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6 February 2018 at 8:53 am
Same for this photo – where did the time go?
A pub in Kings Road, 1967. Photo by David Hurn.
AnonymousMember6 February 2018 at 11:17 am
6 February – Safer Internet Day
On this day:
1685 – The last Roman Catholic monarch James II of England and VII of Scotland, becomes King upon the death of his brother Charles II.
1840 – Signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, establishing New Zealand as a British colony.
1851 – The largest Australian bushfires in a populous region in recorded history take place in the state of Victoria as the “Black Thursday” bushfires rage from Mount Gambier to Melbourne.
1918 – Representation of the People Act 1918: Women over the age of 30 and more men get the right to vote in Great Britain and Ireland.
1938 – Black Sunday at Bondi Beach, Sydney. Three hundred swimmers dragged out to sea in three freak waves. Eighty lifesavers save all but five.
1952 – Elizabeth II becomes queen regnant of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms upon the death of her father, George VI. At the exact moment of succession, she was in a tree house at the Treetops Hotel in Kenya.
1991 – Roma Mitchell is appointed Governor of South Australia, she was the first female Governor of an Australian state.
1999 – Don Dunstan, Australian lawyer and politician, 35th Premier of South Australia dies.
James II of England
James II and VII (1633–1701) was King of England and Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685 until he was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. He was the last Roman Catholic monarch of England, Scotland and Ireland.
James II. Portrait by Peter Lely.
James took Eucharist in the Roman Catholic Church in 1668 or 1669, although his conversion was kept private for almost a decade as he continued to attend Anglican services until 1676.
King Charles II opposed James’s conversion, ordering that his daughters, Mary and Anne, be raised in the Church of England. Nevertheless, he allowed James to marry his second wife Mary of Modena, a fifteen-year-old Italian princess. James and Mary were married by proxy in a Roman Catholic ceremony on 20 September 1673.
James II, Mary of Modena and family. Pierre Mignard, 1694.
The second surviving son of Charles I, he ascended the throne upon the death of his brother, Charles II on 6 February 1685. Members of Britain’s Protestant political elite increasingly suspected him of being pro-French and pro-Catholic and of having designs on becoming an absolute monarch. When he produced a Catholic heir, a son called James Francis Edward, leading nobles called on his Protestant son-in-law and nephew William III of Orange to land an invasion army from the Dutch Republic, which he did in the Glorious Revolution of 1688.
James was crowned at Westminster Abbey on 23 April 1685.
James fled England and was thus held to have abdicated. He was replaced by his eldest child, Protestant daughter Mary II and her husband, William III. James made one serious attempt to recover his crowns from William and Mary when he landed in Ireland in 1689. After the defeat of the Jacobite forces by the Williamites at the Battle of the Boyne in July 1690, James returned to France. He lived out the rest of his life as a pretender at a court sponsored by his cousin and ally, King Louis XIV.
Engraving showing Louis XIV greeting the exiled James II in 1689. Bibliothèque Nationale de France.
James is best known for his struggles with the English Parliament and his attempts to create religious liberty for English Roman Catholics and Protestant nonconformists, against the wishes of the Anglican establishment. This tension made James’s four-year reign a struggle for supremacy between the English Parliament and the Crown, resulting in him being deposed.
Treaty of Waitangi
The Treaty of Waitangi is a treaty first signed on 6 February 1840 by representatives of the British Crown and Maori chiefs from the North Island of New Zealand. It is a document of central importance to the history and political constitution of the state of New Zealand, and has been highly significant in framing the political relations between New Zealand’s government and the Maori population.
Signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, February 6, 1840. National Library of New Zealand.
The Treaty was written at a time when British colonists were pressuring the Crown to establish a colony in New Zealand, and when some Maori leaders had petitioned the British for protection against French forces. It was drafted with the intention of establishing a British Governor of New Zealand, recognising Maori ownership of their lands, forests and other properties, and giving Maori the rights of British subjects. It was intended to ensure that when the declaration of British sovereignty over New Zealand was made by Lieutenant Governor William Hobson in May 1840, the Maori people would not feel that their rights had been ignored.
Treaty of Waitangi document montage. New Zealand Parliament.
Once it had been written and translated, it was first signed by Northern Maori leaders at Waitangi, and subsequently copies of the Treaty were taken around New Zealand and over the following months many other chiefs signed.
Around 530 to 540 Maori, at least 13 of them women, signed the Treaty of Waitangi, despite some Maori leaders cautioning against it. An immediate result of the Treaty was that Queen Victoria’s government gained the sole right to purchase land. In total there are nine signed copies of the Treaty of Waitangi including the sheet signed on 6 February 1840 at Waitangi.
1851 Black Thursday bushfires
The Black Thursday bushfires were a devastating series of fires that swept the state of Victoria, Australia, on 6 February 1851.
“The temperature became torrid, and on the morning of the 6th of February 1851, the air which blew down from the north resembled the breath of a furnace. A fierce wind arose, gathering strength and velocity from hour to hour, until about noon it blew with the violence of a tornado. By some inexplicable means it wrapped the whole country in a sheet of flame — fierce, awful, and irresistible.” — Picturesque Atlas of Australasia published in 1886.
Black Thursday, February 6th. 1851, as depicted by William Strutt in 1864.
The Black Thursday bushfires, were caused in part by an intense drought that occurred throughout 1850 when the continent suffered from extreme heat. On 6 February 1851, a strong furnace-like wind came down from the north and gained power and speed as the hours passed. It is believed that the disaster began in Plenty Ranges when a couple of bullock drivers left logs burning unattended, which set fire to long, dry grass affected by the recent drought.
The year preceding the fires was exceptionally hot and dry and this trend continued into 1851. The weather reached record extremes. By eleven it was about 47 °C in the shade. The air cooled to 43 °C by one o’clock and rose to 45 °C around four o’clock. Survivors claimed the air was so full of smoke and heat that their lungs seemed to collapse. The air was so dark it made the roads seem bright
Homes, crops and gardens were consumed by the rushing fire leaving a quarter of Victoria in a heap of desolate ruins. The community fled to water to escape the suffocating air around them, returning after everything was over to the sight of “blackened homesteads” and the charred bodies of animals that could not escape. The weather at sea was even “more fearful than on shore”. The intense heat could be felt 32 kilometres out to sea where a ship came under burning ember attack and was covered in cinders and dust.
The catastrophic fire caused the loss of human life, cattle, and land for miles and affected many regions including Portland, Plenty Ranges, Western Port, the Wimmera and Dandenong districts, Gippsland, and Mount Macedon. Farms across the region were destroyed, along with a number of settlements in Gippsland, Western Port, Geelong, Heidelberg and east to Diamond Creek and Dandenong.
Three men from Mount Macedon lost their lives. Overall, the disaster resulted in twelve people dead, along with one million sheep, thousands of cattle and countless native animals.
Representation of the People Act 1918
The Representation of the People Act 1918, sometimes known as the Fourth Reform Act, was an Act of Parliament passed to reform the electoral system in Great Britain and Ireland; date of royal assent 6 February 1918. This act was the first to include practically all men in the political system and began the inclusion of women, extending the franchise by 5.6 million men and 8.4 million women. It legislated a number of new practices in elections, including making residency in a specific constituency the basis of the right to vote, whilst institutionalising the first-past-the-post method of election and rejecting proportional representation.
Even after the passing of the Third Reform Act in 1884, only 60% of male householders over the age of 21 had the vote. Following the horrors of the First World War, millions of returning soldiers would still not have been entitled to vote in the long overdue general election. The previous election had been in December 1910. In addition, the issue of a female right to vote had gathered momentum due to the efforts of Suffragettes and Suffragists including Emmeline Pankhurst and the Women’s Social and Political Union.
Meeting of Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) leaders, Flora Drummond, Christabel Pankhurst, Annie Kenny, Emmeline Pankhurst, Charlotte Despard with two others, circa 1906-1907.
The Representation of the People Act 1918 widened suffrage by abolishing practically all property qualifications for men and by enfranchising women over 30 who met minimum property qualifications. The enfranchisement of this latter group was accepted as recognition of the contribution made by women defence workers. However, women were still not politically equal to men who could vote from the age of 21; full electoral equality did not occur in Britain until the Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act 1928.
The general terms of the Act included:
1. All men over 21 gained the vote in the constituency where they were resident. Men who had turned 19 during service in connection with the First World War could also vote even if they were under 21, although there was some confusion over whether they could do so after being discharged from service. The Representation of the People Act 1920 clarified this in the affirmative, albeit after the 1918 general election.
2. Women over 30 years old received the vote if they were either a member or married to a member of the Local Government Register, a property owner, or a graduate voting in a University constituency.
3. Some seats redistributed to industrial towns.
4. All polls for an election to be held on a specified date, rather than over several days in different constituencies as previously.
Black Sunday at Bondi Beach
Sunday the 6th February 1938 began as a normal hot summer’s day in Sydney. Since early in the morning on Bondi Beach, an estimated crowd of 35,000 Sydney-siders had been enjoying the soaring temperatures which reached 40 ºC by early afternoon. The ocean was dotted with swimmers cooling down in the water. Hundreds were paddling, swimming and bodysurfing on the sizable waves that were breaking regularly about 30 metres offshore. The surf was heavy, and 74 people had already been pulled unharmed from the water by lunchtime..
Bondi Beach, circa 1938.
As the tide dropped, more and more people ventured out to an unusually large sandbank that ran parallel to the beach. The sandbank meant beachgoers could advance quite a long distance from the shore, while still remaining in waist-deep water. Numbers in the water and on the sand continued to escalate. By early afternoon there were an estimated 800 bathers in the ocean.
Bondi lifesavers with a belt reel, pioneered at their club, circa 1938.
An unusually long wave lull settled in. Then without warning, a series of exceptionally large waves thundered towards the beach in quick succession. The powerful waves swept relentlessly over the swimmers on the sandbank, terrifying hundreds and knocking them off their feet. As each wave surged onto the beach, the next wave followed immediately behind. The interval between waves was insufficient to allow the incoming water to recede. The volume of water on the beach banked up alarmingly.
An unconscious man is assisted by lifesavers on Bondi Beach. Black Sunday, 1938.
Once the sequence of huge waves came to an end, the immense volume of trapped water retreated rapidly from the beach. The formidable backwash swept everything it had engulfed back into the ocean. Approximately 250 people were washed into a deep channel and carried out to sea. There was instant mass hysteria as men, women and children fought for their lives, grabbing and clawing at each other in the frenzy.
Lifesavers resuscitate bathers after freak waves hit Bondi Beach on Black Sunday, 6th February 1938.
Back on the beach, stunned lifesavers urgently sprung into action, sprinting to the water’s edge with seven surf rescue reels. The Bondi beltmen rushed into the ocean. At first they attempted to reach those who had been swept out the farthest, but their lines were immediately besieged by panicked beachgoers closer to shore. As dozens of desperate and exhausted swimmers swarmed on top of their would-be rescuers, the lifesavers on the beach, fearing for the safety of their now submerged colleagues, began to haul the beltmen ashore.
A patient is carried off on a stretcher on Bondi Beach. Black Sunday, 1938
Fortunately, a large number of Bondi clubmen had arrived en masse to compete in the regular Sunday afternoon club carnival. Over seventy of them followed the beltmen into the ocean, grabbing rubber floats from sunbathers to use as rescue aids. Others used surfboards and surf skis, or dived unaided into the water. Within a few minutes, Bondi Beach resembled a battleground, with unconscious bodies strewn along the shoreline. Of the 250 victims plucked from the water, rescuers had to perform CPR and first aid on approximately sixty patients.
The Sydney Morning Herald, Monday 7 February 1938, p13.
The colossal effort paid off. In the end, only five men lost their lives. The deceased were Bernard Byrne, Ronald McGregor, Charles Sauer, Leslie Potter, and Michael Kennedy.
Elizabeth II succession
During 1951, George VI’s health declined and Elizabeth frequently stood in for him at public events. When she toured Canada and visited President Harry S. Truman in Washington, D.C., in October 1951, her private secretary, Martin Charteris, carried a draft accession declaration in case the King died while she was on tour.
King George VI arrives at London Airport to say goodbye to Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip ahead of the tour, 31 January 1952.
On 31 January 1952, King George VI farewelled his daughter and the Duke of Edinburgh, who were leaving the UK to embark on a tour of Australia and New Zealand by way of Kenya.
The Treetops cabin where the couple stayed.
A relaxed and carefree princess stepped off a plane in Kenya the next day. After greeting enthusiastic crowds in Nairobi, the couple set off on a five-day wildlife safari. The royal party travelled deep into the Aberdare National Park, arriving at Treetops on 5 February.
Treetops became famous around the world when Princess Elizabeth, stayed there at the time of the death of her father, King George VI, which occurred on the night of 5–6 February 1952. The couple stayed in a small cabin, perched high in an enormous fig tree 20 metres above the ground, the only one of its kind at the time. Avid home-movie aficionados, they filmed elephants, rhinos, giraffes and a host of other wildlife from their cabin.
The Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Elizabeth in the grounds of Sagana Lodge.
The royal party left Treetops on February 6, 1952, and went to Sagana Lodge, some 40 kilometres away. Sagana Lodge was originally built as a royal residence, a wedding present for Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh on their marriage in 1947.
It was there a telegram arrived saying the king had died. Prince Philip received the news first. He took his 25-year-old wife for a walk in the garden where, at 2.45 pm on 6 February, he told her that her father was dead and she was now Queen and head of the Commonwealth. She reacted with the same sense of duty that she has shown ever since, immediately discussing the practicalities of getting back to England and writing letters of apology for the cancellation of the tour. She left Sagana Lodge towards dusk that evening to return home.
The legendary hunter Jim Corbett, her bodyguard at the time, wrote the now famous lines in the Treetops visitors’ log book, “For the first time in the history of the world, a young girl climbed into a tree one day a Princess and after having what she described as her most thrilling experience she climbed down from the tree next day a Queen — God bless her.”
Dame Roma Flinders Mitchell AC, DBE, CVO, QC (1913– 2000) was an Australian lawyer, judge and state governor. Mitchell was the first Australian woman to be a judge, a Queen’s Counsel, a chancellor of an Australian university and the Governor of an Australian state.
Mitchell was admitted as a barrister in 1935. In 1962 she was appointed a Queen’s Counsel, the first Australian woman to do so. As well as practicing barrister, Mitchell was a lecturer in Family law at the University of Adelaide. Mitchell was made a Justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia in 1965.
She was still the only female judge in South Australia when she retired 18 years later in 1983. It was not until 1993 that the second woman was appointed to the court, Mitchell’s former student Margaret Nyland.
Mitchell was Governor of South Australia from 6 February 1991 to 21 July 1996, the first female Governor in Australia. Mitchell also served as Chancellor of the University of Adelaide from 1983 to 1990 and was a member of the Council for the Order of Australia from 1981 to 1990.
Donald Allan “Don” Dunstan AC, QC (21 September 1926 – 6 February 1999) was a South Australian politician. He entered politics as the Member for Norwood in 1953, became leader of the South Australian Branch of the Australian Labor Party in 1967, and was Premier of South Australia between June 1967 and April 1968, and again between June 1970 and February 1979.
Dunstan at a young age. Premier Don Dunstan drinking beer at Challa Gardens Hotel, in 1967, to celebrate the end of six o’clock closing.
Labor conducted an extensive campaign in marginal LCL seats at the 1965 election, resulting in 21 of 39 seats, with Frank Walsh and the Labor Party taking power. As Attorney-General and the number-two man in the government, the youthful and charismatic Dunstan made his older peers look lethargic, particularly on television, the ‘new’ media of the times.
Walsh was never comfortable dealing with the media, particularly television. Combined with a sagging economy and poor polling figures, local ALP heavyweights concluded that Labor could not be reelected with Walsh as Premier. In January 1967 Labor replaced Walsh with Dunstan.
Don Dunstan the Premier of South Australia with Sir Douglas Nicholls, 25 February 1976.
Labor won 27 of 47 seats at the 1970 election. With a fairer seat and boundary system in place, Dunstan won three more elections, in 1973, 1975 and 1977.
A reformist, Dunstan brought profound change to South Australian society. His socially progressive administration saw Aboriginal land rights recognised, homosexuality decriminalised, Roma Mitchell the first female judge appointed, the first non-British governor Sir Mark Oliphant, and later, the first indigenous governor Sir Douglas Nicholls.
He enacted consumer protection laws, reformed and expanded the public education and health systems, abolished the death penalty, relaxed censorship and drinking laws, created a ministry for the environment, enacted anti-discrimination law, and implemented electoral reforms such as the overhaul of the Legislative Council of parliament, lowered the voting age to 18, enacted universal suffrage, and completely abolished malapportionment, changes which gave him a less hostile parliament and allowed him to enact his reforms.
Dunstan in 1979 announcing his sudden resignation in his pyjamas after collapsing and sleeping for 40 hours. It was broadcast live on television which was unheard of at the time in South Australia.
After four consecutive election wins, Dunstan’s administration began to falter in 1978 following his controversial dismissal of Police Commissioner Harold Salisbury. Policy problems and unemployment began to mount, as well as unsubstantiated rumours of corruption and personal impropriety. Dunstan became increasingly short-tempered, and the strain was increased by the death of his second wife.
His resignation from the premiership and politics on 15 February 1979 was abrupt after collapsing due to ill health, but he would live for another 20 years, remaining a vocal and outspoken campaigner for progressive social policy.
6 February 2018 at 2:19 pm
James II was the last Roman Catholic King of England. What King Henry VIII started – breaking away from the Catholic Church so he could get a divorce and marry Anne Boleyn – became reality when Dutchman William of Orange came to the throne and the Catholic faith for royals came to an end in England.
James chose not to fight when the Dutch royal invaded England and the king was eventually exiled to France. When William landed on English soil, he received much support from Protestants which led to the English Parliament formally offering William and his protestant wife Mary the throne as joint monarchs, an event known as the ‘Glorious Revolution’. William III of Orange became William III of England and Ireland, and William II of Scotland.
History behind the Netherlands’ orange obsession.
Despite its failure to become a part of the Dutch flag, orange remains a huge part of Dutch culture. The orange craze can be traced back to the very roots of the Netherlands: Orange is the color of the Dutch royal family.
The lineage of the current dynasty — the House of Orange-Nassau — dates back to Willem van Oranje (William of Orange).
This is the same Willem who lends his name to the Dutch national anthem, the Wilhelmus.
Royal Dutch Airline
6 February 2018 at 2:22 pm
Treaty of Waitangi – An immediate result of the Treaty was that Queen Victoria’s government gained the sole right to purchase land. In total there are nine signed copies of the Treaty of Waitangi including the sheet signed on 6 February 1840 at Waitangi.
Reminds of that famous old saying ‘
When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said ‘Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes and when we opened them again, we had the Bible and they had the land.
6 February 2018 at 2:44 pm
Ha ha we beat England hands down, Aussie women could vote in 1902
I remember Don Dunstan, sadly he suffered having the media focus on his private life but did a lot of good
His socially progressive administration saw Aboriginal land rights recognised, homosexuality decriminalised, Roma Mitchell the first female judge appointed, the first non-British governor Sir Mark Oliphant, and later, the first indigenous governor Sir Douglas Nicholls.
AnonymousMember7 February 2018 at 11:27 am
🙂 The Dutch certainly love their orange.
Interesting that the Treaty of Waitangi had so many signatures. They must have been pretty worried about the French.
Interesting too that the French arrived at Botany Bay when the First Fleet did. They stayed quite a while too, and from the accounts of Watkin Tench both sides seem to have got on well during their stay.
January, 1788. But three days after we had entered Botany Bay, we prepared to leave. The thoughts of removal banished sleep, so that I rose at the first dawn of the morning. But judge of my surprize on hearing from a serjeant, who ran down almost breathless to the cabin where I was dressing, that a ship was seen off the harbour’s mouth. Confounded by a thousand ideas which arose in my mind in an instant, I sprang upon the barricado and plainly descried two ships of considerable size, standing in for the mouth of the Bay. By this time the alarm had become general, and every one appeared lost in conjecture. Now they were Dutchmen sent to dispossess us, and the moment after storeships from England, with supplies for the settlement. The improbabilities which attended both these conclusions, were sunk in the agitation of the moment. It was by Governor Phillip, that this mystery was at length unravelled, and the cause of the alarm pronounced to be two French ships, which, it was now recollected, were on a voyage of discovery in the southern hemisphere.
March 1788. About the middle of the month our good friends the French departed from Botany Bay, in prosecution of their voyage. During their stay in that port, the officers of the two nations had frequent opportunities of testifying their mutual regard by visits, and every interchange of friendship and esteem. These ships sailed from France, by order of the King, on the 1st of August, 1785, under the command of Monsieur De Perrouse, an officer whose eminent qualifications, we had reason to think, entitle him to fill the highest stations. It was no less gratifying to an English ear, than honourable to Monsieur De Perrouse, to witness the feeling manner in which he always mentioned the name and talents of Captain Cook. That illustrious circumnavigator had, he said, left nothing to those who might follow in his track to describe, or fill up.
7 February 2018 at 9:14 am
Turkish WW1 propaganda poster
AnonymousMember7 February 2018 at 11:27 am
Interesting. Thanks Toot.
AnonymousMember7 February 2018 at 12:09 pm
On this day:
1497 – The Bonfire of the Vanities occurs, during which supporters of Girolamo Savonarola burn cosmetics, art, and books in Florence, Italy.
1788 – The Colony of New South Wales is officially created with Arthur Phillip as the first Governor.
1812 – Charles Dickens, English novelist and critic is born.
1863 – HMS Orpheus sinks off the coast of Auckland, New Zealand, killing 189 crew.
1912 – Russell Drysdale, English-Australian painter is born.
1967 – Bushfires in Tasmania destroy over 1,000 homes and take 62 lives.
1969 – Nine people are killed in the Violet Town railway disaster in Victoria.
2009 – Black Saturday Bushfires in Victoria cause 173 deaths in the deadliest bushfires in Australia’s history.
The Bonfire of the Vanities
The bonfire of the vanities usually refers to the bonfire of 7 February 1497, when supporters of the Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola collected and publicly burned thousands of objects such as cosmetics, artworks and books in Florence, Italy, on the Mardi Gras festival. Such bonfires were not invented by Savonarola, but had been a common accompaniment to the outdoor sermons of San Bernardino di Siena, an Italian priest and Franciscan missionary, in the first half of the century.
The focus of this destruction was usually on objects that might tempt one to sin.
At the very bottom of the February bonfire pyramid in Florence were items such as wigs, false beards, pots of rouge that women used to redden their cheeks and perfumes. On top of that were books that Savonarola and his followers considered to be ‘Pagan’ – these were all important historical works from Greek philosophers, books of poems by Ovid and Petrarch, works by Cicero. Next came paintings, drawings and bust sculptures of subjects considered profane. Included among these were works by the famous Sandro Boticelli, who is said to have been a follower of Savonarola and abandoned his paintings to follow the friar. Next were musical instruments, sculptures and paintings of naked women.
And right at the very top of the pyramid were sculptures of Greek Gods and mythical legends. This was then finalised by an effigy of Satan, reigning over these sinful items. It is said that this model of Satan was given the face of a Venetian man who had offered to buy the items for 22,000 florins.
Colony of New South Wales
The British colony of New South Wales was established with the arrival of the First Fleet of 11 vessels under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip in January 1788. A few days after arrival at Botany Bay the fleet moved to the more suitable Port Jackson where a settlement was established at Sydney Cove on 26 January 1788.
Sydney Cove, Port Jackson. The position of the encampment & buildings are as they stood at March 1788 by William Bradley. Chart from his journal A Voyage to New South Wales, 1802. State Library of NSW.
The colony was formally proclaimed by Governor Phillip on 7 February 1788. Sydney Cove offered a fresh water supply and a safe harbour, which Philip described as being, ‘with out exception the finest Harbour in the World … Here a Thousand Sail of the Line may ride in the most perfect security’. The new colony consisted of over a thousand settlers, including 778 convicts, 192 women and 586 men.
Governor’s House at Sydney, Port Jackson 1791. By William Bradley. State Library of NSW, from Bradley’s journal ‘A Voyage to New South Wales’ p 225.
Extract from A Narrative of the Expedition to Botany Bay With an Account of New South Wales, its Productions, Inhabitants, &c. by Watkin Tench. University of Sydney Library, 1998.
Owing to the multiplicity of pressing business necessary to be performed immediately after landing, it was found impossible to read the public commissions and take possession of the colony in form, until the 7th of February. On that day all the officers of guard took post in the marine battalion, which was drawn up, and marched off the parade with music playing, and colours flying, to an adjoining ground, which had been cleared for the occasion, whereon the convicts were assembled to hear His Majesty’s commission read, appointing his Excellency Arthur Phillip, Esq. Governor and Captain General in and over the territory of New South Wales, and its dependencies; together with the Act of Parliament for establishing trials by law within the same; and the patents under the Great Seal of Great Britain, for holding the civil and criminal courts of judicature, by which all cases of life and death, as well as matters of property, were to be decided.
When the Judge Advocate had finished reading, his Excellency addressed himself to the convicts in a pointed and judicious speech, informing them of his future intentions, which were, invariably to cherish and render happy those who shewed a disposition to amendment; and to let the rigour of the law take its course against such as might dare to transgress the bounds prescribed. At the close three vollies were fired in honour of the occasion, and the battalion marched back to their parade, where they were reviewed by the Governor, who was received with all the honours due to his rank. His Excellency was afterwards pleased to thank them, in public orders, for their behaviour from the time of their embarkation; and to ask the officers to partake of a cold collation at which it is scarce necessary to observe, that many loyal and public toasts were drank in commemoration of the day.
Watkin Tench (1758–1833) was a British marine officer who is best known for publishing two books describing his experiences in the First Fleet and the first British settlement in Australia in 1788. His two accounts, Narrative of the Expedition to Botany Bay and Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson provide an account of the arrival and first four years of the colony.
Charles John Huffam Dickens (7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world’s best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, and by the 20th century critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. His novels and short stories enjoy lasting popularity.
Young Charles Dickens by Daniel Maclise, 1839. Dickens at his desk, 1858. National Portrait Gallery.
Born in Portsmouth, Dickens left school to work in a factory when his father was incarcerated in a debtors’ prison. Despite his lack of formal education, he edited a weekly journal for 20 years, wrote 15 novels, five novellas, hundreds of short stories and non-fiction articles, lectured and performed readings extensively, was an indefatigable letter writer, and campaigned vigorously for children’s rights, education and other social reforms.
Dickens’s Dream by Robert William Buss, portraying Dickens at his desk at Gads Hill Place surrounded by many of his characters.
The painting was Buss’s last attempt to illustrate Dickens’s characters, and he modestly reproduced the images of the artists who had succeeded him. However, before he could finish it Buss died at his home at 14 Camden Street, London on 26 February 1875 and was buried at Highgate Cemetery in Middlesex.
Dickens’s literary success began with the 1836 serial publication of The Pickwick Papers. Within a few years he had become an international literary celebrity, famous for his humour, satire, and keen observation of character and society. His novels, most published in monthly or weekly instalments, pioneered the serial publication of narrative fiction, which became the dominant Victorian mode for novel publication. Cliffhanger endings in his serial publications kept readers in suspense.
His 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol, remains popular and continues to inspire adaptations in every artistic genre. Oliver Twist and Great Expectations are also frequently adapted, and, like many of his novels, evoke images of early Victorian London. His 1859 novel, A Tale of Two Cities, set in London and Paris, is his best-known work of historical fiction. Dickens was regarded as the literary colossus of his age.
On 9 June 1865, while returning from Paris with Ellen Ternan, Dickens was involved in the Staplehurst rail crash. The only first-class carriage to remain on the track was the one in which Dickens was travelling.
Before rescuers arrived, Dickens tended and comforted the wounded and the dying with a flask of brandy and a hat refreshed with water, and saved some lives. Before leaving, he remembered the unfinished manuscript for Our Mutual Friend, and he returned to his carriage to retrieve it. Afterwards Dickens was nervous when travelling by train, using alternative means when available. He died five years to the day after the accident; his son said that ‘he had never fully recovered’.
In June 1862, Dickens was offered £10,000 for a reading tour of Australia. He was enthusiastic, and even planned a travel book, The Uncommercial Traveller Upside Down, but ultimately decided against the tour. Two of his sons, Alfred D’Orsay Tennyson Dickens and Edward Bulwer Lytton Dickens, migrated to Australia, Edward becoming a member of the Parliament of New South Wales as Member for Wilcannia between 1889 and 1894.
HMS Orpheus was a Jason-class Royal Navy corvette that served as the flagship of the Australian Squadron based at the Australia Station, the British, and later Australian, naval command responsible for the waters around the Australian continent until 1911. For the British it was the costliest day of the New Zealand Wars, but it occurred far from the battlefield.
Bringing naval stores from Sydney, the modern 1706-ton steam corvette HMS Orpheus ran aground on the bar at the entrance to Auckland’s Manukau Harbour on 7 February 1863. Out of the ship’s complement of 259, 189 crew died in the disaster, making it the worst maritime tragedy to occur in New Zealand waters.
Wreck of HMS Orpheus, Illustrated London News, 1863. National Library of New Zealand.
Orpheus left Sydney on 31 January 1863 on the support mission to New Zealand. Her approach to Manukau Harbour on 7 February ran near Whatipu beach, through a series of dangerous sand bars. The weather was clear and sunny. Although the bars had been charted twice, in 1836 and 1856, a revised pilotage guide from 1861 was available that indicated that the middle sand bar had moved northwards and grown considerably in the intervening time.
Orpheus carried both the out-of-date chart and the updated guide, and the sailing master William Strong originally used the updated instructions for entering the harbour, but he was over-ruled by the commodore and the ship proceeded according to the 1856 chart.
Richard Brydges Beechey’s 1863 painting of the disaster.
As the ship approached the submerged bar, a navigational signal from nearby Paratutae Island was received instructing her to turn north to avoid a grounding. Soon after, Quartermaster Frederick Butler alerted the senior officers to the improper course they were taking. Despite finally attempting to correct their course, a few minutes later, at approximately 1.30 in the afternoon, Orpheus hit the bar.
The force of the surf soon caused Orpheus to swing around, exposing its port side to the waves. Considerable damage was sustained: the hatches burst open, cabin windows were shattered, and Orpheus began to take on water. The crew attempted to abandon ship, but the power of the sea’s surge made escape extremely difficult, and many sailors were swept away.
HMS Orpheus memorial plaque. Huia Settlers’ Museum.
Three inquiries were held after the shipwreck, but due to the unwillingness of the Royal Navy to admit an officer’s culpability much of the blame was laid on Edward Wing, the harbour pilot and signalman of Manukau Harbou, for not guiding the ship into the harbour and for failing to maintain the signalling station on Paratutai Island. In all, 189 people died in the wreck of HMS Orpheus, including Commodore Burnett and Captain Burton, giving it the highest ever casualty rate for a shipwreck in New Zealand waters.
Sir George Russell Drysdale, AC (7 February 1912 – 29 June 1981), also known as “Tass Drysdale”, was an Australian artist. He won the prestigious Wynne Prize for Sofala in 1947, and represented Australia at the Venice Biennale in 1954. He was influenced by abstract and surrealist art, and “created a new vision of the Australian scene as revolutionary and influential as that of Tom Roberts”.
Russell Drysdale in his studio in 1960.
George Russell Drysdale was born in Bognor Regis, Sussex, England, to an Anglo-Australian pastoralist family, which settled in Melbourne, Australia in 1923. He had poor eyesight all his life, and was virtually blind in his left eye from age 17 due to a detached retina.
Drysdale worked on his uncle’s estate in Queensland, and as a jackaroo in Victoria. A chance encounter in 1932 with artist and critic Daryl Lindsay awakened him to the possibility of a career as an artist. Supported by a fellow artist, Drysdale studied with the modernist artist and teacher George Bell in Melbourne from 1935 to 1938.
He also made several trips to Europe; during 1938–39, he attended the Grosvenor School in London and the Grande Chaumière in Paris. His decision to leave Melbourne for Albury and then Sydney in 1940 was instrumental in his discovery of his lifelong subject matter, the Australian outback and its inhabitants.
Sofala winner of the Wynne Prize landscape in 1947.
Drysdale’s 1942 solo exhibition in Sydney, his second in point of time; his first had been in Melbourne in 1938, was a critical success, and established him as one of the leading Sydney modernists of the time. With his series of paintings of drought-ravaged western New South Wales and, later, a series based on the derelict gold-mining town of Hill End, his reputation continued to grow during the 1940s. Sofala, a painting of the nearby town of Sofala, won the Wynne Prize for landscape in 1947. His 1948 work, The cricketers has been described by the National Gallery of Australia as “one of the most original and haunting images in all Australian art.”
The cricketers. Oil on canvas, 1948.
His 1950 exhibition at London’s Leicester Galleries, at the invitation of Sir Kenneth Clark, was a significant milestone in the history of Australian art. Until this time, Australian art had been regarded as a provincial sub-species of British art; Drysdale’s works convinced British critics that Australian artists had a distinctive vision of their own. The exhibition initiated the international recognition of Australian art.
Drysdale’s reputation continued to grow throughout the 1950s and 1960s as he explored remote Australia and its inhabitants. In 1954, together with Nolan and Dobell, he was chosen to represent Australia at the Venice Biennale, and in 1960, at Bouddi near Gosford, New South Wales. Also in 1960, he was the first Australian artist to be given a retrospective by the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
Grandma’s Sunday Walk painted in 1972.
Drysdale was married twice, and had a son, Tim, and a daughter, Lynne. Tim took his own life in 1962, aged twenty one, and the following year, Drysdale’s wife Bon also committed suicide. In 1964 he married Maisie Purves Smith, an old friend.
In 1969, Drysdale was knighted for his services to art, and in 1980, he was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia. His later years saw a marked falling off in the quantity of his output, which had never been large. Drysdale died in Sydney on 29 June 1981. At his request, Sir Russell’s cremated remains were placed in the shade of a tree by the church in the burial ground beside historic St Paul’s Anglican Church, Kincumber.
1967 Tasmanian fires
The 1967 Tasmanian fires were an Australian natural disaster which occurred on 7 February 1967, an event which came to be known as the Black Tuesday bushfires. They were the most deadly bushfires that Tasmania has ever experienced, leaving 62 people dead, 900 injured and over seven thousand homeless.
Homes on Forest Rd in West Hobart after the Tasmanian Bushfires of 1967.
110 separate fire fronts burnt through some 2,640 square kilometres of land in Southern Tasmania within the space of five hours. Fires raged from near Hamilton and Bothwell to the D’Entrecasteaux Channel as well as Snug. There was extensive damage to agricultural property along the Channel, the Derwent Valley and the Huon Valley. Fires also destroyed forest, public infrastructure and properties around Mount Wellington and many small towns along the Derwent estuary and east of Hobart.
The Cascade Brewery was destroyed during the Tasmanian Bushfires of 1967. 4 million beer bottles were fused together from the intense heat.
The worst of the fires was the Hobart Fire, which encroached upon the city of Hobart. In total, the fires claimed 62 lives in a single day. Property loss was also extensive with 1293 homes and over 1700 other buildings destroyed. The fires destroyed 80 bridges, 4800 sections of power lines, 1500 motor vehicles and over 100 other structures. It was estimated that at least 62,000 farm animals were killed. The total damage amounted to $40,000,000 in 1967 Australian dollar values. The resulting insurance payout was the then largest in Australian history.
Violet Town rail accident
The Violet Town rail accident, also known as the Southern Aurora disaster, was a railway accident that occurred on 7 February 1969 near the McDiarmids Road crossing, approximately 1 km south of Violet Town, Victoria, Australia.
Photos taken by Kenneth Williams a passenger on the Southern Aurora.
The accident involved the head-on collision of a passenger train, the southbound Southern Aurora, and a northbound freight train on the new single-line standard gauge Sydney to Melbourne main line, opened seven years earlier. Nine people died, including Lawrence Rosevear, the driver of the northbound freight train.
Remains of the freight train locomotive.
The trains were supposed to cross at the Violet Town crossing loop where there are two tracks, but because the driver of the passenger train had died of an apparent heart attack approximately 5 to 6 kilometres north of the crossing loop, the train did not stop at the red signals. It continued until it collided head-on with the freight train. At the time of the accident, no automatic train controls were fitted, although a vigilance control system had been fitted to both locomotives which required a member of the train crew to press a button every sixty to ninety seconds; either the driver or fireman/second person could press the buttons.
According to an inquest into the accident, the fireman of the Southern Aurora, M. Coulthard, had been recorded on the Hasler speed recorder as pressing the vigilance control button when the train passed through the danger signals at the crossing loop. As a result of this accident, improved vigilance controls were fitted to ensure that firemen as well as drivers remained alert, although, as the later Beresfield rail disaster in 1996 showed, these were not foolproof.
Black Saturday bushfires
The Black Saturday bushfires were a series of bushfires that ignited or were burning across the Australian state of Victoria on and around Saturday, 7 February 2009 and were Australia’s all-time worst bushfire disasters. The fires occurred during extreme bushfire-weather conditions and resulted in Australia’s highest ever loss of life from a bushfire; 173 people died and 414 were injured as a result of the fires.
A week before the fires, an exceptional heatwave affected southeastern Australia. From 28–30 January, Melbourne broke records by sweltering through three consecutive days above 43 °C, with the temperature peaking at 45.1 °C on 30 January, the third hottest day in the city’s history.
On 6 February 2009—the day before the fires started—the Premier of Victoria John Brumby issued a warning about the extreme weather conditions expected on 7 February: “It’s just as bad a day as you can imagine and on top of that the state is just tinder-dry. People need to exercise real common sense tomorrow”. The Premier went on to state that it was expected to be the “worst day of fires conditions in the history of the state”.
On 7 February 2009 several localities across the state, including Melbourne, recorded their highest temperatures since records began in 1859. Melbourne hit 46.4 °C, the hottest temperature ever recorded for the city and humidity levels dropped to as low as two percent. The McArthur Forest Fire Danger Index reached unprecedented levels, ranging from 160 to over 200.
Existing fires flared up and by late morning many new fires sprang up as temperatures rose and wind speeds increased. As many as 400 individual fires were recorded on 7 February. Following the events of 7 February 2009 and its aftermath, that day has become widely referred to in Australia as Black Saturday.
The worst of the fires included the Kinglake–Marysville fire formed when two earlier fires merged. The resulting blaze was the largest of the many fires burning on Black Saturday, ultimately destroying over 330,000 ha. It was also the most destructive, with over 1,800 houses destroyed and 159 lives lost in the region. In Beechworth, a fire burnt over 30,000 hectares and threatened the towns of Yackandandah, Stanley, Bruarong, Dederang, Kancoona, Kancoona South, Coralbank, Glen Creek, and Running Creek.
A fire to the west of the city of Bendigo burned out 500 hectares and destroyed around 61 houses in Bendigo’s western suburbs. A fire started at Bunyip Ridge in the Bunyip State Park on 4 February had broken through containment lines and destroyed approximately a dozen houses at Labertouche, Tonimbuk and Drouin West. Bad fires also affected Central Gippsland, the Dandenong Ranges, Wilsons Promontory, Maroondah/Yarra, Horsham, Coleraine and Weerite.
Map of affected areas and number of casualties in each area.
The Premier of Victoria, John Brumby, announced in April 2009 that there would be a royal commission into the fires which would examine “all aspects of the government’s bushfire strategy”.
The Bushfires Royal Commission gave a “conservative” estimate of the total cost of the Black Saturday bushfires of A$4.4 billion not counting the cost of the injuries received, uninsured properties and agricultural losses.
AnonymousMember7 February 2018 at 1:12 pm
Not a good day. So many fires from Bonfire of the Vanities, Tasmania, Violet Town train crash and the awfulness of Black Saturday in Victoria. Like you mentioned once before Toot that you had done, we drove through the Kinglake–Marysville area later in 2009. It was haunting. I still think about it.
AnonymousMember5 February 2018 at 10:31 pm
Thanks Toot for that link to the Hermitage Museum. Apart from the huge collection of paintings, sculptures, urns, artefacts, etc … those floors and ceilings are quite amazing IMO, so intricate with incredible designs and decorations.
AnonymousMember5 February 2018 at 10:43 pm
🙂 Love that photo. Thanks Toot.
Queensland certainly had a variety of ambulance vehicles in back in the day.
AnonymousMember5 February 2018 at 10:47 pm
That’s an interesting photo Toot.
Had never heard of them but found out the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars was a cavalry regiment in the British Army, first raised in 1685. It saw service for three centuries, including the First World War and the Second World War. It amalgamated with the 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars, to form the Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars in 1958.
6 February 2018 at 8:51 am
Thanks for that info RnR, photos like this one make me realize just how short our time here on earth really is – just a blink of the eye. He looks so young and handsome but we remember him as a portly old man smoking a cigar.