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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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476 – Odoacer, chieftain of the Germanic tribes, is proclaimed rex Italiae "King of Italy" by his troops.

Flavius Odoacer (circa 433– 493) was a soldier who in 476 became the first King of Italy (476–493).

By 470, Odoacer had become an officer in what remained of the Roman Army. In 475, Orestes head of the Germanic foederati (outlying nations) of Italy proclaimed his young son Romulus the new emperor as Romulus Augustus. The foederati, who had been quartered on the Italians all of these years, grew weary of the arrangement and petitioned Orestes to reward them for their services, by granting them lands and settling them permanently in Italy. Orestes refused their petition, and they turned to Odoacer to lead their revolt against him. Orestes was killed at Placentia.

The Germanic foederati, the Scirians and the Heruli, as well as a large segment of the Italic Roman army, then proclaimed Odoacer rex Italiae … King of Italy on 23 August 476. Odoacer advanced to Ravenna and captured the city, compelling the young emperor Romulus to abdicate on September 4.

Romulus Augustus resigns the Crown, from a 19th-century illustration.

The reign of Odoacer is commonly seen as marking the end of the Western Roman Empire.

Though the real power in Italy was in his hands, he represented himself as the client of the Emperor in Constantinople. Odoacer introduced few important changes into the administrative system of Italy.

He had the support of the Roman Senate and was able to distribute land to his followers without much opposition. Although Odoacer was an Arian Christian, he rarely intervened in the affairs of the orthodox and trinitarian state church of the Roman Empire.

The Ostrogoth Theoderic the Great invaded Italy in 489 and by August 490 had captured almost the entire peninsula, forcing Odoacer to take refuge in Ravenna. The city surrendered on 5 March 493; Theoderic invited Odoacer to a banquet of reconciliation and killed him.


Kingdom of Italy was restored from 1805 to 1814 with Napoleon as its only king, centered in Northern Italy. It was not until the Italian unification in the 1860s that a Kingdom of Italy covering the entire peninsula was restored.

From 1861 the House of Savoy held the title of King of Italy until the last king, Umberto II, was exiled in 1946 when Italy became a republic.






1650 – Colonel George Monck of the English Army forms Monck's Regiment of Foot, which will later become the Coldstream Guards.

The origin of the Coldstream Guards lies in the English Civil War when Oliver Cromwell gave Colonel George Monck permission to form his own regiment as part of the New Model Army. Monck took men from the regiments of George Fenwick and Sir Arthur Haselrig, five companies each, and on 23 August 1650 formed Monck's Regiment of Foot in Coldstream, Scotland. Less than two weeks later this force took part in the Battle of Dunbar, at which the Roundheads defeated the forces of Charles Stuart.

King Charles II rides along the ranks of Monck's Regiment of Foot in 1661. Inset: Portrait of General George Monck by Jacob Huysmans.

After Richard Cromwell's abdication, Monck gave his support to the Stuarts, and on 1 January 1660 he crossed the River Tweed into England at the village of Coldstream, from where he made a five-week march to London. He arrived in London on 2 February and helped in the Restoration of the monarchy. For his help, Monck was given the Order of the Garter and his regiment was assigned to keep order in London. When Monck died in 1670, the Earl of Craven took command of the regiment and it adopted a new name, the Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards.

The Coldstream Guards laying up their old Colours and receiving the new Colours from Her Majesty The Queen, 2013.

The Coldstream Guards (COLDM GDS) is the oldest regiment in the Regular Army in continuous active service and now one of five regiments comprising the Foot Guards.

Unlike the other four regiments of Foot Guards, which recruit from each of the four home nations, the Coldstream Guards has a specific recruiting area, which encompasses the counties that Monck's Regiment passed through on its march from Coldstream to London.

The current regiments of the Foot Guards are the Coldstream Guards, Grenadier Guards, Scots Guards, Irish Guards and Welsh Guards. The Foot Guards are the Regular Infantry regiments of the Household Division of the British Army.

In the Guards regiments, the "Home Service Dress" is a scarlet tunic and bearskin.

The Foot Guards have a role as the primary garrison for the capital, for the military security of the Sovereign, and for ceremonial duties in London and occasionally elsewhere.


So many regiments, quite confusing.

1895 – Australian bushranger James Alpin McPherson, known as The Wild Scotchman, dies aged 53.

James Alpin McPherson (1842–23 August 1895) otherwise known as The Wild Scotchman, was a Scottish-Australian bushranger active in Queensland in the 19th century. McPherson and his family migrated to Australia aboard the William Miles when he was twelve.

James Alpin McPherson in 1866. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

McPherson went to school at Ipswich. After finishing his schooling, he first started work at a stoneyard before finding work on a cattle station. On 4 March 1864, McPherson was part of a group of three who 'stuck up' the public house of Richard Willis at Houghton River, wounding Willis, and stealing 'three cabbage tree hats, two pairs of riding pants, one pair of boots, one gun, one crimean shirt, one bottle of whisky, and fourteen pounds of flour'.

Following the robbery, the government offered a £50 reward for the culprit's apprehension, and McPherson left Queensland for New South Wales, with the aim of joining up with a bushranging gang, that included Ben Hall, Frank Gardiner, John Gilbert and John Dunn. McPherson is said to have committed highway robberies on his way to find the gang. On 17 August 1864, McPherson was almost apprehended by Sir Frederick Pottinger, a New South Wales Police officer, who had earlier pursued Ben Hall and Frank Gardiner, with mixed success.

N.S.W. Police officer Sir Frederick Pottinger who wounded McPherson in 1864 but failed to capture him. State Library of New South Wales.

Based on information received from Pottinger, a police patrol from Forbes, led by Sgt Condell and accompanied by an Aboriginal tracker, captured McPherson on 28 February 1865 on the Billabong Creek northwest of Forbes. McPherson was taken to Forbes, and then Sydney, where he was to face trial for shooting at Pottinger. However before the trial could begin Pottinger died on 9 April 1865 after accidentally shooting himself a few weeks earlier, and the charge was withdrawn.

Nanango mail carrier Patrick McCallum who was robbed by McPherson in 1866. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

McPherson was still wanted over the Willis public house robbery and was to be returned aboard a coastal steamer, but managed to escape from the custody of the Police constable who was escorting him. He began to rob the mail coaches around Maryborough, Gayndah and Gladstone. In early 1866, McPherson twice held up the mail delivery between Ipswich and Nanango; once, while he was on foot, leading him to steal the postman's horse, as well as the mail.

First courthouse in Maryborough on the corner of Kent and Adelaide Streets, circa 1872.

McPherson was eventually captured, not by the police, but members of the public at Mandooran Station, Gin Gin on 30 March 1866. They returned McPherson to the station, for the night, and then into the custody of the Police at Gin Gin. McPherson was found guilty in Maryborough Court on charges related to robbing the local mails, and given two twenty-five year sentences, to be served concurrently, at St Helena Island, Moreton Bay.

1914 view of the stockade at St Helena Island. McPherson started his escape attempt from here in 1870. Report of the Controller General of Prisons for 1914.

In 1874, a petition to request clemency for McPherson, organised by the Rev. B. G. Wilson, and signed by members of the Queensland parliament, was successful in securing his release on 22 December.

On his release McPherson worked on McConnel's property Cressbrook Station, home to Queensland’s oldest residence, as a stockman and later overseer of an outstation. The manager of another outstation was Sylvester Browne, brother of the novelist, T. A. Browne, author of Robbery Under Arms. Legend has some of McPherson's exploits adapted for use in the novel by Browne who was familiar with the Scotchman's story through correspondence with his brother.

The Wild Scotsman Markets are held in Gin Gin each Saturday morning.

In 1878 McPherson got married in Blackall to Elizabeth Annie Hausfeldt from Isisford. They went on to have 4 sons and 2 daughters. The McPhersons lived most of their married life in Burketown.

In his last years McPherson was known for his anecdotes and ready wit, regaling listeners with stories of the bushranging days. At age 53, James McPherson died after falling from his horse on 23 July 1895. He was buried in an unmarked grave in Burketown cemetery.


In 1874, a petition to request clemency for McPherson, organised by the Rev. B. G. Wilson, and signed by members of the Queensland parliament, was successful in securing his release on 22 December.

He must have had a winning personality to receive such support.

1904 – The automobile tyre chain is patented.

Snow chains were invented in 1904 by Harry D. Weed in Canastota, New York. Weed received U.S. Patent Number 768495 for his "Grip-Tread for Pneumatic Tires" on August 23, 1904.

Weed's great-grandson, James Weed, said that Harry got the idea of creating chains for tires when he saw drivers wrap rope, or even vines, around their tires to increase traction on muddy or snowy roads, which were very common at the turn of the 20th century. He sought to make a traction device that was more durable and would work with snow as well as mud.

At this time, most people in rural Northern regions wouldn't bother driving automobiles in the winter at all, since roads were usually rolled for use with horse-drawn sleighs, rather than plowed, so automobiles were generally not winter vehicles, for a variety of reasons; this was true until the 1930s or 40s in some areas. Only in urban areas was it feasible to remove snow from streets.


1926 – Rudolph Valentino, Italian actor dies.

Rodolfo Alfonso Raffaello Pierre Filibert Guglielmi di Valentina d'Antonguella (May 6, 1895 – August 23, 1926), professionally known as Rudolph Valentino, was an Italian actor naturalised American who starred in several well-known silent films including The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, The Sheik, Blood and Sand, The Eagle, and The Son of the Sheik.

Valentino was born in Castellaneta, Italy. After living in Paris in 1912, he soon returned to Italy. Unable to secure employment, he departed for the United States in 1913 and was processed at Ellis Island at age 18.

Publicity portrait of Rudolph Valentino as Julio Desnoyers in the 1921 Metro Pictures production The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Poster for The Son of the Sheik.

He was an early pop icon, a sex symbol of the 1920s, who was known as the "Latin lover" or simply as "Valentino". He had applied for American citizenship shortly before his untimely death at age 31, which caused mass hysteria among his female fans and further propelled him to iconic status.


The shopkeeper never wanted to sell the ring. “It’s cursed,” he said. It’s called The Destiny Ring.

But for Hollywood actor Rudolph Valentino, who saw the ring in a San Francisco shop, it didn’t matter. The simple silver ring with the semi-precious stone was perfect; he had to have it, so he bought it. Then again, perhaps he should’ve listened and stayed away from it…..

He died at 31

Sad ... so young.

1966 – Lunar Orbiter 1 takes the first space photograph of Earth.

The Lunar Orbiter 1 unmanned robotic spacecraft, part of the Lunar Orbiter Program, was the first American spacecraft to orbit the Moon. It was designed primarily to photograph smooth areas of the lunar surface for selection and verification of safe landing sites for the Surveyor and Apollo missions.

The first ever image of Earth from the distance of the Moon, 23 August 1966. NASA.

Lunar Orbiter 1 took the first two pictures of the Earth ever from the distance of the Moon. A total of 42 high-resolution and 187 medium-resolution frames were taken and transmitted to Earth covering over 5 million square kilometres of the Moon's surface.


1966 – Led by spokesman Vincent Lingiari, the Gurindji workers and families walked off Wave Hill station in the Northern Territory and began their seven-year strike.

The Wave Hill walk-off or The Gurindji strike was a walk-off and strike by 200 Gurindji stockmen, house servants and their families in August 1966 at Wave Hill cattle station in Kalkarindji (formerly known as Wave Hill), Northern Territory.

Gurindji man Vincent Lingiari, leader of the 1966 Wave Hill Aboriginal stockmen's strike.

The Gurindji people's traditional lands are approximately 3,250 km² of the Northern Territory. Gurindji first encountered Europeans in the 1850s, when explorer Augustus Gregory crossed into their territory. Several other explorers traversed the area over the following decades until the 1880s, when large pastoral operations were established.

Gurindji – along with all Aboriginal groups in this predicament – found their waterholes and soakages fenced off or fouled by cattle, which also ate or trampled fragile desert plant life, such as bush tomato. Dingo hunters regularly shot the people's invaluable hunting dogs, and kangaroo, a staple meat, was also routinely shot since it competed with cattle for water and grazing land. Gurindji suffered lethal "reprisals" for any attempt to eat the cattle – anything from a skirmish to a massacre. The last recorded massacre in the area occurred at Coniston in 1928.

There was little choice to stay alive but to move onto the cattle stations, receive rations, adopt a more sedentary life and, where possible, take work as stockmen and domestic help. If they couldn't continue their traditional way of life, then at least to be on their own land – the foundation for their religion and spiritual beliefs – seemed crucial. 

William and Edmund Vestey of Vestey Brothers.

In 1914, Wave Hill Station was bought by Vesteys, a British pastoral company comprising a large conglomerate of cattle companies owned by Baron Vestey. There had been complaints from Indigenous employees about conditions over many years. A Northern Territory government inquiry held in the 1930s said of Vesteys: "It was obvious that they had been ... quite ruthless in denying their Aboriginal labour proper access to basic human rights."

However, little was done over the decades leading up to the strike. While it was illegal up until 1968 to pay Aboriginal workers more than a specified amount in goods and money, a 1945 inquiry found Vesteys was not even paying Aboriginal workers the 5 shillings a day minimum wage set up for Aborigines under a 1918 Ordinance. Non-Indigenous males were receiving £2/8/- a week in 1945. Gurindji lived in corrugated iron humpies without floors, lighting, sanitation, furniture or cooking facilities.

Wave Hill and Hooker Creek stockman, 1961.

On 23 August 1966, led by spokesman Vincent Lingiari, the workers and families walked off Wave Hill and began their seven-year strike.

Lingiari led Gurindji, as well as Ngarinman, Bilinara, Warlpiri and Mudbara workers to an important sacred site nearby at Wattie Creek (Daguragu). Initially, the action was interpreted as purely a strike against work and living conditions. However, it soon became apparent that it was not just – or even primarily – improved conditions Gurindji were campaigning for. Their primary demand was for return of their land.

Vincent Lingiari and Mick Rangiari at the sign they asked Frank Hardy to make, 1966.

The strike years 1966–1975 were hard years, but they held strong to their belief in their right to the land. While living at Daguragu, Gurindji drew up maps showing areas they wanted excised from pastoralist land and returned to them. In 1967, Gurindji petitioned the Governor-General, claiming 1,295 km² of land near Wave Hill. Their claim was rejected. While Dagaragu would eventually become the first cattle station to be owned and managed by an Aboriginal community, today known as the Murramulla Gurindji Company, it would be many years before the Gurindji achieved this. In this period, Vincent Lingiari, Billy Bunter Jampijinpa and others toured Australia, with the support of workers’ unions, to give talks, raise awareness, build support for their cause and have meetings with major lawyers and politicians. Frank Hardy recalled one fundraising meeting at which a donor gave $500 after hearing Vincent Lingiari speak. The donor – who said he had never before met an Aboriginal person – was a young Dr Fred Hollows, the eye surgeon.

The Gurindji strikers at Wattie Creek led by Vincent Lingiari in 1967.

In late 1966 the Northern Territory government offered a compromise pay rise of 125 per cent, but the strikers still demanded wages equal to those of white stockmen and return of their land. The Government also made moves to cut off means of Gurindji obtaining food supplies and threatened evictions. Offers of houses, which the Government had built for them at Wave Hill Welfare settlement, were resisted. The Gurindji persisted with their protest and stayed at Daguragu. In 1969 the Liberal-National Country Coalition government was given a proposal to give eight square kilometres back to the Gurindji. Cabinet refused even to discuss the issue.

Captain Major speaking to unionists in Sydney. Frank Hardy and unions arranged the trip to Sydney for Captain Major and Phillip Roberts. Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.

Lupna Giari, also known as Captain Major, was the public face of the dispute in the pastoral industry which led to the walk-off from Newcastle Waters and Wave Hill stations in 1966.

However, the tide of public opinion was beginning to turn in Australia. There were demonstrations and arrests in southern Australia in support of the walk-off, and many church, student and trade union groups gave practical and fundraising support to the Gurindji struggle. Several significant events marked the change in opinion in Australia including the 1967 Referendum giving the Federal Government power to make laws for Indigenous Australians; the Australian Labor Party came to power in 1972 and Aboriginal land rights was an issue high on its agenda; the 1972 Woodward Royal Commission into Aboriginal Land Rights in the Northern Territory and the Gove land rights case.

In 1975, the Labor government of Gough Whitlam finally negotiated with Vesteys to give the Gurindji back a portion of their land. This was a landmark in the land rights movement in Australia for Indigenous Australians. The handback took place on 16 August 1975 at Kalkaringi.

The photographs of Whitlam pouring sand into Lingiari's hand on that day, have become iconic ones in Australian history.

Vincent Lingiari and other Gurindji men at the plaque marking the handover of Wave Hill land, 16 August 1975. National Archives of Australia, Canberra.

Vincent Lingiari died on 21 January 1988 aged 69. Every year until then he attended the Gurindji’s annual re-enactment of the walk-off.

Lingiari and the Gurindji people became well-known in Australian popular culture through the song written and performed by musicians Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody called From Little Things Big Things Grow.

Video: "From little things, big things grow": Paul Kelly, Kev Carmody remember Gough in song.

Note: In 1915, the Vestey Brothers, Lord William and younger brother Edmund, after being refused a request for income tax exemption made to David Lloyd George, moved to Buenos Aires to avoid paying income tax in the UK. The family later administered the business through a Paris trust that enabled it to legally avoid UK tax until the loophole was closed in 1991.


I don't fully understand the implications of the upcoming referendum on Aboriginal recognition in the constitution.  Maybe someone could explain it so it's easy to understand.

Jimmy Wavehill was 18 years old when he walked off Wave Hill Station in demand of fairer pay and equal rights — that was 53 years ago on Friday.

 But the fight is not over. Not by a long shot. According to some, five decades on, it's just getting started….

Great story, thanks toot.

79 AD – Mount Vesuvius erupts. The cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Stabiae are buried in volcanic ash.

On August 24, in the year AD 79, Vesuvius erupted in one of the most catastrophic and famous eruptions of all time. Historians have learned about the eruption from the eyewitness account of Pliny the Younger, a Roman administrator and poet.

Mount Vesuvius as seen from the ruins of Pompeii, which was destroyed in the eruption of AD 79.

The volcano ejected a cloud of stones, ashes and volcanic gases to a height of 33 kilometres, spewing molten rock and pulverized pumice at the rate of 600,000 cubic metres per second, ultimately releasing a hundred thousand times the thermal energy released by the Hiroshima-Nagasaki bombings. The cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum were destroyed by pyroclastic surges and the ruins buried under dozens of feet of tephra.

Pompeii and Herculaneum, as well as other cities affected by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The black cloud represents the general distribution of ash, pumice and cinders. Modern coast lines are shown.

Reconstructions vary considerably in the details but have the same overall features. The eruption lasted two days. The morning of the first day was perceived as normal by the only eyewitness to leave a surviving document, Pliny the Younger. In the middle of the day an explosion threw up a high-altitude column from which ash and pumice began to fall, blanketing the area. Rescues and escapes occurred during this time.

Eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Painting by Pierre Jacques Volaire, 1777.

At some time in the night or early the next day pyroclastic surges in the close vicinity of the volcano began. Lights were seen on the peak interpreted as fires. People as far away as Misenum fled for their lives. The flows were rapid-moving, dense and very hot, knocking down wholly or partly all structures in their path, incinerating or suffocating all population remaining there and altering the landscape, including the coastline. These were accompanied by additional light tremors and a mild tsunami in the Bay of Naples. By late afternoon of the second day, the eruption was over, leaving only haze in the atmosphere through which the sun shone weakly.

Video: A Day in Pompeii ... an animation which gives us a chance to feel the same drama and terror of the town's citizens long ago, and witness how a series of eruptions wiped out Pompeii over 48 hours.

Pompeii, with Vesuvius in the background.

Since the eruption of AD 79, Vesuvius has erupted around three dozen times. The last major eruption was in March 1944.

It destroyed the villages of San Sebastiano al Vesuvio, Massa di Somma, Ottaviano, and part of San Giorgio a Cremano. Lava flows appeared, small explosions followed until the major explosion took place on March 18, 1944.

The March 1944 eruption of Vesuvius, by Jack Reinhardt, B-24 tailgunner in the USAAF during World War II. Troops watching the eruption.

NB: For the past five centuries, articles about the eruption of Vesuvius have typically indicated that the event began on 24 August of 79 AD. This date came from a 1508 printed version of a letter between Pliny the Younger and the Roman historian Tacitus, itself written some 25 years after the event. However, in October 2018, Italian archaeologists stated they had uncovered an inscription dated 17 October, lending support to later date interpretations of the letter and apparently ruling out 24 August.


It is estimated that from 1,500 to 2,000 people died in Pompeii during the 79 AD eruption; most scholars believe that the number of inhabitants of the city was somewhere between 6,000 to 20,000; therefore most Pompeians survived the pyroclastic clouds, possibly because they were alerted about the early signs of the eruption.

410 – The Visigoths under king Alaric I begin the Sack of Rome 410.

Alaric I was the first King of the Visigoths from 395–410. Alaric is best known for his sack of Rome in 410, which marked a decisive event in the decline of the Roman Empire.

llustration from the 1920s depicting Alaric and the Visigoths.

The Sack of Rome occurred on 24 August 410. The city was attacked by the Visigoths led by King Alaric. At that time, Rome was no longer the capital of the Western Roman Empire, having been replaced in that position first by Mediolanum in 286 and then by Ravenna in 402. Nevertheless, the city of Rome retained a paramount position as "the eternal city" and a spiritual centre of the Empire. The sack was a major shock to contemporaries, friends and foes of the Empire alike.

Sack of Rome 24 August 410. Painting by Thomas Cole, 1836.

This was the first time in almost 800 years that Rome had fallen to a foreign enemy. The previous sack of Rome had been accomplished by the Gauls under their leader Brennus in 390 or 387/6 BC.

The sacking of 410 is seen as a major landmark in the fall of the Western Roman Empire. St. Jerome, living in Bethlehem at the time, wrote that "The City which had taken the whole world was itself taken."

Alaric, having penetrated and sacked Rome, marched southwards into Calabria. He desired to invade Africa, which, thanks to its grain, had become the key to holding Italy. But a storm battered his ships into pieces and many of his soldiers drowned. Alaric died soon after in Cosenza, probably of fever.

The burial of Alaric in the bed of the Busento River. 1895 wood engraving.

More: Alaric ISack of Rome 410.

There were true artists in those days and they preserved historical records.

Italy to dig for ancient Roman treasure sought by Nazis

Haul from tomb of Alaric, king of the Visigoths who sacked Rome, thought to include gold, silver and priceless Menorah looted from Second Temple

Italian archaeologists are to start excavations in search of a fabled cache of ancient Roman treasure which, according to legend, was buried alongside the Gothic king who sacked the city in the 5th century…..

How amazing Toot. Wonder if they'll find it.

1455 – The printing of the Gutenberg Bible is completed.

Printing was one of the most important technical advances in history. It was invented by Johann Gutenberg, a German from Mainz, in the 1450s.

The Gutenberg Bible was the first major book printed using mass-produced movable metal type in Europe. It marked the start of the "Gutenberg Revolution" and the age of the printed book in the West.

Gutenberg’s invention allowed the mass production of books for the first time and changed the world. Before Gutenberg, every book, outside of Asia where some printed books had been produced much earlier using type made first of wood and later of bronze, had to be copied by hand. Gutenberg's invention was different: it was possible to print many copies of the same text speedily without sacrificing quality.

A page from the Gutenberg Bible. On paper, British Library.

The handmade paper used by Gutenberg was of fine quality and was imported from Italy. Each copy required 322 sheets of paper and each sheet contains a watermark left by the paper mold. A single complete copy of the Gutenberg Bible has 1,286 pages, usually bound in two volumes; with four pages per folio-sheet.

In March 1455, the future Pope Pius II wrote that he had seen pages from the Gutenberg Bible, being displayed to promote the edition, in Frankfurt. It is not known how many copies were printed, with the 1455 letter citing sources for both 158 and 180 copies.

Only 48 copies are known to have survived, of which 12 are printed on vellum and 36 on paper. Twenty are complete, two of them at the British Library, one printed on paper and one printed on vellum. Many copies, including the British Library’s paper copy, married the new technology of printing with the old, and contain hand-painted decorations to imitate the appearance of an illuminated manuscript.

Gutenberg Bible display at the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas.

Widely praised for its high aesthetic and artistic qualities, the Gutenberg Bible has an iconic status. Copies are considered to be among the most valuable books in the world.

The last sale of a complete Gutenberg Bible took place in 1978, when it sold for $2.2 million. This copy is now in Stuttgart. The price of a complete copy today is estimated at $25−35 million. Individual leaves now sell for $50,000–$150,000 depending upon condition and the desirability of the page.

More: Wikipedia. The British Library. The strange life of Johannes Gutenberg.

The last sale of a complete Gutenberg Bible took place in 1978, when it sold for $2.2 million. This copy is now in Stuttgart. The price of a complete copy today is estimated at $25−35 million. Individual leaves now sell for $50,000–$150,000 depending upon condition and the desirability of the page.


1814 – British troops invade Washington, D.C. and during the Burning of Washington the White House, the Capitol and many other buildings are set ablaze.

The Burning of Washington was a British attack against Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States, during the War of 1812. On 24 August 1814, after defeating the Americans at the Battle of Bladensburg, a British force led by Major General Robert Ross occupied Washington and set fire to many public buildings, including the White House (known as the Presidential Mansion), and the Capitol, as well as other facilities of the U.S. government.

The attack was in part a retaliation for the recent American destruction of Port Dover in Upper Canada. It marks the only time in U.S. history that Washington, D.C. has been occupied by a foreign force.

The British entered Washington D.C. and burned many U.S. government and military buildings.

This illustration is from the 1816 book, The History of England, from the Earliest Periods, Volume 1 by Paul M. Rapin de Thoyras. This book is in the U.S. Library of Congress.

Less than a day after the attack began, a sudden, very heavy thunderstorm—possibly a hurricane—put out the fires. It also spun off a tornado that passed through the centre of the capital, setting down on Constitution Avenue and lifting two cannons before dropping them several yards away, killing British troops and American civilians alike.

Following the storm, the British returned to their ships, many of which were badly damaged. The occupation of Washington lasted only about 26 hours. After the "Storm that saved Washington", as it soon came to be called, the Americans were able to regain control of the city.


1872 – The borders of the state of Queensland are extended to allow the inclusion of Thursday Island and the Torres Strait Islands.

On 24 August 1872, the borders of the state of Queensland were extended a further 60 nautical miles from the coastline. This allowed for the inclusion of Thursday Island and the Torres Strait islands within Queensland's borders. This boundary was further extended by the Queensland Coast Islands Act 1879 to include the Torres Strait Islands of Boigu, Erub, Mer and Saibai.

Map of Thursday Island and the Torres Strait Islands. Flag. Logo.

The Torres Strait Islands are a group of at least 274 small islands which lie in Torres Strait, the waterway separating far northern continental Australia's Cape York Peninsula and the island of New Guinea. Lieutenant James Cook first claimed British sovereignty over the eastern part of Australia in the Torres Strait at Possession Island in 1770.

Native canoe which came alongside from Prince of Wales Island, and the vessels Tom Tough and Monarch off Possession Island. Watercolour By Thomas Baines on 27 August 1855, National Library of Australia.

The islands are mostly part of Queensland with a special status fitting the native land rights, administered by the Torres Strait Regional Authority. A few islands very close to the coast of mainland New Guinea belong to the Western Province of Papua New Guinea, most importantly Daru Island with the provincial capital, Daru. Only 14 of the islands are inhabited.

Thursday Island, colloquially known as TI, or in the indigenous language, Waiben, is located approximately 39 kilometres north of Cape York Peninsula. The island has been populated for thousands of years by the Torres Strait Islanders, though archeological evidence on Badu, further north in Torres Strait, suggests that the area has been inhabited from before the end of the last Ice Age. The archeology from Badhu, Pulu, Saibai and Mer shows that Melanesian occupation started around 2,600 years ago.

Three men wearing head dresses sitting outside hut, 1921. Photo by Frank Hurley, National Library of Australia.

An administrative centre for the Torres Strait Islands was set up on Thursday Island by the Queensland Government in 1877, and a township gradually developed. A thriving pearling industry began in 1885 and swelled the population with workers from Asian countries, whilst South Pacific islanders were also brought in to work in the industry. While pearling is no longer a major industry there, the population retains the influence of these other cultures.

During World War II, Thursday Island became the military headquarters for the Torres Strait and was a base for Australian and United States forces. January 1942 saw the evacuation of civilians from the island. Residents of Japanese origin or descent were interned. The residents did not return until after the end of the war and many ethnic Japanese were forcibly repatriated.

Members of the Torres Strait Light Infantry Battalion on Thursday Island 1945.

The Torres Strait Light Infantry Battalion was an infantry battalion of the Australian Army during the Second World War. Initially raised as a company-sized unit in 1941, it was expanded to a full battalion in 1942 and was unique in that almost all of its enlisted men were Torres Strait Islanders, making the battalion the only Indigenous Australian battalion ever formed by the Australian Army.

More: Thursday Island. Torres Strait Islands.

People would be lining up to burn down the White House at the moment.  lol

1915 – The town of Holbrook, New South Wales was renamed from Germanton.

During World War I, many German or German-sounding place names in Australia were changed due to anti-German sentiment. The presence of German-derived place names was seen as an affront to the war effort at the time.

The names of locations were often Anglicised (Peterborough), given Aboriginal names (Kobandilla, Karawirra), or were named after notable soldiers (Kitchener and Holbrook) or World War I battlefields (Verdun, The Somme). This was done by local councils or the postal authorities, often as the result of a petition by locals.

Germanton Police Station, postcard published by Harding & Billing Ltd, circa 1910. Justice & Police Museum Collection, Sydney Living Museums.

The Germanton area was originally inhabited by the Wiradjuri people. The first town was originally called Ten Mile Creek and the first buildings were erected in 1836. A German immigrant, John Christopher Pabst, became the publican of the Woolpack Hotel on 29 July 1840 and the area became known as "the Germans".

By 1858 the name had evolved into the official name of Germanton, though the postal area retained the name Ten Mile Creek. The Ten Mile Creek Post Office opened on 1 January 1857, and was renamed Germanton in 1875. In 1876 the name Germanton was gazetted and the old name Ten Mile Creek consigned to history.

Photo of the Germanton Post Office, circa 1914.

During World War I, the town name was deemed unpatriotic so on 24 August 1915 the town was renamed Holbrook in honour of Lt. Norman Douglas Holbrook, a decorated wartime submarine captain and winner of the Victoria Cross.

Settlers Memorial, with the remains of submarine HMAS Otway in the background. Germanton Park, Holbrook.


1936 – The Australian Antarctic Territory is created.

The Australian Antarctic Territory is a part of Antarctica. It is the largest territory of Antarctica claimed by any nation. Sovereignty over the Territory was transferred from Britain to Australia under the Australian Antarctic Territory Acceptance Act 1933, which came into effect on 24 August 1936.

This act stated: That part of the Territory in the Antarctic seas which comprises all the islands and territories, other than Adélie Land, situated south of the 60th degree south latitude and lying between the 160th degree east longitude and the 45th degree east longitude, is hereby declared to be accepted by the Commonwealth as a Territory under the authority of the Commonwealth, by the name of the Australian Antarctic Territory.

King penguin chicks. Photo: Dave Bone. Australian Antarctic Division.

The territory is inhabited by the staff of research stations. The Australian Antarctic Division administers the area primarily by maintaining three year-round stations (Mawson, Davis and Casey), which support various research projects.

Adorably sleepy seal nearly interrupted Photo: Ruth Wielinga. Australian Antarctic Division.

Australia issues postage stamps for the Australian Antarctic Territory. The first issues came in 1957, and sporadically thereafter, settling into a pattern of an annual issue by the 1990s. All have been Antarctic-themed, and all are valid for postage in Australia and its territories, including Antarctica.

This 1959 cover commemorated the opening of the Wilkes post office.


There are seven sovereign states who have territorial claims in AntarcticaArgentinaAustraliaChileFranceNew ZealandNorway and the United Kingdom.

These countries have tended to place their Antarctic scientific observation and study facilities within their respective claimed territories; however, a number of such facilities are located outside of the area claimed by their respective countries of operation, and countries without claims such as Russia and the United States have constructed research facilities within the areas claimed by other countries.

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