: Fall of Rabaul 70 years on.

God bless those Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels

Such a tragic loss with Tol/Waitavalo and the Montevideo Maru.

1948 – De Havilland Australia conducts the first flight of its three-engined DHA-3 Drover transport aircraft at Bankstown Airport.

De Havilland Aircraft Company Limited was a British aviation manufacturer established in late 1920 by Geoffrey de Havilland at Stag Lane Aerodrome Edgware on the outskirts of north London. The first overseas subsidiary was set up in Australia in March 1927 as de Havilland Aircraft Pty. Ltd.

The company moved from Melbourne to Sydney during 1930 where it acted as an agency for the parent company. Aircraft design and full manufacture by de Havilland Australia (DHA) did not take place until the Second World War, when the company began production of the DH 82 Tiger Moth primary trainer at Bankstown, NSW. DHA's third indigenous design was the DHA-3 Drover.

Drover 3B, with Lycoming O-360 engines, at Bankstown Airport in 1970.

The name 'Drover' was selected by Sir Geoffrey de Havilland after suggestions for a name were invited from DHA employees. Thomas King from the Drawing Office came up with the winning name. The first DHA-3 Mk. 1 Drover took to the air at Bankstown Airport on 23 January 1948 piloted by Brian (Black Jack) Walker, DHA's chief test pilot.

The aircraft was subsequently flown by Walker to Melbourne for trials by the Australian Department of Civil Aviation. After entering service, by 1952 the plane’s shortcomings were becoming apparent. These included the aircraft's lack of power, especially in hot weather, and an unfortunate tendency for propellers to fail in-flight, resulting in the loss of two aircraft.

The Powerhouse Museum's DHA-3 Mk. 3a Drover at Bankstown Airport.

Despite the small number produced the Drover still survives in museums and private collections.

Sixteen aircraft had been delivered by the end of 1952, but the problems suffered by the type stalled further sales for several years. The last four of the twenty Drovers built were produced in 1953 but were not sold until 1955 and 1956. DHA produced two further versions. By the end of the 1950s only nine Drovers were still in airline service worldwide.


1999 – Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons are burned alive by radical Hindus while sleeping in their car in Eastern India.

Graham Stuart Staines (1941 – 23 January 1999) was an Australian Christian missionary who, along with his two sons Philip, aged 10, and Timothy, aged 6, was burnt to death by a gang of Hindu Bajrang Dal fundamentalists while sleeping in his station wagon at Manoharpur village in Kendujhar district in Odisha, India on 23 January 1999. In 2003, a Bajrang Dal activist, Dara Singh, was convicted of leading the gang that murdered Graham Staines and his sons, and was sentenced to life in prison.

The Staines family. The vehicle.

He had been working in Odisha among the tribal poor and lepers since 1965. Some Hindu groups alleged that Staines had forcibly converted or lured many Hindus into Christianity; Staines' widow Gladys denied these allegations.

Gladys Staines receiving her Padna Shri award from Indian President Abdul Kalam, 2004. Gladys Staines, 2015 Mother Teresa Memorial Award winner.

Gladys Staines continued to live in India caring for leprosy patients until she returned to Australia in 2004. In 2004 she was awarded the fourth highest civilian honour in India, Padma Shree, in recognition for her work with leprosy patients in Odisha. She returned to India, using the money from the award to upgrade the home for lepers into a hospital.

Gladys was named the 2015 recipient of the prestigious Mother Teresa Memorial Award for Social Justice by the Harmony Foundation, a Mumbai-based charity that grants the only award endorsed by the famous nun's Missionaries of Charity.


The Least of These – a movie based on the sensational murder of Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons in Odisha in 1999, will hit theatres soon. According to sources, the movie is all set for a release in the USA on February 1 and the producers are planning to showcase it on the big screens in India and Australia by March 2019.

Thanks Toot. Another awful case of religious fanatics.

Surprised the case was so well-known a movie was made.

AD 41 – Roman Emperor Caligula, known for his eccentricity and sadistic despotism, is assassinated by his disgruntled Praetorian Guards.

Caligula (31 August AD 12 – 24 January AD 41), formally known as Gaius Caesar, was Roman emperor from AD 37 to AD 41. The son of Germanicus, a popular Roman general, and Agrippina the Elder, the granddaughter of Augustus. Caligula was born into the first ruling family of the Roman Empire, conventionally known as the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Two years after Caligula's birth, Germanicus' uncle and adoptive father, Tiberius, succeeded Augustus as emperor of Rome in AD 14.

Germanicus, Agrippina the Elder, Caligula.

As a child, he acquired the nickname "Caligula" (meaning "little soldier's boot") from his father's soldiers during their campaign in Germania. When Germanicus died at Antioch in AD 19, Agrippina returned with her six children to Rome, where she became entangled in a bitter feud with Tiberius, which led to the destruction of her family, with Caligula as the sole male survivor.

Caligula accepted an invitation in AD 31 to join the emperor on the island of Capri, where Tiberius had withdrawn five years earlier. Following the death of Tiberius on 16 March 37 AD at age 77, Caligula succeeded his grand-uncle and adoptive grandfather as emperor.

Caligula Depositing the Ashes of his Mother and Brother in the Tomb of his Ancestors, by Eustache Le Sueur, 1647. Royal Collection, Windsor Castle.

There are few surviving sources about the four-year reign of Caligula, although he is described as a noble and moderate emperor during the first six months of his rule. Caligula's first acts were said to be generous in spirit, though many were political in nature. In October 37 AD, Caligula fell seriously ill, or perhaps was poisoned. He soon recovered from his illness, but many believed that the illness turned the young emperor toward the diabolical. He started to kill off or exile those who were close to him or whom he saw as a serious threat. He had his cousin and adopted son Tiberius Gemellus executed. He had his father-in-law Marcus Junius Silanus and his brother-in-law Marcus Lepidus executed as well.

The sources focus upon his cruelty, sadism, extravagance, and sexual perversion, presenting him as an insane tyrant. While the reliability of these sources is questionable, it is known that during his brief reign, Caligula worked to increase the unconstrained personal power of the emperor.

In AD 38, Caligula focused his attention on political and public reform. He aided those who lost property in fires, abolished certain taxes, and gave out prizes to the public at gymnastic events. During the same year, though, Caligula was criticised for executing people without full trials.

According to Cassius Dio, a financial crisis emerged in AD 39 when Caligula’s spending had exhausted the state's treasury. Ancient historians state that Caligula began falsely accusing, fining and even killing individuals for the purpose of seizing their estates. They also describe a number of Caligula's other desperate measures.

In order to gain funds, Caligula asked the public to lend the state money. He levied taxes on lawsuits, weddings and prostitution and began auctioning the lives of the gladiators at shows. Despite financial difficulties, Caligula embarked on a number of construction projects during his reign. Some were for the public good, though others were for himself.

"The Remains of the Theatre of Pompey”, By Giovanni Battista Piranesi. The Vatican Obelisk, tallest obelisk in Rome and the largest standing ancient Egyptian obelisk in the world.

Caligula completed the temple of Augustus and the theatre of Pompey and began an amphitheatre beside the Saepta. He expanded the imperial palace. He began the aqueducts Aqua Claudia and Anio Novus, which Pliny the Elder considered engineering marvels. He built a large racetrack known as the circus of Gaius and Nero and had an Egyptian obelisk, now known as the "Vatican Obelisk”, transported by sea and erected in the middle of Rome. At Syracuse, he repaired the city walls and the temples of the gods. He had new roads built and pushed to keep roads in good condition.

Caligula had two large ships constructed for himself, which were recovered from the bottom of Lake Nemi around 1930. The ships were among the largest vessels in the ancient world. The smaller ship was designed as a temple dedicated to Diana. The larger ship was essentially an elaborate floating palace with marble floors and plumbing.

The hull of one of two ships recovered from Lake Nemi during the 1930s. This massive vessel served as an elaborate floating palace to the Emperor. Modern depiction.

On 24 January 41, Cassius Chaerea and other guardsmen accosted the twenty-eight year old Caligula as he addressed an acting troupe. Records of the events vary somewhat from source to source, but they agree that Chaerea stabbed Caligula first, followed by a number of conspirators. Suetonius records that Caligula's death resembled that of Julius Caesar.

The conspirators' attempt to use the opportunity to restore the Roman Republic was thwarted, however. On the day of the assassination of Caligula, the Praetorians declared Caligula's uncle, Claudius, the next Roman emperor.


Up until his serious illness, he was generous and kind, then suddenly he became a despot.

Caligula’s appointment as Emperor and his return to Rome was marked with extreme joy, celebration and ecstasy. The Romans welcomed ‘their baby’ with open arms.

His reign as an Emperor commenced on a good note. He started off by granting bonus to military men and city troops. Subsequently, he recalled exiled people by nullifying Tiberius’ treason papers. He even banished certain sexual deviants and helped people affected by the imperial tax system.

Caligula’s illness in October 37 AD acted as a catalyst for the turn of his reign. From being a benevolent Emperor, he soon turned into a ruthless leader. Once critical of exile, he started banishing people and even killing those he found to be serious threat. He executed his close relatives including his brothers and adopted son and exiled others.


AD 76 – Roman Emperor Hadrian is born.

Hadrian (24 January 76 – 10 July 138) was Roman emperor from 117 to 138. He is known for building Hadrian's Wall, which marked the northern limit of Britannia. He also rebuilt the Pantheon which still stands today and constructed the Temple of Venus and Roma, the largest temple in Ancient Rome.

Hadrian's Wall was 80 Roman miles or 117.5 km long; its width and height varied according to the construction materials available nearby. As an indication, East of the River Irthing, the wall was made from squared stone and measured 3 metres wide and 5 to 6 metres high. There was a fort about every five Roman miles.

His predecessor, Trajan, was a maternal cousin of Hadrian's father. Trajan did not officially designate an heir during his lifetime, but his friend and adviser Licinius Sura was well disposed towards Hadrian. Trajan's wife, Pompeia Plotina, claimed that her husband nominated Hadrian as emperor immediately before his death. Soon after his succession, four leading senators who had opposed Hadrian were unlawfully put to death. The senate never forgave Hadrian for this.

Bust. Denarius. Statue of Hadrian in military garb, wearing the civic crown and muscle cuirass, from Antalya, Turkey.

During his reign, Hadrian travelled to nearly every province of the Empire. An ardent admirer of Greece, he sought to make Athens the cultural capital of the Empire and ordered the construction of many opulent temples in the city. He used his relationship with his Greek lover Antinous to underline his philhellenism (love of Greek culture), and this led to the establishment of one of the most popular cults of ancient times. Hadrian spent a great deal of time with the military; he usually wore military attire and even dined and slept among the soldiers. He ordered rigorous military training and drilling and made use of false reports of attacks to keep the army on alert.

The Pantheon. The Temple of Venus and Roma by the Colosseum.

Hadrian's last years were marred by illness and his further executions of leading senators suspected of plotting against him. In 138 he adopted Antoninus Pius on the condition that Antoninus adopt Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus as his own heirs. They would eventually succeed Antoninus as co-emperors. Hadrian died the same year at Baiae. Antoninus had him deified, despite opposition from the Senate.

Hadrian's tomb.

The Mausoleum of Hadrian, usually known as Castel Sant'Angelo is a towering cylindrical building in Parco Adriano, Rome, Italy. It was initially commissioned by Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family. Hadrian's ashes were placed there a year after his death in Baiae in 138, together with those of his wife Sabina, and his first adopted son, Lucius Aelius, who also died in 138.

Castel Sant'Angelo was later used by the popes as a fortress and castle, and is now a museum. The Castle was once the tallest building in Rome.


He built the wall 1,891 ago and it's still standig.  I wonder how Trump's wall will stand up (if it ever gets built, that is) lol.

1848 – California Gold Rush: James W. Marshall finds gold at Sutter's Mill near Sacramento.

The California Gold Rush (1848–1855) began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. The news of gold brought some 300,000 people to California from the rest of the United States and abroad. The sudden influx of immigration and gold into the money supply reinvigorated the American economy, and California became one of the few American states to go directly to statehood without first being a territory, in the Compromise of 1850.

James W. Marshall. Sutter's Mill.

The Gold Rush had severe effects on Native Californians and resulted in a precipitous population decline from disease, genocide and starvation. The effects of the Gold Rush were substantial. Whole indigenous societies were attacked and pushed off their lands by the gold-seekers, called "forty-niners”, referring to 1849.

Of the 300,000 people who came to America during the Gold Rush, approximately half arrived by sea and half came overland on the California Trail and the Gila River trail; forty-niners often faced substantial hardships on the trip. While most of the newly arrived were Americans, the Gold Rush attracted tens of thousands from Latin America, Europe, Australia, and China.

Merchant ships fill San Francisco harbour, 1850–51.

San Francisco grew from a small settlement of about 200 residents in 1846 to a boomtown of about 36,000 by 1852. Roads, churches, schools and other towns were built throughout California. In 1849 a state constitution was written. The new constitution was adopted by referendum vote, and the future state's interim first governor and legislature were chosen. In September, 1850, California became a state.

By the time the gold rush ended, California had gone from a thinly populated ex-Mexican territory, to the home state of the first presidential nominee for the new Republican Party, John C. Frémont, in 1856.


We Are a Sanctuary City

Since 1989, San Francisco has proudly been a Sanctuary City. We will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our immigrant communities and fight for the progress we’ve achieved in this City. We are a sanctuary city, now, tomorrow and forever.

1903 – The Goldfields Water Supply Scheme piping water from Perth to the goldfields of Coolgardie was completed.

The Goldfields Water Supply Scheme is a pipeline and dam project that delivers potable water from Mundaring Weir in Perth to communities in Western Australia's Eastern Goldfields, particularly Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie. The project was commissioned in 1896 and was completed in 1903.

Mundaring Weir nearing completion, circa 1901.

During the early 1890s, thousands of settlers had travelled into the barren and dry desert centre of Western Australia in search of gold, but the existing infrastructure for the supply of water was non-existent and an urgent need arose. Prior to the scheme, water condensers, irregular rain, and water trains were part of the range of sources. Railway dams were essential for water to supply locomotives to travel to the goldfields. On 16 July 1896, the Premier of Western Australia, Sir John Forrest introduced to Western Australian Parliament a bill to authorise the raising of a loan of £2.5 million to construct the scheme.

Laying the golden pipeline from Perth to Kalgoorlie.

Lady Forrest officially started the pumping machinery at Mundaring Pumping Station Number One on 22 January 1903 and on 24 January 1903 water flowed into the Mount Charlotte Reservoir at Kalgoorlie.


1908 – The Eastern Suburbs Rugby League Football Club, now known as the Sydney Roosters, are formed at Paddington Town Hall.

The Eastern Suburbs District Rugby League Football Club (ESDRLFC) was formed on 24 January 1908 at a meeting at the Paddington Town Hall in Sydney after it was decided that the district should enter a team in the newly formed New South Wales Rugby Football League.

The ESDRLFC was formed, under its articles of association with the NSWRL, to represent the geographic areas in Sydney covering the Waverley, Randwick, Woollahra, Paddington, Darlinghurst and Vaucluse local government municipalities, as well as the eastern parts of the Sydney CBD. Sydney, postcode 2000, falls entirely within the official boundaries of the ESDRLFC.

In 1913, the club won their 3rd consecutive premiership title. The club was therefore awarded the Royal Agricultural Society Shield permanently.

Unofficially nicknamed the "Tricolours" due to their red, white and blue playing strip, Eastern Suburbs won its first match, defeating Newtown 32–16 at Wentworth Oval on 20 April 1908. In 1913, they became the first club to win three consecutive premierships. The line-ups during this period included the likes of Dally Messenger, Harry "Jersey" Flegg and Sandy Pearce, all regarded as all-time rugby league greats. However, the club rapidly declined and failed to win the premiership for the next nine seasons.

Eastern Suburbs Rugby League Team, 3 August 1931. Easts lost a dramatic 1931 grand final to South Sydney.

The 1908 season was the first in the history of the Eastern Suburbs District Rugby League Football Club. Eastern Suburbs competed in the inaugural match of the inaugural season, of the newly formed New South Wales Rugby Football League, reaching the final which they lost to South Sydney.

They have the distinction of being the only club to have competed in every season since that time.

Notwithstanding its current branding as the Sydney Roosters, the official name of the club, holder of the NRL licence, remains the Eastern Suburbs District Rugby League Football Club, the same licencee since 1908.


Quite a history for the home of the roosters, saw Kamarl there years ago, very hard to park in Bondi Junction these days.

1968 – Vietnam War: The 1st Australian Task Force launches Operation Coburg against the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong during wider fighting around Long Bình and Biên Hòa.

Operation Coburg (24 January − 1 March 1968) was an Australian and New Zealand military action during the Vietnam War. The operation saw heavy fighting between the 1st Australian Task Force (1 ATF) and North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong during the wider fighting around Long Binh and Bien Hoa.

American and South Vietnamese intelligence reports had indicated that an imminent communist offensive during the Tet New Year festival was likely, and in response the Australians and New Zealanders were deployed away from their base in Phuoc Tuy Province to bolster American and South Vietnamese forces defending the Long Binh–Bien Hoa complex north-east of Saigon.

Soldiers of the 7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (7RAR), wait for the helicopters that will take them to the starting point for Operation Coburg. AWM.

Although the operation was mounted too late to prevent the attacks on Saigon, the Australians and New Zealanders successfully disrupted the communist lines of communication, limiting their freedom of manoeuvre to attack the Long Binh–Bien Hoa complex, while they were also able to successfully interdict their withdrawal, causing heavy casualties.

Dog handlers from the 1 ATF move towards a RAAF Iroquois helicopter.

Operation Coburg ended on 1 March 1968 with 3 RAR redeploying to Nui Dat by air. The fighting had cost the Australians 17 killed and 61 wounded, while allied casualties included two New Zealanders and one American killed, and eight New Zealanders and six Americans wounded. Communist casualties included at least 145 killed, 110 wounded and 5 captured, with many more removed from the battlefield.


The Americans said for us to beware of the domino effect of communism and we rushed in - all the way with LBJ.  Absolsute stupidity. 

1999 – A full size replica of the Duyfken, built by the "Duyfken 1606 Replica Foundation" and the Maritime Museum of Western Australia, is launched in Fremantle.

In 1606, during a voyage of discovery Java, the Duyfken, captained by Willem Janszoon, encountered the Australian mainland. Janszoon is credited with the first authenticated European discovery of Australia. In 1608, the ship was damaged beyond repair.

The Duyfken Replica Project founder was Dutch-born Australian historian Michael John Young who became aware of Duyfken as early as 1976 and lobbied extensively for a new replica project after the launch of the Endeavour replica in Fremantle, Australia in the mid-1990s. The Duyfken Replica committee was established in 1995 with Michael Young and the late Dr. Kees de Heer and late journalist James Henderson. This led to the establishment of the 'Duyfken 1606 Replica Foundation'. The Foundation succeeded in raising the $3.5 million building budget.

Duyfken replica in Swan River, 11 February 2006.

The Duyfken replica was launched on 24 January 1999 in Fremantle.

The full size reproduction of the Duyfken was built jointly with the Maritime Museum of Western Australia. On 27 March 1997, Dutch Crown Prince William-Alexander laid the Duyfken Replica's Keel at the Duyfken Replica Ship Yard in front of the Fremantle Maritime Museum in Fremantle, Western Australia and the completed vessel was launched in Fremantle on 24 January 1999.

Duyfken replica sailing in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 2006. Photo: Patrick Riviere.

The Duyfken then undertook goodwill tours to Sydney, Queensland, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, South Africa, and finally Texel in the Netherlands. While in the Netherlands, the floor of the hold was replaced by antique Dutch bricks. In 2006, Western Australia played a big role in the 400th anniversary of the original Duyfken's visit to Australia.

The Duyfken was berthed at the Queensland Maritime Museum in Southbank, Brisbane, Queensland until early 2011, when she was then placed on display at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney. In September 2012 the Western Australian Government committed funds for 10 years to see the "Duyfken" stay in Perth.


2005 – June Bronhill, Australian soprano dies.

June Bronhill OBE (26 June 1929 – 24 January 2005) was an internationally acclaimed Australian coloratura soprano opera singer, performer and actress, She was well known for light opera and musical theatre in London West End theatres and Australia as well as on the opera stage.

Bronhill was born June Mary Gough in the inland Australian city of Broken Hill, NSW to George Francis Gough, born in Essex, England and Mary Isobel Daisy Hall. Her stage name, Bronhill, which she used from 1952, was an abbreviation of Broken Hill, which was her way of thanking her home town for its support in raising money to send her overseas for professional training as a singer.

Bronhill trained in London and gained early exposure with the English National Opera, formerly Sadler's Wells Opera, company in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. She also sang leading roles in Die Fledermaus, The Gypsy Baron, Menotti's The Telephone, Flotow's Martha and Hansel and Gretel. Her roles in Offenbach's operas, with the Sadler's Wells company, included Eurydice in Orpheus in the Underworld and Gabrielle in La Vie parisienne. In 1961 and 1962, she appeared as Maria von Trapp in The Sound of Music on the Australian stage.

In 1964 she appeared as Elizabeth in the musical Robert and Elizabeth at the Lyric Theatre, London alongside Keith Michell as Robert Browning, a show she took to Australia in 1966. She also appeared in England in tours of two Ivor Novello musicals, Glamorous Night and The Dancing Years, the latter playing a season at the Saville Theatre in London. She also appeared as the Mother Abbess in the 1981 London revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music at the Apollo Victoria Theatre.

Bronhill was perhaps best known for the title role of Hanna Glawari in Franz Lehár's The Merry Widow, with the Sadler's Wells Opera, with Thomas Round as Danilo in 1958 and revised in 1960. She sang the role more than 200 times, capturing a faithful following. Bronhill made frequent visits back to her homeland, singing in operas such as The Merry Widow, Orpheus in the Underworld, Die Fledermaus and Rigoletto at the Sydney Opera House in 1975. In 1976, she decided to move back to Australia permanently. She retired in 1993.

Bronhill died on 24 January 2005, aged 75, in her sleep at a Sydney nursing home. Although she had beaten breast cancer in the 1980s, her last years were marred by deafness caused by tinnitus. Her home town, Broken Hill, honoured her by declaring a minute's silence during the 2005 Australia Day celebrations two days after her death.


Her stage name, Bronhill, which she used from 1952, was an abbreviation of Broken Hill.

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