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8 February 2018 at 8:17 am
One of the highest-ranking officials in the Catholic Church has stated that he would “rather go to prison” than report paedophilia to police.
Australia’s most powerful clergy, Archbishop of Melbourne Denis Hart, says he’s prepared to be jailed for failing to report child sex abuse by paedophile priests.
AnonymousMember8 February 2018 at 10:12 am
“Archbishop Hart wouldn’t report something said in confession by a child who’s been abused or by an abuser. Non-Catholics don’t understand confession, he said. Confession is sacrosanct, above the law, which is what makes it different from other forms of telling. It’s communication with God of a higher order.” Source.
With that attitude I see little hope of an end to child abuse within the church.
8 February 2018 at 10:19 am
The paedophile priests will be rejoicing today.
8 February 2018 at 8:25 am
A Melbourne mother has been reprimanded by her child’s school for packing a lamington into a lunchbox. The lamington was returned uneaten, along with a note from the kindergarten, saying “it doesn’t comply with the school’s nutrition policy”.
And a SA mother got a note from kindy last year
AnonymousMember8 February 2018 at 10:13 am
Seems overly strict to me.
8 February 2018 at 9:27 am
Barnaby Joyce defended the sanctity of marriage debate by insisting people should vote ‘no’ while dumping his wife and walking away from his 24-year-old marriage.
8 February 2018 at 10:08 am
Obviously, the sanctity of marriage was seen to be more important to the voters than him, why else keep it such a secret during a bi election. Hypocrisy at its shinning best. And that is what I criticise, the hypocrisy, not the deed. This man had the hide to spruke about the values of marriage while putting his family through a breakup.
AnonymousMember8 February 2018 at 10:14 am
Agree ex PS. Hypocricy of the highest order.
8 February 2018 at 10:16 am
I Agree ex PS, Barnaby is fair game, just like everyone else in the public arena and for both sides to cover up this event, it makes you wonder what else they don’t want us to know.
AnonymousMember8 February 2018 at 9:59 am
On this day:
1347 – The Byzantine civil war of 1341–47 ends with a power-sharing agreement between John VI Kantakouzenos and John V Palaiologos.
1879 – Sandford Fleming first proposes adoption of Universal Standard Time at a meeting of the Royal Canadian Institute.
1807 – Thomas Laycock discovers the Clyde River in Van Diemen’s Land.
1879 – A controversial umpiring decision at an international cricket match results in the Sydney Riot of 1879.
1942 – WWII: Battle of Singapore – Japan invades the British stronghold of Singapore.
1950 – Petrol rationing ends in Australia following World War II.
1950 – The Stasi, the secret police of East Germany, is established.
1983 – A huge dust storm originating in the Mallee area of Victoria covers Melbourne.
Byzantine civil war of 1341–1347
The Byzantine Empire, aka the Eastern Roman Empire, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in the East during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople, now modern-day Istanbul, which had been founded as Byzantium. It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453.
The Byzantine Empire and its neighbouring states in 1340.
During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic, cultural, and military force in Europe.
The Byzantine civil war, September 1341 to 8 February 1347, was a conflict that broke out in the Byzantine Empire after the death of Emperor Andronikos III Palaiologos over the guardianship of his nine-year-old son and heir, John V Palaiologos. It pitted on the one hand Andronikos III’s chief minister, John VI Kantakouzenos, a Greek nobleman, statesman and general, and on the other a regency headed by the Empress-Dowager Anna of Savoy, the Patriarch of Constantinople John XIV Kalekas. The war polarised Byzantine society along class lines, with the aristocracy backing Kantakouzenos and the lower and middle classes supporting the regency. To a lesser extent, the conflict acquired religious overtones.
Emperor Andronikos III Palaiologos.
As the chief aide and closest friend of Emperor Andronikos III, Kantakouzenos became regent for the underage John V upon Andronikos’s death in June 1341. While Kantakouzenos was absent from Constantinople in September the same year, a coup d’état led by Alexios Apokaukos and the Patriarch John XIV secured the support of Empress Anna and established a new regency. In response, Kantakouzenos’ army and supporters proclaimed him co-emperor in October, cementing the rift between himself and the new regency. The split immediately escalated into armed conflict.
Anna of Savoy. John VI Kantakouzenos as emperor and later a monk.
During the first years of the war, forces of the regency prevailed. By 1345, Kantakouzenos retained the upper hand through the assistance of Orhan, ruler of the Ottoman emirate. Formally crowned as emperor in Adrianople in 1346, Kantakouzenos entered Constantinople on 3 February 1347. By agreement, he was to rule for ten years as the senior emperor and regent for John V, until the boy came of age and ruled alongside him. Despite this apparent victory, subsequent resumption of the civil war forced John VI Kantakouzenos to abdicate and retire to become a monk in 1354.
Emperor John V Palaiologos. His reign, from 1341 to 1391, saw the final disintegration of the Byzantine Empire by recurring civil wars.
The consequences of the prolonged conflict proved disastrous for the Empire, which had regained a measure of stability under Andronikos III. Seven years of warfare, the presence of marauding armies, social turmoil, and the advent of the Black Death devastated Byzantium and reduced it to a rump state.
Sir Sandford Fleming, KCMG (January 7, 1827 – July 22, 1915) was a Scottish Canadian engineer and inventor. Born and raised in Scotland, he emigrated to colonial Canada at the age of 18.
Fleming proposed worldwide standard time zones, designed Canada’s first postage stamp, left a huge body of surveying and map making, engineered much of the Intercolonial Railway and the Canadian Pacific Railway, and was a founding member of the Royal Society of Canada and founder of the Canadian Institute, a science organisation in Toronto.
Sandford Fleming, in the tallest hat, at the ceremony of the “last spike” being driven on the Canadian Pacific Railway.
After missing a train while traveling in Ireland in 1876 because a printed schedule listed p.m. instead of a.m., he proposed a single 24-hour clock for the entire world, located at the centre of the Earth, not linked to any surface meridian.
At a meeting of the Canadian Institute in Toronto on February 8, 1879, he linked it to the anti-meridian of Greenwich, now 180°. He suggested that standard time zones could be used locally, but they were subordinate to his single world time, which he called Cosmic Time.
‘Sandford Fleming and the Birth of Standard Time in 1884’. Painting by Canadian artist Rex Woods.
He continued to promote his system at major international conferences including the International Meridian Conference of 1884. That conference accepted a different version of Universal Time but refused to accept his zones, stating that they were a local issue outside its purview.
Nevertheless, by 1929, all major countries in the world had accepted time zones.
Thomas Laycock (1786–1823) was an English soldier, explorer, and later businessman, who served in North America during the War of 1812, but is most famous for being the first European to travel overland through the interior of Tasmania, then known as Van Diemen’s Land.
Arriving in Van Diemen’s Land in 1806, Laycock found the northern settlement of Port Dalrymple to be stricken with famine. He was immediately entrusted with a mission to convey dispatches for Lieutenant-Governor David Collins in Hobart Town. No journey into the interior of the island had yet been attempted. Laycock set out on horseback, on 3 February 1807 with four other men from the New South Wales Corps, carrying three weeks provisions each.
Windermere on the Tamar, sketched by Bishop Nixon in the 1850s.
They followed the course of the Tamar River south towards the mountains visible in the distance. Climbing into the Central Highlands, the party soon discovered the Lakes district there. They found the going tough over the rugged alpine terrain, but once they had hit the flat ridge line, the party was able to observe much kinder terrain in the distance off to the east. Descending the southern slopes of the Central Highlands, the party came upon the Clyde River, which they named “Fat Doe River”.
They camped at a location that was later to become the township of Bothwell on the banks of the Clyde River on 8th February 1807. The terrain around this region was much more amenable to travel, and Laycock noted the location for his return journey.
Today more than 50 buildings in Bothwell are heritage-listed for their architectural and historical value. Rock Cottage built for the local wheelwright, Henry Wise in 1864. Nant Estate, circa 1821.
They had managed to traverse the islands in just over eight days, arriving on 11 February. They arrived in Hobart Town and issued Collins with the dispatches, but were regrettably told, the situation in Hobart Town was no better than at Port Dalrymple, and no supplies could be spared for the northern colony. Exhausted from the southward journey, Laycock’s party rested in Hobart Town for four days, before commencing their return journey, following a more easterly route. Despite the famine, Laycock was rewarded for his important discovery by being given a cow.
The return route that they followed quickly became the ‘Hobart Road’, the main route between Port Dalrymple (now Launceston) and Hobart Town. With minor variations, the route is also closely followed by the modern Midland Highway which is the major north-south artery of Tasmania, and forms part of the national highway number 1.
Sydney Riot of 1879
The Sydney Riot of 1879 was an instance of civil disorder that occurred at an early international cricket match. It took place on 8 February 1879 at what is now the Sydney Cricket Ground, at the time known as the Association Ground, during a match between New South Wales, captained by Dave Gregory, and a touring English team, captained by Lord Harris. A crowd of ten thousand were in attendance.
An 1887 cricket match in progress at Sydney’s Association Ground, the scene of the riot.
The riot was sparked by a controversial umpiring decision, when star Australian batsman Billy Murdoch was given out by George Coulthard, a Victorian employed by the Englishmen. The second umpire Edmund Barton said that Coulthard’s decision was correct. The dismissal caused an uproar among the parochial spectators, many of whom surged onto the pitch and assaulted Coulthard and some English players.
A young Banjo Paterson was among the pitch invaders. Of the 10,000 spectators, up to 2,000 “participated in the disorder”. The Times implied that the “ignorant larrikins'”, upset at Murdoch’s dismissal had more to do with betting than any perceived injustice. Another theory given to explain the anger was that of intercolonial rivalry, that the NSW crowd objected to what they perceived to be a slight from a Victorian umpire.
Billy Murdock, batsman. George Coulthard, Victorian umpire. Edmund Barton, second umpire who later became the first Australian Prime Minister. Lord Harris, English captain.
In the immediate aftermath of the riot, the England team cancelled the remaining games they were scheduled to play in Sydney. The incident also caused much press comment in England and Australia. In Australia, the newspapers were united in condemning the unrest, viewing the chaos as a national humiliation and a public relations disaster.
An open letter by English captain Lord Harris about the incident was later published in English newspapers, and caused fresh outrage in New South Wales when it was reprinted by the Australian newspapers. A defensive letter written in response by the New South Wales Cricket Association further damaged relations. The affair led to a breakdown of goodwill that threatened the future of Anglo-Australian cricket relations.
Battle of Singapore
The Battle of Singapore, also known as the Fall of Singapore, was fought in the South-East Asian theatre of World War II when the Empire of Japan invaded the British stronghold of Singapore, nicknamed the “Gibraltar of the East” on 8 February 1942.
Singapore was the major British military base in South-East Asia and was the keystone of British imperial interwar defence planning for South-East Asia as well as the South-West Pacific. The fighting in Singapore lasted from 8 to 15 February 1942 although this was preceded by two months of British resistance as Japanese forces advanced down the Malaya peninsula.
Lieutenant-General Arthur Ernest Percival, right, led by a Japanese officer, walks under a flag of truce to negotiate the capitulation of Allied forces in Singapore, on 15 February 1942.
It was the largest surrender of British-led forces in history.
The battle resulted in the Japanese capture of Singapore and the largest surrender of British-led military personnel in history. About 80,000 British, Indian and Australian troops became prisoners of war, joining 50,000 taken by the Japanese in the earlier Malayan Campaign and would spend a torturous three and a half years in ruthlessly administered Japanese prisons and camps.
The British prime minister, Winston Churchill, called it the “worst disaster” in British military history.
Petrol rationing in Australia
In a country that was entirely dependent on imported petrol, attempts had been made during the 1930s to increase storage, but motoring was such a growing industry that no real progress was made towards keeping storage ahead of usage. As a result, at the start of the second world war Australia had sufficient petrol for only three months’ normal consumption.
Staff at CSIR experiment with charcoal gas for fuel, June 1940. AWM.
Grasping at ways to reduce consumption and hoarding without imposing rationing, the government decided an alternative would be to encourage motorists to use gas producers. Looking for other ways to reduce petrol usage, Cabinet considered increasing the duty on petrol. All sections of the motor industry lobbied concertedly against any form of petrol rationing, claiming that rationing would lead to wholesale dismissals and economic instability in the motor industry.
The Prime Minister’s office was swamped with telegrams expressing disapproval. The Commonwealth Oil Board attempted to push the government into implementing petrol rationing when supplies dwindled, as tankers were increasingly diverted from Australia. By May 1940 the Board estimated that the oil companies held only 67 per cent of their total capacity of about 140 million gallons.
Refuelling a gas producer attached to a car in Melbourne, October 1942. AWM.
On 21 June 1940 the premiers were officially notified that the introduction of petrol rationing was imminent. The scheme finally devised for petrol rationing was complicated, and the paperwork was profuse. A total of 1,050,000 persons applied for petrol licences and these had to be processed, and licences returned to the applicants, before rationing could commence.
To obtain ration tickets applicants had to complete and present an “Application for Ration Tickets” every time tickets were required. The first issue of ration tickets had a currency of six months. After that, issues were made every two months, with the currency period also being two months. Bi-monthly issues facilitated frequent design and colour changes in order to frustrate counterfeiters.
The organisation of petrol rationing took longer than anticipated and the start was delayed until 1 October 1940.
As this was Australia’s first experience of wartime rationing it was inevitable that it would have a rugged inauguration. The furore over rationing overflowed into the 1940 election campaign. The petrol position deteriorated. Not only did the government have to cope with disgruntled consumers, but also tanker deliveries became more and more disrupted and supplies lessened alarmingly. Rations were reduced from 1 April 1941.
At the end of the war victory over Japan raised expectations that rationing would be promptly abolished, but such hopes were in vain. Fundamental problems remained. Australia still obtained the bulk of petrol supplies from dollar areas and Britain still expected Australia to limit petrol usage to save dollars to help reduce Britain’s outstanding dollar debt.
The British Government continued to urge Australian authorities to save petrol even though the Australian motorists’ ration was 50 per cent less than private motorists received in the United Kingdom and New Zealand.
Filling the car with rationed petrol, Woolloongabba, 1949. State Library of Queensland.
While the Australian Government was prepared to go along with the United Kingdom regarding petrol restrictions, entrepreneurs were not and the Act which provided the power to keep rationing in force, was challenged in the High Court who determined the Act was invalid. The effect of this judgement was that petrol rationing was abandoned. Chaos followed. People hoarded, and petrol supplies became so scarce that primary production was seriously hindered; businesses were at a standstill, and industries were disrupted.
The government blamed the oil companies, and the oil companies blamed the government. Eventually rationing resumed in November 1949. There was a Federal election in December 1949 and the Labor Party was defeated. The Liberal-Country Party Coalition, under Prime Minister Menzies, keeping a pre-election undertaking to abolish petrol rationing, finally declared petrol rationing at an end on 8 February 1950.
The Ministry for State Security, or State Security Service, commonly known as the Stasi was the official state security service of the German Democratic Republic or East Germany. The Stasi was founded on 8 February 1950.
Seal of the Ministry of State Security of the GDR. The Stasi headquarters, now the Stasi Museum.
The museum aims to be a “centre for the collection, preservation, documentation, rehabilitation and exhibition of evidence and research materials relating to East Germany”.
The Stasi has been described as one of the most effective and repressive intelligence and secret police agencies to have ever existed. It was headquartered in East Berlin, with an extensive complex in Berlin-Lichtenberg and several smaller facilities throughout the city. The Stasi motto was “Schild und Schwert der Partei” (Shield and Sword of the Party), referring to the ruling Socialist Unity Party of Germany.
Erich Mielke was its longest-serving chief, in power for thirty-two of the GDR’s forty years of existence. Its Main Directorate for Reconnaissance was responsible for both espionage and for conducting covert operations in foreign countries. Under its long-time head Markus Wolf, this directorate gained a reputation as one of the most effective intelligence agencies of the Cold War.
Erich Mielke. Markus Wolf.
Between 1950 and 1989, the Stasi employed a total of 274,000 people in an effort to root out the class enemy. One of its main tasks was spying on the population, mainly through a vast network of citizens turned informants, and fighting any opposition by overt and covert measures, including hidden psychological destruction of dissidents.
Full-time officers were posted to all major industrial plants and one tenant in every apartment building was designated as a watchdog reporting to an area representative of the Volkspolizei. Spies reported every relative or friend who stayed the night at another’s apartment. Tiny holes were drilled in apartment and hotel room walls through which Stasi agents filmed citizens with special video cameras.
Schools, universities, and hospitals were extensively infiltrated. The Stasi employed one full-time agent for every 166 East Germans.
Citizens protested and stormed the Stasi building in Berlin on 15 January 1990 after it was discovered Stasi employees were destroying the extensive files and documents they held by hand, fire and with the use of shredders. It’s estimated they managed to destroy approximately 5% of the documents.
The sign accuses the Stasi and SED of being Nazi-like dictators. Between 1991 and 2011, around 2.75 million individuals, mostly GDR citizens, requested to see their own files.
Numerous Stasi officials were prosecuted for their crimes after the organisation was dissolved on 13 January 1990. After German reunification, the surveillance files that the Stasi had maintained on millions of East Germans were laid open, so that any citizen could inspect their personal file on request; these files are now maintained by the Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records.
1983 Melbourne dust storm
The 1983 Melbourne dust storm occurred during the afternoon of 8 February 1983, throughout much of Victoria, Australia and affected the capital, Melbourne. Red soil, dust and sand from Central and Southeastern Australia was swept up in high winds and carried southeast through Victoria. The dust storm was one of the most dramatic consequences of the 1982/83 drought, at the time the worst in Australian history and is, in hindsight, viewed as a precursor to the Ash Wednesday bushfires which were to occur eight days later.
Approaching dust storm in the Mallee, 1983. Culture Victoria.
During the morning of Tuesday 8 February 1983, a strong but dry cold front began to cross Victoria, preceded by hot, gusty northerly winds. The loose topsoil in the Mallee and Wimmera was picked up by the wind and collected into a huge cloud of dust that heralded the cool change. At Horsham in western Victoria, raised dust was observed by 11:00am. Within an hour, it had obscured the sky. Fed by the strong northerly, the temperature in Melbourne rose quickly and by 2:35pm it had reached 43.2 °C, at that time a record February maximum.
Around the same time, a dramatic red-brown cloud could be seen approaching the city.
The dust storm hit Melbourne just before 3:00pm, accompanied by a rapid drop in temperature and a fierce wind change that uprooted trees and damaged houses. Within minutes, visibility in the capital had plunged to 100 metres. City workers huddled in doorways, covering their mouths from the choking dust, and traffic came to a standstill.
The worst of the storm was over by 4:00pm, when the wind speed dropped. The dust cloud was approximately 320 metres high when it struck Melbourne, but in other areas of Victoria it extended thousands of metres into the atmosphere.
It was estimated that about 50,000 tonnes of topsoil were stripped from the Mallee. The combined effect of drought and dust storm inflicted damage on the land that, according to the then President of the Victorian Farmers and Graziers’ Association, would take up to 10 years and tens of millions of dollars to repair.
7 February 2018 at 2:35 pm
Thanks for that info RnR, now we know how La Perouse got its name.
La Perouse was named after the French navigator Jean-François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse (1741–88), who landed on the northern shore of Botany Bay west of Bare Island on 26 January 1788. Captain Arthur Phillip and the first fleet of convicts had arrived in Botany Bay a few days earlier.
7 February 2018 at 2:42 pm
How sad that Charles Dickens died just 5 years after the train crash and he was very nervous of train travel thereafter. His son said he never fully recovered.
7 February 2018 at 2:58 pm
I remember those shocking fires in Victoria, we were travelling around and saw the devastation just hours old, we’d been to Marysville 2 weeks before and saw the beautiful sculptures of Bunro’s Art & Sculpture Garden, he was completely burnt out but is now back in business.
AnonymousMember8 February 2018 at 10:07 am
Just visited Bruno’s via your link above Toot. It’s certainly beautiful again now. Great to see.
8 February 2018 at 7:45 am
How very true and the Governments that sent you to war will not give a hoot about you after your return!